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Dolphins dine out on lucrative Hard Rock stadium deal

Restaurant and hotel company Hard Rock International has agreed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins to take on naming rights to the NFL American football team’s home stadium.

Hard Rock International replaces financial services company Sun Life as the naming rights partner of the venue, which will now be known as Hard Rock Stadium.

Financial terms of the 18-year agreement were not disclosed, although the Miami Herald newspaper reported that the deal would be worth around $250m (€220.7m) over the duration of the contract, which would be the third-most lucrative naming rights partnership in the NFL.

The Dallas Cowboys’ contract for AT&T Stadium is said to be worth approximately $19m per year, while MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, is ranked second at approximately $16m per year.

Hard Rock International also becomes the official hotel and resort, casual restaurant partner and hospitality sponsor of the Dolphins.

Under the agreement, Hard Rock branding will feature on the stadium’s shade canopy and VIP helipad, at the facility entrance and throughout the arena. In addition, the chain will take on presenting rights to the Dolphins' Grand Plaza pre-game fan activities programme.

“This deal is not only a naming rights program, but it is designed to be a true partnership between two companies dedicated to providing world class entertainment on a global level,” Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen said.

The ground had been referred to as New Miami Stadium since Sun Life’s naming rights deal expired in January. The Dolphins’ agreement with Hard Rock International comes ahead of the start of the 2016 NFL season next month.

The stadium also hosts the University of Miami’s college football games and will stage the NFL’s season-ending Super Bowl in 2020.