Dolphins Will Pay Back State Money for Sun Life Renovations

Team and lawmakers announce agreement to repay the State of Florida for public funds used in stadium repairs and upgrades

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Miami Dolphins
    A rendering of the proposed renovations to Sun Life Stadium.

    The Miami Dolphins are now promising to pay back some money to the state if taxpayers help pay for stadium renovations.

    State legislators pushing the bill to pay for renovations to Sun Life Stadium (including State Senator Oscar Braynon, State Representative Eddy Gonzalez and State Representative Erik Fresen) announced Wednesday that the team has agreed to reimburse the state 30 years from now.

    Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants to use state and local dollars to help pay for $400 million worth of renovations to the stadium.

    Bills now moving through the Legislature call for the state to pay $3 million a year for the next 30 years in the form of sales tax rebates. The Dolphins have agreed to pay back $47 million.

    The Dolphins have also pledged to repay $120 million that the team would get from an increase in hotel bed taxes in Miami-Dade County. However, the team will only repay funds used for stadium construction, and will not defray interest and financing costs incurred by the county. The Dolphins pledged to pay back the local government money by 2043, but the team's payments will not be indexed to inflation.

    Additionally, the team has offered to scrap the plan altogether if it is not awarded Super Bowl L or LI by the NFL later this spring, and will pay penalties if the renovated stadium does not attract a certain number of Super Bowls, BCS games, international soccer matches and other similar events over the next 30 years.

    The team will also sign a 30-year non-relocation agreement, and all these measures would remain in place even if ownership of the team changes.

    The moves to add repayment plans to the financing arrangement are likely meant to bolster public support for the team's plan. Polling has shown relatively strong resistance to the team's proposal, which must pass a local referendum to take effect.

    "We are not only committed to bringing Super Bowls, BCS Championships and international soccer to Miami by modernizing Sun Life Stadium, but we are also committed to crafting a fair and advantageous agreement for taxpayers," Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said Wednesday.