Miami-Dade County have approved renovations to Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Craig Davis reported Tuesday. This means that South Florida could again find itself hosting a Super Bowl, which last happened in February 2010.
Davis writes: "The commission by a vote of 7-4 gave support to a plan for the county to pay incentives to the Miami Dolphins for hosting major events. In return, Dolphins owner Steve Ross will proceed with a $350 million project to modernize the 27-year-old stadium."
Ross expressed his gratitude in a statement: "I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners and Mayor Gimenez for approving this unique and creative plan to bring Super Bowls and other marquee events to Miami-Dade County.
"We have one of the world's most aspirational cities, and as such, deserve a stadium that will provide significant economic impact to Miami-Dade County. This will not only secure the future of the Dolphins, but will ensure that Miami has one of the world's best venues to host events of this magnitude going forward."
The agreement would commit Miami-Dade to use tourist development money to pay the Dolphins $4 million for each Super Bowl hosted and $3 million for an FBS national title game. Gimenez called the deal "very innovative, it's one of a kind. ... It places the burden on the Dolphins organization to deliver results. No major event, no funds."
And Davis adds: "Under terms of Tuesday's deal, the county isn't obligated to make payments during the first 10 years of the agreement, to avoid sapping a tourist-tax fund that is already stressed. The Dolphins can accrue up to $30 million in fees during the initial phase. But a provision relieves the county of the obligation to pay if the hotel tax isn't generating enough revenue to make payments."
The team should be ready to break ground in July with most of the construction -- which includes upgrading the lights, sound system, seats and other facilities -- expected to take place during the 2015 and 2016 off seasons.
As part of the agreement, Ross and the Dolphins agree not to leave Miami for the next 30 years.