Update: February 2, 2011
UPDATE (2/2/11): New details in the Miami Dolphins' proposed funding plan to finance stadium renovations. Click here to read the Miami Herald article.
UPDATE (1/5/11): The Miami Dolphins are now seeking cross-county funding for their proposed stadium renovations, which would add up to about $225 million. Check out the article by the Miami Herald for more details.
* * *Bringing ten Super Bowls to the tropical setting of South Florida is a record-breaking feat of its own, but the Miami Dolphins and the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee are not stopping there. In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, rumored plans on stadium improvements were unveiled at Dolphin Stadium with the initiative of launching a committee to head this task.
Miami Dolphins CEO, Mike Dee, discussed the elements within the master plan to renovate aspects of the stadium. The improvements include:
- A state-of-the art metal roof to provide partial coverage (as seen above)
- More comfortable seats throughout the stadium
- Improved lighting to meet high definition broadcast requirements
- Increased lower bowl seating; approximately 300 more seats
This 621,000 square foot roof will be fixed (non-retractable) and will provide coverage from the stadium seats to the concourse area. Both lightweight and hurricane proof, this roof will meet the demands of the sometimes volatile storm systems that occasionally pass through the state of Florida. The design was derived from European architecture that is found in soccer stadiums throughout Europe.
Most importantly, the roof will provide much-needed shade and protection to the fans. Mr. Dee reiterated the importance of not having another incident like in 2007, where rain washed out some of Super Bowl XLI's luster in South Florida. And as for Dolphins fans, their concerns of battling scorching temperatures for early afternoon Dolphins games have now been answered.
Acknowledging that stadium seats are in excess on 23 years old, Mr. Dee announced a plan to replace current seats - some of which are broken or damaged - with newer and more comfortable ones. With comfort as a major aspect in the fan experience, Dolphin Stadium has slowly deteriorated its level of comfort through its aged seating. This will change all that.
Underneath the Bright Lights
Just like the seating, overhead lighting at Dolphin Stadium has not been improved for over two decades. This is a major priority for the Dolphins, regardless of the new roof initiative, because of the latest high definition developments in broadcast television. Current lights at the stadium do not provide proper illumination for the highest standards of picture quality.
The placement of these lights will have to change, along with the placement of the high definition video boards, with the implementation of the new roof. The stadium's current layout has both the lights and video boards above the bowl structure.
Closer to the Action
The final stage of the renovation process will involve a completely new lower bowl section, which will include an additional 300 seats. With the Florida Marlins projected to move out in 2012, Dolphin Stadium will no longer need to accommodate the sport of baseball; the primary factor behind the distanced seating near the field. And these seats will be arranged in a manner that will create better sight lines for fans and an enhanced experience, bringing them closer to the action.
New concrete will be poured in for this additional section and the lower bowl as whole, which will revive some of the older foundations of the stadium.
Financial details of this plan were not disclosed at the conference as the architectural design has not been set in stone, rather it is still a work in progress. An estimated $300 to $400 million dollars were rumored to be the projected budget for this project, with public funding as a potential option. If the public financing route is taken, backlash is likely to be experienced from South Florida taxpayers, which were already hesitant to fund the Florida Marlins new stadium.