World Cup solidifies Dolphins’ stadium as true ‘global’ venue

Some of the curves and bends of the Miami Global Autodrome had been nonetheless quick to make out from the suite amount at Difficult Rock Stadium on Friday when reps from South Florida’s local governments, the Miami Dolphins and the people bureau all collected there to formally welcome the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Miami-Dade County.

It has barely been a month considering the fact that Miami Gardens hosted the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, reworking the grounds all around Hard Rock into a Formula One-worthy race monitor. It has scarcely been two because the facility hosted the 2022 Miami Open up, transforming the same campus into environment-course tennis advanced with 30 courts strewn all around the venue. In a number of far more months, the stadium will entirely completely transform again, prepared to host at least 10 Dolphins games and seven Miami Hurricanes games.

Even before FIFA introduced it would be bringing 2026 World Cup games to Miami-Dade County on Thursday, there was no venue quite like Really hard Rock Stadium. Now, it’s even more evident.

“We had a vision to have a world leisure vacation spot below,” explained Tom Garfinkel, the CEO of the Dolphins and Challenging Rock Stadium. “With nationwide championship online games, Super Bowls, Miami Open up tennis, surely System One particular, definitely Dolphins game titles and now we’re hosting the Planet Cup right here in 2026, I imagine that eyesight is becoming realized.”

The facility has already hosted six Tremendous Bowls, 5 college or university football national championships, 25 Orange Bowls, three Miami Opens, game titles in the Globe Baseball Classic, just one WrestleMania and a System One particular race. The Earth Cup was a person of the handful of marquee gatherings still left lacking from its resume.

The United States has only hosted the FIFA Earth Cup a person other time back in 1994 and the stadium — then referred to as Joe Robbie Stadium — didn’t host any video games mainly because the Miami Marlins, then referred to as the Florida Marlins, experienced residence dates at the stadium conflicting with the tournament.

“It’s a potentially generational chance,” Miami mayor Francis X. Suarez claimed.

Now the residence of the Dolphins is unassailable. It commenced back again in the 1980s, when Robbie formulated the strategy of a stadium ready to quickly adapt to host soccer matches, and took on new everyday living less than the ownership of Stephen M. Ross and vision of Garfinkel.

In 2017, all those two lured an iteration of El Clasico — the storied rivalry amongst FC Barcelona and True Madrid of Spain’s La Liga — to Tricky Rock Stadium. In 2019, they proved Challenging Rock can do more than just host situations inside the stadium when the Miami Open moved from Key Biscayne to Miami Gardens for the 1st time, performed on pop-up courts in what is normally tailgating space.

Their crowning accomplishment — for now, at least — was the Miami Grand Prix, earning those people parking lots and muddy fields unrecognizable, replaced with a race observe and weekend-spanning bash.

In some strategies, the 2022 Miami Grand Prix (GP) was the excellent exam case. Garfinkel mentioned very last thirty day period he had reps from FIFA arrive see the campus — basically, a slice of Miami Seashore transported into Miami Gardens — and they’ll be ready to reuse some of individuals very same thoughts at the 2026 Globe Cup.

“It’ll be related to what you see for Tremendous Bowls and for the F1 celebration, exactly where there will be a ton of hospitality in and all around the location — some permanent, some short-term,” Garfinkel explained. “There will be a large amount additional action below on the campus than just the matches them selves.”

Like the Miami GP, the Entire world Cup should really attract an global viewers, also.

This was another simple marketing place to FIFA. Dade County is just one of the most varied in the nation, formally nicknamed “The Gateway to the Americas,” and Miami International Airport was the busiest United States gateway for intercontinental travelers in 2021, in accordance to Airports Council Global.

“In chatting with FIFA,” Garfinkel stated, “you’re conversing about the attract of Miami as a international location.”

Is there a different, increased frontier remaining for Really hard Rock Stadium at this issue? At this place, it has hosted an party in quite a lot every significant sport but basketball, hockey and golf.

“That’s a excellent strategy,” Garfinkel stated, chuckling at the notion of turning the location into a golfing class. “Maybe somewhere else. Not listed here.”

Realistically, the Planet Cup is the very last matter Difficult Rock Stadium had to test off.

“We’re functioning out of dates and we’re operating out of house,” Garfinkel claimed, “so I really don’t there’s a great deal much more we can do, but we’ll proceed. To have the Globe Cup is clearly a massive detail.”

This tale was originally published June 17, 2022 2:57 PM.

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David Wilson, a Maryland indigenous, is the Miami Herald’s utility male for sports activities protection.