Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross announced Monday that he is prepared to fund the majority of costs for proposed improvements to Sun Life Stadium that will make the facility competitive for hosting future Super Bowls, college championship games, the Pan Am Games, professional soccer, and other premier sports and entertainment events.
Ross stated that private funds would cover the majority of construction costs, which would create more than 4,000 local jobs for South Florida across various industries. The modernization plan would position Sun Life Stadium to continue competing for elite events without proposing any tax increases on Miami-Dade residents.
"I bought this team because I love this town. I went to high school here and built much of my business here," said Ross. "Like most Miamians, I believe no other community in America represents a better destination for blockbuster events. My goal is to secure the future of Miami-Dade and the Dolphins so we can remain a global competitor for sports and entertainment for at least another 25 years. That's why I'm willing to make the initial and most substantial investment in this project."
Ross unveiled renderings of the proposed modernizations for Sun Life Stadium and also introduced a six-point pledge to residents of Miami-Dade in which he committed to:
- Approach this partnership differently than any other by investing more, pledging more, and returning more to the community and fans;
- Ensure that private funding pays for the majority of stadium construction costs;
- Not request a tax increase for Miami-Dade residents;
- Create thousands of local jobs by hiring contractors, subcontractors, and vendors from Miami-Dade;
- Create a world-class facility with improved sight lines, seats closer to the field, and an electric environment for the Dolphins, Hurricanes, bowl games, and international soccer;
- Secure the future of the franchise by committing the Dolphins to play at a modernized Sun Life Stadium through at least 2034.
Ross was joined at the announcement by Dolphins CEO Mike Dee, University of Miami Interim Athletic Director Blake James, Orange Bowl President & Chairman Andrew Hertz, CEO Eric Poms, and Board Member Al Dotson Jr., Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto and Pan American Games Bid Committee Chairman Ralph Garcia-Toledo.
"A world-class community deserves world-class facilities," said Barreto. "We are fortunate to have a person like Steve Ross who is willing to invest to help ensure the future of big events for Miami.”
The Orange Bowl Committee, who will spearhead South Florida's efforts to bid on future championship games, also expressed support for the efforts. “There will be a lot of competition as we bid to host future college football championship games," said Hertz. "We're ready to compete, and we need to put South Florida's best foot forward in all areas, including the facility, which we anticipate will be a key component of any bid package. If this proposed modernization were to move forward, we believe South Florida will have a better total package to offer than any community in the country."
The proposed modernizations for Sun Life Stadium will also return the stadium to the original configurations that were compromised to accommodate baseball, giving fans a much improved football experience with better sightlines from every seat in the house. Other major upgrades include:
- More comfortable seats;
- New seating closer to the field;
- State-of-the art HD video screens;
- An open-air canopy that shields fans from elements while preserving the natural grass playing surface;
- HD sports lighting;
- Modern escalators and elevators for fan transportation; and
- Updated kitchens for better concession options.
"Our intention is to make Sun Life Stadium a world-class facility that is competition-ready for Super Bowls, college football championships, and global soccer events, as well as providing a much better environment to watch the Dolphins, Hurricanes and Orange Bowl every year," Ross said. "I think our planned modernization will maintain the special outdoor flavor of Miami, while giving us the look of the best stadiums around the world."