SBD/Issue 232/Franchises

Venus, Serena Williams The Latest Celebs To Invest In Dolphins

Venus (l), Serena Williams Investing In Dolphins,
Announcement Expected Tuesday
Venus and Serena Williams are investing in the Dolphins, according to tennis sources, becoming the latest celebrity investors in the NFL team. An announcement is expected Tuesday. News of the investment was first reported by the AP. Sources said the deal was brought together by Arlen Kantarian, the outside adviser to Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross who ran the pro tennis division at the USTA for a decade until stepping down in December. He approached the sisters around the time of Wimbledon about the opportunity, these sources said. Kantarian declined to comment. It is not believed the investment is substantial, perhaps low seven figures, an amount that would do little to offset Ross' $1.1B purchase price for the club. For the sisters, though, the investment gives them a larger platform. Discussions are believed to be under way about Venus Williams designing cheerleader outfits and perhaps selling her EleVen line at Land Shark Stadium (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal). Serena Williams yesterday said, "There have been talks, (preliminary) talks. And hopefully it will work out." In Miami, David Neal notes Ross has said that he "wants the ownership group to reflect South Florida's ethnic diversity and glamour." The Williams sisters currently live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, which is just over an hour from the stadium. Meanwhile, just as Ross is "conscious of the Miami Dolphins name as a brand, Venus and Serena are conscious of their names as brands." Serena Williams: "There's always so many opportunities out there, and Venus and I are always trying to expand our brand and do the best that we can do" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/20). The AP's Steven Wine noted their role "will be significant in part because the NFL has no African-American majority team owner" (AP, 8/19). Serena Williams in the past "has professed a love of the Dolphins on her blog" (ESPN.com, 8/19).

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