The Miami Dolphins officially released news yesterday that the Sun-Life stadium upgrades will now move forward. In fact, upgrades to the stadium will begin this summer and finish completely ahead of the 2016 season. The Dolphins plan to stagger the construction as to not disrupt football games to be played at the stadium. So what exactly is going to be done?
Initially the idea was to create a year long destination for fans and visitors. An adjacent water park would serve as a year round activity locally. That has since been shelved. The parking lot will get a bit of a makeover as the team will add more foliage in and around the stadium. If the design specs are final.
The biggest change however will be to the stadium itself starting with removal of seats in the upper deck corners. The Dolphins have one of the largest seating capacities in the NFL but the structure is not conducive to a home field advantage where sound is directed downwards towards the field. That will change. In each of the four upper deck corners, seats will be removed and large HD television screens will be installed. The two current screens on either end of the stadium will be removed entirely. Beneath the four rows or so left in the corners beneath the screens will be access to the vending concourses as seen in the image.
All of the seats themselves will be removed as well and you can expect at some point that the Dolphins will sell those off to fans to raise money for their charities. Fear not season ticket holders you normally get first dibs on your own seats. The concourses too will change as well with better concession options and locations. In addition suites will also get an upgrade.
There is no question that the biggest change to the stadium will be the addition of the canopy. Stretching over the entire stadium but leaving the field open to the natural elements will serve the Dolphins in more ways than just shade. While fans will not be completely out of the shade the canopy will help block some of the blazing sun that fans are swathed in. In addition the canopy is expected to give fans some protection, not complete, but some, from the elements of Mother Nature.
The canopy could and should provide the Dolphins and their fans an opportunity for a more home field advantage feel. With sound naturally traveling upwards in an open air stadium that is not directly on the field like Sun-Life, the canopy should act as a sound wave deflector diverting upward noise levels back towards the field itself. In theory. Of course the Dolphins have to win and give fans something to cheer about to see if this theory does in fact exist.
Originally there was talk about the sideline seating being moved closer to the field. In the press release sent out by the team yesterday, there was no indication specifically that changes to the field level seating would take place. Currently Sun-Life Stadium has the worst distance between fan and field along the sidelines.
Sun-Life Stadium as it is today.
Sun-Life Stadium as it will be to start the 2016 season.