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fauowls44

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http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/conten...ebowl_0522.html

Leaving home? UM likely to soon announce plan to exit Orange Bowl
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By Jorge Milian

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

MIAMI Like many of his neighbors, Antonio Mesa has spent much of the past two decades selling parking spots for University of Miami games at his corner-lot home across the street from the Orange Bowl.

A 68-year-old retiree, Mesa eagerly anticipates each football season, and not only for the $200 or more he can earn on each game day by allowing fans to park in his front yard.

Mesa has built such camaraderie with his customers that he regularly tailgates with them before and after games.

"It's like family," he said.

So it is with great unease that Mesa discusses the growing possibility that the Hurricanes will move their games from the Orange Bowl to Dolphin Stadium as early as the 2008 season.

UM Athletic Director Paul Dee said Sunday that a decision will be made within a "month or so."

"We're very worried," Mesa said from his front porch on a recent afternoon. "We're praying that the Hurricanes don't leave."

Divine intervention may be all that will keep UM from cutting ties with the Orange Bowl, where the Hurricanes have played home games since 1937.

Dee said that a final decision remains "up in the air," but university insiders privately say UM's days in the venerable stadium are numbered.

The choice comes down to this for Hurricanes officials:

Accept the city of Miami's proposal of a $200 million renovation of the Orange Bowl, which would require UM to triple its stadium user fee and subsidize other costs. It isn't known how much UM would have to contribute to the renovation cost. The project would include new restrooms to replace the OB's notoriously small and outdated facilities, structural improvements, chair-back seating and new concourses.

The upside? The Hurricanes remain the OB's primary tenant and retain their historic ties with the stadium.

Head about 15 miles north to Dolphin Stadium, which would provide UM and its fans with many of the amenities sorely lacking in the Orange Bowl. One UM source said a move is a "financial slam dunk" because the school would share parking and concession sales at Dolphin Stadium - unlike the university's agreement with the Orange Bowl - and would stand to make more money on high-end club seating and suites.

The downside? Sharing the facility with the Dolphins and Marlins and forcing students to travel farther for games from the school's Coral Gables campus.

"The Orange Bowl has all of the intangibles - the history, the ghosts that live in the rafters, the nostalgia," Dee said. "But when it comes to the physical or the tangible, Dolphin Stadium has that."

Dee said the university's administration must decide whether it's worth the money to "save the intangibles, or do we say: The Orange Bowl was a great place, but stadiums have moved on and maybe it's time for us to step up" and play in a modern facility.

"That's really where the debate is," Dee said.

Some cling to tradition

There's no debating the issue for former Hurricanes receiver Lamar Thomas, who played for national championship teams at UM in 1989 and '91.

If the Hurricanes leave the Orange Bowl, Thomas said it will be more evidence that college football is trading its traditional roots for the bottom line.

"When I think of UM football, I think of only one place and that's the Orange Bowl," said Thomas, who ranks second in UM history with 144 receptions and 23 touchdown catches. "It's going to be very weird calling (Dolphin Stadium) home. When they leave the Orange Bowl, well, that's going to be a sad day."

Don Bailey Jr., who played at UM from 1979-82 and serves as the Hurricanes' radio analyst, half-jokingly says he has always planned to have his ashes sprinkled on the Orange Bowl field.

"The greatest days of my life have been spent there," Bailey said.

But, Bailey insists, it's no shock that UM is seriously considering high-tailing it to northern Dade County. Bailey said the city of Miami has done little to update the Orange Bowl since the Dolphins left the stadium in 1987, leaving the Hurricanes at a competitive disadvantage.

"The Orange Bowl lost the Miami Dolphins," Bailey said. "The Orange Bowl lost the Orange Bowl. So nobody should be surprised now if the Orange Bowl loses the Miami Hurricanes. In reality, if Miami goes from the Orange Bowl to Dolphin Stadium, they just went from the worst stadium in the ACC to the best."

Fans appear to be split on whether to stay or go.

Bill Rose, spokesman for the Palm Beach County chapter of the Hurricane Club, said fans have become increasingly disenchanted with the Orange Bowl's tiny bathrooms, scarce concession areas, substandard seating and inadequate parking.

"The old lady has run her course," Rose said of the Orange Bowl. "The great stadium that we know and love, it's best that it go away."

But several fans who posted messages on Canestime.com last week decried the potential move. Posters complained that Dolphin Stadium lacks the personality and history of the Orange Bowl.

"Renovate! Please!" said a message from 5xgocanes. "Man, I'm gonna go insane when they tear (the Orange Bowl) down."

"Since when do real men need nice stadiums and facilities?" chimed in another poster.

