Sun Life Stadium
|Former names||Joe Robbie Stadium (1987–96)
Pro Player Park (1996)
Pro Player Stadium (1996–2005)
Dolphins Stadium (2005-06)
Dolphin Stadium (2006–09)
Land Shark Stadium (2009–10)
|Location||347 Don Shula Dr
Miami Gardens, Florida 33056
|Owner||Stephen M. Ross (95%)
H. Wayne Huizenga (5%)
|Record attendance||80,120 (2013 BCS National Championship Game)|
|Field size||Left field – 330 ft / 100.6 m
Left-center field – 361 ft / 110 m
Center field – 404 ft / 123.1 m
Right-center field – 385 ft / 117,3 m
Right field – 345 ft / 105.1 m
Backstop – 58 ft / 17.7 m
|Surface||Prescription Athletic Turf (Natural Grass)|
|Broke ground||December 1, 1985|
|Opened||August 16, 1987|
|Construction cost||$115 million
($239 million in 2015 dollars)
|Architect||Populous (then HOK Sport)|
|Project manager||George A. Fuller Company|
|Structural engineer||Bliss & Nyitray, Inc|
|Services engineer||Blum Consulting Engineers|
|General contractor||Huber, Hunt & Nichols|
|Miami Dolphins (NFL) (1987–present)
Champs Sports Bowl (NCAA) (1990–2000)
Florida Marlins (MLB) (1993–2011)
Orange Bowl (NCAA) (1996–98; 2000–present)
Florida Atlantic Owls (NCAA) (2001–02)
Miami Hurricanes (NCAA) (2008–present)
Sun Life Stadium is a football stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, United States, a city north of Miami. It is the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL), and the Miami Hurricanes football team of the University of Miami. Sun Life Stadium also hosts the Orange Bowl, an annual college football bowl game. It was the home to the Florida Marlins baseball team from 1993 to 2011. Originally named Joe Robbie Stadium, it has also been known as Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium.
Since its construction, the stadium has hosted five Super Bowls (XXIII, XXIX, XXXIII, XLI and XLIV), the 2010 Pro Bowl, two World Series (1997 and 2003), four BCS National Championship Games (2001, 2005, 2009, 2013), the second round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and WrestleMania XXVIII. The stadium one of four potential hosts for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowl games.
On January 18, 2010, the Miami Dolphins signed a five-year deal with Sun Life Financial to rename Dolphin Stadium to Sun Life Stadium. The deal is worth $7.5 million per year for five years (a total of $37.5 million).
- 1 History and facts
- 2 Notable events
- 3 Other events
- 4 Naming rights
- 5 References
- 6 External links
History and facts
Conception and construction
For their first 21 seasons, the Miami Dolphins played at the Orange Bowl. Joe Robbie, the team's founder, led the financing campaign to build a new home for the team. He believed it was only a matter of time before a Major League Baseball team came to South Florida. At his request, the stadium was built so only minimal renovations would be necessary to ready it for a baseball team. Most notably, the field was made somewhat wider than is normally the case for an NFL stadium. The wide field also makes it fairly easy to convert the stadium for soccer.
Because of this design decision, the first row of seats is 90 ft (27 m) from the sideline in a football configuration, considerably more distant than the first row of seats in most football stadiums (the closest seats at the new Soldier Field, for instance, are 55 ft (17 m) from the sideline at the 50-yard line). This resulted in a less intimate venue for football compared to other football facilities built around this time, as well as to the Orange Bowl.
The first regular season NFL game played there was a 42–0 Dolphins victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on October 11, 1987. The game was in the middle of the 1987 NFL strike, and was played with replacement players. The stadium hosted its first Monday Night Football game there on December 7 of that year, a 37–28 Dolphins victory over the New York Jets. In addition to the Super Bowl, several other playoff games have been played in the stadium, including the 1992 AFC Championship Game, which the Dolphins lost to the Buffalo Bills, 29–10. The Dolphins are 5–3 in playoff games held here, losing the most recent one in January, 2009, against the Baltimore Ravens. The team is unbeaten here against the Minnesota Vikings (3-0), San Diego Chargers (7-0), St. Louis Rams (4-0), and Washington Redskins (4-0); they are winless here against the Dallas Cowboys (0-2), Houston Texans (0-3), and New York Giants (0-2). The three latter teams are scheduled to visit Miami Gardens during the 2015 NFL season.
