Miami, Florida (PRWEB) July 30, 2013 -- As a recent keynote speaker before local business leaders in South Florida, Jeff Bartel highlighted the return on community investment -- in terms of economic, goodwill and lifestyle value -- of public contribution and investment in major sports and exhibition facilities. Bartel has been actively involved in recent years in examining and discussing the value of public investment in major local sports facilities. Through his volunteer work as chairman of the Sports Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, with the Miami-Dade Sports Commission leadership, and as a longtime member of the Orange Bowl Committee, Bartel has discussed the tremendous economic impact in terms of direct and indirect new dollars to the community and in short and long-term job creation that major sports facilities play. Venues such as Sun Life Stadium -- where the Miami Dolphins, University of Miami Hurricanes, Orange Bowl and college BCS championship football games are played -- as well as the American Airlines Arena, where the world champion Miami Heat play, are top examples of sports facilities providing literally billions of dollars of economic impact to the Greater Miami community. This is not to mention the fact that, as Bartel says, “world-class cities provide world-class facilities for arts, culture, sports and exhibitions taking place for their residents and visitors.”
This is an issue that is particularly relevant in Miami, as earlier this year, the private sector ownership of the Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium sought public support for a minority level of public-funded loans and investment in Sun Life Stadium, while the private ownership agreed to shoulder the great bulk of the cost associated with renovations at Sun Life Stadium. Sun Life Stadium is a venue that by all objective standards needs major updating in order to be competitive with newer, better stadiums that have been constructed in other U.S. cities for Super Bowls, college football national championship games, and other major events. While these other cities do not have the natural attraction and draw that South Florida has to its credit, communities in Texas, California, New England and the MidAtlantic have constructed, with some level of public contribution, new or renovated stadiums that now top the pecking order for future big events like Super Bowls and college football national championships.
While there are many questions surrounding the details associated with how and to what level the public should be asked to invest in privately-owned or privately-operated stadiums and arenas, Bartel and other community leaders in South Florida have discussed that the public benefit, beyond just economics, of having best-in-class facilities for the enjoyment of fans, of out-of-market visitors, and as part of being a world-class city and community, are undeniable. Bartel asserts that a certain level of public investment in venues such as Sun Life Stadium and the American Airlines Arena, are also a way to also ensure that the community has “stake in the game” both literally and figuratively, and such public investment demonstrates support by the very resident and community visitor fan base that is benefitting from the economic impact and emotive sports fan impact of having sports events held in facilities that represent the best the community can offer.
Bartel testified this year before committees of the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee’s Florida Legislature that public and political support needs to be there to ensure that communities such as Miami have world-class sports facilities to be able to attract and obtain hosting for major sports events that have a world stage – football, basketball, soccer, Pan Am games, Olympics, etc. In an article he wrote in February with Tony Argiz, now chair-elect of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and former president of the Orange Bowl Committee, Bartel asserts that "recent years have seen other cities—Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Atlanta—make investments in their stadiums to boost their local economy and attract the same events we seemingly take for granted. Our efforts to become the best 'destination city' face the reality that our 1980s-era stadium cannot compete with newer, better venues." With the backing of recently published independent economic impact studies done by various experts including the Washington Economics Group, Bartel asserted that the upgrades planned for the Sun Life Stadium alone would generate over 4,000 jobs and bring in $2 billion over the next 15 years.
Ultimately, the Miami Dolphins’ efforts in 2013 to garner legislative support in Tallahassee for some level of public contribution were not successful. That said, Bartel and other South Florida leaders have not given up on efforts that may take place in future years to update and modernize Sun Life Stadium. More immediately, in his speech Bartel stated that efforts now underway to secure additional public support for renovations and updating to the American Airlines Arena, home to the back-to-back NBA champion Miami Heat need the support of Miami-Dade County officials in order to make that happen. Bartel and many others want to see this approval for American Airlines Arena take place as soon as possible. As for Sun Life Stadium, in his role at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and through the Orange Bowl Committee, Bartel and other individuals and groups will continue to endeavor to support efforts to renovate and modernize that stadium as soon as possible, so that Miami can regain its position as a highly competitive contender to bid for hosting large-scale stadium sporting and exhibition events. In his keynote, Jeff Bartel urged local residents to engage their political representatives to ensure their elected representatives appreciate the importance of maintaining updated sports facilities that will continue to create jobs, stimulate the local economy, extend community goodwill, and provide world-class facilities for a world-class community.
Jeff Bartel is managing director of Hamptons Group, LLC (http://www.hamptonsgroup.com), a private investment and consulting firm based in Coral Gables, Florida. Prior to founding Hamptons Group, Bartel was a vice president, corporate officer and member of the executive leadership team at Florida Power & Light Company (commonly known as FPL) and its parent company NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). Before joining NextEra Energy, Bartel was a partner at two of Florida largest law firms -- Stearns Weaver Miller and, prior to that, at Steel Hector & Davis (now known as Squire Sanders). Before practicing law, Bartel served as chief of staff in the United States of Representatives. Since starting his career, Bartel has become a leader in the state of Florida through high impact professional work and accomplishments and his dedication to volunteering and serving the residents of his community. Bartel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Harvard University and a law degree with honors from the University of Florida.
Marcy Johnson, PR Management Inc., 484-362-9658, [email protected]