Hear this Rodney Barreto: You might want to find money elsewhere for the make-over of Dolphins Land Shark Stadium. A quick polling of friends of UEL, tells us this scheme to get MORE taxpayer handouts for yet another stadium is not going to fly.
Reprint from the:
South Florida Business Journal - January 6, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 5:15pm EST | Modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010, 5:37pm
Stadium upgrades needed to grab future Super Bowls
South Florida Business Journal - by Bill Frogameni
The Miami Dolphins would like to upgrade their stadium, and taxpayers might help foot the bill.
The Dolphins are set to host a Jan. 7 press conference to discuss renovating the 22-year-old Land Shark Stadium to ensure that the Super Bowl and other large-scale sporting events continue coming to South Florida. The region hosts the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 for a record 10th time.
The stadium upgrades, which would likely include a roof and seating closer to the field, could be partially paid for using public money, said Rodney Barreto, chairman of the South Florida Super Bowl XLIV Host Committee.
Barreto, who recently met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Dolphin’s owner Stephen Ross, said the consensus is that South Florida wouldn’t see another Super Bowl until the stadium gets a makeover.
The NFL wants to avoid fans getting drenched again as was the case when a rainstorm put a damper on the 2007 Super Bowl, he said.
“After halftime, the stadium was kind of empty – and it showed on TV,” Barreto said. “I think that was very displeasing to them.”
Miami lost to New Orleans in its bid to host the 2013 game, he added.
A Dolphins spokesman declined to comment in advance of the press conference.
But, Barreto and others are leaving open the possibility that tapping public money may be one way to upgrade the stadium.
“I think we need to look at all potential options, including the public-private option,” he said. “I think everything should be on the table.”
It’s still an open question where the money would come from and exactly how much would be needed.
Bruce Colan, chairman of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and a member of the host committee’s executive board, said it would be best not to tap general revenue funds. Tourism bed taxes or creating a special taxation district may better solution, he said. Another possibility is to look to the state, he suggested.
“Over the years, stadiums have been getting better and better,” Colan said. “Our stadium is 22 years old. It’s no longer state of the art.”
But, for those who worry about money being diverted from other key drivers of tourism – such as the Miami Beach Convention Center, which is in the process of renovating – the stadium should not be considered any more important, Colan said.
“[The stadium] is something that is important to the community,” he said. “At the same time, the convention center is very important, and we need to find a way to do both.”
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