Dec 16, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross before a game between the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins want to convince the state of Florida that they need money to add new features to their stadium that will bring it closer to NFL standards in the hopes of hosting another Super Bowl. Stephen Ross is desperately trying to win the hearts and minds of the south Florida fan base while at the same time hoping they will give him a little added dough.
That likability factor he so desperately desires may have taken yet another turn for the worse. Forget about his one time interest in buying the NY Jets. Forget about his love affair with celebrity minority owners. Forget about the orange carpet, Club Liv, his trip to San Francisco, and his courtship of Jim Harbaugh. Forget all of that. The newest fear is that Ross is going to take his team to California.
The simplest of explanations never says enough so when Stephen Ross called upon local Miami beat writer Dave Hyde and told him that he had no intentions of moving the team to Los Angeles, naturally very few believed him. Even those that did still had a little fear and skepticism in the back of their head. The math simply adds up to Cali interest.
A team that can’t sell out the stadium? Check. An owner who loves the celebrity lifestyle? Check. A stadium that can’t get the funding to renovate? Check. A team that on the field plays very low under the expectations. Check that too. Today we learn that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is part of a group trying to buy AEG. While most would say so what, the issue at hand is that AEG is in the process of building the brand new stadium in Los Angeles for a football team that doesn’t yet exist.
Naturally the question is why?
While Ross denies the intent to move the team, it does not mean that he won’t move to Cali. It would not be the first time that a sports franchise owner sold his team in order to get an expansion team or even take over another franchise. In the case of Ross however, the chances are very slim if they exist at all. Truth be told, you don’t have to look any further than Sun-Life Stadium to know why.
There is no way that Ross is in the black when it comes to the combined expenses of the team and the stadium. The stadium is so empty on Sundays that the running joke is Miami Dolphins fans all showed up wearing orange for the game, an eluding fact to the empty orange seats. Naturally one would assume that any intent to buy a company hell bent on building a stadium has “move” written all over it. But for Ross, the reality is he still owns Sun-Life Stadium and without the Miami Dolphins, what little he may clear would be gone.
The Dolphins currently share their home with the University of Miami but the Hurricanes can not support the stadium on their own. Ross is not going to be able to find a buyer for the stadium without the presence of an NFL team to call it home. Ross can’t afford to let the stadium go and only play the Hurricanes or he stands to lose millions regardless of what is generated in L.A.
While he maintains that his interests in AEG is only to expand on his real estate and sport business interests, the subject is only going to further put a divide between himself and the fans he needs so desperately to like him. This is not going to win him more fans.
While I would love to sit here and say there is no way in hell the Dolphins would move to L.A. I am reminded that the fans in Cleveland and in Baltimore had said the same thing a long time ago.