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Lots On The Horizon For Business Side Of Franchise

Posted Mar 18, 2013

Ross and CEO Mike Dee excited about what’s in store for fans.

PHOENIX – There’s the business side of football, the football side of the team and the business side of the organization and right now the Miami Dolphins are making positive gains in all three areas.

Owner Steve Ross and CEO Mike Dee were more than happy to mix in news of what’s happening with Sun Life Stadium, the new logo and uniforms and other changes coming while also weighing in on the football moves.

With the push for a public partnership in the stadium modernization gaining steam and the confirmation that the team’s new logo and uniforms will be unveiled on April 18th, there was plenty of buzz to address. The NFL will award the 50th and 51st Super Bowls at the spring meetings in Boston in May, so these three days in Arizona are a good time to get a feel for where the other 31 owners are leaning, but Ross is keeping it all in perspective.

“Right now we’re really dealing with what has to be done locally but you know everybody wants to go to Miami,” said Ross, who has promised to contribute the majority of the costs through private monies. “So it’s really a question of not needing to take (the owners’) temperature but really the question is can we get approved. I do know and have had many people tell me that without a modernized stadium Miami’s not going to get the Super Bowls and I don’t want to become another San Diego. People love going to San Diego but they wouldn’t do anything to the stadium and they haven’t had a Super Bowl there in more than a decade even though they love the experience there.”

Being a successful real estate developer, Ross know all about what it takes to build and upgrade properties so he has immersed himself in the proposed plans to modernize Sun Life Stadium. He watched former owner (and minority partner) Wayne Huizenga sink $250 million into the stadium back in 2006 to completely redo the club level among other areas and he was made aware after the 2010 Super Bowl of other upgrades that are needed to ensure future Super Bowls.

So taking account the need for better lighting and protection of the fans in the seats from the elements, Ross and his crew also thought of other things that should be addressed. He is excited to see all of that come to fruition and to make Sun Life Stadium an attractive venue again.

“I’ve really gotten deeply involved being a real estate developer and have gone through the plans and it’s really going to be a new stadium,” Ross said. “It’s tantamount to a new stadium and making the commitment that we will be there for the next 30 years is all part of that and I think we’ve put our best foot forward in the type of deal that we’re negotiating. I want it to work out because it will be beneficial to all of South Florida.

“We’ve got to be competitive with other teams and what they’re doing with new stadiums and bringing the fans there. We’re going to have several announcements starting next week on other events that we’re bringing to the stadium and hopefully if we do get the new stadium we can continue to do that. You will feel like you’re in the new stadium. We’re changing the seating, shifting things around with new corners, putting in a canopy. All the mechanicals are being replaced, all of the glass in front of the suites will no longer be there when they’re viewing it so it’s going to be exciting.”

Outside of the stadium plans, Ross was very proud of a lot of the other things he and his people have accomplished in order to improve the fan experience overall. He considers some of these things to be on the cutting edge and a step ahead of what the 31 other teams are doing.

“This year we will be the only team in the NFL that has high density WiFi and we’ve been wired and we’re be ready to go in September,” Ross said. “Your cell phones will work in the stadium and you’ll be able to do a lot of the streaming and multi-tasking that you want to do. It’ll be things like when I had FanVision, which was terrific, but it wasn’t a cell phone, and we’ll be able to offer that as an app this year. Everyone’s talking about fan enhancement and we’re the only team that has that and there are a lot of other areas where we’re on the cutting edge of doing things.”

Finally, the anticipation continues to grow in advance of the new logo and uniforms being unveiled. Dee has paid close attention to how interested and excited the fans are about this change.

“There will be more details as we approach the date but it will be a spectacular unveiling we hope,” Dee said. “It is probably other than what takes place on the field the closest thing that ignites the same kind of passion and opinion. I think fans are really going to like where we’ve landed with this. It’s exciting. The colors are still the same in that aqua and orange lives on but there will be some tweaks.”

In the meantime, there are plenty of exciting things that will happen between now and that day to keep the fans satisfied.

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