Hard Rock Stadium is a football stadium located in Miami Gardens, Florida, a city north of Miami. It is the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League. Hard Rock Stadium also plays host to the Miami Hurricanes football team during their regular season. In addition, the facility hosts the Orange Bowl, an annual college football bowl game.
The stadium has hosted six Super Bowls, the 2010 Pro Bowl, two World Series, four BCS National Championship Games, the second round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and WrestleMania XXVIII. The stadium will host the College Football Playoff National Championship in 2021, as well as has agreed in principle to host the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in 2021.
Hard Rock Stadium History
For their first 21 seasons, the Miami Dolphins played at the Orange Bowl. Joe Robbie, the team founder, explained what led to the decision to build a new stadium. In 1976, the city of Miami wanted to quadruple our rent. That did it. I began thinking in earnest about building a stadium. What made the construction of the stadium truly unique was that it was the first multipurpose stadium ever built in the United States that was entirely privately financed.
Robbie also believed it was only a matter of time before a Major League Baseball team came to South Florida. At his request, the stadium was built in a rectangular configuration with a field that was somewhat wider than was normally the case for an NFL stadium. The wide field also made it fairly easy to convert the stadium for soccer.
he first preseason game for the Dolphins was played on August 16, 1987 against the Chicago Bears. The first regular season game was scheduled for September 27, a week 3 game against the New York Giants; this game was canceled and not made up due to the 1987 players strike. The first regular season NFL game played there was a 42–0 Dolphins victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on October 11, 1987. The game was in the middle of the 1987 NFL strike, and was played with replacement players.
The Marlins move in
While Joe Robbie Stadium was built primarily for football, its design also accommodated baseball and soccer. Dolphins founder Joe Robbie believed it was a foregone conclusion that MLB would come to South Florida, so he wanted the stadium designed to make any necessary renovations for baseball as seamless as possible. In 1990, Wayne Huizenga purchased 50% of then-Joe Robbie Stadium and became the point man in the drive to bring Major League Baseball to South Florida.
The first Marlins game played at then-Joe Robbie Stadium was on April 5, 1993, a 6–3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Marlins drew more than 3 million people in their inaugural season. They went on to win two World Series titles, in 1997 and 2003. Despite such preparation and pockets of success, the stadium was less than adequate as a baseball venue.
Baseball renovations and configurations
After Huizenga bought part of the stadium, it was extensively renovated to accommodate a baseball team at the cost of several million dollars, as part of his successful bid to bring baseball to South Florida. Purists initially feared the result would be similar to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto; when the Toronto Blue Jays played there from 1977 to 1989, they were burdened with seats that were so far from the field that they weren’t even sold during the regular season.
The Marlins left for their own stadium, Marlins Park, which was completed for the 2012 MLB season. A privately funded $350 million stadium renovation project began in January 2015, right after a Monster Jam event. The project plan allowed the stadium to be used for football games during the 2015 season and was completed for the 2016 football season. Stadium upgrades included video boards in each corner of the stadium, additional suites, and an open-air canopy over the main seating areas.
Miami Open tennis tournament
In November 2017, the Miami Open tennis tournament announced that it would move from Crandon Park in Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium in 2019. Its organizers had pursued a $50 million refurbishment of the aging facility, including the addition of three permanent stadium courts. However, the family who originally owned the land filed a lawsuit that blocked their construction, as their agreement to donate the site to Miami-Dade County in 1992 contained a stipulation that only one stadium may be built on the site.
The stadium has played host to six Super Bowls. There has been a kickoff return for a touchdown in each Super Bowl played at the stadium, except for the two most recent games. The stadium also hosted the 2010 Pro Bowl. Super Bowl XLI in 2007 at Dolphin Stadium, when the Indianapolis Colts defeated Chicago Bears 29–17, was marred by heavy rains. An estimated 30% of the lower-level seating was empty during the second half.
In 2010, the NFL threatened to take the stadium out of further consideration for a Super Bowl or Pro Bowl unless significant renovations were made. One of the upgrades desired was a roof to protect fans from the elements. In 2012, the Dolphins scrapped plans for pitching a $200-million hotel tax proposal that would have included a partial stadium roof.
In 2016, an open-air canopy was constructed that protects the seating bowl from the elements. The canopy, however, does have a football-field sized hole in the middle, and thus does not protect the playing field itself from rain. The renovations were completed by the first Miami Dolphins pre-season home game in September 2016.
The stadium has hosted both the 2009 BCS National Championship Game and the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. The 2013 game between Alabama and Notre Dame set a new attendance record for the facility, with 80,120 on hand to witness Alabama’s third BCS Championship in four seasons. The stadium has hosted the Miami Hurricanes beginning in 2008. The stadium was the home field for the Florida Atlantic Owls.
Until 2008, the stadium was host to the annual Shula Bowl, a game played between the Florida Atlantic University Owls and the Florida International University Panthers, when the game was hosted by FAU as the home team. In 2010, the game was moved to Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium, and in 2011 the Owls opened FAU Stadium on its Boca Raton campus, and started hosting the Shula Bowl there biennially in 2012.
On April 1, 2012, the stadium hosted WrestleMania XXVIII—WWE’s flagship professional wrestling event. It marked the second edition of WrestleMania to be held in Florida, and the third to be held entirely outdoors. With an attendance of 78,363, the event grossed $67 million, and was estimated to have generated $103 million in revenue for Miami.