January 18, 2010: Sun Life Financial, based in Toronto, has secured naming rights to Dolphin Stadium in a five-year deal valued at about $7.5 million per year, it was confirmed by people with knowledge of the situation both in South Florida and north of the Border. The company will immediately see dividends as the stadium will host both the NFL Pro Bowl on Jan. 31 and Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7.
The Miami Herald first reported on the deal this past December.
The U.S. division of Sun Life has been aggressive in marketing over the past few months with a TV, print and Internet campaign, "Get to Know the Sun Life," from The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. In two spots, company "representatives" Karl and Miles try to get other groups to incorporate the Sun Life name in their business efforts, such as asking Florida to change its nickname from the Sunshine State to the Sun Life State and KC and the Sunshine Band to become KC and the Sun Life Band.
The company has a separate campaign, "Life's Brighter Under the Sun," running in Canada that is expected to get air time during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Stephen Ross is majority owner of both Dolphin Stadium and the NFL's Miami Dolphins. The venue currently is home to the Dolphins, the University of Miami football team, the FedEx Orange Bowl and MLB's Florida Marlins, which are scheduled to move into their own stadium in 2012.
Since Super Bowl XXIII in 1989, the facility has hosted five Super Bowls (including the upcoming game) and has had several name changes, including Joe Robbie Stadium, Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium and from May 2009-January 5, 2010 Land Shark Stadium. A new logo is expected to be unveiled this week.
The deal comes as Ross is seeking funds to refurbish the venue and add a roof. He recently has sold a percentage of ownership in the Dolphins to such celebrities as Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony and Venus and Serena Williams.