Own It!

Not only do these celebrity minority owners spread the word of the Miami Dolphins across the world, they bring the world to the Miami Dolphins. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Emilio produced—and Gloria performed in—an elaborate and extraordinary half-time show, Celebration of the Americas, which took place during the Monday night game versus the New York Jets. Marc Anthony sang the national anthem before kickoff. “We went to Mexico and to Brazil,” Emilio exclaims. “We brought in a lot of percussion, some mariachi—so many varieties of music from artists all over the world, things that had not been in the stadium before. And the response was great.”

When Ross first announced that he was bringing on celebrity partners, many questioned the logic, but, judging by the roar of the cheering fans on any given Sunday, it was a brilliant play. “We were one of the few stadiums in the whole U.S. that was always sold out,” says Estefan. Fathers that used to struggle to get their families to attend the games tell Ross that now their wives and children beg to go to the stadium to catch a glimpse of the stars. “Fans want to see Gloria and Emilio, Marc and Jennifer [Lopez]. They want to know that they are there and identify them, to see Serena and Venus sitting in the suite. They find it exciting,” he explains. “It’s all to create that buzz, to create excitement at the game, and to have something for everyone.” That buzz resulted in national media attention that caught the interest of a new stadium sponsor, and Ross is laughing all the way to the bank.

This is the second corporate sponsorship that Ross has secured in the two short years that he has been calling the plays. The first—which was the first corporate sponsor for the stadium in years—with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Enterprises, resulted in “Land Shark Stadium” being the home of the Dolphins for the duration of the 2009/2010 regular season. “There is nobody who represents South Florida and the way of life here better than Jimmy Buffett,” exclaims Ross. “And there is probably no one who is more popular!”

There is certainly no one more fitting. Take, for example, Buffett’s tune “Fins.” In late 2008, Ross got the song stuck in his head, and he began to envision a revision of the classic. When Ross initially brought the concept to Buffett, the laid-back crooner of tropical-themed melodies immediately jumped on the idea. During the 2009/2010 season, Dol-Fans at Land Shark Stadium were greeted by the fresh lyrics to a familiar beat, with the chorus serving as the new battle-cry:

Can’t you feel us circlin’ Dol-Fans
Can’t you feel us schoolin’ around?
We got fins to the left, fins to the right,
We’re at the only game in town