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Source: Stadium supporters suspect Braman could be behind failure of bill

braman Getty Images

When Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called out Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford for failing to send the Sun Life Stadium renovation bill to the House floor for a full vote, Ross suggested that Weatherford may have been furthering his personal political interests.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, those supporting the proposed upgrades to Sun Life Stadium believe that Weatherford’s sole motivation indeed was personal politics.  The suspicion, we’re told, is that Weatherford has statewide political aspirations, which will compel him to court voters in Miami-Dade County, and Hispanic voters generally.  To that end, stadium supporters believe that former Eagles owner Norman Braman (pictured), who has bitterly opposed the efforts to obtain public funding for upgrades to the venue, likely has promised to help deliver those key pieces of the electorate.

Regardless of the precise reasons for Weatherford’s decision to let the bill die, a special legislative session or any other effort to authorize a public vote on the proposed upgrades is not anticipated until next year, at the earliest.

It means that NFL owners most likely will award Super Bowl L to San Francisco, and Super Bowl LI to Houston.  Thus, the Super Bowl won’t return to South Florida before 2018 — unless the Dolphins find another way to finance the upgrades or the NFL decides to return the Super Bowl to Miami without them.

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61 Responses to “Source: Stadium supporters suspect Braman could be behind failure of bill”
  1. logisticalvoices says: May 4, 2013 9:18 PM

    “unless the Dolphins find another way to finance the upgrades or the NFL decides to return the Super Bowl to Miami without them”

    Maybe Ross could just look for some loose change in his sofa. He could probably find enough there without going to the public for their tax money.

  2. steelerfanforlife says: May 4, 2013 9:24 PM

    Billion dollar owner! Pay for it yourself!

  3. thejrod2006 says: May 4, 2013 9:30 PM

    So maybe, just maybe, the people of South Florida aren’t dumb enough to get fleeced into paying for another stadium after the Marlins fiasco?

  4. finsfan4life1977 says: May 4, 2013 9:43 PM

    People need to get over the “Ross is a billionaire, he should pay for it himself” thing. The bottom line is Miami and the NFL are going to miss out on SuperBowls in South Florida for a long time because a politician decided that he wouldn’t let the people decide the issue for themselves.

  5. thraiderskin says: May 4, 2013 9:45 PM

    That my all be true, but here is the issue, we are still suffering economic hardships, at every level. Cities like Miami simply do not need to cow-tow to the dolphins, because they offer so much more than football games. If this were a place like Minneapolis, I would be all about the people helping to keep the team viable. Football is not a must in Miami and an owner who benefits from a tax friendly environment needs to find a way to pay for these upgrades on his own. If he tries to move the team out of state, good luck with that, but he better make sure he finds a state with better tax system in place than Florida, because California (LA) is far from it and almost any other location will cost far more to operate in.

  6. southpaw79 says: May 4, 2013 9:55 PM

    I doubt they were going to get the bowl anyway. If the NFL is trying to make building a new stadium attractive to other franchises they would be hard pressed to explain why SF who dropped 1.2 billion on their stadium was out done by Miami’s 350 million. It would have been even worse for Miami to approve the upgrades and then get stiffed by the NFL.

  7. cantonbound13 says: May 4, 2013 9:59 PM

    Pay for your own upgrades billionaire!

  8. briang123 says: May 4, 2013 10:00 PM

    The baseball stadium is a boondoggle. Regardless of the reason, they are way better off not committing this kind of cash right now.

  9. fusstr8tedfinfan says: May 4, 2013 10:00 PM

    I posted a comment on Miami’s website suggesting Ross pay for it himself and got blasted by everyone on the forum. Maybe people in Miami like giving money to rich people. Must be Republicans. Just kidding. Luv u crazy Florida folk.

  10. grandpoopah says: May 4, 2013 10:06 PM

    Who cares what horse trading took place behind the scenes. For once, that horse trading resulted in a billionaire not extorting money from taxpayers. This is a win for sanity, fairness, and the free market.

  11. granadafan says: May 4, 2013 10:11 PM

    Call me crazy but I think tax money is better spent on infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, freeways, bridges, etc, and minor things like education, research, museums, hospitals, health clinics, or emergency personnel. Enough is enough. Ross is a billionaire. Get a loan like other normal people or businesses do. Heck, write a check.

    If public money is used then they have to get rid of the blackout rule and make tickets affordable to the average fan and not just the 1% ers.

