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Dolphins agree to referendum on stadium proposal

SunLife Stadium Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins have been seeking nearly $200 million in public money to help fund a $400 million renovation of SunLife Stadium as owner Stephen Ross wants to make a push to host Super Bowl L in 2016.

Ross had been reluctant to put the issue in front of the voters because he believed there wasn’t time for the process to occur before the NFL picked a host site for the Super Bowl. However, Ross has apparently relented and agreed to have the proposal presented as a referendum to the public according to the Miami Herald.

The league is expected to select the host site for Super Bowl L on May 22. The Dolphins are hoping to have the proposal presented to the voters by that date.

This deal would cap the public spending at no more than $199 million with Ross vouching to pay at least $201 million toward the project. Per the Herald, the public money would come via a $3 million state subsidy and a hike of the county tax on mainland hotels from 6 to 7 percent.

Ross was also likely hesitant to go to the voters due to the public still reeling from the $2.4 billion stadium built for the Miami Marlins that will cost Miami-Dade county $376.3 million alone. Following the animosity over the deal to fund the Marlins stadium and the city and county already on the hook for millions of dollars in stadium funding, Ross is likely facing a difficult battle to get the proposal approved by the voters.

The city of Seattle and state of Washington had helped to fund the construction of Safeco Field for the Mariners and CenturyLink Field for the Seahawks before the NBA and Seattle Supersonics owner Howard Schultz came asking for more public funds to upgrade KeyArena. Seattle residents had grown tired of funding buildings for wealthy ownerships and refused to agree to the proposal. The difference in Seattle was the Schultz led ownership group was only willing to contribute approximately 8 percent ($18 million) of a $220 million renovation proposal.

Schultz ultimately sold the team to an Oklahoma-based group led by Clay Bennett and the team moved to Oklahoma City a year later.

While Ross is willing to the pay the majority of the costs (and significantly more than the Supersonics ownership was willing to invest), trying to secure voter approval for the allocation of public funds after the building of Marlins Park could be an enormous challenge.

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30 Responses to “Dolphins agree to referendum on stadium proposal”
  1. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Feb 9, 2013 11:06 PM

    Considering how corrupt South Florida politics are, there’s pretty much no way this won’t pass.

    South Florida won’t want to lose Super Bowls or a potential future World Cup host site.

  2. green41563 says: Feb 9, 2013 11:07 PM

    You have to admire the amazingly successful brainwashing efforts of the 1 percent.

    They’ve actually convinced the stupid masses that it makes sense to hand out de facto food stamps to billionaires.

  3. green41563 says: Feb 9, 2013 11:16 PM

    According to the 2012 Forbes list, Stephen Ross’s net worth is $4.4 billion. But he has the nads to ask tax payers to fork over $200 million, which is less than 5 percent of his net worth.

    Consider his request on a proportional scale. Suppose a man with a $4.4 million net worth asked for public money to raise 200 grand. You’d laugh in his face. Anyone with a *net* worth of $4.4 million can get 200 grand if he wanted to. And trust me: Ross could pick up the phone tomorrow and get a commitment for $200 million by the end of the day.

    But he knows that sports morons will give him the money for free.

  4. nyyjetsknicks says: Feb 9, 2013 11:28 PM

    They better make some moves (Jennings) in FA before the vote.

    Side note: The semifinals for the World Baseball Classic will take place in Miami. The Miami owners better hope a Latin team (DR, Venezuela, etc) does not make it there. Going to be pretty embarrassing to see a full stadium with a soccer atmosphere when they can’t get people to show up at Marlins game.

  5. goodellisruiningtheleague says: Feb 9, 2013 11:32 PM

    That’s one way to fill the stadium

  6. onebucplace says: Feb 9, 2013 11:42 PM

    While Miami isn’t a great sports market, there really isn’t anywhere else for the team to go – the San Antonio Dolphins just makes no sense.

  7. raidersfreak says: Feb 9, 2013 11:50 PM

    First stadium article in awhile where Los Angeles is not being brought up for every single team who needs stadiums or stadium improvements.

    LA will get a team one day and I am glad it is not the same old pay up or they might move to Los Angeles threat.

    I applaud this and thanks for the update!

  8. drainbameged says: Feb 10, 2013 12:22 AM

    I hope they get the funds but I hope even more they work hard on being in the Superbowl they are trying to bid for.

  9. descendency says: Feb 10, 2013 12:42 AM

    The reality is hosting the Super Bowl will increase local profits dramatically over the two weeks surrounding the game.

    While it isn’t guaranteed that the 200 million will go back into the community (like if it were a loan), there is a good chance it will. If they are able to turn the new stadium into more than just 1 Super Bowl, (an NCAA Final Four? World Cup?) then it will be huge.

    While some of you might find it odd that a man worth so much money is asking for 200 million from the people, you have to realize that it stands to benefit them quite a bit as well. I’ll let the people of South Florida decide if it is worth it.

  10. claymatthewsisonsteroids says: Feb 10, 2013 12:43 AM

    Wow, letting the public have a say in where their tax dollars are going? That’s a radical idea!

  11. sarkent says: Feb 10, 2013 1:01 AM

    The Seattle situation is a bit more complex than you make it sound. The Mariners stadium money came from a special session of the state legislature and the Seahawks stadium money came from a statewide vote to extend the taxes and other stuff created to fund the Mariners stadium contribution. The various Sonic proposals wanted to further extend the same taxes (which have generated money faster then anyone expected) but the state legislature refused, even though they’ve quietly changed the law so that those taxes, which were supposed to expire when the stadiums are paid off, will run indefinately.

