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Sun Life Stadium

Aerial View
Copyright 2001 by Aerial Views Publishing

  Venue Resources  
Address 2269 Dan Marino Boulevard
Miami Garden, FL 33056
Phone (305) 623-6100
Official Website
Seating Weather
Newspaper
Satellite View
Dolphins Gear
  Calendar / Tickets  
Hotels, Dining & Deals in Miami

  The Facility  
Date Opened August 16, 1987
Ownership
(Management)
Huizenga Holdings
(Huizenga Holdings)
Surface Grass
Cost of Construction $115 million
Stadium Financing 90% privately financed.
Former Names Joe Robbie Stadium
(1987-1996)
Pro Player Park
(1996)
Pro Player Stadium
(1996-2005)
Dolphins Stadium
(2005-2006)
Dolphin Stadium
(2007-2009)
Landshark Stadium
(2009-2010)
Sun Life Stadium
(2010-Present)
Naming Rights Sun Life Financial will pay $7.5 million a year for five years beginning in 2010.
Stadium Architect HOK Sport
General
Contractors /
Construction Managers
Huber, Hunt & Nichols
  Other Facts  
Tenants Miami Dolphins
(NFL) (1987-Present)
Florida Marlins
(MLB) (1993-Present)
Miami Hurricanes
(NCAA) (2008-Present)
FedEx Orange Bowl
(1996-1998)
(2000-Present)
Former Tenants Florida Atlantic Owls
Division I-AA
(2001-2002)
NFL Pro Bowl
(2010)
Population Base 4,000,000
On Site Parking 15,000
Nearest Airport Miami International Airport (MIA)
Retired Numbers #12 Bob Griese
#13 Dan Marino
#39 Larry Csonka

Championships 1st

VII
1972
2nd

VIII
1973

  Seating  
Capacity 75,235
Average Ticket $51.96
(2005)
$66.11
(2008)
Fan Cost Index (FCI) $282.82
(2005)
$368.44
(2008)
The Team Marketing Report FCI includes: four average-price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hot dogs; two game programs; parking; and two adult-size caps.
Luxury Suites 195 Suites
Club Seats 10,209
  Attendance History  
Season  Total  Capacity Change
1993 537,920 89% 4.9%
1994 558,057 93% 3.7%
1995 560,919 93% 0.5%
1996 593,851 99% 5.9%
1997 574,811 96% -3.2%
1998 581,784 97% 1%
1999 592,161 98% 1.78%
2000 589,909 98.1% -0.4%

2001 2002 2003 2004
588,067 585,523 587,787 580,808

2005 2006 2007 2008
575,256 585,543 496,659 523,919

2009 2010 2011 2012
540,342 541,959 487,089 459,033

1993-Present Attendance figures are for Sun Life Stadium.

Sources: Mediaventures

Sun Life Stadium, formerly known as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium and Landshark Stadium, is located one mile south of the Dade-Broward county line and sits on a 160-acre site. It is 16 miles northwest of downtown Miami and 18 miles south of Ft. Lauderdale.

Spectators driving to the venue are accommodated by the availability of 15,000 on-site, secured parking spaces as well as 254 spaces for buses. A highlight is the accessibility of a helipad located on the premises.

Scoreboard
Click Here to Get Your Personalized Scoreboard
Sun Life Stadium prides itself on the prescription Athletic Turf (natural grass) making up the playing surface. It was designed with mechanical drainage capability and provides a firm playing surface within 30 minutes of a 1" per hour of rain.

The 80,024 seat stadium was designed with the spectator in mind. The general seating in Dolphins Stadium is a 19" chairback seat with armrest. Each seat offers an excellent view of the playing field and there are no obstructed seats in the stadium. Access to your seat is easily gained by utilizing one of the two ramps or the escalators located at each of our four entrance gates.

Sun Life Stadium offers the utmost in comfort and convenience. In the general seating areas (100, 400 levels), there are 40 concession stands, each featuring a TV monitor so as not to miss a minute of the action. Throughout the stadium, there are a total of 80 restrooms (40 men and 40 women). Inside the stadium, there are two giant scoreboards on both ends of the facility, each comprised of a Sony JumboTRON video screen.

Miami stadium renamed Pro Player Stadium

MIAMI, August 26, 1997 (Reuters) - Pro Player, the sports apparel brand of Fruit of the Loom Inc. has paid $20 million for the right to rename Joe Robbie Stadium, home of football's Miami Dolphins and baseball's Florida Marlins, the company announced on Monday.

The stadium, built by late Dolphins founder Joe Robbie, will be called Pro Player Stadium under terms of a 10-year deal worth $2 million annually, the company said.

The stadium hosted the 1989 and 1995 Super Bowl games and also hosts the Federal Express Orange Bowl and Carquest Bowl, annual college football games.

Robbie, who died in January 1990, was a Minnesota trial lawyer who bought the Dolphins in a limited partnership with actor Danny Thomas in 1965 and turned the franchise into one of the most valuable in professional sports.

When Robbie built the stadium in 1987, it was a state-of- the-art facility built with private financing. It was sold to entrepreneur Wayne Huizenga, who built the Blockbuster Video empire, also owns the Pathers of the NHL and baseball's Marlins. Pro Player, Inc., a division of Chicago-based Fruit of the Loom, is a sportswear company headquartered in Hudson, New Hampshire.

January 27, 1999 (AP) - Pro golfer Greg Norman visited Pro Player Stadium long before the Falcons or Broncos arrived for Media Day.

Norman's private helicopter landed outside the stadium and he was driven inside on - what else? - a golf cart. Norman then inspected the field for Sunday's Super Bowl.

The field happens to be mad of grass grown at the Greg Norman Turf Farm in Avon Park, Florida.

PRO PLAYER TO ADD LUXURY SUITES; START AD CAMPAIGN
May 6, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

The sports writers are getting the boot and a second level press box at Pro Player Stadium will be converted into three new luxury suites. The $2 million project will be complete in time for this fall's NFL season. The new 48-person suites will lease for $600,000 annually and include tickets for both the Marlins and the Dolphins.

