Miami Dolphins to repay state in stadium deal

Team looks for public money to fund renovations at Sun Life Stadium

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - The Miami Dolphins agreed to repay the state of Florida for its contribution to help fund the modernization of Sun Life Stadium if a bill providing a sales tax rebate passes the Florida Legislature., the team announced Wednesday.

Senate Bill 306 provides an annual $3 million state sales tax rebate to the Miami Dolphins for 30 years to fund upgrades at Sun Life Stadium, contingent upon a favorable vote by Miami-Dade voters to also raise the local bed tax levy by one cent.

The Dolphins would repay the principle balance derived from the rebate, or about $120 million to the county and $47 million to the state. The Dolphins also pledged to repay money the team would get from an increase in hotel bed taxes in Miami-Dade County.

The state and county money would be repaid at the end of the term in 2043, assuming the project is approved by Miami-Dade voters in the local referendum.

"We are not only committed to bringing Super Bowls, BCS Championships and international soccer to Miami by modernizing Sun Life Stadium, but we are also committed to crafting a fair and advantageous agreement for taxpayers," Dolphins chief executive officer Mike Dee said. "Today, we have taken a huge step towards those goals by agreeing to pay the State of Florida back the money used to finance the construction project. Combined with the proposed repayment to the county, we have now committed to repaying $167 million in public funds – an unprecedented step certainly here in Florida and perhaps nationally."

The Dolphins have agreed to pay for the special election, if the state allows it. The team also offered to allow the county to opt-out of its referendum, assuming it passes, if the team failed to receive Super Bowls L or LI.

The Dolphins are competing against the San Francisco 49ers to host Super Bowl L in 2016. The loser will compete against the Houston Texans to host Super Bowl LI in 2017.

The NFL is expected to announce where Super Bowl L will be played on May 22.

Dolphins management as well as other South Florida backers contend that $400 million worth of renovations to Sun Life Stadium will help the area in an effort to lure the Super Bowl for its 50th anniversary. But the renovations will also benefit the University of Miami Hurricanes and could help the state lure international soccer games. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants to use state and local dollars to help pay for the renovations.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.