    Luckily the new basketball/hockey arena will be built with mostly private money.

  12. orivar says: Feb 10, 2013 1:31 AM

    Ross is going to have to pay more money.

  13. kane337 says: Feb 10, 2013 2:16 AM

    Stephen Ross has a net worth of 4.4 billion.
    Why can’t he fix the stadium himself????

  14. jikkle49 says: Feb 10, 2013 2:44 AM

    Even with the funds to renovate I have a tough time seeing them outbid the 49ers who will have a brand new stadium and finally have a viable location back in California to host a Super Bowl.

    Goodell likes to “reward” cities who build a new stadium with a Super Bowl after that 2 year period because it makes it easier to sell future new stadiums to other cities. “Get the stadium built and the NFL has got your back with a SB.”

  15. TheMansiere says: Feb 10, 2013 2:45 AM

    Ha. This is ‘Any Given Sunday.’ Just get Mike Vick as Willy Beamen, see if Jamal Anderson is around to play Julian Washington, I could see Drew Bledsoe being Cap Rooney and Don Shula could pull off Al P. Could be dece.

  16. sfm073 says: Feb 10, 2013 3:44 AM

    Why not contract the marlins and use that 200 million on converting the marlins stadium into a football stadium?

  17. bartlettruss says: Feb 10, 2013 5:35 AM

    While Miami isn’t a great sports market, there really isn’t anywhere else for the team to go – the San Antonio Dolphins just makes no sense.
    ——————————————————

    It makes as much sense as the Utah Jazz or the LA Lakers….

  18. advocado5 says: Feb 10, 2013 5:46 AM

    Just an FYI: Net worth =/= Money in the bank

    Net worth is combining money he has with equity(house, cars, stocks, bonds, 401k’s, businesses, etc). He might be “Worth” 441t, but he might only have 10t to spend. I know 10 trillion is still a lot. The point is … let’s get the record straight.

  19. henryd3rd says: Feb 10, 2013 5:46 AM

    After the fiasco on the Marlins’ stadium; I doubt very seriously of the voters here will approve this plan? Plus there’s Norman Braman. He spearheaded to the recall effort of every elected official who voted for the Marlins’ stadium plan. None survived the recall; hence Mr. Ross may be digging into his own pockets for this money?

  20. purpleman527 says: Feb 10, 2013 6:00 AM

    So, where is the “public funding” outcry we heard DAILY when the Vikings were trying to get a staduim?

    It is simply amazing to me that the only team that shouldn’t have public funding for a stadium is Minnesota.

  21. randomguy9999 says: Feb 10, 2013 7:00 AM

    no way voters approve this…. the whole ‘give us money or we’ll leave even though we never go to the playoffs’ thing has to end

  22. effjohntaylornorelation says: Feb 10, 2013 8:18 AM

    I too am tired of funding these venues for some of the most profitable companies owned by Americas wealthiest people. It feels like we the taxpayers are the only ones with skin in the game

  23. ballboy48 says: Feb 10, 2013 9:03 AM

    I can’t stand the argument, “we’ll the guy is worth $4 Billion, can’t he swing another $200 Million?”! Why don’t people understand that it’s a business. Most governments, local, state, or the Fed, usually give huge tax breaks, or other incentives, for businesses to be in the economy. NFL teams are no different. Just go and look and see, at how much an NFL game brings into the economy each week there is a game. The Super Bowl alone, consumers spent $11.5 Billion on it, and generated almost $250 Million to the local economy of New Orleans. You know how much tax the government made on that? A lot! Politicians need to realize the financial benefits of having an NFL team, and top notch stadium.

  24. cantonbound13 says: Feb 10, 2013 9:10 AM

    I’d vote yes if you fire Ireland!

  25. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Feb 10, 2013 10:21 AM

    A man gets to a net worth of $4.4 billion by not forking over $200 million when he doesn’t have to.

  26. anrockray says: Feb 10, 2013 10:33 AM

    Unfortunately, as a Dolphins supporter, I can see this issue further alienating the fan base and leading to even fewer seats filled in Joe Robbie, Pro Player, Landshark, Sun Life, and Tax Payer Stadium.

  27. thelastpieceofcheese says: Feb 10, 2013 10:58 AM

    “the $2.4 billion stadium built for the Miami Marlins that will cost Miami-Dade county $376.3 million alone.”

    This is not totally correct. Marlins stadium is funded with tourist fees, that do not cost anything to County residents and are specifically earmarked for this purpose by County statute.

  28. rodericksilva says: Feb 10, 2013 11:13 AM

    Miami Dade county doesn’t pay it’s own county employees any holiday pay. All holidays including Labor day are (Anti-Americanly) treated as regular working days. But there is money to subsidize Billionaire Welfare?

  29. SparkyGump says: Feb 10, 2013 11:46 AM

    There’s no welfare like corporate welfare! Billionaires getting the public to pay their way; now there’s some takers.

  30. beeronthefridge says: Feb 10, 2013 3:30 PM

    Corporate welfare strikes again under the fantasy that giving money to the corporation will result in economic gain for the community.

    The only gain will come to the welfare recipient.

    It’s about time we implement a 50% tax on accumulated wealth that these thieves never want to spend.

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