  12. kd75 says: May 4, 2013 10:12 PM

    I wish I could get taxpayers to fund painting my apartment. And a cleaning lady.

  13. deelron says: May 4, 2013 10:17 PM

    “The bottom line is Miami and the NFL are going to miss out on SuperBowls in South Florida for a long time because a politician decided that he wouldn’t let the people decide the issue for themselves.”

    That’s how representative democracies work, the actual elected people decide issues just like these.

  14. dwight123 says: May 4, 2013 10:18 PM

    Dolphins fan in Cali here! I LOL’ed at this mess! Hey Ross shove your bill up your Arse worry about winning football games! go Dolphins!

  15. officialgame says: May 4, 2013 10:39 PM

    It is ironic that Braman who once owned the Eagles sued the city of Philadelphia for repairs and a better lease for himself. Maybe he is bitter because he sold the team to Jeffey Lurie for 200M and it’s worth over 1B today.

  16. sclazo says: May 4, 2013 10:39 PM

    The people and the city of Miami was spoiled by Joe Robbie. He built that stadium not the city. Now the city taxes the crap out of the Dolphins stadium. So it didn’t spend a dime of tax payers money to build it but they damn sure tax it. And the stupid politicians agreed to build a baseball stadium! WTF? Everyone knows the NFL > baseball. Almost all the other stadiums in the NFL was paid for by TAX PAYERS MONEY! The city! The city of Miami has no clue what it’s like to build a NFL stadium with tax payers money because it’s never done it before.

  17. yetimonster says: May 4, 2013 10:40 PM

    This is how billionaires stay billionaires, they try to get everyone else to pay for their stuff!

  18. dolfanozick says: May 4, 2013 10:57 PM

    Mike Florio has been all over this. I think he’s posted about 3 articles in the last 24 hours about this “grave injustice” towards Stephen Ross.

    How many sports writers do u think an NFL owner can buy to push there own agenda? Do u guys think writers are paid on a per article basis or are they on retainer? How much would a writer of Mike Florio’s caliber cost an NFL owner? Hypothetically speaking of course…

  19. csszrr says: May 4, 2013 11:01 PM

    Publicize the debt, privatize the profit. Miami might want to solve the crime problem before they build a new stadium.

  20. gophins says: May 4, 2013 11:02 PM

    I am a Dolphins fan and even I don’t really support the tax hike to pay for any stadium upgrades.

    But why in the world would I not be allowed to at least have a vote? Again, I don’t think Ross should get the money and I would vote against it (as a Dolphins fan!). But I also don’t think that a single individual (or 2) should be able to unilaterally make that decision, which is what they are effectively doing by not bringing it to a vote. All Ross asked for was a vote. That’s not criminal in my opinion. Let the people decide….win, lose or draw.

    I understand it’s a tax on hotels, which may actually tax people that have no vote. But given the reliance on tourism in So. Florida, I’d argue that the voters have a vested interest in making sure tourism continues to thrive. Again, don’t support the measure, but do support putting it to a vote.

  21. dolphins4 says: May 4, 2013 11:05 PM

    I know one thing Braman is an idiot.

  22. drunkenagitator says: May 4, 2013 11:09 PM

    Perhaps the Great Businessman could put a little energy into trying to find a way to get his football team’s W column into the double digits for once. Them given his business acumen and great wealth, I’m sure he can come up with a way to get the luxury boxes he “needs” to remain profitable long-term (guffaw).

  23. zaggs says: May 4, 2013 11:12 PM

    Is there a poll that shows it would have been approved? Because I haven’t seen one.

  24. buhbay1c says: May 4, 2013 11:25 PM

    As a Vikings fan, I can tell you the thing most responsible for killing stadium bills is the lack of progress in LA for an NFL franchise.

  25. green41563 says: May 4, 2013 11:28 PM

    And another thing: the idea that building or improving stadiums bolsters the local economy is nonsense. That claim has been disproved by innumerable studies showing that the overwhelming majority of jobs created by sporting venues are seasonal, low-paying jobs held by people who pay little or no tax.

    In every case, the economic benefit to the community has been dwarfed by the size of the public giveaway.

  26. drewwiltse says: May 4, 2013 11:36 PM

    Using an economic principle called the “benefits principle”, the people that benefit most from the stadium upgrades should pay for it.

    Ross would benefit in that if the team had a nicer stadium, they could possibly draw more revenue. In all likelihood, the increase in revenue would be marginal. Not many more people would actually attend because of the stadium renovations.

