The readers’ forum

With new proposal, Super Bowl is within reach

 

With his unprecedented commitment to modernize Sun Life Stadium with $350 million in private money, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has put Miami-Dade back in the Super Bowl hunt. It’s a game changer that gives our community the best chance to bring this big game home where it belongs, along with the millions in revenue that it will generate.

Last year, the Super Bowl Committee put together the best package we have ever submitted, and it was clear after our presentation to the NFL that Miami-Dade was a front-runner for either Super Bowl 50 or 51. I believed there was virtually no chance we would get shut out. However, it was made clear that, “No modernized stadium means no Super Bowl, period.”

There is no point belaboring what happened last year — to his credit, Ross is moving on and putting Miami-Dade first. Now we need to focus on the future and make sure we get this project moving sooner rather than later is in our long-term best interest. Remember what a Super Bowl means to our community — especially the taxi drivers, the waitresses, the hotel workers, and the small business men and women who are the biggest winners in these events.

The economic impact of last two Super Bowls was incredible, generating $463 million for the local economy in 2007 and another $336 million in 2010 during a down economy. Bed taxes were up more than 35 percent in February 2010, compared to February 2009, and approximately 20 percent in 2007 compared to the same week in 2006. The BCS Championship and the Orange Bowl games in 2013 were also huge benefits to the area, pumping in more than $223 million to the local economy.

Need more numbers? The modernization project at the stadium alone will have a total economic impact of $535 million in Miami-Dade during the two-year construction period, while generating 4,900 part-time and full-time jobs per year. That’s good for Miami Gardens, in particular, but all of Miami-Dade benefits.

The Dolphins are already an important part of our economy, supporting 14,000 full and part time jobs and generating more than $600 million annual income for workers and generating a total economic impact of more than $1.3 billion every year. Yet, the Dolphins are one of only three NFL teams to pay property taxes and the only sports franchise that pays property taxes in Florida.

So the idea the Dolphins are looking to be treated fairly relative to other sports franchises is a modest request at best. In exchange for reducing the taxes — not eliminating, just reducing — that the team pays, we get a modernized stadium that will bring Big Events back to Miami-Dade and secure the future of the Dolphins as our home team for another 20 years. When you consider that the construction work and the events themselves will boost revenues for the county, the schools and Miami Gardens — potentially generating more than enough to cover the minimal tax relief requested — it becomes an easy decision.

As chairman of the Super Bowl Host Committee, I am energized by the chance to bring the biggest event in the world back to Miami-Dade. The bids for Super Bowl 53 and 54 are due in August, so time is running short. The committee is ready to do its part to bring the game home. Now it’s up to Miami-Dade’s leaders to give us the opportunity to win.

Rodney Barreto, chairman, South Florida Super Bowl Bid Committee, Miami

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