AFC East: stadium upgrades

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Are the Miami Dolphins one step closer to moving to Los Angeles?

That is the worry in South Florida on Monday after the Dolphins failed to secure public funding for renovations of Sun Life Stadium over the weekend. The Dolphins were looking to add about $400 million in stadium upgrades, and according to team president Mike Dee, owner Stephen Ross would have paid for about 70 percent of the cost. However, the Florida House prevented it from going to a public vote and those plans are now null and void.

"We cannot do this without a private-public partnership," Dee told television station WFOR-TV in Miami. "At this time we have no intention of investing more."

It’s unknown if the public vote would have fared well for the Dolphins. The elephant in the room was the Miami Marlins recently fleecing South Florida for public money to build their new stadium. That left a bad taste that the Dolphins had to overcome. But the team did a lot of work in the community to gain public backing and felt good about its chances. That is why the Dolphins are so upset the vote never went public.

Will the Dolphins leave Miami as a result? The short answer is definitely not in the near future.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said several times on record that the team will remain in South Florida as long as he's the owner. Ross completed the $1 billion purchase of the Dolphins in 2009 and hasn't given any indication that he intends to sell.

But here is the biggest concern for Dolphins fans: What happens to the team when Ross, 73, is no longer the owner? That is when things could get murky. It's in Ross' best interest to sell the Dolphins to the highest bidder, even if that person wants to move the team.

Just about any team with stadium issues is rumored to be heading to Los Angeles, and I think it's fair to now add the Dolphins to that list of speculation. However, do not expect anything to happen on this front for at least the next several years.

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