After posting a disappointing .500 record over the course of the 2014-2015 season, the Dolphins are following the Jaguars strategy of renovating their stadium to give fans with expendable income an incentive to watch the game in the stadium instead of from home.
Approximately 10,000 seats of the Sun Life Stadium’s capacity will be sacrificed to make room for fully furnished viewing areas designed to make the fans feel as if they are in their own living rooms back home. Some of the features include a concierge who can be counted on to bring food and drink, the price of which is included in the $75,000 tag on a four-room package. For a mere $15,000 more, fans will be provided with a 32-inch TV in case the standard iPad’s screen is too small to appreciate the RedZone and replay features. Those who can afford the VIP treatment will have access to a lounge and an exclusive lane allowing quick entry and exit to the stadium.
President and CEO Tom Garfinkel emphasized that those fans unable to afford or secure one of the 46 available living room seats will bear none of the $400 million cost. He asserted that the seats are expected to sell out and even garner a waiting list, all without raising the price of the 17,000 tickets that will remain available for fifty dollars or less.
The stagnant performance of the Dolphins in recent years and the fact that the stadium’s seating capacity is being noticeably reduced may lead some to believe that the franchise is seeking to make a profit without making the team any more fun to watch. The storied Dolphins may soon find itself reminded that nothing fosters more financial success for a football team than a winning record, particularly in the playoffs. In the meantime, it will be up to the fans to decide whether personalized treatment for those able to pay top dollar is in line with Garfinkel’s claim that the renovations are not intended to imply that one fan is more important than another.