    The South Florida Community will benefit from the upgrades because the Dolphins will be granted big events such as the Super Bowl or the BCS Championship Game. While Ross does not benefit from hosting the Super Bowl, the community sure would. The renovations would help the economy in Miami-Dade County, and even in surrounding counties (people stay all over for big events, not just in the county where the event is).

    Because of State Law, which states that money collected from one county may not be used in another, the south florida community can only pay their share in Miami-Dade County.

    The most ridiculous part of this situation is that South Florida citizens feel their money is being taken. The money is coming from tourist, because of an increase in bed taxes from 6% to 7%.

  27. questforthesixthnotthelast2013 says: May 4, 2013 11:37 PM

    The Dolphins are my second team. Since they’ve recently had a Superbowl, they oughta jump in line, should have spent the money to upgrade after the last one they had.
    Niners have gone without sponsoring a superbowl for 28yrs, I’m glad they are getting a bid on it! But they totally deserve to get another, its one of the biggest markets in the NFL, they give money for sales to the league, plus it will be a fantastic stadium!!

  28. iamlegend83 says: May 4, 2013 11:48 PM

    I hate to break it to you non supporters, but, renovations to a sports venue such as Sun Life Stadium would bring in tremendous boosts to the local economy. Most of the opposing arguments i see is how the country is still in economic crisis… How about creating new jobs with a large scale renovation to a huge entertainment venue? Think about all the revenue earnings large sporting events will bring to the city/county? Think about Hotel rentals and the financial benefits to local businesses when the city is able to host these large sporting events.

    We’re not just talking about bringing the Super Bowl back to south beach, there’s a much bigger picture. But food for thought… a Super Bowl on average generates around $150mil for the host city. Not a bad return for renovating Sun Life Stadium…

  29. bflobacker says: May 4, 2013 11:52 PM

    Cities owe the NFL nothing. Football is the best business in America and everyone is making mega money on it

  30. bizzmoneyb says: May 5, 2013 12:03 AM

    unreal they wouldn’t even allow Dade County residents vote on a Plan that would bring millions of dollars to Dade and Broward counties from each SuperBowl, funded entirely by tourists, but they had enough time to pass bills to allow campaign contributions to increase SIX FOLD, and defeat a motion to cut a $225 million dollar tax cut to Blue Cross and Blue Shield and other insurance companies, which would’ve gone to decreasing annual auto registration renewal fees for everyone. it’s just a sick system when politicians can be bought and make decisions based on their own interests and not the publics. sick.

  31. hauts81 says: May 5, 2013 12:19 AM

    A politician doing something for political reasons. Who saw that coming?

  32. majormeatcurtains says: May 5, 2013 12:31 AM

    But Ross isn’t trying to advance his financial interest? No, all he cares about is helping out the Florida economy. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  33. revskip says: May 5, 2013 12:42 AM

    The most telling thing of all about the hypocrisy of Ross is that he is an avowed free market guy who donates tons of money to the Republican party. Yet when asked to actually apply free market principles to his own business he asks for money to be donated by the government.

  34. raysfan1 says: May 5, 2013 1:22 AM

    Why did the state legislature have to be involved in a local Miami-Dade issue? How can they stop Miami-Dade residents from voting on the stadium funding proposal?

    Because it is not just a local Miami issue, that’s why. The bill includes $90 million in state sales tax rebates.

  35. riverhorsey says: May 5, 2013 1:38 AM

    Norman Braman is 83 years old, I doubt he delivers much but if democrats win we all win !

  36. mbhcu98 says: May 5, 2013 2:37 AM

    Why would an owner pay the entire price for an upgrade when he isn’t the only one to benefit from the upgrade? Anyone suggesting this knows very little about business and probably shouldn’t be commenting on a subject you know nothing about.

  37. rajbais says: May 5, 2013 2:38 AM

    Suspicion is one thing. Mayor Jimenez, opposer to the Marlins’ stadium, is another thing.

    If Braman was SO behind this why did the Marlins get tax dollars???

    They’re less powerful than the Fins.

  38. olhoss1884 says: May 5, 2013 4:18 AM

    I’d say the best thing a politician can do to further his career is to say no to corporate welfare for Billionaires. If Ross can’t handle the cost of doing business, he should sell to someone who can.

  39. patriottony says: May 5, 2013 5:31 AM

    It amazes me that people (fans) are so willing to get taxed and give up their money to improve a stadium,,owned by a billionaire, for team that they can’t even afford the tickets for. I just bought 4 single games tickets for a CHARLOTTE game…no clubs level seats..just regular season game. $565.00,,,,,$565.00?????

