The good folks in the city of Miami must be weary of hearing about anything that has to do with new stadiums and upgrades to arenas and the like. After the poison pill they were just forced to swallow last season by Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Lurie, it would be a wonder to see the citizens of Miami agree to finance any type of structure for a team.
That apparently hasn’t stopped Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross from making a case to upgrade Sun Life Stadium, where the Dolphins now play their home games.
For his sake, I hope Ross made this case while wearing full riot gear.
In a recent Q&A with the Miami Herald, Ross stated, “As we disclosed in our financials, we don’t make a lot of money. In fact, we lose a lot of money. How do you turn that around? By winning football games. And how do you fill your seats? By winning football games,” He continued, saying, “What we’re talking about here won’t really bring any fans in if I’m not winning. It’s on the margin. But when I bought the team and told you then, I wanted to bring South Florida together and see what it can do to enhance the community.”
Not to cast any doubt on Ross’ good intentions or his hope for the team, but this sounds all too familiar, especially to the citizens of South Florida, who between the Marlins and Miami Heat, will be in perpetual tax debt just to have a place for their teams to play. At least LeBron James and company made it somewhat worthwhile in the case of the Heat.
The Mayor of Miami, Carlos Jimenez, has stated unequivocally that if public dollars are to be used in upgrading Sun Life Stadium, then a guarantee of being awarded a Super Bowl–either 50 or 51–has to be made, and foolishly it would seems as though Ross agreed to this.
Much like the case with the Atlanta Falcons and their proposed new stadium, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear (in so many words) that Super Bowl awards were going to be contingent on the stadium facilities. In other words, the Georgia Dome just don’t cut it any more, boys.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Goodell had not visited a similar conversation with Ross about Miami’s chances for hosting the big game.
The kicker was this; when asked by the Miami Herald if in his mind, Ross believed that Miami would not be awarded a Super Bowl if the stadium did not get the proposed upgrades, he answered:
“The feeling from the owners is they’re not going to come here. And the league is rewarding those cities that have modern facilities with Super Bowls. Why are we going to New York? Because they built a new stadium. And you have all these new stadiums that are either proposed or under construction — San Francisco, Minneapolis. Atlanta is building a new facility with a retractable roof. These are the type of things we’re competing with. The owners recognize it so I really believe they want to be here and if we have the facilities, they will come.”
So now Ross is hearing voices in his dreams, telling him to clear sugar cane fields and orange groves to pave the way for a Super Bowl? Sounds a bit suspect to me.
How about this; if you want it, build it or fix it…and then we’ll come and buy tickets, food and souvenirs to help you pay for it. That sounds like a better plan to me–not just for Miami, but for any city who is being held at financial gunpoint by a team owner.