To think that the Miami Dolphins could be a part of a move to Los Angeles is unimaginable. The rich history of the Miami Dolphins from the 1972 perfect team to the Dan Marino gunslinger days is well documented. The Dolphins have been in a funk now for the better part of 15 years and after the state legislature doomed the referendum for a stadium refurbishment, the Dolphins future in Miami will be a questionable one.
At least until another team moves to L.A.
According to Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel VIA Twitter, Ross has dumped around 10 million dollars into the campaign to get voters to the booth to vote. All for nothing now as the vote will not happen. Some applaud this and believe that it was a scrupulous attempt to begin with. Regardless, without the renovations the city of Miami will lose money.
It was estimated that the renovation project would bring jobs to the area in the thousands. The Super Bowl alone can bring enough money to a city to sway books from red to black. There will be no Super Bowls in Miami without a change.
In addition to the loss of Super Bowls, the city of Miami will lose any chances of hosting the NCAA National Championship game which will be moving to a bid system similar to that of the Super Bowl. Again, according to Kelly of the Sentinel.
Stephen Ross spoke to the media this weekend and said there will be no stadium renovations. Ross was prepared to float upwards of 250 million for the stadium upgrades and while he is a “billionaire” assets are not cash. There doesn’t seem to be a back-up plan as this was really the final option. The Dolphins have been trying to get this done for several years without success.
At a Web Weekend event four years ago, the Dolphins unveiled a design for not only the same renovations but a water theme park in the same area, professional soccer games, and more. This is not the first time that local or national media should have been alerted to the attempts at an upgrade.
The Dolphins tried unsuccessfully to land a bid for a future World Cup in part due to the condition of the stadium. Fans believe that the stadium is old and outdated and that frankly is a falsehood. Sun-Life Stadium is actually in better shape than many newer stadiums. The south Florida weather doesn’t have the same affect on a stadium as stadiums in the north do. The stadium doesn’t need to be rebuilt, only refurbished.
At the front of the project was the canopy that would cover the seating area bringing relief to the fans in the stands and cover from rain while not changing things on the field. The project would have also removed seating from the upper corners where large video screens would have been installed. The end-zone screens would have been removed.
The changes were semantic but nonetheless important to the NFL in terms of Super Bowls where Miami was bidding against newer stadiums. Perhaps the biggest loss however will be near the field. The Dolphins currently have the largest space between lower field seating and the field. Under the failed referendum, that seating would have been moved closer to the field giving the Dolphins more of a home field advantage with noise.
Stephen Ross has said that he will not move the team to L.A. however he has stated, and it was reiterated today by CEO Mike Dee, what happens after Ross no longer owns the team is something completely different. Ross has said that he has had no desire to sell the team but honestly, he has to be thinking it.
Ross wants to build a winner in Miami but that process rarely happens over night and for the Dolphins it hasn’t happened in 15 years. Long before Ross became the owner. Still, with the referendum issue now dead, Ross very well may opt to move the team and if he does so, that new owner very well may move the team to another city.
The future of the Dolphins in Miami is no longer set in stone. Whereas the referendum would have kept the Dolphins in Miami another 30 years the lack of one may not keep the team in Miami beyond another three. Still, the upside to the referendum dying at the state level clears the locals from having dealt the final blow themselves.
Ross has said the renovations are now dead and will not happen but I have to think that will not be the case. I expect Ross to turn to private investors or liquidate some of his own assets to make this happen. Not this year and not in time for the Super Bowl vote but sooner rather than later.
There is simply too much money to lose by not getting these upgrades completed. Ross stands to make money on a Super Bowl as well as a National Championship game. He also wants to bring professional soccer to south Florida as well. More money in his pocket as well. The culturally rich Miami area is ripe for a team. Ross knows this.
When he figures out how to do it he will do it for his team and for his investors and for the fans of the Miami Dolphins. He won’t do it for the state and you can bet that any attempt by the state to get involved will be met with harsh criticism from Ross and other stadium executives.
Until then, there won’t be anything special about Sun-Life stadium. Should Ross decide that it’s simply not worth it, he will try and sell the team if not both the team and the stadium like he bought from Wayne Huizenga. If he is able to move the team that new owner will be free to do what he or she wants. Still Ross says he isn’t selling so if he is to be taken at his word, then you can believe these stadium upgrades are not dead yet.