Dolphins Stadium (originally named Dolphin Stadium, later
named Joe Robbie Stadium and then briefly Pro Player Park
before becoming Pro Player Stadium, and now back to being named for
the team, this time as Dolphins Stadium) is a multipurpose stadium
in Miami Gardens, Florida (a suburb of Miami incorporated in 2003).
Field - 330 ft
Left-Center - 361 ft
Center Field - 434 ft
Right-Center - 361 ft
Right Field - 345 ft
Backstop - 58 ft
Dolphin 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 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 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, Huizenga acquired the
remaining fifty percent of the stadium to give him 100% ownership. Since
1991, several million dollars have been spent to upgrade and renovate the
stadium. The improvement and revitalization of the building under Huizenga
allowed the stadium to remain the finest sports and entertainment facility
in the United States.
to the Dolphin's Stadium!
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The stadium has been home to the Miami Dolphins since 1987 and to the
Florida Marlins since 1993. It has been the site of the FedEx Orange Bowl
game since 1996. Dolphins Stadium has played host to two NFL Super Bowls
in 1995 and 1999 with another scheduled in 2007, two MLB World Series
(1997 and 2003), and numerous concerts, featuring entertainers such as U2,
The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Elton John/ Billy Joel, Chicago, Genesis,
Gloria Estefan, Guns N' Roses, The Who, Hall & Oates, Rod Stewart,
Paul McCartney, and The Three Tenors.
Other events held at Dolphins Stadium have included international
soccer matches, Monster Truck shows, Hoop-It-Up Basketball, RV and Boat
Shows, the UniverSoul Circus, and Australian Rules Football exhibition
matches and numerous trade shows. The Stadium also plays host to the
yearly Shula Bowl, a game played between FAU and FIU.
Dolphins Stadium has been home to many commercials and feature films as
well, including Ace
Ventura Pet Detective and the football-themed movie, Any
Given Sunday, starring Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx.
Behind the scenes, Pro Player Stadium underwent $10 million in
renovations to accommodate Major League Baseball and the Florida Marlins
before the 1993 season. 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 hydraulic 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 Pro Player Stadium.
Because of the need to fit an American football field in the stadium,
the field of play is larger than in most other new baseball stadiums. The
33-foot tall left field fence, nicknamed the Teal Monster - a play
on the Green Monster at Fenway
Park - further limits the ability of players to hit home runs. Foul
territory is also fairly large in comparison with most new stadiums.
research by Jim Herdman & David Vincent
Courtesy of Retrosheet.
Since winning the World Series in 1997, the Marlins management has
regularly argued that the stadium is insufficient to host a Major League
Baseball team on a regular basis, arguing that too many of the seats are
too far from the field and angled for American football rather than
baseball, and that a retractable dome is needed to prevent rain-outs. The
stadium did not prevent the team from winning another world championship
in 2003, however.
On the field, the stadium is equipped with a Prescription Athletic Turf
(PAT) system which provides draining for its natural grass. At a cost of
one million dollars, the system ensures a firm dry playing surface within
half an hour's time after as much as a three inch per hour rain fall.
Stadium Naming Rights
On August 26, 1996, Pro Player, the sports apparel division of Fruit of
the Loom, sponsored the renaming of Joe Robbie Stadium as Pro Player
Stadium. Pro Player, which specialized in licensed sports apparel, became
the first sports marketing and products company to entitle a stadium or
arena with their ten year, $20 million deal. Fruit of the Loom filed for
bankruptcy in 1999; however, the name remained until 2005. On January 10,
2005 stadium owner Wayne Huizenga announced a $300 million renovation of
Pro Player Stadium to add luxury suites, additional parking and a
retractable dome. Huizenga also announced the immediate renaming of the
facility as Dolphins Stadium.
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