The stadium and the Dolphins are also teaming up in a campaign to get more fans into the venue for football games. The stadium and the team are owned by H. Wayne Huizenga.

The pair have scheduled $1 million in advertising to begin running in late May with the theme: "Dolphins football at Dolphins Stadium. Feel the power. Catch it live." The ads will run on television, in newspapers and on billboards. The goal is to provide branding for both entities and promote the excitement of watching a game in person. It's also a departure from traditional venue advertising which tends to promote features rather than the experience.

PRO PLAYER STADIUM JOINS INTERNET AUCTION GAME
November 11, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures

Miami's Dolphins Stadium is offering a luxury suite on an Internet auction site for the Dolphin's Dec. 19 game against San Diego. The 12-person package is offered through reverseauction.com.

The offer includes a 12 person suite, a visit by a team alumnus, four parking passes and four shirts. When we checked Thursday, the price was $11,960 and there were 11 sealed bids. The suite was originally priced at $15,000. The suite normally leases for $6,500 per game.

Under the rules of the auction, the original price of the suite will be continuously discounted and the current price is displayed on the screen. While that's taking place, bidders can send in sealed bids or someone can decide to buy the package at the current price. The auction will continue until someone either buys the package at the current price, the declining price equals one of the sealed bids or the declining price matches the minimum the seller has set for sale. The Dolphins have put no restrictions on how low the bidding may go.

Once the suite is sold, the price paid remains secret. Company officials hope the effort will be successful enough to encourage other venues to place available suites up for auction.

THE ULTIMATE SPORTS ROAD TRIP
By: Andrew Kulyk & Peter Farrell

Pro Player Stadium Ranking by USRT
Architecture 8
Concessions 7
Scoreboard 4
Ushers 5
Fan Support 5
Location 6
Banners/History 9
Entertainment 3
Concourses/Fan Comfort 5
Bonus: Tailgate Scene 2
Bonus: Bills Rivalry 1
Total Score 54
October 20, 2002 - The Miami Dolphins began play in 1966 and for the first twenty years of their existence they played their home games  in the historic Orange Bowl. After two NFL titles, one perfect season, and a twenty game win streak over a certain NFL team the Dolphins decided that playing in a stadium that created more revenue was an absolute necessity. And hence in 1987 they moved into Joe Robbie Stadium, a brand new state of the art facility on the northern border of Miami. Significant renovations were made in the early nineties for the arrival of the MLB Marlins, and by the mid nineties the corporate naming craze made its way to this venue as it was officially renamed Pro Player Stadium.

Getting to the Venue
Pretty simple to get to as the Florida Turnpike and I-195 all lead you right to Pro Player Stadium, which straddles the Dade/Broward County lines. Permit parking is located close to the stadium while farther away across the street there are cash lots charging 20 dollars.

Outside the Venue
In this area of north Dade County, there is little in terms of adjoining neighborhoods. Just wide boulevards and expressways taking you into the stadium property. Tailgating is encouraged here, and in an interesting twist the lots are full of canvas canopies. That's right, your typical Dol-fans bring along a canopy to shield themselves from the oppressive sun and sometimes drenching rain. In today's case it was the sun bearing down the 85 degree heat with nary a gust of wind to be had.

On the south side of the stadium are statues of Joe Robbie, Don Shula, and Dan Marino. Nearby stands the Dolphins fan experience, with  plenty of interactive games to be played, food and drink to be had, live music, prizes and the occasional radio broadcasts going on.

The Concourses
The stadium itself is octagon shaped, and in each of the four corners are circular ramps and canopied escalator towers to whisk fans to the club and upper levels. Concourses here are pretty congested, and that is largely due to the throngs of fans who leave the seating bowl to escape the heat. This is a difficult building to navigate.

On the lower level are four corner bars, providing a sports bar atmosphere in an outdoor setting, complete with full bar service and video walls showing NFL Sunday Ticket.. The upper concourse gives the fan sweeping views of the outlying areas with the skylines of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami visible in the distance. Scattered through the venue are numerous small team merchandise stores.

Concessions
A variety of places to find all kinds of food and drink, with corporations such as Pizza Hut, Carvel, and Mrs. Field's combining with themed stands named Seaside Grill and Pelican Cafe. Nothing more than the standard ballpark dreck on the menu. And yeah there is a specialty stand offering Buffalo Wings (in Miami???). One look at them and pros like us can immediately tell you that they were not the real deal. Not even close...

Seating Area
Armchair seating for close to 75,000, most colored in Dolphin orange split into two levels, with a club seating area and teal seats surrounding the top of the lower level. Color accents are all done in Florida colors - orange, blue and teal. Two jumbotron scoreboards, one at each end zone, that also provide constant out of town scores and stats to boot. Two levels of suites can be found surrounding the playing field between the two levels.

Premium Seating
This was one of the first NFL venues to introduce the club seat concept, a novel idea now duplicated just about everywhere. The 200 level concourse is climate controlled, and a premium restaurant called the Hall of Champions and a bar overlooking the field called the Legends Club are available to club ticket holders. Ticket prices here run from $145-$270.

Retired Numbers and Banners
Flags at three of the four corners of the stadium stand to commemorate the Dolphins greatest players and achievements. In one corner are two flags celebrating their back to back Super Bowl victories over the Redskins(VII) and Vikings(VIII). At another corner are five flags for the AFC Titles won in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1982, and 1984. Still in a third spot are two flags for the retired numbers 12 and 13 for Brian....errr BOB Griese and ohhh....what was that guys name again, let's check the encyclopedia here.....ahhh yes, Marino, Dan Marino. A flag bearing Larry Csonka's #39 will be added later in the 2002 season.

Also to be noted is the Dolphins Honor Roll on the facade of the upper deck with the names of many other Dolphin legends including Joe Robbie, Don Shula, and the 1972 undefeated team that won Super Bowl VII. While most names are facing the sideline, Dan Marino gets his name listed in the end zone along with his career totals for TDs, completions, attempts, and passing yardage - all of which are career NFL records!!

