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Super Bowl future uncertain for South Florida; so is Broward's role

Broward County was a focal point for the most recent Super Bowl in South Florida, in 2010. It could be a fringe player in the next bid to bring it back.

The Dolphins will join with the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee in the 50th anniversary championship game in 2016. Mike Dee, CEO of the Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, said this week that it has yet to be determined if the bid will be a regional effort, as in 2010, or a Miami-Dade initiative.

“That doesn’t mean Broward and Palm Beach counties don’t benefit from people who are coming here for the game. But in terms of NFL-sanctioned events and functions and where teams stay and where the epicenter of the event is, should that be Miami-Dade or should it be as it was in 2010. We’ve got to figure that out,” Dee said.

Significant upgrades are needed to keep Sun Life Stadium a viable Super Bowl site. Dee pointed out that Broward's opposition scuttled the Dolphins' latest bid for tourism funds for stadium improvements despite the economic benefit the county received in the last Super Bowl.

Though economic impact estimates of hosting the Super Bowl is hotly debated, it was documented that the 2010 game generated more direct spending in Broward than in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties combined.

It was the first of the 10 Super Bowls in South Florida that Broward was host for the NFL headquarters and Super Bowl media center. One of the team hotels was in a Fort Lauderdale, as were several media hotels.

Despite South Florida hosting more Super Bowls than any other region (New Orleans will host its 10th in 2013), there is much uncertainty about when the game will return. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear that improvements are needed to ensure Sun Life Stadium remains a viable site.

Last year the Dolphins sought hotel tax revenue from Broward and Miami-Dade via state legislation to help fund about $200 million in stadium renovations. Broward County Commissioners, who would have had to grant approval, expressed vehement opposition, using terms like “vile” and “shameful.” The measure failed.

The 2016 game also coincides with the Dolphins’ 50th anniversary, which gives the Dolphins extra motivation for hosting it.

“This is not your ordinary Super Bowl. It’s going to be a commemorative edition with a lot of special events and nostalgia,” Dee said. “We have a reputation. We have the history and tradition and know-how to put on big-time events. What we have to make sure is we don’t have a facility that falls below the minimum standard that is required to continue to host them.”

The Dolphins are revising their master plan of needs for upgrading the stadium, not only to keep it in the rotation for Super Bowls and BCS Championship games but to meet the needs of the Dolphins for the next generation. They are not currently seeking public money for renovations, but it will come.

Dee said that the team is at the debt limit allowed by the NFL due to stadium improvements in 2007.

“Super Bowls are awarded to communities, not to teams or franchises,” Dee said. “We’ll make the decision as a community as to whether or not we believe that Super Bowls and BCS Championships are important.

“If the community decides it’s important, we would love to partner with the community to make sure we have a best-in-class facility that enables us to compete over the long haul to get those events. If the community decides it’s not important, we’ll do our best with what we have to continue to get them.”

Categories: Super Bowl (53)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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