Could Miami host its last Super Bowl

Artist's rendering of Sun Life Stadium once $450 million in renovations is complete. (Courtesy of Miami Dolphins)
Artist's rendering of Sun Life Stadium once $450 million in renovations is complete. (Courtesy of Miami Dolphins) /

The Miami Dolphins and the city of Miami were awarded Super Bowl LIV on Tuesday. Club LIV will be rocking, yes that was meant as irony and a joke.

What has been lost in all of this is the fact that it might be more difficult for Miami to host a Super Bowl in the future. Once a staple of the NFL’s big game, Miami has hosted 10 previously, the NFL is now seeing the end of the year game being spread out to other cities.

This time around three cities were awarded Super Bowls in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Miami gets the game in 2020 with Los Angeles hosting in 2021 and Atlanta hosting in 2019. This is important because the future of Miami hosting the game could be coming to an end.

A point that was made this week on said that New Orleans narrowly got beat out in their bidding for a Super Bowl. They did not bid on the 2020 game but many believed if they had they would have beaten out Miami. And this is where it gets interesting.

Miami is sinking over $450 million into renovations to their stadium but they will be competing against other NFL teams who are building massive state of the art complexes to go along with their stadiums. The competition is far from what it used to be. Add to that the NFL’s desire to bring the Super Bowl to open air northern stadiums and the game’s future venues may not include trips to the South.

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Los Angeles, Atlanta, Minnesota, and possibly even Buffalo, San Diego, and Las Vegas could or will have new stadiums in place for the years after 2021. Dallas want’s back into the Super Bowl market and so does New York. While Miami is upgrading an outdated stadium, those cities are building more than just stadiums. They are building super venues.

Even New Orleans who is not building a new stadium is a strong contender for future games given the cities ability to draw interest from around the country. Miami, a one time must visit city, suddenly is running out of international and national draw as other cities are catching up with offerings to tourists.

For the amount of money that Stephen Ross has thrown into the stadium, he could have spent another 4 or 5 hundred million and build an extravagant new stadium. The problem is Miami has run out of viable land options and the only options would likely be north in Palm Beach County. In other words, Ross had little options but to renovate the stadium.

This is not a knock on the stadium. South Florida weather doesn’t take the same toll on the building like northern stadiums deal with and the renovations are state of the art but the Dolphins had to reduce the number of seats and for those that have visited the stadium since the conclusion of phase two, the seating is atrocious.

For starters the seats are far too narrow and more than a few complaints were tossed around last year as knees were being banged into the seats in front of them and the proximity to the person next to you seemed to violate your personal space. That however wasn’t the only issue.

The lower corner seating is horrible. In fact if you are in the right, or rather wrong section, your view of the field is obscured once the game action moves beyond the 30 yard line in the opposite direction. When the fans in the section immediately to the left stand to cheer, your visibility is almost entirely gone. The problem seems to be a design flaw.

The Dolphins moved the seating closer to the field and when they did that they elevated the sections between the 20’s and that slight elevations blocks the view of the corner sections on the lower level and this is only on the lower level.

I suspect that if this isn’t changed prior to the 2020 game, it will be something that will be talked about after the Super Bowl.

It’s not all negative however. The stadium models are beautiful and when the canopy is in place, it will be a unique stadium that allows air flow and sound redirection. It will also keep fans out of direct sunlight and protected from rain while keeping the field open to the elements. It’s reported that almost 93% of the fans will be shielded from the sun during 1:00 kick-offs.

Whether the renovations to the stadium will be enough to entice the NFL back to Miami after the 2020 game will not be known until the game is completed and the city can boast a successful event. Miami has one thing going for it however, it’s hosted the most and knows how to host the event. While there is always a chance of rain, there is never a chance of ice build-up on the stadium roof, or threat of collapse or a blizzard that blocks fans from the stadium route. No wildfires, and no Jerry Jones.

It’s unlikely that Miami will be left out of future Super Bowl rotations but the competition to host is getting very strong and after 2020 it will likely be a while before Miami gets another one.