Own It!

South Florida is also hot, entertaining, and sizzling with Latin flavor, so Ross didn’t just go for local business leaders; He went for the star power. First, he recruited the likes of Emilio and Gloria Estefan. “There is no one who epitomizes the Hispanic community in Miami more than Gloria and Emilio Estefan,” Ross says. In late June 2009, Ross held a press conference complete with typical Miami fanfare to announce that the Cuban power couple was now the team’s first minority owners.

The Estefans are proud to represent their hometown team. “Steve is a very generous guy,” explains Emilio. “He always wanted to give back to the community, and he felt that by bringing on minority owners, he was bringing on a little bit of the community. I think that this is great, because people now feel that the team belongs to everybody, and now there is a great community effort to support the team.”

Throughout the next few months, Ross welcomed Venus and Serena Williams, Marc Anthony, and Fergie into the fold as limited partners, bringing them into an extremely elite circle of NFL owners, which previously had been an old-boys club. This is the new regime, the NFL on Ross’ terms.

He is quick to point out that he wasn’t simply looking to assemble the greatest collection of local celebrities. “I wanted to find people who were really enthusiastic about it, people who would get out in the community and spread the word, the name, and the deeds of the Miami Dolphins,” he explains.

Not only did the stars take to the now-famous Orange Carpet (yet another Ross addition) on game days, each made it a personal mission to represent the team in each of their endeavors. Take, for example, Venus and Serena, who were photographed at the U.S. Open wearing Dolphin-themed jewelry designed by Ross’ wife. Or Fergie, who wrote an all-out love letter to the Dolphins on her blog, which features a video of the Black Eyed Peas star singing Happy Birthday to former Dolphins coach (and the coach of the only undefeated team in NFL history) Don Shula at his 80th birthday in early January. Emilio took it to another level, holding American Idol-style auditions for vocalists interested in singing the national anthem during home games, listening to almost 600 contenders.