Miami Dolphins sweeten deal for stadium

Team agrees to repay state in Sun Life Stadium deal


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Miami Dolphins chief executive officer Mike Dee has sweetened the Dolphins deal once again in their campaign to win public support for upgrading Sun Life Stadium.

At a news conference Wednesday at the stadium, Dee said team owner Steve Ross has agreed to repay the state $47 million in sales tax money from a $3 million dollar-a-year rebate on goods and services sold at the stadium.

The state legislature is considering a bill that would authorize the rebate and also raise the hotel bed tax in mainland Miami-Dade by one per cent.

"Today in Tallahassee," Dee told reporters, "the sponsors of our bill announced that Steve Ross is willing to pay the state for the principal from the sales tax rebate, money that we want for stadium modernization."

The Dolphins say that their 25-year-old stadium needs nearly $400 million in improvements to remain competitive with newer stadiums around the NFL.

The Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers, who will move into a new stadium next year, are vying for Super Bowl L in 2016.  The loser will compete against the Houston Texans to host Super Bowl LI in 2017.

NFL team owners will announce the locations of Super Bowl L and LI on May 22 in Boston.

The Dolphins announcement was met with skepticism by Miami auto dealer and civic activist Norman Braman, who opposes using tax money for stadium improvements. 

"These are all gimmicks," Braman said of recent announcements by the Dolphins to pick up the expense of a referendum — estimated at $3 to $5 million — and to pay back Miami-Dade County for $120 million derived from a one per cent increase in hotel bed taxes.