When it comes to obtaining public funding for an NFL stadium, the best approach is to not approach the voters directly. In Miami, the plan making its way through the legislature would, if successful, result in a public referendum.
Thus, getting the bills passed has been much easier than the voter-circumvention strategy employed elsewhere, such as Minnesota.
Via the Associated Press, three legislative committees in Florida have approved a bill that would guarantee $3 million per year for 30 years to help pay for an upgrade of SunLife Stadium, which is owned by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. If the bill becomes law, the voters will then become involved.
Some lawmakers nevertheless oppose the effort. “The NFL is conning us, vote against this madness,” Rep. Bill Hager, a Republican representing Delray Beach, told the AP.
Nationwide, the trend among voters is to reject such measures. In Miami, current polling conducted not by the Dolphins indicates that opposition is significant.
That’s why the Dolphins need to make an extra-big splash in free agency this year. They need to create the kind of excitement that will increase supporters of the effort and motivate them to show up and cast ballots at the appropriate.
Still, unless and until the Dolphins have the leverage that comes from a potential relocation of the franchise, the locals will remain ambivalent, at best.