Will the decision by Florida lawmakers to bypass a referendum that would make improvements to Sun Life Stadium ultimately cost the City of Miami the Dolphins football franchise?
According to a story written by Alex Parish of thePhinsider.com, “The decision by Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford not to bring the stadium bill to a vote before the legislative session has severely bruised the egos of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and CEO, Mike Dee.”
The decision also all but eliminated the Dolphins from hosting Super Bowl L. San Francisco will likely be the host city for the NFL’s biggest game.
The bill, which calls for over $400 million in renovations, was put aside and not even discussed in detail, by Weatherford and other members of Congress in Florida. The effect, said Dee, could be felt in the long range plans of the organization with a possibly move in the future if the stadium the Dolphins play in, is not renovated in the near future.
Things look grim for this franchise if the demands for repairs to the 26-year-old stadium are not met. Right now, the franchise is looking to make $400 million in renovations to the aging facility.
The failure to have the bill read in congress could also have an effect on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they bid on hosting future Super Bowls.
If the writing is truly on the wall, as Dee has stated and the Dolphins are a franchise (much like the Jaguars were when team owner Shad Khan first bought them) of being on a short list for Los Angeles or another city in the United States, what will it do to an already wilting fanbase? The Jaguars in Jacksonville are the only team in the state to sell out all their games last season.
Team owner Stephen Ross was very vocal about his feelings toward Weatherford and the State after he and Dee thought they had done their “due diligence” in trying to get this passed so the Dolphins could not only host the NFL’s biggest event, but the stadium would get the renovations it needed.
Every time a story is now written about an NFL franchise moving to the Los Angeles area, the usual suspects of San Diego and Minnesota will be talked about, but the Dolphins will be added to that list. It’s not as far-fetched as it seems, but it is odd to think of it that way.
Owner Stephen Ross committed to providing 70 percent of the cost, but he would need assistance on the rest. An article in ESPN further states that the Dolphins were hoping to get $3 million a year for the next 30 years to provide the other 30 percent and that the money would come from the state."
Miami is considered one of the more hallowed franchises in the NFL for its dominance in the league from the 1970s through the mid 1980s. The team’s success has been meager of late, which also adds to the potential for a move from south Florida.