The South Beach experience is making its way to Sun Life Stadium and Dolphins football games this season, and it will feel a lot like arguably the top nightclub in Miami.
Over 400 seats and 17 suites in the 300 and 200 levels of the stadium have been cleared out to create the 10,000 square foot LIV Sun Life Stadium that will look and feel a lot like LIV nightclub at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel. Complete with a pair of bars, private cabanas and tables, dance floor and DJ booth, the space will overlook the west end zone and create a nightclub experience for the fan before, during and after the game.
The luxury penthouse-like area was created in partnership with Miami Marketing Group (MMG), co-partner of LIV nightclub. The space that holds around 800 people between the two levels debuted in time for the Dolphins home opener on Sunday, Sept. 26 (8:20 p.m.) against the N.Y. Jets. Celebrities who attend included Kim Kardashian, Tara Reid, DJ Cedric Gervais, and Miami Heat stars LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The DJ for the opening was Mr. Mauricio.
Over 150 construction workers handled double shifts and worked furiously around the clock to get the space completed in time for the home opener. The toughest challenges was installing the lighting in the cabanas and the sound system.
“There might be some wet paint when we open,” said David Grutman, founder and principal of MMG.
An individual ticket is $325 and includes access into LIV at Sun Life and a leather seat on the 200 level.
The 15- and 12-person cabanas are $1,000 per person and include one bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, one bottle of premium liquor, and bottles of beers and water. The 10-person couch is $500 per person and the 4-person lounge table is $450 per person. Neither come with any drinks and the seats are located outside LIV at Sun Life in the 200 level of the stadium.
“Ultimately this is South Florida’s football team, and South Beach is a part of South Florida, but South Beach wasn’t always represented in the stadium experience,” said Brian Gordon, founder and principal of MMG. “So what this venue does is iconic of the South Beach experience. It’s South Beach done football style.
“So if you’re a fan, it’s the ultimate way to watch a football game with all the amenities you get in South Beach nightlife. It’s like if you had a buddy who had the greatest penthouse in the world and it happened to have the perfect view of the Dolphins game from inside the stadium,” Gordon said.
MMG’s role will be to bring the feel and energy of the highly regarded nightclub to the stadium (complete with top DJ acts and celebrities), said Dolphins CEO Mike Dee.
“We’re bringing the kind of entertainment and energy inherent in South Beach nightlife, but in a way where fans can still enjoy the game,” Dee said. “With MMG’s guidance, the experience at Sun Life Stadium will deliver a unique football and exceptional party experience.”
And the concept is a continuation of Dolphins owner Steve Ross’s vision to connect his team to his roots in Miami. It was just a year ago he brought glitz to the franchise by incorporating celebrity owners such as Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez and Venus and Serena Williams.
“A lot of people talk about the convergence of sports and entertainment. Steve actually lives it and has tremendous vision,” Dee said.
“Steve was introduced to MMG through a mutual friend, and he got the vision through these guys who are the best at what they do," Dee said. And they operate not only one of the premier clubs in the South Florida and the county but in the world.”
“I think his vision is amazing because he is ahead of the curve,” said Grutman.
“I believe this will be the place to be and be seen,” Dee said. “I will be surprised if they (celebrity owners) don’t want to hang out there.”
How will it work? Depending on the Dolphins game, you can buy a ticket to the club space or, like you would at a nightclub, order a table or cabana space for you and between 4 and 15 of you friends. After you valet park, you enter by private VIP entry near the player’s entrance and head to your table. There you will be able to order drinks, bottle service, and even call over the fantasy football concierge who can help you manage your fantasy team.
At halftime, top DJs such as Tiesto, Erick Morillo and Cedric Gervais will man the pair of decks at the club, providing the soundtrack to the experience. And it will be hard to miss the game action, considering there will be 60 HD televisions tuned in to DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket.
“All of a sudden the Cleveland Browns game gets more exciting when Erick Morillo is inside DJ-ing,” Gordon said.
“And you will have some of the most beautiful models there watching the game, because models love football. And football players,” Grutman said. “And we are looking forward to putting together a really fun mix of different people, including the fans.”
You can also gain access to the club by securing a ticket to the new 200 level seating in the west end zone, which features large leather seats, some leather couches mixed in, and waitress service. Just head upstairs to the 300 level from a connecting indoor staircase.
“We have never had lounge space and premium space that has a connection to the field,” said Mark Tilson, Dolphins senior vice president of sales and ticket operation. “So you are going to have some of the best views of the playing field and the game in an area that is second to none.”
The new space located in the West End Zone took over Section 256 as well as half of Section 255 and half of Section 201. On the 300 level, the space occupies what used to be sections 354 to 302. Suite and seat holders in that section were moved to other sections of the club and 200 levels.
Dee said the partnership with MMG is a “long term, multi-year relationship. We want to see it grow and build. Starting with two prime-time night games we think it will be red hot from day one.”
Dee said the Dolphins made the financial investment in the space – “a significant low seven-figure investment” – but will co-operate the space with MMG. “You will see their fingerprint all over this space,” he said.
“A lot of times teams design around a lounge or space, but in this case this is a more cutting edge project because we are talking more about the experience, the vibe,” Dee said. “And why we partnered with these guys is because they bring the rest of the equation, the vibe, the programming, the celebrities, the feeling that you get when you go to LIV.
“If we weren’t doing some of the other things we have embarked on at other parts of the stadium, this would stand out as something that is out of context,” Dee said. “But this is clearly unique and what we want, and leaning on these guys to provide. But it is consistent in creating South Florida’s biggest party, creating the orange carpet, creating a vibe that this entire stadium scene is where you want to go to have fun and not just see a football game.
"This is going to be the best party within South Florida’s biggest party.”
Notes: The lounge branded last season as the Ocean Drive Magazine lounge will remain but under a new name - the Ford Sideline Club and Lounge… Dee said the University of Miami has expressed interest in how the space could be used for its games, but that has yet to be determined… Dee added that this project is not associated with efforts to erect a canopy over the stadium, enhancements that were suggested by the NFL. He said that effort remains “on-going”.