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Miami's future as a Super Bowl host city depends on Sun Life Stadium improvements

One day after celebrating a record tenth Super Bowl, a game that exceeded the expectations of most football purists, our host city and the power brokers are gearing up for the next Super Bowl in Miami.

With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claiming Miami’s Super Bowl future is contingent upon improvements to presently-named Sun Life Stadium (the name of the stadium has changed three times in the last 18 months), the Super Bowl is forcing Miami-Dade to reassess its loyalties.

Should it be to Miami, the Super Bowl, or the citizens of Miami-Dade County?

The sticking point here is how to pay for the more than $200 million in improvements it is said are necessary to transform Sun Life Stadium into a less susceptible to rain and glaring sun venue. In the world of elite event planning and hosting these types of demands from the event’s principals aren’t uncommon or unreasonable. What makes this situation atypical is volume of conflicting and competing interests.

The state government’s interest is implicated where, as The Miami Herald reports, legislators will have to be cajoled to allow what could amount to open season on tourism taxes. Legislators would be asked to remove the hotel tax limit so the stadium’s facelift could be fund by visitor to Miami- Dade. Such an endeavor could not only create what former head of Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Stuart Blumberg, called a “bandwagon” effect, but with the state in a cash crunch, raise serious questions about the state’s priorities.

Miami-Dade’s interest is as entangled where public funds were wrestled into funding the Florida Marlins new stadium. The mayor has evidenced his subjective view of two stadium projects, and doesn’t support the Sun Life project.

Furthering the entanglement is the interest of the citizens. When tax dollars are allocated for public use and then reallocated to fund ventures of private entities, telling the public such measures are for the good of the community just don’t pass the smell taste. So many times the purported plan is to address a public issue, but once lid is off plan takes turn not anticipated by the funders—the public.

The question begs, will this stadium issue be business as usual? Will the privately held Sun Life stadium get free renovations to boost its privately held revenue? Will Miami-Dade and the state legislature leverage its depleted tax revenue for chance at a once in five year event?

In May the courting for the 2014 Super Bowl begins.


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