MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami/AP) – How much is hosting a Super Bowl worth? Apparently to Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross $400 million!
According to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who has spoken with Ross. The Dophins owner is ready to pay for renovations to Sun Life Stadium to keep South Florida competitive in bidding for Super Bowls and the college football national championship game.
But there’s a catch. Ross not only wants to pay for the upgrades, he wants to hand the stadium over to the county. As county property, the stadium won’t pay property taxes. According to Gimenez, this will mean a tax loss of almost four million dollars. Currently, the mayor says, the school district and the city of Miami Gardens each get about a million dollars in taxes from the stadium.
“It’s an interesting proposition. It’s better than last year obviously, but I still had concerns with Miami Gardens and the school board and they need to have discussions with those entities before they can proceed,” Gimenez said.
Currently American Airlines Arena and Marlins Park are owned by the County and do not pay property taxes.
“Mr. Ross is saying, ‘Hey treat me like everybody else. Treat me like the other professional teams in this community and I’ll be happy and I’ll write the check.’ It’s kind of hard to argue against that,” said Rodney Barreto, the Chairman South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee.
He added, “This is going to be huge for people like myself who promote bringing Super Bowls to the community. This is going to be probably music to the ears of the Orange Bowl Committee going after national championships.”
“There’s a tremendous economic benefit to having Superbowls and BCS Championships here especially Superbowls. They have hundreds of millions of dollars of worth of economic benefit to the community,” said Gimenez, but he added he wants some sort of guarantee the big games will really come.
“In order for us to accept the conveyance we’d have to have some something that says we’re going to get these and we’re going to get them on a fairly regular schedule so it more than compensates us for any kind of loss in property taxes,” said Gimenez.
The mayor said he also wants the renovations completed before the stadium is turned over to the county, and he wants a guarantee that Ross will keep the stadium updated throughout the years. “It’s up to them to keep that stadium in state of the art condition,” he said.
The AP reported that Ross has decided to pay for the work himself because Super Bowl bids are due in August and he wants to get the process started. The renovations are expected to mirror last year’s plans for a canopy to shade seats that are now exposed.
Previously, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has intimated that South Florida may not be considered for another Super Bowl if significant upgrades weren’t made to Sun Life Stadium. Since then, South Florida has missed out on two Super Bowls.
Last year, Ross and the Dolphins tried to move a bill through the state legislature to help fund the renovations, but the GOP-led House of Representatives killed the bill.
Ross’ move sets a precedent for other owners to make stadium changes on their own without public funding. Some have accused the NFL of using Super Bowls as a way to help teams get public funding for stadiums.
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