Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez revealed the rate schedule for his plan to pay the Miami Dolphins for any major events held at a renovated Sun Life Stadium, which team owner Stephen Ross would turn around and use to pay off stadium renovations. And it goes like this:
Miami-Dade would pay the Dolphins a maximum of $5 million a year based on this bonus schedule:
• $4 million for a Super Bowl or World Cup finals match
• $3 million for a World Cup semi-final or a national college-football championship
• $2 million for a college play-off game
• $750,000 for an “international soccer match or other sporting event which attract significant tourists to Miami-Dade County with at least 55,000 Paid Tickets distributed.” A source close to the talks said the yearly Orange Bowl would not be eligible for a bonus payment.
How much would this subsidy would be worth to Ross is tricky to say without knowing how many events he’d end up hosting. World Cup games in the U.S. come around once in a generation, so it’s almost not worth worrying about that; a Super Bowl every 5-10 years is reasonable to expect, and college football playoff games and soccer matches would be expected even more often.
If the Dolphins managed to max out their $5 million subsidy every year, that would be worth about $77 million (present value) over 30 years; tack on a possible $3 million a year subsidy from the state (I had it at $2 million, but the Miami Herald says $3 million) and you’re at a maximum $123 million in public funds that Ross could get toward an estimated $350-400 million in stadium renovations.
To cover most of the rest, Ross would avail himself of NFL G-4 funds, which mostly come out of money that the team owner would otherwise have to pay to the league. There’s previously been scuttlebutt in Miami that Ross could only get G-4 money if he were getting public funding, but previous events in Philadelphia and Washington seem to indicate that that’s not necessary; if so, then Ross and the NFL may have just tricked Gimenez into coughing up public money by, let’s say, not being entirely truthful.
How bad would $123 million in subsidies (or more likely somewhere around $100 million, since they wouldn’t max out every year) be? It’s pretty close to Ross’s previous plan to ask for $3.8 million a year in property-tax breaks (plus the state subsidy), as well as the previous rejected subsidy deal that was going to be worth about $127 million. The hook for this one is that it would be tied to major sporting events that draw tourists to town — but given what we’ve seen about the failure of such events to do any such thing, plus the high cost to cities of hosting them, that’s not really much of a plus for Miami-Dade.
The upshot here, then, is “Stephen Ross still asking for the same damn $100 million or so in subsidies, only with a different memo field on the checks.” The Miami-Dade County Commission could vote on the plan early next week.