NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell summed up the three days of league meetings at the Arizona Biltmore with some positive feedback for the Miami Dolphins and owner Steve Ross regarding their chances.
“We had several stadium committee updates. We also had separately an update on the Super Bowl bidding vote that will occur in May and I would say as it relates specifically to Miami, we updated them on the plans and the hopes for the renovations, which we think are very positive,” said Goodell in his closing press conference. “Steve Ross and his team have done a tremendous amount of work on what they think are the priorities and what will work.
“I think the ownership believes that that’s important for their stadium long term and will be beneficial and I also think it will be a factor in their minds with respect to the voting on the Super Bowl. They clearly believe that that will lead to a better stadium, which will be a better Super Bowl event. And I think we’ve made the point several times that the competition for Super Bowls is elevated, in large part because of stadiums. Miami’s a great, great city for the Super Bowl. We want to be back there but they’re seeing increasing competition.”
Of course a lot hinges on Ross’ plans to modernize Sun Life Stadium through the use of a majority of private funds and a percentage of public money. It’s a 22-project plan, which includes adding a canopy over the 25-year-old building, improving the seating and stadium lighting and adding four new video boards in each corner, among other upgrades. That money would be generated by a 1-cent increase in the tourist tax in Miami-Dade County and a $3 million per year tax rebate from the state of Florida on goods and services sold at the stadium.
To date, bills filed by Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez and Senator Oscar Braynon have passed three Senate Committees and one House Committee by overwhelming majorities. Once a firm deal is reached between the team and the county it will be brought to the voters in the form of a public referendum. The two sides are continuing to negotiate on a framework and Goodell helped further explain the benefits of private/public partnerships in this day and age.
“Well, as you know I’ve been involved with this for most of my career in getting stadiums built and there are decisions you have to make on a market by market basis,” he said. “I believe that when they’re done in a very thoughtful and open way that they’re good for the community and also good for the team and that’s the outcome we want. This is a partnership and when these are done right, thoughtful investments in stadiums from the public sector and also from the private sector can lead to real benefits long term.
“You’ve seen some of the economic impacts. They vary from market to market but they can have dramatic impact from a financial standpoint. They also can have a huge impact on just a community in the way they think about themselves and the types of events they bring into their community and what they bring to a national stage when they have an NFL team or Super Bowl events or any other type of large event. These are the types of things that go beyond financial impact, they have really huge impacts on communities and I think we’ve demonstrated that we can have that impact when they’re done intelligently.”
Eight weeks remain between now and that crucial vote in Boston at the spring meetings. Ross and the Dolphins are hoping to gain even more steam in their efforts to bring that historic 50th Super Bowl back to Miami-Dade County.