With Pro Player long defunct, team returns roots
MIAMI -- The Miami Dolphins have a new coach, and now they have a new name for their stadium.
It will be known as Dolphins Stadium, and there are plans to expand the facility and possibly add a roof, owner Wayne Huizenga said Monday.
The name change takes place nearly five years after Huizenga unsuccessfully began seeking a new naming-rights sponsor for the ballpark. Pro Player signed a 10-year, $20 million deal with the Dolphins in 1996, but the sports apparel company was bought out five years ago.
A new management company -- Dolphins Enterprises LLC -- is being created. A CEO for that company will be named shortly, Huizenga said.
The CEO will report directly to Huizenga, as will new coach Nick Saban.
A three-phase renovation is planned "to transform the stadium into a year-round destination and a venue that is ready-made for the Super Bowl, Orange Bowl and other major national and international events," Huizenga said.
The first phase of the makeover may include new scoreboards, remodeled suites, new exhibition space, additional parking and a new traffic flow around the ballpark, at an estimated cost of $100 million to $125 million.
Other remodeling plans would not begin until the Florida Marlins leave the stadium. The Marlins hope to be playing in a new downtown Miami ballpark by 2008, and their lease with the stadium expires in 2010. They have been told their lease will not be renewed.
The second phase might include a permanent or retractable roof -- something the Marlins have said is a prerequisite for their new ballpark and is critical to their long-term viability in South Florida.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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