Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why the Star Power Behind Dolphins Ownership?

First it was Jimmy Buffet, then it was the Estefans and now it's Marc Anthony. Many people raise the question: Why? We may not know the absolute reasoning behind the celebrity additions to ownership, but we can try and poke at some potential rationales.

When Buffet and his Land Shark Lager company rocked a deal with Stephen Ross and Dolphin Stadium there was plenty of excitement behind the business move. Some saw it as an interesting touch to entertainment surrounding the team and the stadium. Many didn't see it as the first domino in a series of celebrity acquisitions though.

As the Estefans came around and added a tinge of Hispanic flavor to the Dolphins then suggestions were raised as to the trend that was taking place. Marc Anthony solidified Ross' moves as an actual business approach, but still left people in confusion as to how it would affect the team in the long haul.

For one thing, the star power on board reaches out to an international audience, which obviously extends beyond the current Miami Dolphin fan base. Not that DolFans are not diverse, but the followings that these celebrities have are much larger than the core of Miami's faithfuls. From a business perspective, this could be an attempt to lure international companies into business talks with the Miami Dolphins. Many people say that Stephen Ross is a smart businessman and one that is usually ahead of the curve.

It would be dumb to believe that a multi-millionaire (or billionaire) would sell off pieces to the team for simply for the sake of entertainment. Besides, the presence of Buffet nor the Estafans nor Anthony will bring more wins to the Miami Dolphins. There must be a deeper, more complex reason behind such moves.

After all, Ross purchased the team for over $1 billion and has made it clear that he will not make profit off the team with the price tag he bought it for. Thus, he turns his attention to the stadium and its revenue opportunities tied into the prestige of an NFL team. Sponsorships, naming rights, advertising and other marketing opportunities will be the focus of his attention. Not to mention, selling off pieces of the team helps alleviate that one billion dollar pocket hit that can hurt any wealthy individual in these times.

Whether the celebrities own one percent, five percent or ten percent of the team, the reality is that they are chipping away at a one billion dollar mammoth that Ross is carrying on his back.

In essence, the method behind the madness could very well be to attract a broader audience beyond the Dolphins fan base, which in turn could create a lucrative marketing pool for companies, both domestic and foreign. One thing is for sure and that is that Ross has reached out to the Hispanic community with aggressiveness and it seems like positive feedback has already been pouring in. Ross states that it is all in an effort to match the ownership with the diversity of community that exists in South Florida.

We don't know if the current roster of star minority owners is suffice for Ross' ambitions, but we do know that the Dolphins majority owner is aiming high and keeping positive attention on the team, while staying away from the X's and O's of the game. It's better that he leave that part the "The Big Tuna" and company.

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