For UM fans from Broward and Palm Beach counties, a move uptown would bring the Hurricanes closer to them. Dee said 32 percent of UM's season-ticket base is made up of fans residing in Broward and Palm Beach counties. University officials believe that number would increase significantly at Dolphin Stadium and could also mean an uptick in fans traveling to games from the state's west coast.

Move seems matter of time

Steve Marcus, chairman of the Hurricane Club in Broward County, said UM has no choice but to leave the Orange Bowl.

"It's not a question of what the university would like to do," Marcus said. "It's a question of what it needs to do. How much longer can you allow that thing to deteriorate?"

Dolphin Stadium officials have put the full-court press on UM, hosting a group of 30 students at the facility two weeks ago and following up last week by giving the grand tour to university President Donna Shalala, other UM administrators and several boosters.

"There wasn't anything not to like," said one UM official.

Another university official said that a potential snag with Dolphin Stadium regarding the length of a lease has mostly been resolved. Dolphin Stadium had initially offered a 10-year lease.

"Every landlord wants a short lease. Any tenant wants a long one,'' Dee said.

Dolphin Stadium officials declined to comment Monday.

Meanwhile, the city of Miami is awaiting a response from UM to its latest $200 million proposal, which would include renovations to the north and south sides of the Orange Bowl, according to a spokesman for City Manager Pete Hernandez. An earlier proposal priced at $170 million sought to upgrade only the south side of the stadium.

"It's getting down to the point where we have enough data where decisions can be made," Dee said.

While UM administrators plot their next move, small-time entrepreneurs like David Gomez keep their fingers crossed that the Hurricanes will stay in the Orange Bowl.

Gomez, a father of three small children, has been parking a handful of cars next to his duplex just west of the stadium for 16 years. The $50 to $100 he earns on UM game days is a "little bonus" for the family budget that he's come to count on.

"Nobody around here wants to see them leave," Gomez said. "But we're worried that is what's going to happen."

Nothing really new or earth-shattering here. The only really new information is that UM and DS are appearently close to resolving the length of the lease issue.
 

Fishfan79

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One wants 5 and the other wants 20, maybe they will split it around 15 years and all. It will be done in a month's time. Then comes the fun of seeing what happens with the orange bowl land.
 

djm305

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So the Marlins are sitting there with a 30-60 mil funding gap and the city has $200 mil sitting on the table to renovate the OB. Meanwhile the Hurricanes have a couple of options on where to play. While Marlins have nowhere to call home after 2010. That's nice.... So if the Canes goto DS can the Marlisn get some of that $200 mil that would have gone to renovating the OB? Especially since the OB would be USELESS if the Canes left.
 

Retro_Marlins25

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How about using that 200 million to turn the Orange Bowl into Marlins Stadium.It would also save Loria alot of Money.
 

TarHeel324

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How about using that 200 million to turn the Orange Bowl into Marlins Stadium.It would also save Loria alot of Money.
Or tear down the Orange Bowl and put the new stadium on that land instead of renovating it

I wish the OB could last forever, but I know thats not possible, and pumping 200 million into it for just 6-7 Canes games, maybe a future mediocre bowl game and a few soccer games just doesnt make any economic sense. As much as I love the Insane Asylum on 7th street, its just time to move on and give the Marlins a new home
 

JetsMania

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Lets say the canes do move to dolphin stadium, does that mean that the OB location would be the front runner location? And would that 200 million go to the marlins stadium on the orange bowl site?
 

Fishfan79

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So the Marlins are sitting there with a 30-60 mil funding gap and the city has $200 mil sitting on the table to renovate the OB. Meanwhile the Hurricanes have a couple of options on where to play. While Marlins have nowhere to call home after 2010. That's nice.... So if the Canes goto DS can the Marlisn get some of that $200 mil that would have gone to renovating the OB? Especially since the OB would be USELESS if the Canes left.

pretty much yep
 

FreshFish

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So the Marlins are sitting there with a 30-60 mil funding gap and the city has $200 mil sitting on the table to renovate the OB. Meanwhile the Hurricanes have a couple of options on where to play. While Marlins have nowhere to call home after 2010. That's nice.... So if the Canes goto DS can the Marlisn get some of that $200 mil that would have gone to renovating the OB? Especially since the OB would be USELESS if the Canes left.

pretty much yep

the city of miami would be foolish to leave the canes homeless. that's why the city must wait until the canes decide to move on.
 

