Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross announced Monday that he is prepared to fund the majority of costs for proposed improvements to Sun Life Stadium, which is expected to range from $375-400 million.
If plans are approved and go through, renovations would be ready for the 2015 season.
Ross, who stated that private funds would cover the majority of construction costs, believes the modernization plan will keep the stadium competitive for the next 25 years.
"I bought this team because I love this town. I went to high school here and built much of my business here," said Ross. "Like most Miamians, I believe no other community in America represents a better destination for blockbuster events. My goal is to secure the future of Miami-Dade and the Dolphins so we can remain a global competitor for sports and entertainment for at least another 25 years. That's why I'm willing to make the initial and most substantial investment in this project."
Ross introduced a six-point pledge to residents of Miami-Dade, in which he committed to:
1. Approach this partnership differently than any other by investing more, pledging more, and returning more to the community and fans.
2. Ensure that private funding pays for the majority of stadium construction costs.
3. Not request a tax increase for Miami-Dade residents.
4. Create thousands of local jobs by hiring contractors, subcontractors, and vendors from Miami-Dade.
5. Create a world-class facility with improved sight lines, seats closer to the field, and an electric environment for the Dolphins, Hurricanes, bowl games, and international soccer.
6. Secure the future of the franchise by committing the Dolphins to play at a modernized Sun Life Stadium through at least 2034.
The major upgrades include more comfortable seats, new seating closer to the field, state-of-the art HD video screens, an open-air canopy that shields fans from elements while preserving the natural grass playing surface, HD sports lighting, modern escalators and elevators for fan transportation and updated kitchens for better concession options.
Ross wants to make the facility competitive for hosting future Super Bowls, college championship games, the Pan Am Games, professional soccer, and other premier sports and entertainment events.
"Our intention is to make Sun Life Stadium a world-class facility that is competition-ready for Super Bowls, college football championships, and global soccer events, as well as providing a much better environment to watch the Dolphins, Hurricanes and Orange Bowl every year," Ross said. "I think our planned modernization will maintain the special outdoor flavor of Miami, while giving us the look of the best stadiums around the world."
Originally named Joe Robbie Stadium, the facility has also been known as Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium. The stadium opened in 1987.