Must Read Tips For Saving Money at
Hard Rock Stadium


How to save money at Hard Rock Stadium
Joe Robbie Dolphins Land Shark Sun Life Stadium

Examine the image above, and you’re sure to notice 3 things:
  1. You’re not seeing the current Hard Rock Stadium, but rather Sun Life Stadium, as it was known before it was renamed and remodeled.
  2. A helicopter which has no relevance here, but I can’t remove it since it’s a borrowed image.
  3. The background, which appears to be nothing but palm trees and residential neighborhoods. Now this is relevant.

How so? Well, as an NFL fan, instead of having an abundance of food, drink, & entertainment options nearby - this is, after all, what you’d expect from the 5th most visited U.S. city -- you get a Walmart, a few chain restaurants, and oh yes, a casino, because Hard Rock Stadium, you see, is actually located in suburban Miami Gardens, which is about 15 miles from downtown Miami.


Ok, 15 miles isn’t very far, but what if you simply want to explore the neighborhood around the stadium? Your choices are few, and lack of choices of course means less control over what you spend.

And not that you need an excuse to save, but despite relatively low ticket, concessions, & parking prices - the average face value Dolphins ticket cost just $65.16 in 2015¹ (5th lowest) -- the cost of a single ticket on the secondary market represented 28% of the average weekly paycheck of local area residents, a figure that was 3rd highest in 2015².

 1Dolphins average face value ticket increased to $98.25 in 2016. Source: teammarketing.com
 2Based upon 2015 data. Source: deptofnumbers.com

So what do you do if you want to save a few bucks at the Miami Dolphins stadium? I’d thought you’d never ask…


Want to enjoy Hard Rock Stadium without going broke?

Indulge in the stadium fare.   I usually recommend avoiding stadium food, but with the dearth of choices nearby (there is one sports bar within 3 miles of Hard Rock) you might as well. The stadium has upgraded its offerings since getting a C+ grade from Bleacher Report in 2012, so if tailgating is not an option, you can get decent value at these concessions:

  • Café Versailles - $7.50 for a Cuban sandwich
  • Sloppy Joe’s - Conch fritters, $12 (4)
  • Sushi Maki - $12 Ahi tuna
  • Shula Burger - Only $7.50


Have a craft beer or two.   Beer prices are average to below average, but it’s not the cost that’s noteworthy here, it’s the fact that there are over 50 varieties of craft brew to swoon over. And at 8 bucks a pop (bottled), you can have more than one.


Uber Tailgate.   If you really want to save and have a great time, then tailgating is the way to go at Hard Rock Stadium, just don’t Uber tailgate.

What is Uber Tailgate? Well for a mere $250, Uber will drive you to & from the game (max. $15 one-way fare) and then set you up with a tailgating space and supplies.

What does it include? In addition to car fare, you get a tailgate tent, a table, grill, & a cooler with ice. Refreshments are on you, and they’re more than happy to sell you overpriced food & beer from their own store.

You’ve got to be kidding…

Here’s what a 4-person Uber tailgate party would cost if you bought their provisions:

Tailgate package $250
4 burgers & buns $16
4 hot dogs & rolls $12
Chips & salsa $17
6-pack domestic beer $18
6-pack water $12
Total $325

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Here’s what it would it would cost if you bought your own parking pass (here), tailgate tent (here), and food & beverage (from Publix):

4 lbs Boneless Sirloin Steak $24
4 Mojo Pork Subs $20
20-pc. wings $8.99
6-pack Yuengling Beer $6.29
6-pack water $3.75
Miami Dolphins Tailgate Tent $150
Parking pass $25
Total $214.03



What is Publix? It’s one of the top supermarket chains in the U.S., providing exceptional value and some of the best fried chicken anywhere. If you’ve never served fried chicken at a tailgate party, well what are you waiting for? An 8 piece bucket is just 8 bucks at Publix.

The prices listed above represent some of their weekly specials (4/27 - 5/3) and thus will vary, but are pretty typical. There are more than 10 Publix within an 8 mile radius of Hard Rock Stadium.


For the non-Uber tailgate, I did not include the cost of the grill, table, & cooler because those are items that most people already own. The cost of provisions and parking passes will naturally vary.

For example, substituting a six-pack of Funky Buddha Beer (from Publix, of course) for the Yuengling is only $2.70 more. On the other hand, if you replace the pork subs with a bucket of Publix fried chicken, the total dips to $212. And if you buy a generic tailgate tent instead of one with the Dolphins logo, that’s another $76 off. Aaaand, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the $250 Uber Tailgate price tag isn’t for every game. For certain opponents, it’s $350.

As far as I can see, the only advantage that Uber Tailgate offers is that you and your friends are chauffeured to and from the stadium, but that’s hardly worth the $106 - $232 difference in cost, don’t you think??

And if driving is the issue, Rally Bus is considerably cheaper than Uber. A round trip fare from Boca Raton is just $30*, which is less than a one-way fare using UberX. From Bonita Springs, it’s only $40* (UberX: $130 one-way)

  *Until June 12


Discounted parking with SunPass.   The face value cost of a parking pass for Miami Dolphins stadium is $40, but SunPass users pay only $25. At $4.99 (plus $10 minimum balance), it’s well worth it.

SunPass owners to receive discounted parking at Hard Rock Stadium.

Or, you can pay about the same price, depending upon the opponent and such, right here.


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