Miami has another outdated stadium that needs hundreds of millions of dollars worth of renovations. A politician instrumental in getting the Marlins taxpayer funding says the renovations are necessary. The Dolphins don't have the cash or the desire to pay for it. Guess who's left? Miami-Dade County residents, whose descendants will still be paying off the bonds for Marlins Park through 2049. Isn't sports fun?
Sun Life Stadium began life in 1987 as Joe Robbie Stadium, until Wayne Huizenga bought the Dolphins and sold the naming rights after Robbie died. It's not a wonderful place to watch football, being designed with soccer in mind. It's too big. The seats are far away from the field. It rains all the time. The sprinklers go off in the middle of games. But it's a perfectly functional NFL venue. What could possibly spur a cash-strapped city into deciding it needs major work?
Blame Roger Goodell. A few years back, the commissioner said Sun Life would need significant renovations if it wanted to continue to host Super Bowls and other major events. This, despite hosting a Super Bowl in 2010, and being one of the three stadiums shortlisted for the 2016 an 2017 games. This, despite hosting the BCS Title Game in six weeks. This, despite the stadium receiving $300 million worth of renovations over the last decade already. But Goodell's threat (and it was a threat) is working, and there's momentum building for the stadium to receive a makeover.
The Dolphins won't be picking up the tab. As of last year, they were still $230 million in debt from previous renovations, and sought to cover the costs of new work by pushing the county to raise hotel taxes. That was shot down, as Marlins Park backlash was in full swing. But people have short memories, and Miami-Dade County commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz yesterday acknowledged that the stadium's renovations are not a question of "if," but of "when" and "how."...
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Via Billy Corben