  40. spideysdog says: May 5, 2013 5:59 AM

    1. The NFL is not a right, like all business, hosting it is an economic and societal benefit.

    2. The money to be raised in Miami was from a hotel tax. How many citizens of Miami are spending a lot of tax dollars at hotels in Miami?

    3. To suggest, as some have, that there is no economic benefit, is beyond stupid. As a lifelong and diehard Seattle sports fan, let me tell you what the Seattle Center is like now that the Sonics are gone. Foolish to even suggest there is no benefit.

    4. Much as complaining about salaries of athletes is foolish, so is suggesting that ownerships should foot all the bills. These arenas are used for much more than just 10 football games a year…. They provide jobs, economic revenue, and cultural benefits to an entire region.

    5. I think the best solution, as was applied here is the joint private/ public partnership that was proposed here.

    In Seattle, we have gone both ways. The vast majority of the money for Safeco Field was footed by taxpayers in various forms and bonds. There is a lot of resentment and animosity over the deal and how the team has spent and performed in it’s new “playground”.

    The Seahawks on the other hand, paid for well over 1/2 of the new stadium and covered all cost overruns. The voters approved the referendum and it has turned out well for all involved.

    Like most things in life, this is about balance. Expecting one side to foot everything is foolish. Expecting everyone to be happy is just as foolish. Middle ground must be found.

    Good Luck Miami. Great city, would be nice to see them become relevant and host Bowls again.

  41. racksie says: May 5, 2013 6:00 AM

    What , no pictures of a Canadian in face paint to convince the taxpaying citizens they should pony up for the billionaire? Odd. Every single Vikings stadium effort, pushed by Florio, included a Canadian citizen in face paint, encouraging taxpaying citizens of Minnesota to pay for the Vikings stadium. Turns out, with the $300 million dollar shortfall in gambling revenues (gambling, NFL? Shocking) the taxpayers get to pay more for the stadium. Canadian citizens? Not so much. Zygi? Not so much.

  42. patriots420 says: May 5, 2013 6:30 AM

    Whether Ross likes it or not, if he wants to upgrade the stadium it will have to come privately. People in Florida as we see at any televised sporting event in the state (except college football) aren’t passionate about sports shown by all the empty seats, as in say Midwest, East Coast, Texas. How the Marlins got public money is a freakin act of god, even before the new stadium they were lucky to get 5000 butts in a seat even playoff games were maybe 10,000.

    Another prime example is watching the NFL in a Florida venue. The most popular sport by a mile in the country and they blackout nearly every game and the ones that get saved are helped by the team or sponsor buying up remaining seats or throwing those huge eyesore tarps on 10,000 seat chunks.

    I’d give up all hope on getting public money for renovations if I were Ross and if he genuinely thinks he can get it he is even dumber than I previously thought, and he already passed Jerry Jones as worst owner a long time ago. If he thinks just because the Marlins got a new stadium look no further than the south Florida demographics, seemingly everyone there is Hispanic, hereto a huge cultural tie to baseball

  43. bobbyhoying says: May 5, 2013 7:19 AM

    Why should tourists pay for someone else’s stadium? Why should hotels be burdened with more government confiscation? The whole country is wallowing in debt. Let the owners of any project pay for it.

  44. dolphinballs says: May 5, 2013 7:41 AM

    Stay with me here…
    This year we are looking at potential snow/cold weather for the New York SB. Imagine an infrastructure paralyzing blizzard hitting a SB.

    Since it looks like SF is going to get SB L, it will be interesting. January/February is the cold rainy (flooding) season in NorCal.

    IF either of these experiments goes terribly wrong due to weather I expect the NFL will come running back to warm weather stadiums.

    Will Weatherford’s home town and district is Tampa. So while folks are up in arms about the use of “taxpayers money” they should really be wondering why Weatherford didn’t allow the public vote on the issue.

    With Miami-Dade not having a viable SB stadium, TAMPA will definitely benefit.

  45. DonRSD says: May 5, 2013 7:48 AM

    Use your own money Ross.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!

  46. pksullivanmha says: May 5, 2013 8:07 AM

    Ah yes. It all comes down to politics. @footballady52 🏈

  47. mybrunoblog says: May 5, 2013 8:47 AM

    Maybe the Dolphins could sell their fans some $250 stock certificates. Fans could be part owners! Oh, wait a minute. Nevermind.

