The decision by Stephen Ross to go after AEG in California will have no bearing on where the Miami Dolphins will play. They will remain in Miami. Mike Dee who spoke with the city council today in order to get the renovations passed for the stadium upgrades told the commission that the team will commit for 20 years and beyond. Covering the events of the day, including the votes, Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald has been keeping those in the “Twitter” universe informed.
The biggest key issue outside of the actual funding is a deal that will not be similar to the one passed in order to get the Miami Marlins a new stadium. The Marlins ownership and negotiation team assured the city that they would keep a competitive product on the field, after the stadium was built, the owners traded away most of their high end payroll and high profile players. The Miami-Dade Commissioners wan’t written assurances from the Dolphins that a similar situation will not arise. The Dolphins have also agreed to open their financial books.
As the day came to a close, the Commissioners took a vote and the Dolphins plan passed by a vote of 9-4. While the vote is necessary it’s not the final hurdle as the team still must get the opined bill to pass state legislation. Today’s vote was basically to give local support for that bill. In the bill, the Dolphins are lobbying for a 1% increase in hotel taxes as well as 3 million dollar fund for pro sports teams per year. Although I will say I do not fully understand this particular point of the bill.
One Commissioner today asked that the Dolphins pull their training camp out of Broward County and move the team into Dade County. The Dolphins stadium resides 1 mile south of the Dade-Broward line in Dade County, but the team hosts it’s training facility in Broward county. The Dolphins need to get legislation to allow Broward County to send money outside of the county to help with the renovations.
One stipulation to this is that Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez must iron out a deal with the team and told the Commissioners today that he is ready to begin those talks. The Dolphins next step will be to take the bill to the state legislators and get it passed. Once that happens, the stadium renovations will move into the contract phase. For now, it’s a small but vital victory to get the upgrades needed to the Dolphins stadium and on the surface it will appear that those changes will be made and completed in full by the 2014 season start.
The Dolphins, once the measure is passed, will also seek help from the NFL which has a stadium upgrade allocation fund that teams can receive assistance from. If the Dolphins receive some of those funds, upwards of tens of millions according to Doug Hanks, would help Stephen Ross with his portion of the costs. To my knowledge that money is not required to be paid back by the owner.
For now, there is some comfort in knowing that the team will not be leaving Miami. Mike Dee made clear to the Commissioners that “As long as Stephen Ross is the owner, the team will not be moving from Miami”. This in addition to his earlier comment that once the renovations are approved, the team will agree to a minimum of 20 years in South Florida.
NOTE: I am not 100% on the inside information of this legislation and what it means for the citizens of Miami-Dade and Broward county in terms of who pays what from taxes and so forth. I tried to express the basics of today’s meeting and vote. Until the legislative branch for the state of Florida votes on the bill there is no guarantee that the renovations will go through. In terms of the Broward and Dade county riffs, I can not provide more definitive examples but do know from previous communications that the Dolphins have been a point of contention between the two councils.