Touchdowns, Extra Points, Fumbles....

Touchdown - Let's hear it for the Ultimate Sports Road Trip jinx!!! Yes normally our hearts are with the home team wherever we go to, except when any Buffalo club is playing, and ESPECIALLY when it's against the Dolphins. What a thrill it was to see the Bills down the Fish 23-10 and we're not sure if it was that close.

Fumble - err....Interception(s).....Dolphins backup QB Ray Lucas started in place of the injured Jay Fiedler. After a game in which Lucas fumbled twice and threw four interceptions one could say that a better performance could have been had by filmmaker George Lucas, or retired NBA thug Maurice Lucas!!!

Touchdown and Game Ball - to Russ Salvatore of Salvatore's Italian Gardens. Each year, Russ rents out Shooters Waterfront Cafe, a canalside hot spot in Ft. Lauderdale on the night before the game. When the place was in full swing, there were several hundred Bills backers partying long into the night....a great time was had by all including us!!

Fumble - Questionable rules and regulations...Yes we realize that in today's day and age security is a priority, and checks of carried items are pretty routine. But can someone explain why a small clear plastic bag cannot be carried into Pro Player Stadium, yet once a souvenir is bought inside the gates it is then perfectly acceptable for it to be placed in a similar clear, plastic bag???? Who thinks this stuff up!!!

Fumble - The "Miami Dolphins" fight song! A direct takeoff of the old Houston Oilers fight song. ARE WE THE ONLY PEOPLE INFURIATED ABOUT THIS PATHETIC ATTEMPT TO STEAL A SONG AND MAKE IT THEIR OWN!! And a pretty lame song at that.

The Bills make me wanna SHOUT! (OK, well at LEAST we changed some of the lyrics for gosh sakes!)

Extra Point - several six lane roads run by Pro Player Stadium, and near the stadium there are traffic signals and overhead lane guides that advise motorists as to which lanes are going in which direction, of course this changes at various times during game day. Nice way to control traffic.

Extra Point - Immediately outside the stadium are on ramps taking you right onto the Florida Turnpike. The steel support beams under the ramps are painted in orange and teal.

Summary
A nice venue with a decent tailgate on the outside and a pretty good atmosphere within the walls of the facility. Pro Player is a great place to witness an NFL contest, yet despite its young age it is being passed up by the many newer NFL venues that have sprung up in the past few years. But if the weather is good and the tickets are available, as both are usually the case, Pro Player will always remain a favorite destination for those from parts beyond South Florida to catch their team in action. Our advice, bring a cap, sunscreen and wear shorts!

April 6, 2006
Copyright 2006 MediaVentures

The Miami Dolphins are making a slight change to the name of their venue. The stadium will now be known as Dolphin Stadium (instead of the plural Dolphins) and will get a new logo to match.

DOLPHIN STADIUM TO GET NEW NAME
May 7, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The venue known at various times as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium and Dolphin Stadium will soon become Land Shark Stadium. An official announcement is forthcoming.

Land Shark is a beer brewed by Anheuser Busch in conjunction with singer Jimmy Buffett. It's not well known now outside Florida, but it hopes to expand its marketplace.

Officials say the two sides discussed keeping the deal short-term, perhaps only through the end of the upcoming Dolphin season. The stadium will host next season's Super Bowl in February.

The stadium hasn't had a corporate name since the Pro Player signs came down in 2005 after a decade.

Previous Dolphin Stadium owner H. Wayne Huizenga spent years searching for a partner to replace Pro Player, a sports apparel division of Fruit of the Loom.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 1999 - four years into a 10-year, $20 million naming rights deal.

In 2005, the complex was renamed Dolphins Stadium. A year later, Huizenga dropped the "s." Huizenga sold majority interest in the stadium and team to Ross in January. Since then, Ross has been discussing ways to improve the game-day experience for fans.

Buffett and Anheuser-Busch launched a cooperative project in 2005 to produce Buffett's own beer under the Margaritaville Brewing Label - one of several Margaritaville enterprises Buffett has created, including a restaurant chain and record company.

Among the ideas under discussion is adding original South Florida-themed artist renderings in the stadium, perhaps on stadium gates.

Though the stadium will be renamed after a beer, alcohol sales at Dolphin Stadium are cut off after half time at Dolphins games.

SHARK ATTACK AT FLORIDA STADIUM
May 14, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - Sharks will be everywhere at the home of the Miami Dolphins as LandShark Lager purchased naming rights to the venue. The new name is Landshark Stadium.

Landshark is brewed by Anheuser-Busch under the Margaritaville Brewing label in a deal with singer Jimmy Buffet. Buffet staged a mini-concert at the stadium as part of the announcement.

Terms of the one-season contract were not disclosed, but reports said Buffett is not paying a straight rights fee but instead will compensate the team through appearances, other marketing opportunities and potential concert performances.

The beer will be sold at the stadium along with other offerings. There will be a Margaritaville-themed area, including places to tailgate. Stadium officials said plans were still being formulated, but if there is a restaurant or dining area, it would be open only on game days.

May 21, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

The Miami Dolphins will provide 5,000 wireless handheld devices to premium ticket holders next season, allowing fans to view replays, alternate camera angles and statistics during National Football League games. The devices will be handed out free to fans in suites or club seats, allowing them to view high-definition footage from multiple camera angles, as well as order food or send text messages. Terms of the team's agreement with Kangaroo Media, which is providing the devices, weren't disclosed.

NFL SAYS LANDSHARK STADIUM MAY SEE FEWER SUPER BOWLS
October 8, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - NFL officials say the aging Landshark/Dolphin/Pro Player stadium may see fewer opportunities to host a Super Bowl in the future if it is not modernized. The venue will host its 10th Super Bowl next year.

