Sun Life Stadium
Sun Life Stadium, also known as Joe Robbie Stadium, was actually built primarily for football as it opened in 1987. However, it soon became a baseball venue, and it was used permanently by the local baseball team, the Marlins. Originally, the stadium was actually built due to lobbying by Joe Robbie, the former namesake of the stadium and the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Eventually, the stadium became a popular baseball venue as well, since the region of South Florida was awarded a major league team in 1991. Because of this important shift, the stadium was heavily upgraded in order to match the needs of baseball teams and fans. The stadium was renovated with the addition of retractable seating on the north side of the facility, as well as a press box suitable for baseball-related media. Most notably, the seats of the stadium had a configuration that was actually quite different than what you would expect since it was trying to accommodate both baseball and football audiences.
Nonetheless, the stadium did not have a great reputation among baseball fans. The design was trying its best to create a good experience, but even the color scheme of the design matched the branding of the Dolphins, so much so that some people considered it distracting. Since the football and baseball seasons often overlapped, it was quite common to have logos, and brands get mixed up in the stadium, which was not ideal for either team. To add to that, the local climate is notorious for its extreme heat and humidity, so much so that this became known as the hottest stadium in major league baseball, with temperatures often going far above 95 Fahrenheit degrees. Even many players from the Marlins actually dreaded the experience of playing there and couldn’t wait to go on the road, where they would have better playing conditions pretty much everywhere. Some went on to say that the Sun Life Stadium was the worst venue in MLB, but thankfully, this did not stop the Marlins from achieving good results for many years. These were some of the issues that eventually led the Marlins to abandon the facility in favor of their own specially built park.
In the early 90s, the Florida Marlins took up residence in the stadium, and they played their very first game on April 5th, 1993. The Sun Life Stadium eventually was left behind by the Marlins, who decided to move to a brand new facility known as Marlins Park in 2012. Today, the stadium is known as Hard Rock Stadium, and it is most active as a multi-purpose facility, although the Dolphins still call it their main home.
As of 2019, this facility has also been home to professional tennis, hosting the famed Miami Open, which also brought on some further refinements and updated to this stadium. Most recently, the stadium opened a gondola that is known as SkyView, providing a unique experience to the audience. In addition to various sporting events, the stadium also hosted various musical performances and concert productions. Rod Stewart and Hall & Oates, accompanied by the band Chicago, were the first acts to play at this stadium, followed by many other performers, including The Who, Paul McCartney, Guns N Roses, and U2, as well as The Police’s famed reunion tour and Madonna, only to mention but a few.