Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dee and South Florida Super Bowl bid committee chairman Rodney Barreto took turns Thursday making major announcements regarding Sun Life Stadium and future Super Bowls.
Barreto spoke first and said the “core activities” for Super Bowl L would take place in downtown Miami, from the mouth of the Miami River north to the Adrienne Arsht Center.
Dee, back from the owners’ meetings in Phoenix, made a significant pledge on behalf of the Dolphins: Any stadium plan voted on by Miami-Dade voters would be contingent on South Florida being awarded a Super Bowl when the owners vote on May 22 in Boston.
On that day, owners will award Super Bowl L to either South Florida or Santa Clara, Calif.; and Super Bowl LI will be awarded to either Houston or the area that loses out on Super Bowl L.
“We believe it’s that important,” Dee said. “Super Bowl L has driven the process and has driven the timeline, and we believe that May 22 we’ll be returning from Boston victorious with Miami’s 11th Super Bowl with us.
“With this guarantee, Miami-Dade leaders and voters can know that by supporting the efforts to modernize Sun Life Stadium, they will directly be supporting the Super Bowl coming back to Miami. When I say guarantee, I’m not guaranteeing anything. I’m not Joe Namath predicting the outcome of a Super Bowl. But we are guaranteeing that the referendum will be predicated upon a successful Super Bowl outcome on May 22.”
Dee said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross worked diligently during the owners’ meetings to push the merits of South Florida getting another Super Bowl.
“I saw Steve Ross work harder perhaps than I’ve ever seen him work before on behalf of the Super Bowl bid committee and this community in meeting with NFL officials, meeting with other owners, promoting Miami as a great destination for the Super Bowl,” Dee said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested Wednesday in Phoenix that stadium renovations could be key to South Florida’s Super Bowl bid.
“I think we’ve made the point several times that the competition for Super Bowls is elevated, in large part because of stadiums,” Goodell said. “Miami is a great, great city for the Super Bowl. We want to be back there, but they’re seeing increasing competition.”
Ross announced plans in January to modernize Sun Life Stadium through the use of a majority of private funds and a percentage of public money that would be generated without raising taxes on Miami-Dade residents. It’s a 22-project plan, which includes adding a canopy over the 25-year-old building, improving the seating and stadium lighting and adding four new video boards in each corner, among other upgrades. The public participation would be funded by a 1-cent increase in the tourist tax in Miami-Dade County and a $3 million per year tax rebate from the state of Florida on goods and services sold at the stadium.
To date, bills filed by Rep. Eduardo Gonzalez and Senator Oscar Braynon have passed three Senate Committees and one House Committee by overwhelming majorities. Once a firm deal is reached between the team and the county it will be brought to the voters in the form of a public referendum.
“While there are many more details to resolve, we continue to do everything in our power to make this a private-public partnership that Miami-Dade County can be proud of, can be supportive of and, most importantly, vote for when we have the referendum in May, a winning partnership that promises to create a lot of economic value and jobs for this community,”
Dee said. “The partnership isn’t only about improving the fan experience for the Dolphins, it’s about benefiting the entire community and not just for Super Bowls but for national championship games and world-renowned soccer as well.”
Barreto’s announcement dealt with Super Bowl L specifically.
In addition to saying Miami would be the focal point of the Super Bowl activities, he said four “major event companies” would be involved. While he wouldn’t divulge their identities, Barreto said they were involved with the Olympics.
Said Barreto: “We have a group of companies that we have married together who’ve never worked together to help us put together an incredible production in downtown Miami, the likes that no one has ever seen before.”
Barreto also made it point that Broward County and all of South Florida would benefit from getting Super Bowl L, not just Miami.
“Broward is still our partner,” Barreto said. “The victory in Miami will be a victory for Broward. It’s real simple. If we’re going to have future Super Bowls here, Broward will certainly be a partner and they’ll benefit, whether they participate in this process or not.”
Barreto certainly seems to like South Florida’s chances of landing Super Bowl L. When Dee was asked what made him more confident after the owners’ meetings, Barreto jumped in with, “We’re believers, baby.”