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The history of Miami’s football stadium having way too many names

The stadium averages a name change almost every three years.

Florida A&M v Miami Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Miami’s big football stadium opened 31 years ago. It’s now on its 10th name: Hard Rock Stadium. The NFL’s Miami Dolphins own the building, but they share it in the fall with college football’s Miami Hurricanes. The Miami Marlins, who’ve since moved out, also used to play in the building. It also hosts the Orange Bowl, which is as big as ever in 2018. Alabama and Oklahoma are playing there in a College Football Playoff semifinal.

In case you’ve gotten the stadium’s labels mixed up over the years, here’s a refresher.

Joe Robbie Stadium (1987–1996)

When the stadium went up in the late ‘80s, it was named after the founder and initial owner of the Dolphins. You’ll recall when Joe Robbie Stadium appeared in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a Jim Carrey movie about a kidnapped actual dolphin. So did the old Orange Bowl:

The Dolphins secured private funding for the stadium and controlled its naming rights from the jump. They’ve kept that control over the years.

Pro Player Park (1996)

Wayne Huizenga bought the Dolphins in 1994 and sold the naming rights to Fruit of the Loom, which had a (now-defunct) apparel division called Pro Player.

Pro Player Stadium (1996–2005)

For years around this time, the Dolphins and Hurricanes played games on top of the dirt infield for Marlins games. They joined the Oakland Coliseum in this infield-dirt-on-a football-field trend. This stopped when the Marlins got their own ballpark in 2012. (They also played football at that ballpark for a time, but the Miami Beach Bowl has since moved to Frisco, Texas.)

Miami Dolphin cheerleaders
2003 at Pro Player Stadium
Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

Dolphins Stadium (2005–2006)

"The name Dolphins Stadium will not only reinforce the Dolphins brand locally, but will extend it nationally and internationally through the world-class events that are hosted here," Huizenga said. "Then it's our vision to transform the stadium into a year-round destination and a venue that is ready made for the Super Bowl."

Dolphin Stadium (2006–2009)

Singular.

Land Shark Stadium (2009–2010)

A stadium’s circle of life isn’t complete until it’s spent time named after a watered-down beer that tastes like what I imagine human pee tastes like.

Dolphin Stadium (part of 2010)

Whatever.

Sun Life Stadium (2010–2016)

The Canada-based financial services company stepped through the revolving door.

"No one has established a beachhead," Sun Life executive Wes Thompson said at the time. "It's not as if we have to fight a 20-year nomenclature that may have existed before. We kind of view that as an advantage for us."

New Miami Stadium (2016)

The stadium was not new at this point.

Hard Rock Stadium (August 2016-present)

Like the cafe, but as a sporting venue. The stadium’s gotten renovations over about three years, at a reported cost of more than $500 million. Now it looks like this:

NCAA Football: Orange Bowl-Michigan vs Florida State Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It fits well enough for now.

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