Last week the attention of the international soccer world was focused on Miami Gardens. Sun Life Stadium hosted the final four matches of the Guinness International Champions Cup, including the championship match in which Real Madrid defeated Chelsea (3-1).
Organizers called it a “perfect-storm” tournament final -- top teams with huge fan bases and international star power, playing for a trophy with a high-profile coaching saga at the center of the match.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross holds a press conference to announce renovation plans for Sun Life Stadium on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. The team's bid to get public funding later failed in the state legislature.
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Wednesday that he remains committed to winning public dollars for the team’s proposed stadium renovations, and would not rule out a return to Tallahassee in 2014.
“Have I given up? The answer is no,” Ross said, speaking to reporters during his first major news conference since last spring’s legislative defeat.
Ross’ bid for both state and county financing for the $350 million rehab project died when House Speaker Will Weatherford declined to put the bill up for a vote during the legislative session.
On January 14th, 2013 the Miami Dolphins announced a controversial plan to completely renovate Sun Life Stadium. The proposed renovations to the 25-year-old facility included expanded seating, a canopy to cover fans and new high-def video screens. The Miami Dolphins promised to privately finance at least half of the cost. The remaining funding would come from a $3 million-per-year tax rebate for the Dolphins and a 1% increase to the Miami-Dade County hotel bed tax.
A Florida Senate committee's smiling approval of the Miami Dolphin's request for stadium renovation money may have set off a flurry of similar campaigns by sports teams and enterprises around the state.
The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved sales tax breaks that would help the Dolphins finance a $400-million renovation of Sun Life Stadium. The team is still hoping for a penny increase in the hotel bed tax for the rest of the public share of the bill, which it says will be less than half of the total cost.
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The Dolphins win the first battle in their fight for public funding to renovate Sun Life Stadium, with the Miami-Dade County Commission agreeing to ask the state for an increase in the hotel tax. But Florida state lawmakers might not be receptive.
The Miami Dolphins say they're willing to foot most of the bill for a badly needed facelift for Sun Life stadium -- and are hoping state and local funding will supply the rest. But lingering taxpayer anger over another stadium deal could be hanging over the proposal like a dark cloud.