Officials say Sun Life Stadium, which opened as Joe Robbie Stadium way back in 1987, is in need of renovations. But Miamians may not want to hear it.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz says the 25-year-old venue "absolutely" needs a roof to keep greater Miami as a leading Super Bowl host city.
"It makes a big difference economically," the Commissioner remarked, according to a Miami Herald report, though he did not say he would support public funding. "The problem is how do you express that to the people."
Indeed. Publicly funding the renovation, which would likely require a county referendum, may not go over well in light of the ongoing debacle that is Marlins Park, for which the county will pay roughly $2.4 billion when all is said and done, without having given taxpayers a say.
The Marlins' push for the stadium allegedly masked the club's profits and then left the City of Miami under an SEC investigation. In the team's most recent offensive move to residents, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria traded several highly-valued players just months after promising a new stadium meant he would finally increase the team's payroll. The Fish finished a dismal season among last-place finishers in the MLB.
Diaz's statement reiterates prior comments made by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who said Sun Life would require upgrades -- in addition to an estimated $300 million already spent on the stadium in the last decade -- to ensure South Florida continued to be a frontrunner host city.
Despite his threats, Miami is tied with New Orleans for most Super Bowl hosting gigs at 10, most recently in 2010, and is a finalist along with San Francisco to host the historic 50th Super Bowl in 2016.
According to the NFL, the last Miami Super Bowl weekend brought in an estimated $333 million in tourist revenues for South Florida businesses.
CORRECTION: A previous headline for this story incorrectly stated Commissioner Diaz said he "absolutely" supported public funding for the stadium. He said that the stadium "absolutely" needed a roof, but that "we have to look at all the variables involved" with regards to using public funds.