The Marlins move in
In 1990, Wayne Huizenga purchased 50 percent of then-Joe Robbie Stadium and became the point man in the drive to bring Major League Baseball (MLB) to South Florida. That effort was rewarded in July 1991, when the Miami area was awarded an MLB expansion franchise. The new team was named the Florida Marlins, and placed in the National League. On January 24, 1994, Huizenga acquired the remaining 50 percent of the stadium to give him 100% ownership. Since 1991, several million dollars have been spent to upgrade and renovate the stadium.
The first Marlins game played at then-Joe Robbie Stadium was on April 5, 1993, a 6–3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Renovations and configurations
After Huizenga bought part of the stadium, it was extensively renovated to accommodate a baseball team, as part of his successful bid to bring baseball to South Florida. Purists initially feared the result would be similar to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto; when the Toronto Blue Jays played there from 1977 to 1989, they were burdened with seats that were so far from the field (over 800 feet in some cases) that they weren't even sold during the regular season. However, Robbie had foreseen Miami would be a likely location for a new or relocated MLB team, and the stadium was designed to make any necessary renovations for baseball as seamless as possible.
Aside from baseball renovations, the stadium has undergone some permanent renovations. In April 2006, the stadium unveiled two Daktronics large video boards, the largest in professional sports at the time. The east display measures 50 ft (15 m) high by 140 ft (43 m) wide, and the west end zone display measures 50 ft (15 m) high by 100 ft (30 m) wide. A new 2,118-foot (646 m)-long LED ribbon board, again the largest in the world at the time, was also installed. These have since been surpassed in size.
In addition, the upgrades include vastly widened 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) concourses on the stadium’s north and south sides. Bars, lounges and other amenities have also been added. The renovation has three phases, the first has been completed; the second and third phases of renovation will take place after the Marlins move from the stadium. These remaining phases include the addition of a roof to shield fans from the rain, as well as remodeling the sidelines of the lower bowl to narrow the field and bring seats closer, ending its convertibility to baseball.
The stadium contains 10,209 club seats and 216 suites. When the Marlins played at the stadium, 2,400 of the club seats and 216 suites were available.
A privately funded $350 million stadium renovation project began in January 2015. The project plan allows the stadium to be used for football games during the 2015 season, with completion planned for the 2016 football season. Stadium upgrades include video boards in each corner of the stadium, additional suites, and an open-air canopy over the main seating areas. As part of the renovation, the stadium's seating capacity will be reduced from 75,000 to 65,000 seats. Personal seat licenses will not be used, and a preview center will be opened at the stadium during February 2015 to help current and prospective season ticket holders select their ticket packages. Luxury packages will be used in place of PSL revenue to help finance the stadium. Thirty-two four-seat pods will be located in the lower bowl at the south 30-yard lines, with an additional 16 pods at the south end zone. The pods feature a living room arrangement, including premium furniture and television screens that show the NFL RedZone channel and NFL programming.
Permanent seating info
The 65,326 permanent seats for football and soccer configurations break down as follows: The general 19" seats with chair back and armrests, there are 27,397 seats in the lower deck and 34,736 seats in upper deck. For the bigger club 21" seats with chair back and armrests, there are 10,209 seats. In the 193 executive suites with 10, 12, 16, 20, 24 seat suites, there are a total of 3,198 seats. There is also 300 seating locations for disabled persons, 150 seats for working press, and 10 radio/TV booths.
