Ross says Dolphins “are going to stay in South Florida”

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Dolphins owner Stephen Ross hopes to renovate SunLife Stadium via a project that relies in part on taxpayer dollars.  But he lacks the leverage of an express or implied threat of relocation, which has helped plenty of other teams shake taxpayer dollars out of the tree.

Ross says he won’t be using that leverage.

Specifically, Ross told Monday’s Pro Football Talk that he won’t be expressly or implicitly threatening relocation in order to get a public contribution toward the renovation effort.

“Having been brought up in South Florida and loving the Dolphins I would find that very hard to do,” Ross said.  “I mean, some times when you’re dealing with adversity and people are giving you a hard time you say, ‘Hey I’m not bound to stay here.’  But really I’m not threatening anybody.  The Dolphins belong in South Florida and they are going to stay in South Florida?”

That’s good news for Dolphins fans, but perhaps bad news for the effort to get Dolphins and non-Dolphins fans alike to support the effort to raise local hotel taxes by one percent.  Ross obviously believes they should.

“We are the only stadium in the country I think, especially in the NFL, that doesn’t have one penny of public funds and the only stadium that pays full real estate taxes,” Ross explained.  “In fact, I think all the rest of them pay no real estate taxes at all, and we’re paying full taxes.  So that sets us behind and makes us less competitive in that standpoint.

“I’m prepared to put a lot of money into it,” Ross said of the renovation effort.  “But I think everywhere you see a new stadium you see the public supporting it.  And that is one thing Miami has not been supported in Miami.  They did the Marlins stadium and that’s probably one of the major reasons we’re having problems.”

Ross is referring to the fact that the local MLB team finagled public funds in part with a promise to make and keep the team competitive — and then the Marlins embarked on a major fire sale only one year in the new building.  So how can the Dolphins overcome that?

“It’s about jobs, it’s about economic development, and you can see all the great events that would otherwise come to Miami,” Ross said.  “The NFL wants the Super Bowl to come to Miami.  It’s the warmest weather at that time of the year.  You know, with a great stadium they are going to want to come there more and more.  The financial impact of that whole community of South Florida with a Super Bowl is enormous.  Then you add to that the BCS Bowls and we’re going to be announcing several other types of events, soccer and other types of events this year that we can bring if we had a first-class stadium.”

Meanwhile, Ross is working toward putting a first-class team into his current second-class stadium, via several big-money free agency signings.

“I bought the team because I wanted to win,” Ross said.  “I’ve always listened.  I don’t go out there and say I want this guy I want that guy.  You listen to your football people.  They thought this was the time, and they put a great plan together and I’ve encouraged them.  I said, ‘Guys let’s make some moves, it’s time to win.’  I think the results you’ve seen.  You could see from the interviews, from the free agents that we have kept and signed and the new ones of how they felt about Miami.  It’s kind of like a new beginning if you will and it makes it somewhat exciting.”

Excitement is the key to getting people to come to the current stadium and to support the efforts to renovate it.  Ultimately, putting a consistent winner on the field is the best way to finagle long-term excitement.

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36 responses to “Ross says Dolphins “are going to stay in South Florida”

  1. This guy did some goofy stuff when he first bought the team ,but who can argue that he hasn’t been trying.

    That’s the best you could ask from a team owner.

  2. Unfortunately for Dolphin fans Steven Ross and his “minority shareholders” are going to stay in South Florida too.

  3. If he’s really serious, he should put some money into his personnel first and concentrate on building a perennial playoff team. It’s much easier to worry about the finances when you are the best team in football and you open up the revenue stream floodgates. This team is going to be battling drama and negativity forever until they can get a responsible mngmt group in place that can run the team in a serious and professional way. The current roster design and quality of play is just awful. I’m a Michigan man and I expect HIGH quality from the guy who has his name on the Business School that I attended.

    C’mon Mr. Ross, clean up the organization and bring in some good respectable football people that know what they are doing!!

  4. As a Lifelong Phins fan, I can say I feel better about this team than I have since Marino’s days.

    Young, talented QB.
    Young, talented WR.
    Young, talented Defense.
    Solid free agent signings.
    Early 1st round pick.
    Coach doing better than expected.

    Parcells looks like an idiot now.

  5. If I understand correctly, the “taxpayers” that would be effected wold be those paying room taxes for hotel stays, not the residents of Florida (unless staying in a south Florida Hotel).

    Yes, that would be you Mike, should you stay there for the Super Bowl (which would happen), but I’m sure you could afford it. Besides, you will write it off as a business expense anyhow.

  6. Yea, right… He only cares about money. he would move in a minute if he got a better deal somewhere else.

  7. “We are the only stadium in the country I think, especially in the NFL, that doesn’t have one penny of public funds and the only stadium that pays full real estate taxes,”

    Wrong, the Krafts funded Gillette Stadium fully on their own. The state did spend 50 million improving the roads around the stadium but no public money went into Gillette Stadium or Patriot Place around it.

  8. Dude you are one of the richest men in the world. You can afford to pay for it yourself. Not just a merely 51% of it. I wish I could just pay 51% of my home mortgage.

  9. The marlins used a hotel bed tax. Until the media can get this fact correct, they deserve no credit in getting things right. The Giants are more likely to leave New York than the phins are to leave to south Florida. Put some money into the stadium for yourself Steven and you will find phins fans show up in droves if they have a winning team

  10. Just thought of a HUGE trade we could pull off to move up in the draft: Trade our #1, the higher #2 and Davone Bess to the Raiders for the #4 pick and we take Dee Millner…They get a solid slot receiver FROM Oakland, and we get the best CB in the draft and instantly improve the weakest area of our D

  11. On behalf of their loyal and long-suffering fans, I’m glad Ross is prepared to put a lot of money into keeping the Dolphins in South Florida. But given that he’s willing to take a $17 million cap hit on on a wide receiver for 2014, I’m not too confident about his decisionmaking when it comes to the football budget.

  12. Where would they go?The LA project is dead and no other city that doesn’t have a team is really to get one.Where would they go London?Yes the London Dolphins

  13. He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth. If he cared so much about the economy of South Florida, he’d pick up the bill himself. And is he really stupid enough to think Ireland knows how to fix the mess he created by letting him put the team into cap chaos for 2014? Is this about building a better team? No, this is about getting votes and making money off the backs of Floridians. Nothing else.

  14. Kudos to Mr. Ross. Pro sports needs more owners who know how to build momentum without threatening relocation. I’m looking at you Howard Schultz, Clay Bennett, and David Stern.

  15. They should bulldoze that Stadium and build one closer to downtown. SunLife Stadium is in the middle of nowhere. Only Foxboro is less convenient for the fans.

  16. The man is genuine in his effort to upgrade the stadium, shows a lot of class and loyalty to the community by ruling out relocation.

  17. He’s saying all the right things and its very refreshing. Here’s an idea though; the NFL wants the Super Bowl in Miami, why doesn’t the NFL throw some of the money their way?

  18. How about that. A guy like Ross wants to Socialize the losses and Privatize the profits.

  19. @MULTIPLEMIGGS- dude- really? you got some nerve to get on here and talk stupid crap like that.your team has pretty bad track record overall and the only superbowl they ever played in was before the merger and the more current issues this disfunctional team is facing is going to set you guys back atleast a few more years. you guys will be lucky if you can beat your way out of a wet paper bag let alone trying to beat an nfl team.oh wait, i could be wrong! because i just remembered you guys still have sanchez and we all know how valuable he is. your exellent front office has givin him an extention a raise and everything else so you guys will be just fine, my bad

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