MIAMI (CBS4) – He’s the one person that hasn’t been heard from in the push to upgrade Sun Life stadium.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants Miami-Dade voters and Florida legislators to approve a plan to levy a new tax on tourists.
In exchange, he said, he will chip in more than half and guarantee Super Bowls in Miami.
On Friday, Ross went one on one with CBS4′s David Sutta to answer some tough questions.
SUTTA: “It’s the question I get every time I speak with someone about this proposal. It’s the $289 million dollar question. Why won’t you write the check yourself?”
STEPHEN ROSS, OWNER, MIAMI DOLPHINS: “Well I’m going to write a large part of that check. Probably 70% of it. But this is really a public private partnership. The community is really benefiting by this because it’s not just about having a stadium. It’s marginal. The benefits for me are marginal. People will come here if we are winning. If we are not winning we are not going to draw people no matter how much money is being spent.
SUTTA: “The taxpayers could argue you benefit the most here. You own the stadium. You own the team. You own the surrounding land that could be developed. Do they really stand to gain as much as you?”
ROSS: “Yes. The economic benefits really don’t just end at the stadium. It’s really the hotels, the small businesses, the restaurant workers, the hotel workers, the taxi cab drivers. They all benefit by what we do and driving people to Miami-Dade County.”
SUTTA: “If you go by Forbes they are saying you’re worth $4.4 billion. They are saying you made a billion dollars in the last year. A check like this would be miniscule.”
ROSS: “Well not really. I have a lot of other businesses that need assets that I continue to support and grow and continue to grow and it’s part of that. I bought the Dolphins not to see how much money I can make but really creating a winning football and enhancing the community. And that’s really as a real estate developer; you look for transforming communities and things you are involved with and being best in class.”
SUTTA: ”Is this in your mind a good deal compared to what a good deal should look like or is it just a little better than the Marlins?”
ROSS: “This isn’t even close to the Marlins deal. I don’t think there has ever been a deal that’s been offered to any community, anywhere in this country, that is as good as what we’re offering and how the community can benefit by it. And that’s the whole thing. You have to look at who’s benefiting. This is a partnership. It’s not a deal. It’s a partnership and everyone is benefiting.”
SUTTA: “The notion has been brought that you make these changes Super Bowl’s will come and BCS Championships, and countless other marquee events. If there is no modernization so goes the Super Bowl?”
ROSS: “I think so. I think that will be very evident. I think look what happened to San Diego. It’s a great city. Great climate. And they don’t get Super Bowls.”
SUTTA: “If you had to gauge the community, where do you think the community sits on this?”
ROSS: “I think the majority are well in favor of this.
ROSS: “Everyone always talks about the Marlins Ballpark deal. And if they think it was a bad deal you are going to have to go forward. This is not the Marlins deal. It will never be the Marlins deal. You have to look forward and not make the same mistake twice. This is not that. This is not a mistake. This is a benefit for Dade County.”