  48. keylimelight says: May 5, 2013 9:19 AM

    Maimi hosted the Superbowl back in 2010. It was a fine venue then, how much change or upgrading does it really need to be host again? Wifi?

    Maimi has proven it is a good host city and great destination, threatening not to bring the Superbowl back because of lack of stadium upgrades seems like a red herring to me. Dangling the Superbowl in front of candidate cities appears to be the standard means by which the league leverages support from local lawmakers.

    Big corporations love government welfare and I think we’re seeing state and local governments wise up in these hard economic times and just say no.

  49. thingamajig says: May 5, 2013 10:31 AM

    Is anyone surprised that there is no truth in politics.

  50. andreweac says: May 5, 2013 11:31 AM

    Ross is a billionaire, he should pay for it himself.

  51. revskip says: May 5, 2013 3:05 PM

    If NFL owners want donations for stadiums they should then be willing to offer profit sharing to the city/county/state that offers up the funds. Ross owns 95% of the stadium formerly known as Joe Robbie and makes a bundle every time that stadium hosts an NFL game, college football game, concert or event.

    While there is certainly an economic benefit to hosting Super Bowls, there is an even bigger societal benefit to not giving in to helping very rich old men build their profit centers with public cash. If Minnesota and Miami can say no to these billionaires looking for handouts hopefully other cities will catch on and these men will pay the tab like every other business does.

  52. grandpoopah says: May 5, 2013 3:05 PM

    For the people who think that the government should pay for this because it will reap benefits to the local economy: get this through your head. Virtually EVERY business provides economic benefits (by paying taxes to the local governments, employing residents who also pay taxes, attracting visiting customers, and so on). A hardware store, McDonald’s, Starbucks, construction company, bowling alley, university, factory, whatever. Is the government supposed to start forking over money for all of them too?

    When residents remodel their homes, add some landscaping, and generally improve the value of their real estate, the local economy also benefits. So should the government foot the bill there as well?

    What the government needs to spend money on is providing a sound economic environment in which good businesses can thrive. Things like a well educated workforce, reasonable regulation, infrastructure, courts, public safety, emergency services, and the like. If this venture is profitable to the stadium’s owner, then the free market dictates that he should make the investment himself or with his partners, who will also share in the future profits. If, on the other hand, it is deemed to risky or unlikely to earn a good return, then he should not make the investment. The government should have nothing to do with it.

  53. section441 says: May 5, 2013 3:13 PM

    I wish people actually had a clue about the story. The renovations are for the city AND the team. The public that would pay is from out of town in the form of a bed tax. Every major city does the same thing. The residents were short changed because of political ambition.

  54. ilovefoolsball says: May 5, 2013 3:36 PM

    I ain’t gonna lie when I first read this I thought it said
    “stadium supporters suspect Batman could be behind failure of bill”

  55. gbatap says: May 5, 2013 3:59 PM

    Sure Ross can pay for it himself, he’s a billionaire. But if he does he should be able to tax the city for revenue generated by the events that come to town to the stadium that he upgrades.

  56. thewizardofbs says: May 5, 2013 5:05 PM

    why doesn’t the NFL finance improvements to stadiums if the improvements are so important to the NFL? It seems like a safe bet since no team is going to go bankrupt. It would be a great investment for the NFL, and at a low interest rate, would enable the teams to easily pay for the improvements over a long period of time. No public money needed and all the stadiums would be in great condition.

  57. dwight123 says: May 5, 2013 7:05 PM

    Introducing your Los Angeles Dolphins! Phins up!’

  58. annes22 says: May 5, 2013 8:19 PM

    Norman Braman should mind his own business. He was a terrible owner, so keep your nose out of Steven Ross’s business. Is the Speaker of the House in Norman Braman’s pocket??? Obviously this is what has happened. Nice job both of you, to screw the Dolphins fans. I hope Speaker Weatherford fails every which way. Disgraceful, this whole scene.

  59. j4man1 says: May 5, 2013 9:38 PM

    Why would the former owner of the eagles care?

  60. dirtydrew says: May 6, 2013 9:38 AM

    The 49ers new stadium is a welcome addition to the Super Bowl rotation. The late sun of the west coast Super Bowls makes for a great backdrop. But the 49ers paid for the stadium on their own. Ross should take note.

  61. grandpoopah says: May 6, 2013 11:57 PM

    If your best argument is every other city does it, then you are in the pay of either Stephen Ross or you have too many chromosomes.

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