The parking around the stadium takes up 140 acres, featuring parking for 24,137 cars, 171 buses, 90 RVs, 85 limousines, and one helipad on site. The parking fee has been $30 per car/truck/SUV for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
The stadium has played host to five Super Bowls (1989, 1995, 1999, 2007, and 2010). There has been a kickoff return for a touchdown in each Super Bowl played at the stadium, except in the most recent game. The stadium also hosted the 2010 Pro Bowl.
In 2010, the NFL threatened to take Sun Life Stadium out of further consideration for a Super Bowl or Pro Bowl unless significant renovations were made. One of the upgrades desired was a roof to protect fans from the elements. The 2007 Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium — when Indianapolis defeated Chicago 29–17 — was marred by heavy rains. An estimated 30 percent of the lower-level seating was empty during the second half.
In 2012, the Dolphins scrapped plans for pitching a $200-million hotel tax proposal that would have included a partial stadium roof. Since the field runs east–west (rather than north–south as is the case in most other stadiums), the north stands are exposed to the full force of South Florida's oppressive heat early in the season. The issue has become so problematic that Stephen Ross, who owns the Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, successfully petitioned the NFL to have all September home games start at 4 pm. Although the heat gave the Dolphins a substantial home-field advantage against opponents unaccustomed to the sweltering heat, Ross was willing to give that up in order to ensure a more comfortable environment for fans.
|Date||Super Bowl||Team (Visitor)||Points||Team (Home)||Points||Spectators|
|January 22, 1989||XXIII||Cincinnati Bengals||16||San Francisco 49ers||20||75,597|
|January 29, 1995||XXIX||San Diego Chargers||26||San Francisco 49ers||49||74,107|
|January 31, 1999||XXXIII||Denver Broncos||34||Atlanta Falcons||19||74,803|
|February 4, 2007||XLI||Indianapolis Colts||29||Chicago Bears||17||74,512|
|February 7, 2010||XLIV||New Orleans Saints||31||Indianapolis Colts||17||74,059|
Sun Life Stadium has hosted both the 2009 BCS National Championship Game, and the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. The 2013 game between Alabama and Notre Dame set a new attendance record for the facility, with 80,120 on hand to witness Alabama's third BCS Championship in four seasons.
The stadium has hosted the Miami Hurricanes beginning in 2008. The stadium was the home field for the Florida Atlantic Owls (2001–2002).
Between 1990 and 2000, the stadium hosted a bowl game variously known as the Blockbuster Bowl, CarQuest Bowl, and MicronPC Bowl. After 2000, that bowl was moved to Orlando, where it eventually became known as the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The stadium has been the site of the Orange Bowl game since 1996, except for the January 1999 contest between Florida and Syracuse, which had to be moved due to a conflict with a Dolphins playoff game.
Until 2008, the stadium was host biennially (in even numbered years) to the yearly Shula Bowl, a game played between the Florida Atlantic University Owls and the Florida International University Panthers, when the game was hosted by FAU as the home team. (FIU hosts the game at its own stadium, FIU Stadium, every other year.) In 2010 the game was moved to Fort Lauderdale's Lockhart Stadium, and in 2011 the Owls opened FAU Stadium on its Boca Raton campus in 2011, and started hosting the Shula Bowl biennially in 2012.
On February 9, 2011, The Miami Herald announced that Miami had won the right to host WrestleMania in 2012. WWE later officially announced the event in a press conference held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. WrestleMania XXVIII was the second Wrestlemania event that was hosted in the state of Florida, the fourth open-air event, and the third event to be held entirely outdoors. For hosting the event, WWE will received a $250,000 cash incentive from the Miami-Dade Sports Commission raised through grants and sponsorships.
On April 1, 2012, Sun Life Stadium held WWE's 28th annual flagship event, WrestleMania XXVIII. The event drew a record 78,363 fans in attendance. Also at the time, the event set a new record for the highest grossing live event in WWE history, grossing $8.9 million.
The crowd witnessed the End of an Era as The Undertaker defeated Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match, with WWE Hall of Famer, Shawn Michaels as special guest referee. Also, CM Punk retained the WWE Championship against Chris Jericho. Miami native The Rock defeated John Cena in the 'Once in a Lifetime' main event set one year in advance.
