Miami Dolphins announce proposed changes to Sun Life Stadium

Doug Benc

The Miami Dolphins announced proposed changes for a 'modernization' to Sun Life Stadium on Monday.

On Monday, the Miami Dolphins announced plans for significant upgrades and renovations to Sun Life Stadium, their home since the facility opened in 1987. The team called the extensive changes "a modernization," that would make the facility "competitive for the next 25 years."

The biggest news regarding the changes revolves around how they'll be paid for: owner Steven Ross has stated that he will cover a significant portion of the cost privately, and will depend on a specific tax for the rest, according to the Miami Herald.

That's significant due to the issues recently surrounding the Miami Marlins, whose deal with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami hurt the city in many ways, especially as most of the language was open to interpretation with the word "misdirection" being an apt description.

The Marlins initially stated they were losing money, and were only on the hook for around 15 to 20 percent of the cost of their venue, but it was later found that they were profiting.

According to the team, Ross is willing to pay for most of the cost if the government helps him out with the lease and its current terms (and he also offered a "pledge" to the community). Presumably, the yearly cost of operation needs to go down for Ross. But according to the Herald piece linked above, Ross would still be willing to pay for 40 to 50 percent of the cost even if he didn't get that assistance.

The big kicker here is that the money that would come from the government would be out of one tax and wouldn't necessarily cost the local taxpayers any extra cash. The public side of funding would come from a hotel bed tax, which the Dolphins would ask politicians to raise in order to pull the funds from.

On Monday, the Dolphins launched a new Twitter account called "Miami FIRST", and also released some renderings of the proposed changes. The two renderings can be found here and here.

According to a series of Tweets from the team (and visible in the renderings), one of the primary enhancements will be a large canopy, and wide seats are also mentioned. Moving the stands closer to the field (to lower the percentage of fans stuck in the upper decks) and improving sight lines are listed as priorities as well.

These changes wouldn't just benefit the Dolphins, of course. The Orange Bowl is played at Sun Life currently, and the Miami Hurricanes play their home games there as well.

The Dolphins claim that some of the benefits include the potential for Super Bowls and potentially the BCS national title game to be played at Sun Life. They also site a greater homefield advantage, as some of the proposed changes would be beneficial for a potential increase in crowd noise which, in turn, would help the Hurricanes out as well.

At the end of the day, the Dolphins have an aging owner in Ross and a team that is playing in an increasingly outdated stadium. Would they up and move if they aren't able to secure the modernization? Not likely, but if the team was eventually sold before a deal is done, it's not entirely unthinkable.

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