Dolphin Stadium Overview
Entering its 21st year of operation, Dolphin Stadium, originally known as Joe Robbie Stadium, was the first of its kind to be constructed entirely with private funds. The late Joe Robbie led the financing campaign to build "Joe Robbie Stadium" (JRS) for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (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 they received first-class amenities in a state-of-the-art facility which is still used as a model for new facilities across the country. In March 7, 1990, H. Wayne Huizenga, then Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Blockbuster Video and Huizenga Holdings Inc., agreed to purchase fifty 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 of 1991, when South Florida was awarded a National League expansion franchise. On January 24, 1994, Mr. Huizenga acquired the remaining fifty percent of the stadium to give him complete ownership. Since 1991, several million dollars have been spent to upgrade and renovate the stadium. The improvement and revitalization of the building under Mr. Huizenga has allowed the stadium to remain one of the finest sports and entertainment facility in the United States. In April 2006, Dolphins Enterprises CEO Joe Bailey, announced and unveiled the new stadium logo and modified name. The stadium name was changed to Dolphin Stadium, and a new, modern-looking dolphin in orange, teal, blue and platinum colors with the words Dolphin Stadium was unveiled as the new stadium logo. Also unveiled were the two largest hi-definition video boards in professional sports. A new fascia LED ribbon-board was installed in July 2006. The first football game in Dolphin Stadium was held on August 16, 1987, when the Miami Dolphins met the Chicago Bears in a preseason battle. The game also marked the 22nd anniversary of the Dolphins franchise. The stadium hosted the National Football League's premier game, Super Bowl XXIII on January 22, 1989. It marked the return of the Super Bowl to South Florida after a ten year absence. A second Super Bowl was hosted when Super Bowl XXIX was played in the facility on January 29, 1995. The Super Bowl returned to Dolphin Stadium on January 31, 1999, when the facility hosted Super Bowl XXXIII, and again in 2007 for Super Bowl XLI. Major League Baseball officially began in South Florida in the spring of 1993 as the Florida Marlins opened their inaugural campaign as a National League team. On April 5, 1993, the "new" look of Dolphin Stadium as a baseball facility was unveiled to the public for the first time as the Florida Marlins hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Marlins began their existence by finishing the first day in first place with a 6-3 win over the Dodgers. In 1997, Dolphin Stadium hosted four World Series games between the Marlins and the Cleveland Indians, including Game One on Oct. 18, 1997, the first Series game ever played at the stadium, and Game Seven on October 26, 1997, which the Marlins won, 3-2 in 11 innings, to capture their first World Championship. Before the arrival of the Marlins, the stadium had played host to thirteen spring training games that attracted 370,000 fans and paved the way for baseball in South Florida. Behind the scenes, Dolphin Stadium underwent renovations to accommodate Major League Baseball and the Florida Marlins. The conversion included the installation of retractable seating on the north side of the stadium, the construction of the baseball press box in the southwest corner of the facility, the building of the baseball dugouts, the addition of 660 new lights for suitable night play, and the installation of a hydrolic disappearing pitcher's mound. The stadium also features a synthetic warning track designed to absorb water. At the time, the only other facility to feature this type of track was Oriole Park at Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. The renovation also included the construction of the Florida Marlins clubhouse and other amenities to accommodate baseball at Dolphin Stadium. On the field, the Stadium was equipped with a Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT) system which provides draining for its natural grass, and during February and March 1995, the old PAT system was removed, and a new advanced mechanical drainage system was installed. At a cost of one million dollars, the new system provides three times the drainage capacity of the old system and ensures a firm dry playing surface within half an hour's time after as much as a three inch per hour rain fall. The stadium was renamed Dolphin Stadium in January 2005 as part of a major plan for renovation initiated by owner Wayne Huizenga. Today, Dolphin Stadium is undergoing a historic transformation, unlike any stadium has experienced in the United States. Working with HOK, Rockwell and Stiles Construction, all renowned in their respective fields, Dolphin Stadium will be a state-of-the-art facility that will offer the most-inspired and unmatched stadium experience in the world.