While we’re approaching the dead period of the NFL year, but the Dolphins’ business side is gearing up for a busy summer.
Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel briefed reporters on what will keep him occupied in the coming months Wednesday.
The topics included included:
▪ Stadium renovations: Phase 3 of Hard Rock Stadium’s modernization remains on pace, but as expected, won’t be completed in time for Sunday’s U2 concert.
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“We've got 800 guys there from 6:30 in the morning till 11 at night on two shifts,” Garfinkel said. “Everything's moving along very well. When we accepted the U2 concert, we knew that we wouldn't quite be done with the suites and those things, so the suites won't be open for the U2 concert, but we knew that when we accepted the concert. There will be some Pardon Our Dust signs around and things for the concert, but everything else will be open and ready to go.”
The cheapest get-in on StubHub for U2 is right around $100. (For those going: the parking lots will open at 3 p.m., and gates will open at 5).
The club and suite levels should be ready for El Clasico in late July.
▪ Dolphins uniforms: The team will again wear its popular throwback jerseys in 2017; the Dolphins have notified the league that they’ll use their 1966 uniforms for two games, the most allowed by NFL rules.
However, a permanent change back to Miami’s old colors — which many fans want — isn’t happening in the foreseeable future.
“I'd say there have been fans that certainly love that aspect of the uniform and we love it too,” Garfinkel said. “There's a long time-frame. You can't just change uniforms on a whim. I'd say we're listening to fans, we evaluate everything and we're open minded, but as of right now, there's no plans to change.”
As for those widely ridiculed Creamsicle orange Color Rush jerseys that owner Stephen Ross thought were gauche? They’re gone; the Dolphins will be in all white for their designated Color Rush game at Baltimore.
▪ Improving traffic around the stadium: The Dolphins plan to address ingress and egress (we love those terms), but not quite yet.
“I think a big thing we're still working on that we're trying to finalize is we're trying to get pedestrian bridges and tunnels across the roadways,” Garfinkel said. “The vehicular traffic has to wait for the pedestrian traffic, and that's what slows everything down. When you have to stop all the cars and let 1,000 people cross the street, it backs all the cars up. If we can get bridges and tunnels at a couple of those key arteries for the pedestrians, that's going to help. The cars will just flow out after the game naturally and will substantially reduce time. That's a 2018 season before it's done. We're working on getting that finalized. We think that will be a substantial improvement.”
▪ Potentially moving the Miami Open to Hard Rock: It’s been two months since news broke that Ross was open to building a tennis facility adjacent to his stadium, if the necessary improvements aren’t made to Crandon Park to keep the Miami Open there. But Garfinkel was reluctant to say if such a move was likely.
“Can't comment on that right now,” he said. “There really is nothing substantial to talk about at this time with regards to that. If there is, I'll let you know.”