TarHeel324

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So the Marlins are sitting there with a 30-60 mil funding gap and the city has $200 mil sitting on the table to renovate the OB. Meanwhile the Hurricanes have a couple of options on where to play. While Marlins have nowhere to call home after 2010. That's nice.... So if the Canes goto DS can the Marlisn get some of that $200 mil that would have gone to renovating the OB? Especially since the OB would be USELESS if the Canes left.

pretty much yep

the city of miami would be foolish to leave the canes homeless. that's why the city must wait until the canes decide to move on.
No, the city would be truly foolish to actually go through with the $200 million renovations in order to keep 6 Canes games instead of putting that money into the new stadium. If The U doesnt want to stay there without said renovations, then the city might as well make them homeless sooner rather than later
 

Marlins2003

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I don't think one can make the leap from the Hurricanes moving to DS and then the OB site becoming the primary location for a new Marlins stadium. Doesn't work that way. It can but it isn't a sure thing.

Parties are still trying to find a site for the kid's courthouse to make room downtown.

Look to see the OB site sold to either a private entity or a public/private development. And the $200 million? Don't look for it to go towards a Marlins stadium, it doesn't exist, those dollars were going to be borrowed via the bond market. Some of $$$ earmarked towards servicing that debt will be freed up but that's about all and conceivably it's the city's third of the shortfall.
 

FreshFish

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So the Marlins are sitting there with a 30-60 mil funding gap and the city has $200 mil sitting on the table to renovate the OB. Meanwhile the Hurricanes have a couple of options on where to play. While Marlins have nowhere to call home after 2010. That's nice.... So if the Canes goto DS can the Marlisn get some of that $200 mil that would have gone to renovating the OB? Especially since the OB would be USELESS if the Canes left.

pretty much yep

the city of miami would be foolish to leave the canes homeless. that's why the city must wait until the canes decide to move on.
No, the city would be truly foolish to actually go through with the $200 million renovations in order to keep 6 Canes games instead of putting that money into the new stadium. If The U doesnt want to stay there without said renovations, then the city might as well make them homeless sooner rather than later
Where did I say that the City should spent the 200Million?
 

FreshFish

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Per Descarga Deportive (Juan Martinez from the Marlins)

There will be an announcement on june/5th about the Canes moving to Dolphin Stadium
 

anotherrealfan

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Per Descarga Deportive (Juan Martinez from the Marlins)

There will be an announcement on june/5th about the Canes moving to Dolphin Stadium

This one is probably true-but what about the umpteen announcements we were going to have about the stadium according to Descarga Deportive?
 

fauowls44

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Per Descarga Deportive (Juan Martinez from the Marlins)

There will be an announcement on june/5th about the Canes moving to Dolphin Stadium

Did he say if he thought the Canes would be moving?
 

FreshFish

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Per Descarga Deportive (Juan Martinez from the Marlins)

There will be an announcement on june/5th about the Canes moving to Dolphin Stadium

Did he say if he thought the Canes would be moving?


yes. Canes moving to the DS

LOL, I re-read my post. I left it open.

Juan Martinez stated that it would be official on June/5
 

fauowls44

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Per Descarga Deportive (Juan Martinez from the Marlins)

There will be an announcement on june/5th about the Canes moving to Dolphin Stadium

Did he say if he thought the Canes would be moving?


yes. Canes moving to the DS

I hope so, that would be good news. Did he mention how all of that would effect the Fish?
 

FreshFish

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Per Descarga Deportive (Juan Martinez from the Marlins)

There will be an announcement on june/5th about the Canes moving to Dolphin Stadium

Did he say if he thought the Canes would be moving?


yes. Canes moving to the DS

I hope so, that would be good news. Did he mention how all of that would effect the Fish?

he did not get into that
 

Eddie Altamonte

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How about using that 200 million to turn the Orange Bowl into Marlins Stadium.It would also save Loria alot of Money.
I know you did't say that....There is no way!
 

fanfish

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From what I have heard and read in the last few months, this is my take on the Marlins Stadium debacle.

1. The Canes are moving to Dolphin Stadium. It may be announced on or about June 5.
2. A few years ago, voters approved a contribution of about $80 million (I'm not sure of the amount) by the City of Miami toward OB renovations. The OB needs $200 million to make it a decent place in which to watch a ballgame. Some of that money would have had to come from the UM.
3. In order for the City to use the approved funds for the OB in another project, it would have to be done in a public meeting. I don't think it needs to go to the voters again.
4. With the Canes almost assuredly moving out, the OB site has become the favorite with the politicians for the Marlins Stadium. The team and MLB still prefer the downtown site.
5. Negotiation continue, but everyone is waiting for the UM to make their move official before proceeding.

If anyone has any concrete information (not just opinions) please feel free to correct what I have outlined above.
 

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