Dolphins trying to figure out how to fix their stadium


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.

7 responses to “Dolphins trying to figure out how to fix their stadium

  1. IIRC Sun Life/Joe Robbie/Pro Life/LandShark/Dolphins Stadium was built with private funds after efforts to get state/local funding failed multiple times. Here’s an idea–do that again. Build another stadium next to the current one. Do the financing yourselves.

  2. Dee is dead wrong. Nine of 32 teams have “retractable or covered” stadiums. That’s not “most.” Philly, NJ and NE are no worse in December than Miami is in September.

  3. “The reality is that most stadiums are either retractable or covered,”

    Actually, the reality Mr. Dee is that you are inventing “reality”….otherwise known as making things up. 9 out of 32 NFL stadiums have roofs. One (Seattle) you could argue is reasonably “covered”. That is 10 out of 32. Far from a majority and even further from “reality”.

    The true reality is that it’s been years since your organization produced a worthy product. Maybe if you spared us the pandering, posturing, “paupering” and passing of buck, and instead focused on this rather key facet, your fans would be a wee bit more interested/likely to show up.

    But who knows, maybe I’m wrong. And maybe you’re right; not about majorities/realities, of course, but the other stuff. I mean, clearly Steelers fans stay away from uncovered Heinz Field in droves ’til they covered it, right? So yeah, given the comparable weather at each, I’m sure a quick $100 million covering is all you need and that’ll sort out all the Dolphins issues.

  4. How about the fact that there is zero home field advantage? The Orange Bowl was imposing and LOUD. You were on top of the players. This stadium is laid back and quiet. Nobody can get into the game. A cover might help with noise, but they need to hire a crowd consultant for the redesign. Part of the fun of going to a game is feeling like you can contribute to a home field advantage.

  5. The seats at Sun Life are league worst in terms of distance to the field. You need binoculars even if your sitting in the lower bowl. The view on my HD tv is much better.

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