Get ready to roll out the red carpet in Santa Clara, because Super Bowl L (2016) is coming. Florida legislators and lobbyists have been working overtime to get a state funding component for Dolphins Stadium through the legislature. The package was sneakily amended to a transportation bill in the Senate and passed, but didn’t even come up for a vote in the House. With that non-action, the entire package can’t come up for a referendum in Miami-Dade County unless the Governor calls a special session to take up the issue.
The NFL will decide between Santa Clara and Miami in three weeks, and if Miami doesn’t have its ducks in a row Santa Clara is expected to win by default. The loser is expected to “compete” with Houston for Super Bowl LI. At this point it’s unclear if the Dolphins would go back to the drawing board or resurrect the deal in the next legislative session. Still smarting from the defeat, stadium boosters blasted lawmakers in Tallahassee.
The House’s reticence can be blamed on the stench that continues to emanate from the Marlins Ballpark swindle, which remains fresh on Floridians’ minds. One has to wonder how much a similar sentiment may hurt the prospects at Coliseum City. Many are still aware of how bad a deal Mount Davis was, and some local pols are hesitant to move a plan forward without a better understanding of the public cost.
May 21 is the date of the owners’ vote on the site of Super Bowl L. The vote is expected to be little more than a formality at this point.