The league's senior vice president of events, Frank Supovitz, told a business group in Miami that the venue lacks a roof, modern luxury suites and other amenities needed for the high-profile event. "You have to look at what the other cities are offering in terms of comfort," Supovitz told the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Two years ago, a February storm drenched Super Bowl XLI in Miami Gardens - the kind of hassle that Supovitz noted he won't have to worry about with the host cities in 2011 and 2012. "I'm not going to have anyone rained on in North Texas," Supovitz said, referring to the Dallas Cowboys' new $1 billion stadium.

Supovitz's remarks come four months after Dolphin executives said they were stunned at the criticism Land Shark received in South Florida's loss to New Orleans for the 2013 Super Bowl. Land Shark, built in 1987, underwent a $200 million-plus renovation in recent years and South Florida is competing for the 2014 Super Bowl.

We're "working with the NFL to see what should be done," said Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee. He said the league's stadium concerns also could be a worry for South Florida's spot on the four-year rotation for the college football championship.

"We only have one more BCS championship committed," he said of the 2013 game. Atlanta and Dallas both "want in" as BCS hosts, he said.

Supovitz focused his luncheon remarks on plans for Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7 and the Pro Bowl a week earlier on Jan. 31.

That Sunday night game will be the first time the Pro Bowl will be held outside of Hawaii since 1980, making South Florida the petri dish for a league experiment to improve television ratings and media coverage of the NFL's all-star game.

He encouraged the luncheon guests to take clients to the Pro Bowl, describing it as a rare chance to entertain on a budget at a special NFL event. "

There are not a lot of companies - small companies in particular - that can bring a lot of people to the Super Bowl," he said. "For one thing, it's expensive. For another, the tickets are really hard to get."

Pro Bowl tickets go on sale Monday, and most cost under $100.

Face value of Super Bowl tickets starts at $500.

The Pro Bowl returns to Hawaii in 2011, and Supovitz said the South Florida results will help determine the location in 2012 and beyond.

MIAMI STADIUM NEEDS UPGRADES FOR FUTURE SUPER BOWL
December 10, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - If the owners of Landshark Stadium in Miami want to continue to host Super Bowls, the venue will need to be upgraded, according to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The 22-year-old stadium underwent $250 million in improvements in 2007 but is still falling behind the competition with new stadiums opening in Dallas, Phoenix, Indianapolis and New York, Goodell said.

Miami will host the Super Bowl for an NFL-record 10th time Feb. 7. Goodell spoke at a kickoff luncheon for the game.

Deficiencies with the Dolphins' home include lighting and the location of lower-level seats, which are not close to the playing field. The league doesn't seek a retractable roof, Goodell said.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the franchise is studying possible upgrades. It's unclear whether the team and league will seek public money. Ross said the Dolphins have yet to come up with a cost estimate or a proposed source of funding. A new stadium is not being considered, he said.

DOLPHINS MAY SEEK TAX MONEY FOR STADIUM UPGRADE
January 7, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The Miami Dolphins may be preparing to ask Miami/Dade County officials for $250 million to upgrade their stadium in hopes of keeping future Super Bowl games in the venue.

NFL executives laid the groundwork for the move in recent months, saying the Super Bowl may not return to South Florida unless a host of improvements are made to the Miami Gardens facility.

The changes include enclosing a portion of the stadium to avoid the debacle of South Florida's last Super Bowl, when a rare February deluge drenched spectators at the 2007 NFL championship.

The stadium's lighting also would get an upgrade, as would the lower bowl, allowing spectators to sit closer to the sidelines. The Dolphins have not made a formal proposal, and team CEO Mike Dee said Tuesday it was too early to attach a price tag or funding source for the renovations.

"It would be well premature to speculate how it gets paid for, who pays for it, what it costs," Dee said. "We're going to see if there is an appetite in this community . . . to try and get this done."

But a private push for a tax-funded stadium redo has gained enough steam in recent weeks that Miami-Dade's tourism bureau adopted a resolution urging county commissioners to put the Miami Beach Convention Center first in line for any hotel taxes that might go to the Dolphins, said county tourism director William Talbert.

Broward's tourism director was cool to the idea of using hotel taxes for a football stadium, saying a proposed headquarters hotel for the convention center would attract more tourists.

NEW NAME UNDER DISCUSSION FOR LANDSHARK STADIUM
January 7, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The Miami Dolphins are already at work to find the next naming rights sponsor for Dolphin Stadium. The venue now carries the Landshark Stadium name in a deal expected to only last one year.

Team officials aren't saying much, but they suggest a change could come before the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl. Reports say San Life Financial of Canada is in talks about taking over the rights.

In May, the facility's name was changed from Dolphin Stadium to Land Shark Stadium as part of a business deal with entertainer Jimmy Buffett. Land Shark Lager beer is part of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville brand.

But the Land Shark deal, which did not involve a rights fee, is due to expire after the Dolphins season ends or the Jan. 5 Orange Bowl, whichever comes later.

The team has been searching for a corporation willing to pay a substantial naming rights fee.

DOLPHINS PROPOSE ROOF FOR STADIUM
January 14, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - A translucent square roof is being proposed by the Miami Dolphins as part of a package of upgrades to Dolphin Stadium. The upgrades are designed to help keep the Super Bowl as a regular visitor to the venue and the team wants public help in funding the project.

While the team didn't disclose the cost, reports say the roof, which would cover most of the field, would cost up to $250 million.

Rodney Barreto, who is leading the effort to fund the renovations, has said a mix of state and local options are under consideration - including a special taxing district around the stadium. He said he hoped to have some public commitment for the funding by April, when South Florida must submit its bid for the 2014 Super Bowl.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee portrayed the Dolphins as neutral on the question of whether the public should pay for the stadium renovations, and that the Host Committee would pursue the funding. The renovations would hand the Dolphins a dramatically reworked stadium sure to be more appealing for fans.

Plans call for ripping out the entire lower bowl and adding about 3,000 prime seats while moving the spectator area closer to the sidelines.

Dolphin Stadium also would get new lights designed for high-definition television - equipment the team has to temporarily install every time it hosts a night game.

