Steve Ross' grim expression before the Super Bowl finalists made their pitches at Tuesday's NFL meetings was the tipoff. The Miami Dolphins' owner sensed his fellow owners would snub South Florida, as they did in awarding the Super Bowls in 2016 and '17 to San Francisco and Houston. Likely contributing to Ross' demeanor was that earlier the owners approved $200 million in NFL support for the new stadium in Atlanta, as well as assistance for renovations for Philadelphia and Carolina. The Dolphins didn't get tourist tax money for modernizing Sun Life Stadium. Without it, they can't get NFL funding through the G4 loan program. The aging stadium is no longer the elephant in the room. It is a glaring issue that isn't going away, and the Super Bowl isn't coming back until it is dealt with. College football championship games are also in question as the new playoff system will require a bid process similar to the NFL's (Sun Life will remain in rotation for college semifinals). "We have to go forward now and figure out how we can make it happen," Ross said of stadium renovations. "It should be a real public-private partnership. That's how all these other cities got their stadiums. That's how these new stadiums are being built in this country. "Hopefully, Miami recognizes that and what it does for Miami, and we can figure out solutions to make that happen as soon as possible." Ross was asked again about whether he would ever consider footing the entire bill to renovate the stadium he owns. Also, about the feasibility of raising enough money through other sources without tapping into tax dollars. "We disclosed what our financials were. It's not a great money-making operation for me," he said. "The teams get nothing out of [hosting] the Super Bowl. It's what you do for the community. I think everybody benefits. It's about jobs, it's about tourism.That's why it's a public-private partnership. "It's about how do you bring those marquee events? How do you make Miami the world-class city that it should be?" As it relates to the Dolphins, Ross said his immediate concern is more about the team's performance on the field. "My job is to make sure that we win, and I like the direction we're going today," Ross said of the team's offseason moves. "We'll fill up the stadium if we're winning in Miami. If I modernize the stadium and I'm not winning, the people aren't going to come anyway." The new elephant in the room is what will happen when the stadium is no longer viable for the Dolphins. Ross has been emphatic that he won't move the team out of South Florida. But he is 73, and it is not known how long he intends to remain the owner. "I think right now it's a lot cheaper to spend the money in bringing it up to speed. Our plans were to make it the equivalent of a new stadium," Ross said. "If you continue waiting, you're going to have to build a whole new stadium, and then it's going to be a question of where in South Florida does that stadium reside. I want it to be in Miami [Gardens] where it is with a modernized stadium."
Ross: Public-private funding needed to fix stadium
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | May 23