WrestleMania XXVIII garnered 1,217,000 buys, making it at the time, the most purchased wrestling event in history, surpassing WrestleMania 23's buyrate of approximately 1.2 million, with global gross sales in excess of $67 million.
Two National League Division Series have been played at Sun Life Stadium:
- 1997 against the San Francisco Giants: Marlins win 3 games to 0
- 2003 against the San Francisco Giants: Marlins win 3 games to 1
Two National League Championship Series have been played at Sun Life Stadium:
- 1997 against the Atlanta Braves: Marlins win 4 games to 2
- 2003 against the Chicago Cubs: Marlins win 4 games to 3
Two World Series have been played at Sun Life Stadium:
- 1997 against the Cleveland Indians: Marlins win 4 games to 3
- 2003 against the New York Yankees: Marlins win 4 games to 2
When the Marlins began play in 1993, baseball capacity was initially reduced to 47,662, with most of the upper level covered with a tarp. In addition to Huizenga's desire create a more intimate atmosphere for baseball, most of the seats in the upper level would have been too far from the field to be of any use during the regular season. The stadium's baseball capacity was further reduced over the years, and finally settled at 38,560 seats. However, the Marlins would usually open the entire upper level for the postseason. In the 1997 World Series, the Marlins played before crowds of over 67,000 fans, some of the highest postseason attendance figures in MLB history, only exceeded by Cleveland Stadium, home of the Cleveland Indians during the 1948 and 1954 World Series, old Yankee Stadium prior to its mid 1970s renovation, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the temporary home of the Los Angeles Dodgers (before Dodger Stadium was opened) in the 1959 World Series.
Although it was designed from the ground up to accommodate baseball, Sun Life Stadium never was a true multipurpose stadium. Rather, it was built as a football stadium that could convert into a baseball stadium. Most of the seats in the baseball configuration were pointed toward center field – where the 50-yard line would be in the football configuration. As a result, even with the reduced capacity, the sight lines for baseball left much to be desired. This was particularly evident during the Marlins' World Series appearances in 1997 and 2003. Some portions of left and center field were not part of the football playing field, and fans sitting in the left field upper-deck seats were unable to see these areas except on the replay boards. Even with the reduced capacity, during years the Marlins were not contending, they often drew crowds of 5,000 or fewer—a total that looked even smaller due to the cavernous environment.
The stadium was notorious for its poor playing conditions. The lights were not located in optimal positions for baseball visibility. During August and September, when the Dolphins (and later, the Hurricanes) shared the stadium, the field conditions were, according to both Marlins and visiting players, among the worst in the majors. Indeed, several Marlins players said that at times, they "couldn't wait to go on the road." Visiting teams hated coming to the stadium as well. For instance, when the Atlanta Braves came to the stadium for the last time in 2011, Dan Uggla, who played for the Marlins from 2006 to 2010, said that he was probably the only Brave who was going to miss it. The stadium's problems as a baseball venue became even more stark as time wore on, as the Marlins' tenure in the stadium coincided with a wave of new, baseball-only parks. By the time the Marlins left the stadium, it was one of only three in the majors (and the only National League stadium) that played host to both a baseball team and an NFL or CFL team. The others were Oakland's O.co Coliseum and Toronto's Rogers Centre.
For most of the Marlins' tenure at the stadium, it was the hottest stadium in the major leagues. The Marlins played nearly all of their home games from late May through mid-September at night due to South Florida's often oppressive heat and humidity. They also got waivers from MLB and ESPN to play on Sunday nights.
