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Dolphin Stadium
Dolphin Stadium.svg
Former names Joe Robbie Stadium (1987–1996)
Pro Player Park (1996)
Pro Player Stadium (1996–2005)
Dolphins Stadium (2005-2006)
Land Shark Stadium (2009–2010)[1]
Dolphin Stadium (2006–2009; 2010-present)
Location 2267 NW 199th Street
Miami Gardens, Florida 33056
Coordinates 25°57′29″N 80°14′20″W / 25.95806°N 80.23889°W / 25.95806; -80.23889Coordinates: 25°57′29″N 80°14′20″W / 25.95806°N 80.23889°W / 25.95806; -80.23889
Broke ground December 1, 1985
Opened August 16, 1987
Owner Stephen M. Ross (95%) and H. Wayne Huizenga (5%)
Surface Grass
Construction cost $115 million
Architect HOK Sport
Structural engineer Bliss and Nyitray, Inc.
Capacity 47,662 (1993 Baseball)*
42,531 (2001 Baseball)*
36,531 (2003 Baseball)*
36,331 (2006 Baseball)*
38,560 (2008 Baseball)*
74,916 (Soccer)
76,500 (Football)
*Expandable to approximately 68,000 for baseball
Field dimensions Left Field – 330 ft / 100.6 m
Left-Center – 361 ft / 110 m
Center Field – 404 ft / 123.1 m
Right-Center – 361 ft / 110 m
Right Field – 345 ft / 105.1 m
Backstop – 58 ft / 17.7 m
Tenants
Miami Dolphins (NFL) (1987–present)
Florida Marlins (MLB) (1993–2010[2])
Florida Atlantic Owls (NCAA) (2001–2002)
FedEx Orange Bowl (1996–1998), (2000–present)
Blockbuster/Carquest/MicronPC/Champs Sports Bowl (1990–2000)
University of Miami Hurricanes (NCAA) (2008–present)
"Dolphin Stadium"

Dolphin Stadium (previously known as Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium) is a football, baseball, soccer, and lacrosse stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, a suburb of Miami. The stadium serves as host to the Miami Dolphins, the Florida Marlins, the Miami Hurricanes, and the annual Orange Bowl college football game.

Since its construction, the stadium has hosted five Super Bowls (XXIII, XXIX, XXXIII and XLI, XLIV), two World Series (1997 and 2003), and three BCS National Championship Games (2001, 2005, 2009). The stadium served as host for the second round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and will host Super Bowl XLIV and the 2010 Pro Bowl.[3]

The Miami Dolphins signed a naming rights deal with Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and Anheuser-Busch InBev's joint brewing project, Land Shark Lager, which renamed the facility "Land Shark Stadium".[4] The sponsorship deal was reportedly for eight months and the name reverted to Dolphin Stadium in time for Super Bowl XLIV and the 2010 Pro Bowl, possibly to be replaced by another sponsor name if a deal can be secured before that time.[1]

Contents

History

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Conception and construction

Dolphin Stadium was the first of its kind in the NFL to be constructed entirely with private funds. Joe Robbie led the financing campaign to build Joe Robbie Stadium (JRS) for the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. JRS revolutionized the economics of professional sports when it opened in 1987. Inclusion of a Club Level, along with Executive Suites, helped to finance the construction of the stadium. Season ticket holders committed to long term agreements and in return received first-class amenities in a state-of-the-art facility.

County officials check out the interior of the stadium, 1987

The stadium was designed at Joe Robbie's request to have a wider than normal playing field in order to accommodate soccer and to serve as the home of a potential Major League Baseball franchise in South Florida. Because of this design decision, the first row of seats is 90 feet (27 m) from the sideline in a football configuration, considerably more distant than the first row of seats in most football stadiums (the closest seats at the new Soldier Field, for instance, are 55 feet (17 m) from the sideline at the 50–yard line). While the decision to employ a wider playing field resulted in a Major League Baseball (MLB) expansion franchise for Miami (see below), it resulted in a less intimate venue for football when compared to other contemporary football facilities.

The Dolphins

The first regular season NFL game played there was a 42–0 Dolphins victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on October 11, 1987. The game was in the middle of the 1987 NFL strike, and was played with replacement players. The stadium first hosted Monday Night Football there on December 7 of that year, in a 37–28 Dolphins victory over the New York Jets. In addition to the Super Bowl, several other playoff games have been played in Dolphin Stadium, including the 1992 AFC Championship Game, which the Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills, 29-10. Overall, the Dolphins are 5-3 in playoff games held here.

The Marlins move in

In 1990, H. Wayne Huizenga, then Chairman of the Board and CEO of Blockbuster Video and Huizenga Holdings Inc., agreed to purchase 50 percent of Joe Robbie Stadium and became the point man in the drive to bring Major League Baseball to South Florida. That effort was rewarded in July 1991, when South Florida was awarded an MLB expansion franchise. The new team was named the Florida Marlins and placed in the National League. On January 24, 1994, Huizenga acquired the remaining fifty percent of the stadium to give him 100% ownership. Since 1991, several million dollars have been spent to upgrade and renovate the stadium.

