Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross now says he doesn’t want property tax breaks or hotel tax kickbacks to help pay for a renovation of Sun Life Stadium; rather, he is now seeking to be paid for each major event that he hosts at the stadium:
Those events would include Super Bowls, World Cup soccer, large international soccer matches, and national college championship and play-off games. Sources close to the talks said the Dolphins are also proposing that major concerts be eligible for bonus payments, pointing to the large number of tourists who flew in for last summer’s sold-out performance at Sun Life by Justin Timberlake and Jay Z.
On the one hand, there’s something to be said for a pay-for-performance model, where at least Ross only gets money if he generates local economic activity. On the other hand, this is — what’s the term? — batshit crazy, given that many of those concerts and major sports events would have happened with or without the subsidies, that most of the people who go to them are not from out of town, that many of those who are out-of-towners are in town already for other reasons, etc.
This is clearly the latest shot in the dark by Ross to find a subsidy scheme that will fly with Miami politicians and residents, but it’s also a potentially new wrinkle in the sports-subsidy game: Don’t just use those inflated economic impact figures as a justification for throwing money at teams, but actually base what the teams get on the inflated economic impact figures. Lord knows whether it’ll work, but given that Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has already said of the size of subsidies relative to the benefits of, say, a Super Bowl, “It’s a small incentive based on economic impact,” Ross may just have hit upon something.