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Last week, the Miami Dolphins held a star-studded public unveiling of the renovations to
Joe Robbie Stadium Pro Player Park Pro Player Stadium Dolphins Stadium Dolphin Stadium Landshark Stadium Sun Life Stadium New Miami Stadium Hard Rock Cafe Stadium. (That seems like a lot of names for a building built in 1987, but if it was in Atlanta, we'd have torn it down twice by now.) The newest name change came along with a new canopy roof and HD screens and, presumably, some over-cooked hamburgers.
The Dolphins got $250 million in exchange for 18 years of naming rights. That's an improvement over the $35 million the team made on the Sun Life name. That sounds like a lot of money until you realize that Ndamukong Suh's contract takes up half of it, and Ryan Tannehill's contract takes up most of what's left. Money well spent all around.
If the name sticks for the 18 year duration, it will be a record. Even "Joe Robbie" only lasted 12 years. Given that the stadium has a tendency to outlast most of its sponsors, I'd be worried if I was a Seminole Indian. (The tribe currently owns the Hard Rock brand. That's one of the tidbits you pick up when one of your friends drags you to the wasteland of downtown Cleveland, OH just to pick up collectible Hard Rock Cafe pins for his girlfriend. Which is, honestly, about as good a reason anyone has ever had for going to Cleveland. Blech.)
Weirdly, the latest stadium name change was announced by Pitbull (the rapper, not the dog). I have no idea what a hip hop star has to do with either football or hard rock, but Dolphins' management isn't the sort to get hung up on details. (Or winning, for that matter.) Back when the stadium took on the Landshark name, Jimmy Buffet was present for the announcement because he owned the brand. Since when did Pitbull become a Seminole Indian?
The first Dolphins' game to be played in the renovated venue will be on Sunday, September 25, 2016. Their opponent will be the Cleveland Browns. I have to give them credit there: when you're the Miami Dolphins looking for a doormat team you can walk over for a symbolic victory in your new home, it's hard to schedule a team worse than you. The Browns fit that bill. (Blech.) Go Fins!