Dolphins’ stadium revenues spike due to renovations, reports Miami Herald
More than 65,000 aqua and orange-clad Dolphins fans drove home happy Sunday after Miami’s thrilling victory over the Jets. Stephen Ross, the team’s owner, has to be happy too — with how his team is performing both on the field and at the gate. Revenues at the venue, now known as Hard Rock Stadium, were up 11 percent in the 2015 fiscal year, a sign that Ross’ half-billion dollar investment is already paying dividends.
That’s according to Fitch Ratings, a Big Three credit rating agency that recently announced that it has affirmed South Florida Stadium LLC’s BBB (“investment grade”) credit rating.
The affirmation “reflects Hard Rock Stadium’s status as a premier venue in South Florida and host to the … Miami Dolphins, the core anchor tenant at the facility since 1987, and also the strong ownership commitment to the franchise and the stadium.”
The Stadium’s strengths are offset, Fitch continued, to some degree by the variable rate on moneys borrowed by Ross and a high leverage structure, compared to other stand-alone stadium facilities.
But the big takeaway: The Stadium is making appreciably more money with some 10,000 fewer seats, suggesting the team is cashing in on its luxury products like Hard Rock’s living room boxes and posh 72 Club.
And that growth should only continue in the years to come. Fitch’s 2015 assessment did not include the team’s 18-year, US$250m naming rights agreement with Hard Rock.
Plus, construction over the last two years has eliminated many of the non-football events that the Dolphins plan to host going forward. That will change next year, as evidenced by the Coldplay concert scheduled for the Hard Rock Stadium in August 2017.
So there will be plenty of revenue to service a debt that’s nearly US$300m, including bonds that predate the three-year renovation project. Of the US$500m tab, US$350m came from Ross’ coffers, US$100m was borrowed and another US$50m from the NFL’s G-4 program. Fitch expects Ross to cover any construction overruns.
One additional point in the report: the Dolphins are defendants in a lawsuit “related to the steel works associated with the renovation project.” The Miami Herald has learned that this refers to a dispute with a vendor over the cost of steel purchased by Ross for the erection of the stadium’s shade canopy.
The transformation of Hard Rock Stadium
The modernisation of the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium offers fans a world-class experience and provides the city with a venue to host marquee events.
HOK collaborated with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins to develop a comprehensive design solution for the US$350m modernisation of the team’s existing stadium. To ensure that the Dolphins don’t miss any home games, the extensive renovations are being completed in three phases.
In 2015, every seat in the 29-year-old facility was replaced and innovative seating products were introduced. Seating options of varying price points now accommodate all fans, from corporate clients to families and millennials. Updates to the 100 and 300 Level concourses include modern food service offerings and amenities. The renovations also added a Field Club, North Sideline Club and corner terraces.
Innovative new Living Room boxes meld the home viewing and game-day experiences. To provide fans with the comforts of home, each of the 32 boxes include four individual recliners, up to four programmable high-definition TVs and access to the 72 Club, a unique indoor lounge.
The design reinforces Miami’s culture and heritage by incorporating murals by local artists, a comprehensive wayfinding and branding package, local materials and experiential design components. Each club, suite, social gathering and dining space provides fans with a splash of South Florida.
In 2016, a new, open-air canopy became the Stadium’s signature architectural element. The elegant canopy provides weather protection and sun shading while allowing ample sunlight to reach the natural grass field. This canopy also captures and amplifies crowd noise, enhancing the game-day experience. Other improvements included the installation of 22,400sqft of new high-definition video boards, a new audio system and fiber-optic Wi-Fi.
The 2017 renovations will include comprehensive updates to all existing premium spaces on the 200 Club and 200 Mezzanine Suite Levels. Two distinct new designs for the sideline suites and end zone suites will be introduced. Designed in collaboration with Rockwell Group, the club interiors will be refreshed to support the team’s approach to the fan experience.
When fully complete in 2017, the modernisation will connect to the Dolphins’ brand in an environment that is authentic to the region.