Miami-Dade Commissioners approved a deal Tuesday that would pay the Miami Dolphins for hosting the Super Bowl and other major sporting events.
The deal was approved by a 7-4 vote. Commissioners Lynda Bell, Esteban "Steve" Bovo, Xavier Suarez and Juan C. Zapata were no votes.
“I want to thank the Board of County Commissioners and Mayor Gimenez for approving this unique and creative plan to bring Super Bowls and other marquee events to Miami-Dade County," Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement. "We have one of the world's most aspirational cities and as such, deserve a stadium that will provide significant economic impact to Miami-Dade County. This will not only secure the future of the Dolphins, but will ensure that Miami has one of the world's best venues to host events of this magnitude going forward."
The plan would finally push forward long-awaited renovations to Sun Life Stadium. Ross would pay for the renovations himself and with NFL money and possibly other sources in exchange for the payments from the county for attracting Super Bowls and other big events.
Ross pushed for public money for renovations for Sun Life stadium, but the Florida Legislature never let the issue get to the voters with the plan dying in the Florida House last year. Since then, the Dolphins have pitched various plans including at one point a tax exemption for the team from Miami Gardens.
The proposal would pay the team $4 million for each Super Bowl, $3 million for the national college football championship, $2 million for college football playoff games, and events selling at least 55,000 tickets would see the county pay $750,000, according to the Miami Herald.
In addition, according to the Herald, if Miami landed a World Cup championship soccer game it would be worth $4 million and a semi-final would also generate $2 million.
The Herald also reported that Miami-Dade could delay payments to the Dolphins until 2025, but the team could accumulate credit for events starting in 2016 when the renovation is expected to be completed. The deal, according to the Herald, also caps a year’s worth of events at $5 million.
The deal would also keep the Dolphins in Miami-Dade County for the next 30 years.
The Dolphins would be competing against several brand new stadiums to bring the Super Bowl back to South Florida. Super Bowl 50 will be at the brand new Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco while Super Bowl 52 will be held in Minneapolis’ new stadium.
The earliest Super Bowl the Dolphins could bid on would be 2019 and 2020, but the city would likely face a tough test from Atlanta which is building a brand new billion dollar stadium for the Falcons to replace the Georgia Dome, which is not as old as Sun Life Stadium.