NEW NAME FOR DOLPHIN STADIUM
January 21, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The newest name for the home of the Miami Dolphins is Sun Life Stadium. Reports say Sun Life Financial will pay $7.5 million a year for five years to name the venue.

Most recently the venue was called Landshark Stadium in a one-year deal and it had reverted to Dolphin Stadium before the new agreement was reached. The venue has previously been known as Pro Player Field and Joe Robbie Stadium.

DOLPHINS WANT STATE TO LIFT CAP ON HOTEL TAXES TO FUND UPGRADES
January 28, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The Miami Dolphins want to use hotel tax funds to help pay for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium and are asking the state legislature to raise the six percent ceiling on the tax to generate the necessary revenue.

Revenues from the tax levied at Miami-Dade hotels are largely spoken for after county leaders agreed to use public funds to construct a new ballpark.

"This is certainly one of the options," Dolphins lobbyist Ron Book said of the plan to seek an increase of the county's tourist tax. But Book - who also represents Miami-Dade County as a lobbyist - said other financing proposals are being weighed.

Winning public funding to enhance a stadium remains a tall order - particularly at a time governments are strapped for cash and taxpayers struggle through an economic downturn.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said he hasn't been presented with any specific proposals. But the mayor declared his opposition to tax dollars being used for renovations at the Miami Gardens facility.

"I would not be supportive of any public funding for the renovation of the Dolphins' stadium," said Alvarez, who said he's against raising the tourist tax. "Now is not the time."

Alvarez strongly backed the use of public dollars for the under-construction Florida Marlins stadium in Little Havana, but said this situation is different.

For one, a funding source was available then, unlike now, he said. For another, he said "the Marlins will play 81 homes games a year here for the next 30 years, rather than paying for improvements to compete for one game every four or five years."

NFL executives, Miami Dolphins officials and stadium supporters contend that Sun Life Stadium needs more than $200 million in renovations if future Super Bowls are to return to South Florida.

The improvements include partially enclosing the stadium with a roof that would shield fans from rain showers and the glaring sun. The proposal calls for new lighting to accommodate high-definition television - which the team must currently install every time it hosts a night game.

February 11, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Centerplate reported a preliminary per cap of $71 for general concessions and premium catering at Super Bowl XLIV in Miami, according to Sports Business Daily. With game attendance of 74,059, Centerplate's initial figure indicates fans spent about $5.3 million on food and drink at Sun Life Stadium, the publication said. The per cap includes service charges and tax. ... Sun Life Financial received over $26 million in media value through 68 sequences that included verbal mentions, on-screen text, and stadium signage due to their recently completed naming rights agreement for the stadium which hosted Sunday's Super Bowl, according to Front Row Marketing Analytics. The company is the evaluation division of Front Row Marketing Services, which specializes in commercial rights sales and is a subsidiary of the Philadelphia, Pa., based sport and entertainment firm, Comcast-Spectacor. Raymond James Financial earned more than $37 million worth of broadcast exposure from 6 minutes and 16 seconds during Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the firm said.

DOLPHINS BACK AWAY FROM RENOVATION FINANCING PLAN
March 4, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The Miami Dolphins say the time is not right to pursue a plan to increase hotel taxes and use $200 million in new revenue to upgrade Sun Life Stadium. After weeks of lobbying for a bill that would let Miami-Dade raise new tax dollars for both the stadium and the Miami Beach Convention Center, the Dolphins decided not to have the legislation filed. Tourism officials and Miami Beach leaders opposed the plan, which the team said was crucial for luring future Super Bowls to South Florida.

Sen. Mike Bennett, Bradenton, was slated to propose the bill on the Dolphins' behalf but issued a statement confirming the change of plans.

"I decided not to file the bill because they're still talking about how to make this work for the Miami Dolphins and the citizens of Miami-Dade," Bennett said through an aide.

The campaign started in January when the Dolphins revealed plans for a $200 million redo of the privately owned stadium, with a partial roof to shield spectators from the elements and 3,000 more premium seats near the field.

Team officials tied the improvements to the region's tourism economy, saying a modern stadium was crucial for attracting Super Bowls. The National Football League has warned that the Dolphins' Sun Life Stadium was falling behind newly built venues in Dallas and Indianapolis, and that South Florida may find it harder to lure back the big game.

Bennett was prepared to introduce a bill allowing Miami-Dade commissioners to increase the county's hotel tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. The extra money - about $13 million a year in the current economy - would fund improvements at the stadium and the Miami Beach Convention Center. South Florida's Super Bowl Host Committee named a panel to consider the question of stadium improvements and is expected to file a report in the coming months.

"We look forward to the final report of the Super Bowl Host Committee's Sub-Committee on this issue in the near future," Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said.

DOLPHINS DON'T PLAN TO UPGRADE STADIUM
March 25, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The Miami Dolphins will bid for the 2014 Super Bowl without a pledge to upgrade the venue. The NFL has said that improvements to the stadium will be necessary if it wants to be favorably considered for future games.

Speaking at the owners meetings in Orlando, Dolphins majority owner Stephen M. Ross and Chief Executive Officer Mike Dee said they need public money to update the 23-year-old facility if South Florida is to continue to be a Super Bowl host as often as it has in the past.

"We can't just be complacent and think we're going to get 10 of the next 44 (Super Bowls) just because we got 10 of the first 44," Dee said. "The competition is unlike anything that's been in the past."

While South Florida, Tampa and New York will be the only sites submitting bids by April 1 for the 2014 game, which will be awarded at the next league meetings in late May, Commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear last spring that numerous upgrades will be necessary if the league is to bring its premier event to the area again.

The improvements sought by the league include better lighting to accommodate high-definition telecasts. The Dolphins also think they need a partial roof to shield fans from the elements.

Dallas will host next year's game, with Indianapolis set for 2012 and New Orleans for 2013.

PUBLIC MONEY SUPPORTED FOR DOLPHINS' STADIUM UPGRADE
June 24, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - A group studying the importance of the Miami Dolphins' stadium to the area's Super Bowl prospects says the team should pursue public money to make upgrades to Sun Life Stadium. Local leaders recently learned from a new study that the Super Bowl is worth $333 million in economic impact to the area.