The first Marlins game played at Joe Robbie Stadium was on April 5, 1993, a 6–3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Renovations and configurations

After Huizenga bought part of the stadium, it was extensively renovated to accommodate a baseball team, as part of his successful bid to bring the Florida Marlins to South Florida. Purists initially feared the result would be similar to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto; when the Toronto Blue Jays played there from 1976 to 1989, they were burdened with seats that were so far from the field (as far as 820 feet in some locations) that they weren't even sold during the regular season. However, as mentioned above, Robbie had foreseen Miami would be a likely location for an expansion major league baseball team, and the stadium was designed to make any necessary renovations for baseball as seamless as possible.

The stadium's baseball capacity was initially reduced to 47,600, with most of the upper level covered with a tarp. Huizenga wanted to create a more intimate atmosphere for baseball, and even without this to consider, most of the seats in the upper level would have been too far from the field. The stadium's baseball capacity has been further reduced over the years, and it now seats 36,500. However, the Marlins usually open the entire upper level for the postseason.

Although it was designed from the ground up to accommodate baseball, Dolphin Stadium is not a true multipurpose stadium. Rather, it is a football stadium that can convert into a baseball stadium. Most of the seats are pointed toward center field – where the 50–yard line would be in the football configuration. As such, the sight lines are not as good for baseball. This was particularly evident during the Marlins' two World Series appearances in 1997 and 2003. Some portions of left and center field are not part of the football playing field, and fans sitting in the left field upper-deck seats were unable to see these areas except on the replay boards.

Partly as a result of the sight-line problems at Dolphin Stadium, the Marlins are booked for a new stadium at the site of the Miami Orange Bowl in 2012.[2] Since the 2011 target date was not possible, the Marlins are now looking for a one-year lease before moving into their new stadium in 2012. The Marlins front office has already started negotiating deals with the Dolphins and Hurricanes to make a 1-year deal to stay in Dolphin Stadium.

Aside from baseball renovations, Dolphin Stadium has undergone some permanent renovations. In April 2006, the stadium unveiled the two largest hi-definition video boards in professional sports and a new fascia LED ribbon-board, the largest in the world, but these have since been surpassed in size. In addition, the upgrades include vastly widened 40,000 square-foot concourses on the stadium’s north and south sides. Bars, lounges and other amenities have also been added. The renovation has three phases, the first has been completed but the second and third phases of renovation will take place after the Marlins move out of the stadium. These remaining phases might include a retractable roof, something that has to be built with ample time since the Marlins play at the stadium from April to September.

Once the Marlins move out, the Dolphins plan to make more renovations to the stadium including the addition of a roof to shield fans from the rain, as well as moving seats closer to the field.[5]

Notable events

Football

NFL

The stadium has played host to four Super Bowls (1989, 1995, 1999, and 2007 with another scheduled in 2010). There has been a kickoff return for a touchdown in each Super Bowl played at the stadium.

NCAA

Dolphin Stadium hosts the Miami Hurricanes (2008-present). The stadium was the home field for the Florida Atlantic Owls (2001-02).

Dolphin Stadium has been the site of the Orange Bowl game since 1996, except for the January 1999 contest between Florida and Syracuse, which had to be moved due to a conflict with a Dolphins playoff game.

The stadium also plays host biennially to the yearly Shula Bowl, a game played between Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University, when the game is hosted by FAU (FIU hosts the game at their own stadium, FIU Stadium, every other year).

Baseball

Two National League Division Series have been played at Dolphin Stadium.

Two National League Championship Series have been played at Dolphin Stadium.

Two World Series have been played at Dolphin Stadium.

The stadium was the venue where Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 600th career home run off Mark Hendrickson of the Florida Marlins on June 9, 2008.

Concerts

The stadium has been the site of many concerts, featuring such entertainers as Madonna, U2, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Flo Rida, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Billy Joel, Chicago, Genesis, Gloria Estefan, Prince, The Police, Guns N' Roses, The Who, Hall & Oates, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, and The Three Tenors.

Other events

Other events held at Dolphin Stadium have included international soccer games, monster truck shows, Hoop-It-Up Basketball, RV and boat shows, the UniverSoul Circus, Australian rules football exhibition matches, and numerous trade shows.

In 2006, Dolphin Stadium hosted the High School State Football Championships, sanctioned by the FHSAA Florida High School Athletic Association. Movies have also been shot in Dolphin Stadium, most notably Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which stars Jim Carrey and even features Dolphins great Dan Marino as himself; Marley and Me starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston; and the Oliver Stone-directed Any Given Sunday.

Gallery

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b "Ross said the agreement to change the name from Dolphin Stadium is for this season only and expires before the stadium plays host to the Super Bowl in February." "Dolphins' home renamed Land Shark Stadium in deal with singer Buffett". Associated Press. 2009-05-10. http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d810340fb&template=without-video-with-comments&confirm=true. Retrieved 2009-05-11.  
  2. ^ a b The Marlins' lease with Dolphin Stadium expires after the 2010 baseball season. For the 2011 season, before their projected move to their new ballpark, they are still looking for a place to play, but are "optimistic" they can get an extension of the lease with Dolphin Stadium. Frisaro Joe (2008-11-25). "New Marlins stadium to open in 2012". MLB.com. http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081125&content_id=3691803&vkey=news_fla&fext=.jsp&c_id=fla. Retrieved 2009-01-11.  
  3. ^ "2010 Pro Bowl moving to Miami, will be played before Super Bowl". http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d80dbeb16&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true. Retrieved 2008-12-30.  
  4. ^ http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/story/1027505.html
  5. ^ http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-dolphins/fl-super-bowl-stadium-0108-20100107,0,1924520.story

External links


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