We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Football Stadium Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #3: The continuing overhaul of Hard Rock Stadium.
The work to Hard Rock Stadium is not completely finished. Before the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes begin play next season, the stadium will receive another round of upgrades, marking the conclusion of its three-phase overhaul.
While that leaves fans in South Florida with something to look forward to, perhaps the most dramatic changes to Hard Rock Stadium took place in 2016. Following the first phase of the renovation, which took place before the 2015 season, work began on the second phase.
In this part of the construction, the stadium received a new canopy over the seating bowl, something that is now one of its signature features. Prior to its completion, estimates from the Dolphins said that the canopy would cover 92% of spectators from the elements while leaving the playing surface exposed. As part of the renovation, crews installed Platinum TE Paspalum, a strain of grass that is genetically-modified and can grow in unique conditions.
Another major component of the renovation was the installation of new videoboards. Hard Rock Stadium now features one screen in each of its four corners, with the area under the boards used for patio space.
As this project took shape, the stadium took on a new identity, as Hard Rock International signed on as a naming right partner over the summer. The facility, which opened for the Dolphins in 1987, has had a variety of names over the years, including Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium. Its most recent name before this round of renovations was Sun Life Stadium.
Despite some concerns that the stadium might not open on time, construction crews to complete the task of renovating the facility in time for the Dolphins’ final preseason contest and the Hurricanes’ regular season opener. Fans responded the renovations with enthusiasm, which is a very encouraging sign for the facility, given that the Dolphins had already seen revenue increases before the latest round of upgrades.
With these changes, Hard Rock Stadium is embarking on a new era. For football fans in Miami, 2016 provided a major step toward what could be a very bright future.
Rendering courtesy Miami Dolphins.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List:
#4: Los Angeles Rams
#5: Turner Field