That's a drop from the $463 million the 2007 Super Bowl was said to have brought to South Florida's economy. Both studies were conducted by West Palm Beach-based Sport Management Research Institute. The decrease was blamed on the struggling economy and the Indianapolis Colts playing in both Super Bowls, but South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee officials said they were pleased.

"Every major city in America wishes they had a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl on their books for February 2010. We were fortunate to have that kind of business," host committee chairman Rodney Barreto said.

Echoing comments made by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the panel's chairman, former Dolphin Dick Anderson, said renovations are needed to keep up with newer, glitzier venues in Dallas and Phoenix. And with the potential for new stadiums for the San Francisco 49ers and in Los Angeles, South Florida's average 412 -year gap between Super Bowls since 1989 will grow, he said.

In January, the Dolphins unveiled renderings of potential upgrades including a partial roof-canopy covering the seating, and a new seating bowl. The work is estimated to cost $187 million.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team, which spent $300 million on stadium upgrades in the past five years, cannot make the investment by itself.

"There has to be a public-private component to this. There has to be some participation if we're going to finish the job," Dee said, adding the team is studying funding options and expects to present its ideas in September. "All those ideas are going to need to be under the category of the community wanting to do this."

Dee said timing is crucial, because South Florida, which last month lost out on the 2014 game to the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, is bidding for the 2015 and 2016 Super Bowls, which the NFL is expected to award next May.

WATER PARK PLANNED NEAR SUN LIFE STADIUM
August 19, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - A water park is being planned for land near Sun Life Stadium in Miami to open in 2012 as the Marlins prepare to move into a new ballpark, according to the Miami Herald. Miami Dolphins owner and real-estate developer Steve Ross intends to turn a 40-acre parking lot next to the stadium into a water attraction, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee told the Herald.

"We're looking at any and all ways that we can utilize the stadium and bring economic value. It's both an opportunity and a challenge," Dee said.

The water park - which would include private cabanas and a "swim with the fish" pool - would be South Florida's first new major attraction since Jungle Island opened in 2003 on Watson Island. And it will be the region's first water park since Atlantis the Water Kingdom closed almost two decades ago. The water park would occupy 20 acres, with another 20 acres of parking.

The Miami Gardens land designated for the park is owned by Ross, former team owner H. Wayne Huizenga and other team partners. The project, still unnamed, will cost "tens of millions" and will be privately financed, Dee told the newspaper.

It will require a zoning change from office use to an "unusual" designation that must be approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission. The project is meant to offset revenue losses in the summer months that would have normally been busy with baseball. It is the first stage of a new stadium master plan, Dee said. Talks on other plans to improve the stadium are ongoing, he said, though he wouldn't give the Herald details.

Florida - specifically, Orlando - has four of the world's top seven water parks in terms of visitors, with a combined total of more than 6.7 million visitors in 2009, according to an attraction attendance report from AECOM and Themed Entertainment Association.

"They are still good drivers of tourism and, similar to regional theme parks, they have tended to do a little bit better than larger, more extensive destination-oriented ones," Edward Shaw, senior associate with the economics arm of consulting firm AECOM, told the Herald. "The tickets tend to be a little more reasonable for the markets and they're good for staycations and the resident-oriented market."

The proposed water park will have some features similar to Aquatica, SeaWorld's water park in Orlando, which opened in 2008.

The Neuman Group, the aquatic destination planning and construction firm shoring up the local project, is involved with both. Theme-park operator Palace Entertainment - which runs Boomers arcades and Sea Life Park in Hawaii, among others - is also working with the Dolphin venture.

SUPER BOWL, BOAT SHOW COULD COLLIDE IN MIAMI
October 21, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - A longer NFL season could put the Super Bowl and the Miami International Boat show on the same weekend and that could cost the city future games because there would not be sufficient hotel rooms and other resources to support both events, according to the Miami Herald.

The situation could make an effort to renovate the Dolphins' stadium moot because the NFL would likely not schedule a Super Bowl in Miami because of the conflict. Nevertheless, the team confirmed to the Herald that it hired a polling firm to gauge support in Miami-Dade for improving the stadium - work the team says is needed to make the venue more appealing to large events such as the Super Bowl and World Cup soccer.

Tourism leaders have sided with the boat show. In applying for the 2014 Super Bowl, South Florida organizers told the NFL it would not accept the game if the league moved it to Presidents' Day weekend. That was one of three weekends the NFL wants held open for the 2014 championship, which New York will host in a new $1.6 billion stadium, the newspaper reported.

As NFL cities prepare to compete for the 2015 and 2016 Super Bowls, local organizers have asked the boat show to consider moving to another weekend to accommodate the game, people involved in the discussions said.

Show director Cathy Rick-Joule told the Herald she resisted the idea, given the value of predictable dates for an event claiming to draw about 90,000 people a year. Given the crowded schedule of winter boat shows - with Miami wedged between nautical expos in St. Louis and New England - moving to other dates would complicate logistics for exhibitors, the event's main revenue source.

But Rick-Joule said she did not rule out other dates if the move came with a financial subsidy or some other incentive to make up for the expected disruption.

"We have upwards of 10 or 12 landlords," she said of a show that stretches from the Miami Beach Convention Center to docks at the Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami. "They asked us, and I basically said there would be some seriously compelling reason" to move.

The Herald said the bowl-versus-boats question forms an intriguing backdrop as the Dolphins ramp up another push to partially enclose the team's privately owned stadium. Miami Beach hotels count on the boat show for their busiest weekend, and the city's commissioners passed a resolution early this year opposing a tax-funded renovation of the stadium.

The Dolphins lobbied Tallahassee lawmakers for a bill that would let Miami-Dade increase its hotel taxes from 6 percent to 7 percent to fund the stadium work and expand the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The Dolphins - owned by billionaire developer Stephen Ross and celebrities including Gloria Estefan and Marc Anthony - dropped the tax-hike campaign in March, citing the poor economy and strained government finances.

