County Commission Approves Dolphins "Finder's Fee" Deal
Well, Miami will soon be back in the running to host the Super Bowl, and next time they do the Miami Dolphins will get a big fat bonus from Miami-Dade County.
The county commission approved a deal today that would see the county paying up to $5 million a year in "finder's fees" for big events hosted at Sun Life Stadium. In return, the Miami Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross will privately finance most of the roughly $350 million in renovations needed to bring the stadium up to the NFL's ever-increasing Super Bowl hosting standards.
The vote came down to a 7-4 split in favor of the deal. Commissioners Lynda Bell, Esteban "Steve" Bovo, Xavier Suarez and Juan C. Zapata were the dissenting votes.
Under the deal, the Dolphins will get $4 million for each Super Bowl hosted at Sun Life, $3 million for a college football national championship game, $2 million for college playoff games (they'll host those once every three years anyway), and $750,000 million each for up to two selected other special sporting events that sell more than 55,000 tickets a year. The total payout is capped at $5 million a year.
That money will come out of the county's hotel tax fund.
The county can delay starting payments until 2025, but the Dolphins can start accruing credit for those payments once renovations are completed in 2016.
Those renovations will start this summer, but will not interfere with football season. The renovations will include a canopy, HD lighting and other cosmetic and tech upgrades.
Miami has hosted a total of 10 Super Bowls, but after hosting its last big game in 2010 NFL brass indicated Miami would not be selected unless stadium upgrades were made.
The deal brings to an end a long crusade by Ross to get some sort of public money for the renovations. A deal that would have seen Ross and taxpayers go halfsies died in the state house last year. Though, Ross could also still seek subsidies from the state of Florida.
The stadium will continue to be privately owned, and notably will continue to pay all property taxes. The deal also ensures that the Dolphins will remain in Miami for the next 30 years. Assuming that Miami isn't already be devastated by rising sea levels by then, just go ahead and assume that the drum beat for a brand new stadium altogether will start in about 20 years.