The National Football League could contribute $150 million toward the Miami Dolphins proposed stadium renovation, lowering the direct costs to the team for the estimated $350 million project, according to a county report released Tuesday.
Miami-Dade officials see the NFL and Dolphins contributions as coming from the same pot of private money, which would account for about 55 percent of the costs and leave the county paying about a third. But the NFLs contribution had been one of the last remaining questions as county commissioners meet Wednesday to consider a last-minute deal between the Dolphins and Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who want to ask voters to raise hotel taxes to upgrade the 1987 facility.
Teams may use revenue that otherwise would go to the NFL to instead pay down a league loan used for stadium construction or renovation, provided the project has government participation. A Tuesday report on the proposed Sun Life Stadium financing deal prepared for the county by the PFM Group consultancy in Coral Gables notes the Dolphins would likely qualify for $150 million in NFL financing.
That would leave the Dolphins to raise another $41 million to reach the $191 million in private dollars owner Stephen Ross has committed to the $350 million project, or about 12 percent of the total, according to Miami Herald calculations. Miami-Dade would contribute enough hotel tax dollars for the Dolphins to borrow about $112 million, or about 32 percent of the total. A new state subsidy would give the Dolphins an additional $47 million.
A Dolphins spokesman said it is speculation to try to determine how much money the NFL might contribute to the deal or how it might impact the Dolphins direct contributions. He also disagreed with the calculations.
Add in about $170 million in rebates the Dolphins will pay the county and state after 30 years, and a team spokesman said the Dolphins will end up contributing 70 percent of the renovation costs. How the team does it really doesnt matter, spokesman Eric Jotkoff said in a statement Tuesday night.
Some of the dollar amounts were outlined in a summary Gimenez sent commissioners Tuesday night, though the full paperwork to finalize the plan has not been released. Among the new tidbits:
Ross would have to pay the county $20 million if he sells the team in the next five years. The Dolphins would also sign a 30-year agreement not to leave Miami-Dade.
• The Dolphins would follow the countys small-business hiring standards and have as an aspirational goal to hire at least half of its construction workers from Miami-Dade, with 5 percent from Miami Gardens, home of the stadium.
• The Dolphins would reimburse Miami-Dade for the referendum, expected to cost $4.8 million, and for the costs incurred for hiring outside consultants to advise Miami-Dade on the deal, estimated at $50,000.
An outline of the NFLs so-called G4 financing was not included in the Gimenez summary, but mentioned in the attached PFM report. Since the Dolphins can pay back the NFL loan with revenue that would otherwise go to the league, the financing would be cash flow neutral to the team, PFM added, while noting it had not received information directly from the team on potential loans.
Since launching the public push for government dollars for a stadium renovation in January, Dolphins executives have declined to talk about NFL loans, saying it was too early to say how much money might be available.