Along with the partial roof, the Dolphins' stadium plan includes 3,000 extra premium seats near the field and high-definition lighting now required for games televised at night. Ross did not offer to a share in the renovation costs.

Dolphins spokesman Ric Katz said the team wants South Florida to have the opportunities that come with a modern stadium.

"Our responsibility is to provide the best venue possible," he said. "So that when community leaders decide they want to go after a major activity, we have a facility that's either on par with or better than the competition."

Even if Miami and Miami Beach were occupied by the Miami International Boat Show, the Super Bowl would have another South Florida option: Fort Lauderdale.

For the 2010 game, the NFL broke tradition and housed its media operations and headquarters in Broward rather than its usual home in Miami and Miami Beach.

Broward and Miami-Dade pursue Super Bowls as "South Florida," and the two counties stuck together when Miami-Dade said it couldn't accommodate a Presidents' Day game.

Broward tourism director Nicki Grossman told the Herald the idea was broached of Broward going solo for the Super Bowl, but that the county remained paired with Miami-Dade "in the spirit of regionalism."

DOLPHINS SEEK BROWARD COUNTY MONEY FOR STADIUM WORK
January 6, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - The Miami Dolphins have begun a push in the Florida legislature that would allow hotel tax money from Broward County to be used for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium in Dade County, the Miami Herald reports.

In targeting Broward hotel taxes, the Dolphins formally launched a bid to remake the 1987 stadium using dollars collected from tourists across South Florida. The Dolphins- backed bill also would let Miami-Dade boost its hotel tax to fund the stadium project, as well as a long-stalled effort to expand the Miami Beach Convention Center.

"We have to test the waters," team CEO Mike Dee told a luncheon held by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. "We need the support of the community."

The Dolphins plan would change state law barring any Florida county from charging hotel guests more than a 6 percent lodging tax, the Herald said. Along with raising the cap to 7 percent, the law would let Miami-Dade split the new revenue evenly between the stadium and expanding the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Without the partially enclosed roof and 3,000 seats in the renovation plan, Dee said the Dolphins' stadium would be less competitive for Super Bowls and other big games, including college football championships.

Dee described Sun Life Stadium as a key element of South Florida's tourism industry, thanks largely to its ability to attract Super Bowls. The region has hosted more NFL championships than anywhere else, and Dee claims a renovated stadium with a partially enclosed roof and upgraded seating will add about $2.5 billion to the South Florida economy through 2040.

But the Herald said the push for tax-funded stadium renovation is dividing the region's tourism leadership.

When the Dolphins first floated the idea last year, Miami Beach commissioners approved a resolution opposing public dollars for the stadium.

The team is touting the support of large hotels in Miami Beach - though Miami-Dade's tourism bureau has not backed the deal.

"There has just been an expenditure of $298 million of hotel taxes for a sports facility, the Marlins ballpark," said bureau President William Talbert. "Our first priority is to make our regional convention center competitive,'' he said.

In Broward, commissioners could face the prospect of raising hotel taxes to fund a project just a mile over the county line - an expenditure currently prohibited by state law.

Nicki Grossman, Broward's tourism director, said Dee told her the plan would also generate renovation funds for that county's convention center. With Broward benefitting from Super Bowls - the NFL set up its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale when it brought the championship to South Florida last year - she told the Herald her county needs to be a player in the renovation talks.

"This is not just a discussion for the county south of us," said Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Shortly after Dee's speech, the parent company of the Florida Panthers, the hockey team that plays in an arena built with Broward hotel taxes, issued a statement saying it was "vehemently opposed" to the Dolphins plan. The Panthers said the Dolphins want to use Broward taxes to subsidize a private facility to compete with a "publicly owned facility in Broward County," the Herald reported.

January 13, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Broward County Commissioners have voted against a proposal put forth by the Miami Dolphins to allow tourist taxes money from Broward County to be used for upgrades to Sun Life Stadium, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The move would also allow money from Miami County to go for improvements to a convention center in Broward County.

NEW LEGISLATION MAY FAVOR MIAMI BEACH CENTER OVER STADIUM
February 3, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Miami Beach, Fla. - New legislation in the Florida legislature could cut Sun Life Stadium out of a plan to allow counties to share hotel tax revenue, the Miami Herald reported. The proposal concerned the Miami Dolphins, who promoted the original plan intended to help fund a stadium renovation project. The team made a new offer that would send 60 percent of the money to Miami Beach for a renovated convention center while 40 percent would be earmarked for the stadium project.

Stuart Blumberg, co-chairman of the Miami Beach committee working to renovate the Miami Beach Convention Center, told the Herald his proposal, sponsored by Sens. Mike Bennett and Rene Garcia would allow Miami-Dade commissioners to increase a hotel tax, the region's convention development tax, from 3 percent to 4 percent. That bill would send all the funds raised by the increase to the center's renovation, Blumberg said.

He said that would generate $16 million to $17 million a year to help pay for a renovation of the convention center.

Blumberg said additional language he presented to the senators restricts the use of CDT funds to "publicly owned or operated, and not-for-profit" organizations, excluding private organizations such as the Dolphins.

"The assumption when I got this filed was the Dolphins would try some time down the line" to piggyback on the legislation, Blumberg said. "It prevents them from attaching themselves to this bill."

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee told the Herald the team's new offer was not made in response to Bennett's proposed legislation, which he noted is not yet filed and does not have a sponsor in the House. Dee also predicted a "challenging" atmosphere for the bill, if filed.

The original bill would allow the tax increase, but money could be used both for the convention center and stadium.

Bennett, who about a year ago considered sponsoring a bill that would have created a public funding mechanism for Sun Life Stadium renovations only to withdraw support, confirmed that he is backing Blumberg's proposal.

Bennett has also sponsored a bill that would prohibit the use of public dollars to aid a professional sports franchise.

