MIAMI GARDENS - The Miami Dolphins
unveiled on Thursday a vision for revamping their stadium that includes a metal roof structure that would completely cover the stadium seating, but leave the field open to the air and allow in the South Florida sunlight.
The roof is the biggest part of the proposal to prepare Dolphin Stadium
to host future Super Bowls, World Cups and other international events. Other changes include moving lower bowl seating much closer to the field and upgrading video scoreboards. All of the changes would be aimed at making the 23-year-old home of the Dolphins competitive with newer, larger, glitzier and more technologically advanced football stadiums around the league, such as those in Dallas and Arizona.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee presented renderings of the proposal to the South Florida Super Bowl
Host Committee, which voted unanimously to explore stadium renovations as a way to ensure Super Bowls return to the region after Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7. The NFL
has put South Florida on notice that without stadium upgrades, the big game is not assured of returning.
Dee and Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto said no cost estimates or sources to pay for the renovations have been determined. They insisted that unveiling the proposal was about beginning the discussions to see if the community wants to continue hosting the Super Bowls. Dee said he expects a price tag to be determined within the next few weeks.
"This is not about the Dolphins or the stadium," Dee said. "It's about economic development. It's about being able to compete for events on a national and international level."
Dee said the previous Super Bowl in South Florida in 2007 pumped about $400 million directly into local businesses and hundreds of millions more in media and marketing exposure.
Although South Florida is to host its record 10th Super Bowl on Feb. 7, the community lost out to New Orleans, which is vastly upgrading the Superdome, in its bid for the 2013 game. It has stiff competition, including the new stadium being built for the New York Giants
, for the 2014 game.
Under the proposal unveiled Thursday, the roof would be 621,000 square feet and be placed 25 feet above the top of the existing seating bowl and have four support structures above that resemble the supports on a suspension bridge. Although the roof would be metal, it would be structured to allow the light in and the field would remain uncovered