SBD/January 30, 2012/Franchises

Dolphins Not Increasing Ticket Prices As Team Tries To Convert Residents Into Fans

Dolphins sold just under 44,000 season tickets in '11, the lowest number since '84
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee Friday said that the team will "not increase any ticket prices and might lower some" for the '12 season, according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. The Dolphins sold "just under 44,000 season tickets in 2011 -- their lowest since 1984 and down from 61,000 in 2006." Dee said, "A lot of those folks who have moved here in recent years, unlike prior generations, don't have really an affinity for American football. They're soccer first in their thinking. We've got to convert a lot of people." He added, "We've got to have a playbook for every market that we do business with -- every ethnic group in this marketplace we do business with. We've got to attack this market differently. This is not 1972." Dee referred to the on-the-field upgrades the Heat and Marlins have made and said the "other competition has never been more fierce." Dee: "There's a finite amount of entertainment dollars in the marketplace and we're still in challenging economic times." Jackson noted the Dolphins in recent years have "marketed the team in several ways unrelated to football." But Dee said, "You're going to see us take steps around the Dolphins experience that will be more football oriented" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/28). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis noted fans have "ridiculed" the team's emphasis on "extraneous stadium entertainment such as the celebrity orange carpet and Club LIV while the main attraction on the field has been second rate." Dee said, "We've got to continue to push the envelope of marketing to get new fans while not upsetting the traditional fan. ... They may not like the orange carpet and some of the entertainment they see. For them it's all about football. But we know there is a core base of new fans that come for all the other things in addition to football. How we walk that fine line is what we do on a daily basis" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/27).

PETERSON NOT JOINING FRONT OFFICE: In West Palm Beach, Brian Biggane reported Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland "put an end to the ongoing speculation that former Kansas City GM and President Carl Peterson will be joining the Dolphins' front office anytime soon." Ireland said that while Peterson "sat in on most of the interviews during the recent coaching search and is often consulted" by Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross, his role "has been and will continue to be strictly an advisory one" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/28). Ireland also said that the "'one voice' policy will remain in place during the season" when coach Joe Philbin's words will "speak for the organization." But in Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde noted Ross "wants to make the Dolphins more accessible to the media -- and thereby to the team's fans -- when it doesn't interfere with football work or winning" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/27).

ROSS COMMITTED TO WINNING: Ireland Friday appeared on WQAM-AM's "The Joe Rose Show," and Rose said, "There's a perception out there about the owner, Stephen Ross. I tell people I think he really, really wants to win, and he really wants to get this thing turned around, but sometimes the way he goes about things leaves people scratching their heads." Ireland said, "The reality of the situation ... is the guy wants to win in a really bad way. He's committed to winning." Ireland added, "He wants a winner in a bad way. But, he is a young owner, he's still learning the business trade, and we're going to go about trying to teach him everything he needs to know about the game of football" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 1/27).
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