The stadium was the venue where Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 600th career home run off Mark Hendrickson of the Marlins on June 9, 2008; and where Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history on May 29, 2010, against the Marlins.
|Date||Main act(s) + opening act(s)||Tour / Concert name||Tickets sold||Notes|
|July 30, 1989||The Who||The Who Tour 1989|
|December 31, 1991||Guns N' Roses||Use Your Illusion Tour|
|October 3, 1992||U2
+ (opening acts: Big Audio Dynamite II, Public Enemy)
|Zoo TV Tour|
|March 30, 1994||Pink Floyd||The Division Bell Tour|
|November 25, 1994||The Rolling Stones||Voodoo Lounge Tour||Special Guest Sheryl Crow|
|April 13 & 14, 1995||Billy Joel & Elton John||Face to Face 1995 Tour|
|November 26, 2008||Madonna + Paul Oakenfold||Sticky & Sweet Tour||47,998 / 47,998 (100%)||Timbaland and Pharrell Williams were the special guests onstage.|
|April 3, 2010||Paul McCartney||Up and Coming Tour||35,784 / 35,784 (100%)|
|June 29, 2011||U2
+ (opening act: Florence and the Machine)
|U2 360° Tour||72,569 / 72,569 (100%)||Postponed from July 9, 2010.|
|November 23, 2011||The Black Eyed Peas + Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo, T-Pain, CeeLo Green and Queen Latifah||The Beginning Tour|
|August 16, 2013||Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z||Legends of the Summer Tour||46,366 / 46,366 (100%)|
|June 25, 2014||Beyoncé and Jay-Z||On the Run Tour||49,980 / 49,980 (100%)|
|October 5, 2014||One Direction + 5 Seconds of Summer||Where We Are Tour||53,914 / 53,914 (100%)|
A number of soccer matches have been in Sun Life Stadium, including a number of international friendlies featuring Central or South American sides (Miami is home to some of the largest populations of Central and South Americans in the United States).
Sun Life Stadium hosted a match between FC Barcelona and C.D. Guadalajara on August 3, 2011, as part of the 2011 World Football Challenge. Guadalajara won the match, 4–1, in front of 70,080 attendees.
Free Kick Masters 2013 Tournament and Entertainment Spectacular was held at the Sun Life Stadium on 28 December 2013.
Matches at Sun Life Stadium
|August 4, 1989||Friendly||Independiente||1–2||Arsenal||2,100|
|April 22, 1990||United States||0–1||Colombia||2,100|
|February 18, 1994||Joe Robbie Cup||Colombia||0–0||Sweden||15,676|
|February 20, 1994||Colombia||2–0||Bolivia||20,171|
|August 3, 2011||2011 World Football Challenge||Guadalajara||4–1||Barcelona||70,080|
|October 8, 2011||Friendly||United States||1–0||Honduras||21,170|
|February 29, 2012||Colombia||2–0||Mexico||51,615|
|June 23, 2012||World Soccer Masters Tour 2012||Masters||7–7||Stars||48,327|
|July 28, 2012||2012 World Football Challenge||Chelsea||0–1||Milan||57,748|
|February 6, 2013||Friendly||Colombia||4–1||Guatemala||25,000|
|July 12, 2013||2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup||Trinidad and Tobago||0–2||Haiti||28,713|
|July 21, 2013||Friendly||Millonarios||1–2||Olimpia||3,302|
|August 6, 2013||2013 International Champions Cup||Juventus||1–1 (8–9 p)||Internazionale||38,513|
|August 7, 2013||LA Galaxy||0–2||Milan||67,273|
|November 16, 2013||Friendly||Brazil||5–0||Honduras||71,124|
|June 4, 2014||Ecuador||2–2||England||47,102|
|June 7, 2014||England||0–0||Honduras||44,121|
|June 9, 2014||Ghana||4–0||South Korea||7,000|
|August 4, 2014||2014 International Champions Cup||Manchester United||3–1||Liverpool||51,014|
|September 5, 2014||Friendly||Brazil||1–0||Colombia||73,429|
Other events held at the stadium have included international soccer games, monster truck shows, Hoop-It-Up Basketball, RV and boat shows, the UniverSoul Circus, Australian rules football exhibition matches, and numerous trade shows. It has even hosted religious gatherings.