"I've always had problems with using taxpayers' money to fund pro sports franchises," he told the Herald.

The newspaper said that by presenting a bill that separates the two projects, Blumberg may have complicated the Dolphins' push to secure public funding for a proposed $225 million renovation of Sun Life Stadium.

Blumberg described his proposal as an "alternative" to a bill sponsored by Rep. Erik Fresen which aims to allow an increase of another hotel tax, the tourist development tax, from 6 percent to 7 percent and allow Broward County to fund a project outside its county lines. Fresen has proposed splitting the proceeds from the tax increase between the stadium and convention center, and has previously said his main goal was to fund a center renovation.

The Herald said Blumberg's proposal is already being hailed by some Miami Beach officials and business leaders, some of whom gave cold reception to linking the convention center and stadium renovations.

William Talbert III, head of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Blumberg's mechanism is an "appropriate" way to fund a center expansion, while he doesn't support the Dolphin's proposal.

MIAMI BEACH CENTER MAY BE CASINO SITE
October 27, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Miami Beach, Fla. - The Miami Herald says the Miami Beach Convention Center and land surrounding the Dolphins' football stadium have emerged as a potential casino sites.

Officials said developers looking for ways to snag coveted gambling licenses have floated the idea of razing the complex and remaking it as a modern convention center combined with a casino resort.

"That has been talked about. People have said maybe this is a place to put" a casino, Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower said. "To me, this is a distraction from the real job of getting a new convention center."

Both sites bring extensive complications. The National Football League prohibits any ties to gambling, while Miami Beach, which owns the convention center, has a policy opposing gambling. For years, the city has been exploring a major overhaul of the convention center that would include a hotel.

Despite the obstacles, the addition of two new potential casino locations - joining land near the Donald Trump hotels and condo towers in Sunny Isles Beach, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Miami Herald headquarters in Miami and an area in Miami's Park West neighborhood - shows just how quickly the notion of gambling has scrambled South Florida's real estate ambitions, the newspaper said.

The Dolphins team itself couldn't own or operate a casino because of the NFL rules. But holding companies tied to the team and its majority owner, Stephen Ross, own large tracts of land around the stadium, just south of the Broward-Dade line. Ross has always envisioned the area as an entertainment destination beyond sports, and last year announced plans for a 20-acre water park across from Sun Life Stadium.

Should the Dolphins succeed in making its land eligible for a casino license, Ross could sell or lease the land and enjoy the profits as well as spillover traffic and spending from gamblers traveling to a casino owned by someone else.

State Rep. Erik Fresen, the Miami legislator drafting a bill that would grant South Florida licenses for three casino resorts, said he has met with Dolphins lobbyist Ron Book on the matter. He described the Dolphins as "interested" in casinos and wanting to protect the team's interest in case Florida approves large gambling resorts. It's not known if a developer or casino company is focusing on the Miami Beach site. The idea of a casino there was first floated in April by mayoral candidate Steve Berke, a comedian and former reality star.

Though barely a notion at the start of 2011, the Herald said casino gambling rocketed to the top of the state legislative agenda in May when Southeast Asia's largest casino operator, Genting Group, paid $236 million for The Miami Herald site on the Miami waterfront. It later announced plans to build what could be the largest casino in the world, promising tens of thousands of jobs and a tourist attraction like nothing South Florida has ever seen.

Critics see the push as a dangerous turning point for Miami at a time when the city's urban core is emerging as a popular dining and arts district. They warn a Genting casino and one Sands from Las Vegas wants in nearby Park West would bring a long list of woes, from sucking customers from existing businesses to paralyzing traffic.

December 22, 2011
Copyright 2011 MediaVentures

Sun Life Stadium in Miami is expected to get a new name. The Miami Herald said Sun Life Financial, the parent company behind the naming rights to the stadium, announced it was pulling up stakes in the United States. The Canadian company is retreating from two staples of its U.S. operation and will no longer sell life insurance and variable-rate annuities in the U.S. The company is expected to turn its sights toward Asia. And that means that in three years when the naming rights agreement between the Dolphins and the financial giant expires, the name Sun Life could come off the stadium.

DOLPHINS REVIEWING STADIUM CONFIGURATION
February 2, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures

Miami, Fla. - In a conversation with editors of the Miami Herald, Dolphins officials said they are concerned that their stadium is too big. "We have the furthest distance from the sidelines with our lower bowl in the NFL," said club president Mike Dee.

"We have the fewest number of seats in that lower seating level between the 20 yard lines, between the goal lines, in the NFL. Not just the facilities that compete for Super Bowls. We've got to fix that ...

"At the same time, we may look to amend capacity in areas where we may have too much. Right now, we have the largest upper deck in the NFL - 35,000 seats. The next facility in line is 27,000. The Redskins took 10,000 seats out of their upper deck this past year. We're looking at all those things to retrofit the stadium to today's standards."

The Herald said the best way, the right way, to fix the capacity issues Dee mentions is through construction and refurbishing Sun Life Stadium. There's nothing like taking seats out of the upper deck that is too big. There's nothing like adding seats in the lower bowl that is not big enough. That is the optimal approach.

Neither the legislature, nor local politicians are volunteering to pay for that, and the newspaper said the public would likely vote down a ballot measure for such expenditure. And the Herald said owner Stephen Ross is in no hurry to spend the millions of dollars it would cost to do the project.

Miami Dolphins

Orange Bowl
Orange Bowl

1966-1986
Sun Life Stadium
Sun Life Stadium

1987-Present

Miami Hurricanes

Tamiami Park/Moore Park
Tamiami Park/Moore Park
1926-1937
Orange Bowl
Orange Bowl

1937-2007
Sun Life Stadium
Sun Life Stadium

2008-Present

Miami Marlins

Sun Life Stadium
Sun Life Stadium
1993-2011
Marlins Ballpark
Marlins Ballpark
2012-Present

Florida Atlantic Owls

Pro Player Stadium
Pro Player Stadium

2001-2002
Lockhart Stadium
Lockhart Stadium

2003-Present


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