The Miami Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium is currently in the midst of a $350 million renovation project that the team hopes will help it in future bids to host the Super Bowl. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, team officials, and politicians led a tour of the 28-year-old stadium on January 16 to show off the progress that is being made.
The project includes construction of a new canopy to provide shade over 92 percent of the seats at kickoff. The current canopy only provides shade to about 17 percent of fans. Fans have long complained about the heat and humidity in Florida, even in the fall. Many people choose not to attend Dolphins or Miami Hurricane games for that very reason. The canopy will largely solve that problem and will also allow Sun Life Stadium to keep its grass field.
Workers are in the process of removing all the seats in the stadium so that they can be replaced. The stadium’s capacity will be reduced from 75,000 to 65,000, and 3,600 seats will be moved closer to the sidelines.
The project also includes other upgrades to help it compete with other stadiums. Four high-definition video boards will be hung in the corners of the stadium. Concourses and concession stands will be renovated, and new suites will be added, as well as unique seating and club options for fans, businesses, and families.
Ross said he hopes that the renovations will allow Miami to host the Super Bowl three to five times in the next 20 years. He hopes to host the game again in 2019 or 2020.
The Super Bowl has been hosted in the Miami area 10 times. The last five times it was played in Sun Life Stadium. Miami has not hosted the game since 2010. The NFL has awarded the Super Bowl since then to facilities that are newer or have better amenities.
The renovations are being funded entirely by Ross. Miami-Dade County will pay the Dolphins each time the stadium hosts a major event. The Dolphins agreed as part of the deal not to move out of Miami-Dade County for the next 30 years. The Sun Life Stadium will keep its name for now, but the Dolphins are looking for a new partner for naming rights.
The renovations are being completed in two phases and are not expected to impact any football games. The work is expected to be completed in 2016.