In 2006, it hosted the High School State Football Championships, sanctioned by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA). Movies have also been shot there, most notably Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which starred Jim Carrey and featured Dolphins great Dan Marino as himself; Marley and Me, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston; and the Oliver Stone-directed Any Given Sunday, starring Al Pacino.
During the planning and building phase of the stadium, the stadium was referred to as Dolphin Stadium. The stadium was named after Joe Robbie, the original and then-owner of the Miami Dolphins and stadium in 1987, when it opened. In the early 1990s, Wayne Huizenga gained control of the stadium. Huizenga first sold the naming rights to Pro Player, the sports apparel division of Fruit of the Loom, and Joe Robbie Stadium became Pro Player Park on August 26, 1996 and shortly later Pro Player Stadium.
Fruit of the Loom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1999, and the Pro Player brand was ultimately liquidated in 2001, but the stadium name held for several more years. In January 2005, the Pro Player name was replaced with Dolphins Stadium, coinciding with a renovation of the stadium. Dolphins was changed to Dolphin in April 2006, in an update of graphics and logos.
From February 2008 through January 2009, Stephen M. Ross gradually acquired 95% of the stadium and surrounding land. He then partnered with Jimmy Buffett to change the name once more, this time to Land Shark Stadium. The renaming was announced on May 8, 2009, but would last less than a year as the deal did not include rights for the upcoming 2010 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIV.
On January 20, 2010, Canadian life insurance firm Sun Life Financial announced they had acquired the naming rights, and the name of the stadium became Sun Life Stadium. Sun Life Financial announced in 2011—only a year into the current contract—that it will be exiting the U. S. market. On August 14th, 2015, the Dolphins told the Miami Herald that Sun Life's deal will expire in January 2016 and that the team has no plans to renew, wanting to position their renovated stadium as a brand new entity. The team also said that they will remove Sun Life's signage upon expiration of the deal, regardless of their ability to find a replacement sponsor before then. 
|Name||Start Date||End Date|
|Joe Robbie Stadium||August 16, 1987||August 25, 1996|
|Pro Player Park||August 26, 1996||September 9, 1996|
|Pro Player Stadium||September 10, 1996||January 9, 2005|
|Dolphins Stadium||January 10, 2005||April 7, 2006|
|Dolphin Stadium||April 8, 2006||May 7, 2009|
|Land Shark Stadium||May 8, 2009||January 5, 2010|
|Dolphin Stadium||January 6, 2010||January 19, 2010|
|Sun Life Stadium||January 20, 2010||Present|
- "Ross said the agreement to change the name from Dolphin Stadium is for this season only and expires before the stadium plays host to the Super Bowl in February." "Dolphins' home renamed Land Shark Stadium in deal with singer Buffett". Associated Press. May 10, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
- Ross' percentage is approximate. Small stakes are also known to be owned by the following sports and entertainment celebrities:Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Buffett, Gloria, Emilio Estefan, Fergie, Serena Williams, Venus Williams
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
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- "Single Game Attendance Report". Retrieved January 8, 2013.
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WWE-Presswas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Cite error: The named reference
- Chang, Daniel (February 9, 2011). "WWE’s WrestleMania heading to Sun Life Stadium in 2012". The Miami Herald. Retrieved February 10, 2011.[dead link]
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- "Players Won't Miss Marlins' old Home". ESPN. Associated Press. September 26, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
- Gonzalez, Alden (September 28, 2011). "Marlins bid farewell to Sun Life Stadium". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
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- "August 3, 2011: Barcelona vs. CD Guadalajara". Major League Soccer. MLSsoccer.com. August 3, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
- Fernandez, Andre C. (July 28, 2012). "Alive and Well: AC Milan Tops Chelsea in Front of 57,748 Fans". The Miami Herald. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- Brazil routs Honduras 5-0 from Yahoo! Sports, 16 November 2013, retrieved 14 December 2014
- "World Cup 2014: England's friendlies will have a Latin accent". The Guardian. 16 January 2014.
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