Miami Dolphins fans were likely shocked to hear the latest news regarding their team—news that indicates the franchise may not stay in South Florida, thanks to a lack of public money for renovations on Sun Life Stadium.
This idea isn't as crazy as it sounds, though loyal Dolphins fans won't want to hear it.
In an interview with WFOR-TV in Miami, team CEO Mike Dee made waves with this statement, per ESPN News Services: "We cannot do this without a private-public partnership. At this time we have no intention of investing more...I wouldn't want to prognosticate what the future holds, but it's clearly bleak."
Dee indicated that Stephen Ross wouldn't likely move the team, but a subsequent owner might be inclined to move the Dolphins to Los Angeles, per the report.
Some may believe that Dee is simply using this as a way to create leverage, but that doesn't mesh with the facts at hand. A lack of taxpayer money doesn't always mean there isn't much public support, but in this case, there's a direct correlation.
Last season, Miami featured the worst attendance percentage (just 76.3 percent) of any of the 32 teams in the NFL, per ESPN.com. In fact, the difference between the Dolphins attendance and that of the next-worst team—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (83.9 percent)—isn't even close.
With nearly a quarter of all seats vacant every Sunday, there isn't nearly enough political capital to convince the state of Florida it needs to sacrifice millions of taxpayer dollars to renovate Sun Life Stadium.
According to the report from ESPN News Services, the Dolphins are asking the state to pay $3 million per year for the next 30 years to help pay the $400 million price tag it will take to do the renovation.
With so many other more pressing needs in the state budget, it's no wonder GOP-controlled legislature has refused to foot this bill—especially considering the fact that fans are already failing to fill the stadium.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, there's a bill in the works that would allow electronic billboards to advertise beer, gambling and other forms of entertainment within 1,000 feet of the proposed stadium in Los Angeles (h/t Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times).
Ross may not be interested in moving his team to L.A., but there's no doubt the NFL-starved city would be an attractive landing spot for another prospective owner.
There aren't many markets in the world as ripe for a team as L.A., and the threat of the Dolphins franchise moving at some point should be taken seriously.
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