One of the most unusual side stories of the upcoming NFL season has been the spectacle that ownership of the Miami Dolphins has become. While it’s thought that Stephen Ross is still the majority owner, this summer has seen a spate of celebrities join into minority ownership.
While we couldn’t have anticipated it at the time, Gloria Estefan’s decision to buy into the team (with husband Emilio Estefan - not to be confused with “Mr. Mighty Ducks” Emilio Estevez) was just a harbinger of bigger announcements to come. Soon afterward, the naming rights to the stadium were sold to another famous Miami resident, one Jimmy Buffett, and Marc Antony joined Estefan as owners shortly thereafter.
But if you’re foolish enough to scoff at that collection of names, scoff no longer, as the team is being joined by, legitimately, one of the top 20 brands in sports today.
That would be the Williams Brand, co-owned by Venus and Serena Williams. The two sisters are expanding their sphere of influence and, according to SKY SPORTS, buying into the Dolphins:
Serena and Venus Williams are holding talks over becoming part-owners of NFL side Miami Dolphins.
“Venus and I are always trying to expand our brand. If the opportunity presents itself, we would love to see where it can take us” [said Serena].
Yes, because if you’re thinking of selling tennis players, where better at a football game? It’s like advertising umbrellas at a car dealership.
Kidding aside, the deal is puzzling, to say the least. It’s not expected to be a very significant purchase, thought to be in the low-seven figures. That’s lots of money to you or me, but it probably constitutes less than half a percent of the value of the Miami franchise. In other words, the Williams sisters are very unlikely to wield any influence in the running of the team.
Nonetheless, it’s not money thrown away; a stake is still a stake, and should Ross end up selling the team, the sisters could come away with a hefty profit on their initial investment. Assuming they want to get out of ownership at the same time, of course, which is no guarantee.
But that’s not part of “expanding the brand,” though. It’s expanding the bank account, sure, but there are probably safer investments to make than a franchise in a league that’s potentially two years away from a ledger-bruising lockout. Ask the Marlins or the Heat when they’re not playing well - Miami’s hardly a sports town. Removing the Dolphins from their autumn schedule might be a dangerous ploy, especially when it comes time to ask fans to come back.
So we’ll see how often the Williams Brand comes into play at, um, Land Shark Stadium this season. And also, for that matter, how often we see the Dolphin on the Williams sisters when they’re competing.