MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 04: The Indianapolis Colts kickoff to the Chicago Bears after scoring in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLI on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
It may have just shed its Land Shark moniker, but Dolphin Stadium will need a more extensive face-lift if it expects to host more Super Bowls in the future.
With millions of dollars at stake, there's a plan for renovations. But it could cost the taxpayers millions anyway.
The key element to the proposal to upgrade the stadium involves placing some type of cover over the seated areas of the stadium.
It's a issue that cropped up in the aftermath of the last Superbowl held at the stadium, when the Indianapolis Colts slogged their way through rain and mud and past the Chicago Bears in 2007. While Peyton Manning and company couldn't have been happier, corporate Superbowl guests ended up soaking wet in the stands.
It's a situation NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to avoid. During a luncheon in Miami in December, the Commish made it clear that upgrades to the stadium needed to be made if the Dolphins were going to be competitive in hosting another Superbowl in the future.
It's a point Goodell reemphasized at last week's Dolphins-Steelers game.
"We're continuing to work to see what we can do to make sure this community, which is a great community and has a great opportunity here to continue to host Super Bowls, can have the most competitive bid," Goodell said.
A team of tourism officials, businesses leaders, politicians and members of the current host committee have been working To devise a plan to make renovations and come up with a way to pay for it.
We have learned that the architectural drawings outlining general concepts of the renovation appear to have been completed. The new look stadium would have a roof to cover the seating areas but still have an open playing field. Lighting would also be renovated as would seats in the lower ring of the stadium.
The financial benefit for a Superbowl in South Florida is projected at $450 million but the exact cost of renovations and exactly how improvements would be funded still must be determined.
New stadiums, like the billion dollar palace where the Dallas Cowboys play and the Arizona Cardinals home, are stealing some of South Florida's thunder.
To win more Superbowls and boost the economy, community leaders felt Goodell's comments had to be taken seriously and a plan quickly had to be developed to show the league South Florida intended to make the necessary improvements to the 'Fins home.
The public will find out much more about the possible improvements later in the week when the host committee and community leaders provide details on what they think needs to be done.
Both groups said they have always been sensitive to the public's concern over paying for any cost to improvements to stadiums, ball parks or arenas for sports teams. But they are balancing all the tourism dollars the big game generates every time Miami plays host.