The Miami Dolphins will be raising the price of approximately 46 percent of their seats at Sun Life Stadium for 2016 and they are asking all current season ticket customers to commit to renewing for next season by December 18 — earlier than usual and before this season is over and a decision on the next head coach is made.
The Miami Herald learned of the team's intentions after multiple season ticket customers who had received their renewal letters emailed to complain mostly about the renewal deadline and secondly about price increases.
The Dolphins have confirmed renewal letters have been sent out and the December 18 deadline is correct. The team also confirmed some tickets will be increasing in price.
Per the team, less than eight percent of seats will be going up more than $5, although it is not immediately known how many are going up in the neighborhood of $5 and how many are going up a much more considerable amount than $5.
The team is also saying the price of 35,710 seats will remain flat or actually go down. That's 54 percent of the seats in the stadium.
But again, pricing is a secondary complaint among some fans. The timing on the decision to renew is the greater concern.
"This season will not even be over," said one season-ticket holder who emailed The Miami Herald unsolicited. "It seems to me that they clearly do not want season ticket holders to see what they are going to do next year before the renewal deadline.
"I think fans would be interested in hearing why they sent renewals this early, with such an early deadline."
The team said privately that this year's deadline is no different than that of some times in the past. But that is not true of all past years.
"The packages we received today demanding we renew by Dec. 18 at increased rates is insane," said another season ticket holder, who also emailed The Herald unsolicited. "The Dolphins tell us they can't refurbish the Club level for another year because they 'just' learned it is unsafe to work under a roof being built.
"The Dolphins are telling us that the early renewals are because they have a wait list.
"How stupid do the decision-makers at the Dolphins think we are? This is insulting to all fans."
Dolphins fans have been complaining to one degree or another since the refurbishing to Sun Life Stadium began last spring and the new seating arrangement changed prices and displaced some longtime fans from their seats.
But the club has boasted season ticket sales in 2015 was a booming success. The club actually sold out its '15 season ticket goals.
The football team's performance in that refurbished stadium has not been a booming success, however. The Dolphins are 4-6 and not currently looking like a postseason qualifier with six games to play. The team even fired head coach Joe Philbin in October and has a decision to make about its new head coach after the season is over.
Despite that lack of success on the field and the uncertainty on the coach and his staff, the club wants fans to make a purchase commitment with three games remaining in the season.