The Miami Dolphins have many issues on the field, off the field, and questions surrounding their future at every turn when it comes to stars like Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, but the stadium itself has a bright future ahead of it, or at least that is the plan. Can you imagine international swim meets on the field at Dolphins Stadium?
During this past Web Weekend event, I had the priviledge of taking a tour of the Dolphins Stadium and had a chance to talk with Chris Overholt, the VP of Marketing Partnerships and New Media, concerning the future of the stadium, marketing, and the Dolphins logo.
As we progressed from the new 50 million dollar renovations that added the glass facade to both sides of the stadium, I noticed that Chris was walking next to me and he graciously answered a couple of questions and spoke with me on what the future of Dolphins stadium might hold.
PP: “Chris, there are rumors that the Dolphins are looking at changing the logo in the near future. I look around and see a lot of Miami Dolphins branding and wonder if this rumor could possibly have any truth to it considering the amount of money that is being spent here. Can you comment on that?”
CO: “We seem to do minor tweeks here and there, but nothing since our overhaul in the late 90′s. We may still do minor adjustments when we see something that could use to enhance the image, but we will not be overhauling the logo, at least not that I have been told.”
PP: “You spoke on the tour about the future of the Stadium in terms of the upgrades that have taken place thus far, what about the future of the field tenants and what else may this stadium be used for?”
CO: “we are trying to become the marquee stadium in the United States. Britain has Wembley which is known world wide, but here in the U.S. there is not kind of stadium. The U.S. has great stadiums that have historical lore, stadiums like Wrigley and Fenway in Boston. But there is no international stadium in the U.S. We want to become that stadium.”
PP: “By attracting what exactly?”
CO: “We already are home to the Dolphins, Marlins, and now to the Hurricanes, so in that respect there is a lot going on at this stadium. Concerts are also an option and we just hosted a very successful concert last weekend. I was over in Australia and they hosted an international swimming competition, they did not have a pool. They held it in a stadium and used a portable pool. We could do that here, easily. But we have to attract it.”
PP: “Wow! That would be pretty interesting, what else are you trying to attract? Soccer is the biggest international sport, are you wanting to go in that direction?”
CO: “Absolutely. But it has to be the right events, with big name players, star players, its the only way it will work. Forward thinking. We want the international community looking not just southernly at us, but also from the south looking up as well (In reference to Latin America). There are a lot of things we can use this stadium for.”
PP: “That explains the branding in the stadium, or lack thereof.”
CO: “Yes we want this to be everyones home which is why the stadium has its own logo, why we installed HD monitors at the concessions, why we have our menu on HD monitors above them, we control the branding and by keeping it clean we can attract more sponors, and we can market ourselves better, which is why the walls are not specific colors to one team. This will be the home to more than just the Dolphins, and it has to be able to feel when you walk in here for a Dolphins game that it is the Dolphins home, the same with the Hurricanes, and the Marlins. It is something that we are working towards with every improvement.”
PP: “What about the heat? You had spoken to the group concerning the possibility of putting up a retractable roof. Is this viable and what exactly does that accomplish in the end?”
OC: “First, the heat in early fall keeps our attendence levels down, those levels go up later in the fall as the season progresses, so the heat effects the attendance. A roof could help us control some of that heat, we asked the NFL to take that into consideration when making the schedule, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. (an ommission on my part, some of the requests to the NFL are for later starting times rather than the 1pm kick-off and not nescessarily games being moved out of the city for road games early) Another point is the Super Bowl and the Fed-Ex Orange bowl. Weather is not always a friend in Miami.”
PP: “So is a retractable roof in Dolphin Stadiums’ future?”
OC: “It is being discussed, it is always discussed. Are we close to having a retractable roof? No, I don’t think we are there yet, but it is something that we look at as we try and line up more clients for our venue.”
PP: “I know you have to run, so I will let you go. Thank you Mr. ????”
CO: “No problem, enjoy the rest of your day.”
NOTE: The above conversation was not a recorded conversation that was transcribed, it took place outside the Hall of Legends at Dolphins Stadium and in some cases I paraphrased from my memory, trying to phrase it closest to the way he did.