The Miami Dolphins on Thursday committed to making a proposed special election to finance $400 million stadium renovations conditional on being awarded the 50th or 51st Super Bowl.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee announced the team's position after returning from NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, an indication that a majority of owners support awarding the 2016 or 2017 Super Bowl to South Florida when they meet again on May 22.
"We have great confidence that South Florida will be awarded a Super Bowl on May 22," Dee told reporters at a Sun Life Stadium news conference.
When the team agreed to the referendum last month, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he might require the NFL to award South Florida a Super Bowl as a condition for spending mainland county hotel taxes on part of the stadium renovation.
"I don't want to be eligible for anything," Gimenez said at the time. "I'd like to see the results and actually land something."
Dee characterized adding the Super Bowl condition to a referendum as a "risk" the team is prepared to take. He rejected suggestions that agreement is a sign that the time-pressed Dolphins are trying to move along ongoing negotiations with Gimenez over a potential funding deal and efforts in the Florida Legislature to approve a hotel-tax hike and an additional state subsidy.
"I don't think it's a Hail Mary," Dee said.
Dee made the announcement along with Rodney Barreto, chair of South Florida Super Bowl Committee and one of the Dolphins' most vocal backers, who said "core" Super Bowl activities will take place in downtown Miami. The last time Sun Life Stadium hosted a Super Bowl, in 2010, most official NFL activities took place in Broward.
Last week, the committee rejected an NFL request to exempt league employees from local hotel taxes in exchange for landing a Super Bowl -- unlike South Florida's rival for the 50th game, Santa Clara, Calif., where a new $1.2 billion stadium is under construction for the San Francisco 49ers.