The Real Deal Miami

Stephen Ross’ $200M Michigan gift may hurt Dolphins stadium

Developer seeking taxpayer money for arena improvements

September 06, 2013 04:15PM

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From left: Stephen Ross and Sun Life Stadium

From left: Stephen Ross and Sun Life Stadium

Related head honcho Stephen Ross’ largesse toward his alma mater University of Michigan may make it tougher for him to upgrade the Miami Dolphins stadium. Ross donated $200 million to the university’s business school and athletic programs, the university announced earlier this week. But the gift will hinder his efforts to seek taxpayer help for the $350 million in improvements he wants to the home of the Dolphins, a team in which he has a majority stake, according to Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College.

“If I were in Miami, then I would have additional questions about why he needed public funding for his stadium,” Zimbalist told the Wall Street Journal.

Ross has sought up to $289 million from an increase in the Miami-Dade County hotel tax and up to $90 million in state sales tax rebates, according to the newspaper, but the Florida Legislature turned down his plan.

Ross countered by telling the Journal that the donation and the stadium upgrades are unrelated issues.

“I think it is important to be committed to both,” he said. [WSJ]Hiten Samtani

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