Reporting Lauren Pastrana
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to securing public funds for the upgrade of Sun Life Stadium.
“We are going to make a pledge that any referendum will be on condition that South Florida is awarded a Super Bowl,” Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said Thursday.
In other words, Dee said if there is no Super Bowl, the county can back out of any deal. One could call it a money-back guarantee for the county.
The Dolphins and the South Florida Super Bowl Committee are vying for the rights to Super Bowl L (50). The 50th anniversary Super Bowl would be the 10th time the big game has been in South Florida and the Super Bowl committee is confident in Miami’s chances.
“We have great confidence that South Florida will be awarded a Super Bowl when the owners meet in Boston on May 22nd,” Dee said.
“Fiftieth anniversary only comes around every 50 years,” said South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee chair Rodney Barreto. “He (Stephen Ross) is putting his money where his mouth is. It’s more than a game for the community and he realizes that.”
But Miami has stiff competition coming from Santa Clara, California. The city is building a brand new billion-dollar stadium that would be the jewel of a Super Bowl weekend held outside San Francisco.
The Dolphins have asked Miami-Dade County voters to approve the usage of a hotel tax increase to help fund roughly half of the planned $400+ million renovations to Sun Life Stadium that will include a partial roof to protect the fans, but allow the game to be played in the elements.
The Dolphins pledged in the Thursday press conference to focus a majority of Super Bowl activities in Downtown Miami if Sun Life Stadium is chosen to host Super Bowl L. The last time the Super Bowl was in South Florida, the activities were centered in Broward County.
The planned referendum is currently making its way through the Florida Legislature, which must approve the plan before it heads to Miami-Dade County voters. The plan also has a request for a sales tax exemption for Sun life Stadium in addition to the infusion of public money.
On Thursday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent a letter to the Florida Division of Elections asking if the county can require a “private person or corporation” to pay for a referendum election.
The letter goes on to say, “I do not believe, however, that the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County should be forced to shoulder the costs (estimated between $3 – 5 million) of this election brought about by a request from a private party. I therefore intend to require the Miami Dolphins organization to pay for the costs of such an election.”
If approved by voters, the funds would come through an increase in hotel bed tax for mainland Miami-Dade hotels.