The Miami Dolphins have abandoned their plan to hand over ownership of Sun Life Stadium to the county in exchange for tax breaks in favor of a new compromise that would see the county offering incentive payments to the team for every major event booked in the stadium.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has spent the past few years trying to find funds to renovate the aging stadium. After a proposal to use public money died in the state legislature, Ross discussed the possibility of handing over ownership with county mayor Carlos Gimenez. The problem: the Dolphins are the single largest tax payers in Miami Gardens and also kick in about $1 million a year in taxes to the school board. Neither Miami Gardens or the school board were particularly keen on the plan.
According to the Miami Herald, Gimenez and Ross are now discussing a plan that would see the county kicking in essentially what would be event finder fees to the Dolphins.
"It's kind of similar to what we do when we try to bring companies," Gimenez told the Herald. "You perform, you get something."
The exact amount of the payments are not known, but the county would kick in if the stadium lured Super Bowls, World Cup games, other large international soccer games and college football championship and playoff games. The team is also eager to add large concerts to the list.
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News of the deal comes one day after the NFL awarded the 2018 Super Bowl to Minneapolis. NFL officials have made it pretty clear that Miami will not host another Super Bowl until stadium renovations are complete.
Though, there might also be another layer: the University of Miami Hurricanes. The college team is currently locked into a lengthy lease with Sun Life, though there's long been rumors that the school is entertaining the possibility of playing in David Beckham's proposed MLS soccer stadium.
Gimenez tells the paper he asked the Dolphins point blank what it would take to get the Hurricanes out of that lease. Of course, Beckham's stadium would have to be built with a larger capacity and additional facilities if it were to also host the Hurricanes.