The Miami Dolphins are still trying to secure public help to pay for $400 million worth of renovations to Sun Life Stadium, and Monday proposed additional concessions in hopes of securing about $200 million from state and local governments.
The Miami Herald reported Monday that the team told Miami-Dade county officials they will repay the county for initial funds used for Sun Life Stadium repairs in 30 years. The team made additional guarantees regarding efforts to land Super Bowl hosting duties at a renovated Sun Life Stadium.
According to the Herald, the team now expects the repairs to cost $389 million (down from earlier estimates of $400 million), and will use $225 million in private money to pay for them. $120 million of the remaining funds would come from a hike in county bed taxes, with $44 million coming in a proposed state sales tax rebate.
Under the new proposal, the Dolphins would repay initial costs by 2043, but not the financing costs or expected interest payments (inflation will not be taken into account, either).
Additionally, the team will not accept any public money if the NFL does not award South Florida a Super Bowl for either 2017 or 2018. The league is expected to announce the site of the 2017 Super Bowl at an ownership meeting on May 22.
Miami will also pay penalties if certain milestones (including the awarding of four Super Bowls and four national championship football games) are not met by 2043. Finally, the team will agree to a non-relocation agreement through 2043. The deal would remain in place even if the team changes ownership.
The concessions are likely a signal that the team expects public resistance to the plan is significant. Any plan agreed to by the county will be subject to a public referendum, and a recent poll suggested resistance to the plan is widespread.
Offering to pay back the construction costs may be enough to ameliorate local voters, but it still will force the county to foot the bill for significant interest costs. The Dolphins also have to see a state bill pass to secure the state sales tax rebates.
Still, it is not every day that a sports team comes back to a government with a smaller price tag for stadium construction or repairs, so that might be enough for the Dolphins to bring enough of the public around to their side.