MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross unveiled a plan to modernize Sun Life Stadium on Monday, promising to personally cover the majority of the $400 million estimated cost of the project.
The rest would come from tax dollars, and that would likely need approval from both state and local lawmakers. However, Ross said that any public dollars for the project would not result in higher taxes for residents of Miami-Dade County.
Instead, the Dolphins are looking for a slightly higher hotel tax in the county, as well as a larger state sales-tax rebate. And in return for the deal, the Dolphins say the deal would keep them in South Florida through at least 2034, though stopped short of saying that not getting public money would jeopardize the franchise's future.
The Dolphins' hope is to keep the stadium an attractive destination for major events like Super Bowls - such as the game's 50th installment, to come after the 2015 season - and college football's championship games.
They plan to add about 3,600 new seats closer to the field, improved amenities and a canopy roof that would shield fans from the elements of South Florida's often-harsh weather while preserving a natural-grass playing surface.
These plans are not entirely new. When the Miami area lost in the voting to host the 2014 Super Bowl, local tourism officials were even talking then about things like more seats, better sight lines and a 621,000-square-foot roof which many then called an "umbrella," perhaps still mindful of the scene in February 2007 when fans ran for cover as strong rain came down during the Indianapolis-Chicago title game.
"We have the best weather in the winter in this country," Ross said. "We sometimes forget that fact."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press