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Sun Life Stadium renovations: Upgrade the bad seats

Sun Life Stadium 2016

Proposed Sun Life Stadium renovations would install a canopy over the seating and remove 10,000 poorly situated seats with bar terraces and SRO spaces.

The Miami Dolphins (NFL) outlined stadium changes this week. Besides the installation of the canopy — which has been part of the renovation plan from the beginning — the Dolphins outlined a plan to remove seats in each corner and install bar terraces with four tops and SRO areas. The official seating of the stadium would be reduced from 75,000 to 65,000, but capacity wouldn’t take quite the same hit. From the Palm Beach Post:

During a preview of the future Sun Life for the media this week, Jeremy Walls, senior vice president and chief revenue officer, said the club has the option of selling a limited number of standing-room-only tickets, presumably for high-demand games….

“That’s a big change,” Walls said. “We took out 10,000 of the worst seats. We put these video boards in and we built these bars underneath that are open air. It’s really going to open up the stadium.”

Although Walls spoke in past tense, he was referring to plans that are in place. The covered terraces won’t exist until the canopy is installed for the 2016 season, not next season.

The Dolphins need to balance three needs with Sun Life Stadium renovations. First, of course, there’s the need to attract as many fans as possible to Dolphins games. Then there’s the secondary need to attract as many fans as possible to University of Miami games. And then there’s the infrequent need to attract crowds of 75,000 or more to the Orange Bowl and Super Bowls. We’re in a very transitional time in football-stadium design; while some may be looking for smaller capacities and more intimate stadium experiences, there’s still a need for large venues to host big events. The Dolphins are looking to go small while at the same time keeping the option to host big events.

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August Publications