Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wanted to let the public know just how dire the situation facing Sun Life Stadium is, so he invoked the city of San Diego.
Speaking at the NFL's annual meeting taking place in Phoenix this week, Ross said Monday that if measures to help fund renovations Sun Life Stadium do not pass, South Florida will likely not be awarded any Super Bowl hosting duties by the NFL anytime soon.
"I do know without a renovated or modernized stadium, Miami is not going to get Super Bowls," he said to media in Phoenix. "And I don't want us to become another San Diego."
Why bring up San Diego at such a critical moment? "They didn't do anything to the stadium, and they haven't had a Super Bowl there in what, 15 or 20 years," Ross explained. Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego has hosted three Super Bowls, the most recent one in 2003, ten years ago.
Miami, on the other hand, has hosted ten Super Bowls (the most recent in 2010, the last five were played at Sun Life Stadium) and is a finalist (along with San Francisco) for Super Bowl L in 2017.
Ross has pledged $199 million towards the expected $400 million price tag for Sun Life's renovations, which include a canopy over the seating areas, upgraded concessions, new lighting, and other features.
The team is asking the state and local governments for financial assistance to cover the rest of the costs. A Florida Senate panel approved a measure for a $3 million per year state sales tax rebate (which still needs to be approved by the full Senate).
In May, Miami-Dade residents will vote on a measure that would hike mainland hotel bed taxes by a percentage point, with new funds earmarked for the stadium plan. A recent poll obtained by the Miami Herald showed widespread opposition to the plan, however.
Ross tried once again to present his team as a good corporate citizen who had never asked for public funds before, but must in order to keep attracting major events like the Super Bowl to South Florida.
"We're the only team in the country that doesn’t have any public dollars with our stadium," he said (though that would obviously change if Ross had his way). "We're the only team in Florida and the only team in the NFL that pays full real estate taxes. We're not looking to be relieved of that. We understand what's good for the local community. And Miami where it is and the deal we're offering would be a setback for the whole community."