Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said Wednesday that it’s “too early to tell” if the team will ask for public assistance in upgrades to Sun Life Stadium, but a decision on whether the Dolphins will make a renewed push for tax dollars should come in the next month or two.
Yet growing rancor about the Marlins’ stadium situation could weaken the Dolphins’ hand, should the organization seek public funding for renovations to its aging facility, Dee acknowledged.
“We have to have a plan and have dialogue with the community to see if there’s an appetite for that,” Dee said. “We’ve got a 25-year-old facility. It clearly needs some tender, loving care.”
Time is not on the Dolphins’ side, however, should the franchise choose to request public dollars for capital improvements. The team is in the running to host Super Bowls in 2016 and 2017, and the bid — with the expected condition of Sun Life Stadium — is due in 21 weeks, Dee said.
Team officials would not speculate on a possible price tag for renovations — which potentially would include seating improvements, high-definition lighting and a canopy to shield game-goers from the elements — or how it would be paid for. When the team made a failed push for funding a few years ago, estimates were in the range of $225 million.
That’s less than what the Marlins got from public coffers for their half-billion-dollar facility, which opened last spring. Opinion was split, to put it mildly, on funding that stadium, and those sentiments have only hardened in the wake of the ballclub’s recent salary dump.
“We read the paper and watch television and listen to the fans,” Dee said. “That’s why we haven’t made a decision if we would move forward” with requesting public funding.
“We’re studying everything and hope to have something in 30 to 60 days,” Dee added.
Dee again pointed out that Sun Life Stadium is the last non-renovated older facility in the running for Super Bowls. The cities competing against Miami for the games in ’16 and ’17 — San Francisco and Houston — either have a modern facility or are in the process of building one.
The Dolphins organization gave away approximately 750 Thanksgiving meals to families in need from Miami-Dade and Broward County on Wednesday.
Players, coaches and even owner Stephen Ross distributed the boxed meals, which were purchased by the team’s players. Former Dolphins offensive coordinator Howard Schnellenberger — who won a national championship at the University of Miami before helping create the football program at Florida Atlantic — also participated.
“When I bought the team the important thing was really connecting with the community, participating in the community and enhancing the community and bringing it together,” Ross said. “I think you can see today what an event like this does. It’s something that you feel good about being a participant.”
THIS AND THAT
• Linebacker Austin Spitler missed Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, but later said he expects to play Sunday against Seattle.
Karlos Dansby (biceps), Brandon Fields (knee), Mike Pouncey (ankle) and Jimmy Wilson (ribs) all participated fully.
• Sunday’s Dolphins-Seahawks game will appear on local television, the team announced Wednesday.