SBJ/20090727/This Week's News

Dolphins to add more star power

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross plans to add up to three more celebrity investors to his team, a well-placed source said, adding to a group to which entertainers Marc Anthony and Gloria and Emilio Estefan recently have been announced.

More than most sports team owners, Ross is moving aggressively to glamorize the Dolphins, a team that until recent years had lacked any distinctive buzz in its south Florida market.

“The idea of the convergence of sports and entertainment is a natural, if you will,” Ross said. “If you had been to a game recently up until last year, there was a lot of apathy.”

Ross, who bought the team last year for $1.1 billion, has proved he is willing to try different things. He sold naming rights to the team’s stadium for just one year to obscure beer brand Land Shark Lager in part to affiliate with the label’s owner, musician Jimmy Buffett. He became the first sports team owner to spend money to buy handheld TV devices that this season will be given to club-seat holders at the stadium. In the past, the device makers either rented them to fans at sports venues or found a sponsor.

Celebs Marc Anthony and wife Jennifer Lopez
show off their Dolphins jerseys as Anthony
is introduced as an investor.

Last week, Ross introduced Anthony as his latest celebrity investor in a loud news conference in the mall area of New York’s Time Warner Center. Ross’ real estate company owns the building. Pictures of the Grammy Award winner and his wife, Jennifer Lopez, holding up Dolphins jerseys were the prize of the day for Ross. The event was covered overwhelmingly by the entertainment press and not the sports media.

For his part, Anthony declared he is not being brought on to be the “entertainment guru,” though he is willing to offer his expertise and advice. Terms of his investment were not disclosed, but the amount is thought to be small, perhaps around a 1 percent stake.

Anthony also will boost the NFL’s Hispanic Heritage Month efforts by singing the national anthem before the Oct. 12 Dolphins-New York Jets “Monday Night Football” game at Land Shark Stadium.

Anthony said he has bought into Ross’ vision of a combination of football and entertainment. Speaking of being won over by the owner’s pitch, Anthony said, “If it was a candy store and he presented it that way, I am like, ‘I am in.’”

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