Miami Dolphins Stadium
Money Saving Guide

Miami Dolphins 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 Miami Dolphins Stadium as it is, but rather Sun Life Stadium as it was, 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, at least for Dolphins fans.

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.

And then there’s the tickets… while the average face value Dolphins ticket cost just $65.16 in 2015¹ (5th lowest), the initial secondary market price of $274 represented 28% of the average weekly paycheck of local area residents, a figure that was 3rd highest in 2015².
 2Based upon latest available data from

With the lack of options around the stadium and sky-high resale costs, what’s a fan to do?

If you want to save money at Miami Dolphins Stadium…

Get Dolphins tickets for less.   How much less? In a comparison of 11 major ticket broker sites*, the best available price for all 2017 Dolphins home games at Hard Rock will save you 14%, on average:

Date Opponent Best Price Broker(s)
9/10 Buccaneers $84 TicketIQ
10/8 Titans $48 TickPick
10/22 Jets $63 TicketIQ
11/5 Raiders $88 TickPick
12/3 Broncos $84 TickPick
12/11 Patriots $176 TickPick
12/31 Bills $59 TickPick, TicketIQ
Prices as of 7/8/17 are for the cheapest available tickets, minimum 2. Includes all fees
*StubHub, RazorGator, Vivid Seats, Ticket Liquidator, Coast to Coast, Ticket City, GoldCoast, Ticket Monster, TickPick, TicketIQ, SeatGeek

Sample the Hard Rock Stadium food.   I usually recommend avoiding stadium food, but with the dearth of choices nearby (there is one sports bar within 3 miles) 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

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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 an Uber tailgate party for 4 Miami Dolphins fans 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

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

Get discounted parking with SunPass.   The face value cost of a Sun Life Stadium parking pass 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.

Bargain hotels.   Would you believe that hotel room prices for the Miami area could be more expensive than even Hawaii and New York City? That’s right - the average daily rates in Miami were the highest in the nation in 2016, but relax… you can find 3- or 4-star hotels near Sun Life Stadium for under $130 per night.

Here are five that are within 11 miles of Hard Rock, with an average cost of $112* and an average rating of 76**:

  • Belvedere Inn, 2550 S State Rd 7, Miramar. $100 a night, 74 rating
  • Ramada Plaza Marco Polo Beach Resort, 19201 Collins Ave, N Miami Beach. $119, 64 rating
  • Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club. 6842 Main St., Miami Lakes. $125.75 average, 80 rating
  • Daddy-O Hotel, 9660 E Harbor Bay Dr, Bay Harbor Islands. $114, 78 rating
  • Mare Azur Miami by Grand Bay, 7951 NE Bayshore Ct, Miami. $101.50 average, 84 rating

* Rates are for a 1 night stay (11/19 - 11/20/17 were the proposed dates in this case) as of Nov. 3, 2017.
**Ratings are based upon cumulative scores from at least 2 of 4 sites (Expedia,,, & priceline) - a 3 (out of 5) rating on Expedia = 60, 7 (out of 10) rating on = 70.

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