SBD/September 10, 2013/Franchises

Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Announces Intention To Land MLS Expansion Club

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Ross (l) said that MLS may not grow as large as some observers expect
Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross is seeking to acquire an MLS expansion franchise, he said this morning while speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit. Ross' RSE Ventures has been bringing European friendlies to Sun Life Stadium, and now Ross has his eye on the U.S. league. But in the same breath as he disclosed his intention, he said that MLS may not grow as large as some expect because media revenues are not so large. Ross also noted that his early strategy of finding celebrity owners of the Dolphins had "backfired,'' because the media had criticized him so heavily for it. Celebrities who bought small slices of the team include Gloria Estefan, Venus and Serena Williams, and Marc Anthony (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer). 

GONE FISHIN': Ross yesterday addressed the media during the introductory press conference of Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel, and said that he is "prepared to improve his offer to help fund renovations for Sun Life Stadium." In Miami, Barry Jackson notes Ross also suggested that "any new offer would not be made in the immediate future," and it is "highly questionable if Ross will get support in the Legislative session next spring" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/10). Meanwhile, Ross said, “There will be no (television) blackouts this year.” In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis noted Ross in recent seasons "has bought up thousands of unsold tickets to satisfy the NFL’s blackout policy and ensure that games have been on local television." His response "suggests that policy will continue, though Ross made it clear he is hopeful there will be fewer unsold tickets after he spent millions to improve the team on the field." It also may have been a "message to fans who question his commitment to the franchise" after he donated $200M to the Univ. of Michigan. Ross during the press conference "fielded more questions regarding the stadium situation and the gift to his alma mater" than questions pertaining to Garfinkel (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 9/9).
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