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Dolphins agree to pay back public money for stadium renovation

The SportsXchange

In an unprecedented announcement, owners of the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday said they will repay the state of Florida for public monies designated for upcoming renovation and modernization of the team's home, Sun Life Stadium.

The Dolphins have agreed to pay $167 million in public money that is earmarked for the overall $389 million renovation and upgrading of the stadium. Of the $167 million, $120 million would go to Miami-Dade County, while $47 million will go to the state. The rest of the funding will come from the team and investors in the project.

Miami-Dade County voters are slated to vote on the proposal in May. If the vote passes, the Dolphins will have until the year 2043 to pay off the full amount, which would be partly funded by a one-cent increase in the tourist tax on hotels in the county..

In addition, the state is considering a bill that would raise sales tax on goods and services sold at the stadium, which is expected to raise about $3 million per year.

"We are not only committed to bringing Super Bowls, BCS Championships and international soccer to Miami by modernizing Sun Life Stadium, but we are also committed to crafting a fair and advantageous agreement for taxpayers," Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said. "Today, we have taken a huge step towards those goals by agreeing to pay the State of Florida back the money used to finance the construction project.

"Combined with the proposed repayment to the county, we have now committed to repaying $167 million in public funds - an unprecedented step certainly here in Florida and perhaps nationally."

The agreement comes with several clauses to add assurance to the county and taxpayers, including landing a future Super Bowl at the stadium once the project is completed. The Dolphins are expected to be awarded an upcoming Super Bowl at the May 22 meeting of NFL owners.

Other assurances include the team paying all costs associated with the May referendum; will pay up to $100 million in penalties if Sun Life Stadium fails to attract more Super Bowls, BCS games, international soccer matches and other events between now and 2043; and has agreed to remain in Miami-Dade County and in the stadium for at least the next 30 years.
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