In the following Q&A, Dee answers the questions on the minds of fans and the community regarding what will go into this bid for Super Bowl L and a chance for the Miami area to maintain its grip on the title of the city that has hosted the most Super Bowls.
Andy Kent – Obviously, it was great news coming out of Chicago yesterday at the very end of the meetings. What was your initial reaction to hearing that Miami was chosen as one of two finalists along with San Francisco to host Super Bowl L?
Mike Dee – We’re very pleased that the NFL is allowing South Florida to compete to host the game. It’s especially gratifying since we were not invited to bid after our last two applications for Super Bowls XLVIII and XLIX. It is, I think, a tribute to the community and the Host Committee, which worked very hard to make sure the NFL knew that not only the Host Committee, but also a long list of community leaders and regional Mayors are on-board. They sent a letter to the Commissioner and the Super Bowl Advisory Committee several weeks ago saying that South Florida stands ready to put forward a very attractive bid to attract Super Bowl L or LI. So we’re grateful and it’s a tremendous opportunity for Miami and all of South Florida. We’re not objective about Super Bowls. Selfishly, we believe that all of them should be played here, but it’s more competitive than it’s ever been and, in this case, South Florida is going up against two other top-flight communities with newer facilities and a strong desire for these games. The last Super Bowl the Bay area hosted was 27 years ago in Palo Alto, and Dolphin fans remember that one all too well. Houston has hosted two Super Bowls, with the only one at Reliant Stadium taking place back in 2004. So these communities are going to be very aggressive with their bids, and with their state-of-the-art venues, it will be a big challenge. South Florida will really need to come together as a community to get this done given the competitive landscape.
Kent – The most recent Super Bowl that was here back in 2010 was considered a great success. What will it take this time around to overcome the competitive challenges and bring Super Bowl L to South Florida?
Dee – I’m sure that will be addressed within the overall scope of the Host Committee’s bid, and they’ll have to put their best foot forward on all aspects of the bid package. A bid can be broken down into a number of different components, including the venue, the community, the amenities, and all the intangibles that have made South Florida a highly desirable host site over the last half century. The infrastructure for that effort is in place thanks to our great Host Committee, but in order to prevail on this bid, we’re going to have to put together the most competitive bid package ever assembled.
Kent – How much will the bid be tied to stadium renovations?
Dee –Frank Supovitz (the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Events) and the Super Bowl Advisory Committee were clear that renovations were not a condition precedent to South Florida’s invitation to bid. But again, we have to assemble the best possible bid package, and I’m sure the Host Committee will be focused on a number of factors, including Sun Life Stadium, the communities that participate in the bid, and where the core of Super Bowl activities will take place. In addition, the financial package and other things that are needed to put a competitive economic proposition on the table for the NFL to consider will also be in their purview. But having said that, the NFL has been very clear that despite all the great amenities this community has to offer, the game is ultimately played in a venue, so we’ve got to do everything we can to put the best venue on the table. How exactly will that factor into the bid? I don’t know. We’re not in a position to answer that question today, but we’re eager to work with the community and the Host Committee to address that and other priorities.
Kent – To that end will you again seek to renovate the stadium and if so will you look for public funding to do so?
Dee – At the present time, we have no definitive plans. We never stopped working on a long-term master plan for the stadium, however, and we’ve continued to look at ways that we can not only make it Super Bowl-ready, college championship-ready and soccer-ready, but also preserve it for the next 30 years for the Dolphins, Hurricanes and Orange Bowl. So our work has never stopped, but we don’t have a definitive plan today, and, as I previously stated, it wasn’t a part of the application we submitted to the NFL. Right now, we’re simply digesting and celebrating the news we received yesterday and preparing to start our work right away given the short six month timetable we have to assemble the best bid possible.
Kent – How much of a role do you think history and tradition will play in this bid as opposed to any other Super Bowl bid because it is the 50th Super Bowl?
Dee – I think it’s big. It’s probably the primary reason we advanced to this stage of the process. The question for all of us is: how far will this legacy carry the Host Committee’s bid? That is what we don’t know. I think the NFL has demonstrated that it likes to bring Super Bowls to South Florida, but again, it’s never been more competitive with other communities now recognizing the incredible impact the game has on the local community, not just economically, but from a prestige perspective, with the eyes of the entire world being on that community for that period of time. Also, what the NFL leaves behind is substantial. Here in South Florida, we’ve benefitted from the construction of two state-of-the-art youth centers from the last two Super Bowls that, unfortunately, get very little fanfare publicly. One is in Broward and one is in Miami-Dade, and they serve thousands of kids every year. There are a lot of appealing reasons to want the Super Bowl other than the economic impact, so we know that this is going to be very competitive. I’m sure the Host Committee will take full advantage of the legacy we have of hosting more Super Bowls than any other city, but I suspect that history alone won’t be enough. We’re going to need to bring our “A-game” as a community and bring everyone together in a way that is going to give us an opportunity to succeed.
Kent – So what is the most important message you want to get out to the community in terms of why it’s important to bring Super Bowl 50 to Miami?
Dee – This is not your ordinary Super Bowl, as if any Super Bowl is ordinary. Being the 50th anniversary commemorative game, this is going to be a Super Bowl like no other. It’s not that we don’t want LI, we’ll certainly compete for LI if we’re not chosen for L, but the 50th game is of particular interest to us because it coincides with the 50th anniversary season of the Dolphins. So to think that one community could be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its team and hosting the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl in the span of six months would make South Florida the football capital of the world for that year. We know what the economic impact is going to be. Super Bowls have always had a profound impact on our community, with South Florida leading all communities when it comes to the positive effect of Super Bowls on local businesses. And it’s not just hotels and restaurants. They get a big portion of the benefit, but it goes beyond that as well. Ultimately, our hope is that 2015 and early 2016 will be one of those historic periods where it all comes together. We truly have an extraordinary opportunity in front of us, and we look forward to rolling up our sleeves with the Host Committee and community leaders and getting to work immediately.