To use a scouting term, Sun Life Stadium is a bit of a tweener.
The home of the Dolphins, with 75,540 seats, is too big for regular season use. Because of the pleasant weather, it’s not worn down enough to warrant a rebuild. But it’s old enough (the 10th-oldest building in the league) to lack the amenities to put it in play for future Super Bowls or to make it tempting enough to lure viewers from off their couches.
That’s left them in a quandary as to what to do with the building.
“We’ve got a 25-year-old facility, and it clearly needs some tender loving care,” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said, via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. “This facility, in its current form, is not going to serve the anchor tenants for the long-term. We’re going to be in a competitive environment with a lot of facilities that have been built in the last 10 years.
“Clearly, it’s something that’s going to have to be addressed at some point.”
The biggest issue is how or whether to cover the place. A roof or canpoy would protect the fans from sweltering September sun, or from rapid-fire rainstorms such as the one that soaked the Super Bowl in 2007.
“The reality is that most stadiums are either retractable or covered,” Dee said. “That’s just something I think will put us in a much better position to not only compete for major events, but would put us in a much better position for fans who use the stadium on a regular basis.”
The Cardinals are used as a comp, as a roof and air conditioning has been the difference between vast swaths of empty seats in Sun Devil Stadium and 71 straight sellouts at University of Phoenix Stadium. Then again, the weather is a positive for Super Bowl bids, when it’s freezing in many other precincts.
“If they had a better stadium, they would get far more Super Bowls,” stadium consultant Marc Ganis said. “Can they compete? Yes, but it’s an uphill struggle.”
The league’s dangling its biggest carrot, Super Bowl L as a possibility. But after local residents ponied up for a new baseball park for a team which was just voluntarily gutted of veteran players, it’s going to be hard to convince taxpayers to offer more.