Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stadium thoughts

Mike Dee was making the rounds again last week.  He's trying hard to get the public on the Dolphins side.  He was on with Sedano on QAM, who apparently shares my general mindset.  Mike tried hard to categorize everyone into three groups (my words here): those who are with us, those who might be swayed at some point, and those who are against us.

Clearly I'm in group 3, but I really don't like labels.  I've documented my reasons why I don't agree with the premise, and while I am curious about the approach the Dolphins will take, I simply want to provide the counter argument.

So a couple of things struck me:
  • He told us that the $2 million state credit the stadium receives will run out "in just 11 years..."  Really, just 11 years? 
  • Mike mentioned that 8 out of the 9 pro sports teams in Florida currently have state subsidies, and the Dolphins are the one that doesn't.  While that's generally true, its disingenuous.  H Wayne, when he was the owner of the Marlins, the Dolphins, and the stadium, got the credit for retrofitting the stadium for baseball, and thus got it "for the Marlins"...when he sold the Marlins, he kept the stadium, and therefore kept the credit.  The Marlins can not get one because the Dolphins own it.  And while the Dolphins could get one, thus far they haven't been able to because they already have one in their stadium ownership umbrella.
  • He talks about how the Dolphins don't get any benefit from the superbowl or the championship game.  But yet, they claim this is the primary reason to modify the stadium.  I am not buying that, entirely.  It just doesn't sound right, and of course the Dolphins would benefit from the 10 games a year in any case.
  • Sedano questioned Mike about Ross' politics and how he was a Romney supporter (he was, in fact the largest contributor to the campaign among sports owners), and yet he is looking for a handout.  Mike wouldn't comment (as you might expect, since its Ross' politics) but was adamant that it was not a handout.  This is about the community.  Riiiight.

And there was something else that struck me.  There are no guarantees that any major event would come here.  But there's a certain likelihood that it might happen because of the mild winter weather, the plentiful hotels, and the things to occupy ones time while they are here.  And that likelihood doesn't change, whether or not there's a roof on the stadium.

On that note, the Marlins had the city of Miami build them a new stadium.  In the past, there has always been this "reward" wherein a new stadium means an event (in baseball's case that's the all star game, football is generally the superbowl).  The city was hoping for it.  The Marlins were hoping for it.  And then the Marlins had a fire sale on their roster, and baseball said "meh.  we are not giving you an all-star game."

Sure maybe it was deserved based on recent events.  But you can view this through a wider sports lens and realize there are no guarantees and it only takes one misstep where you anger some power that is, and they decide to remove the carrot.  Or maybe some other city makes a better offer.  Or someone else build a new stadium.  Or there's a backdoor deal that eliminates a city.  It can be so many things that influence the decision.

And just building a stadium means very little.

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