They are the first female African-Americans to hold an ownership stake in a NFL franchise
Serena and Venus Williams are ready for some football! The tennis stars are joining Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and Gloria and Emilio Estefan in becoming limited ownership partners in the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins, PEOPLE has confirmed.
The announcement that the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., residents would become the first female African-Americans to hold an ownership stake in a NFL franchise and two of the few African-Americans league-wide to hold this unique distinction was made by Stephen Ross, owner and managing partner of the Dolphins.
“I am so excited to be part of such a renowned organization,” says Serena. “Having spent so much of my childhood in the area, being involved with a staple of Miami culture is a huge honor. We look forward to many championships and much success together with the Miami Dolphins.”
Agrees Venus, “I am honored to be a partner in the Miami Dolphins franchise and thankful to owner Stephen Ross for allowing Serena and I to be part of Miami Dolphins history.”
Promoting Miami as a Melting Pot
“We are focused on diversifying our fan base and broadening our reach,” Mike Dee, new Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins, tells PEOPLE. “Having these high profile celebrities owning some of the team will help us get more people to the games and add excitement around the event. And it doesn’t hurt that they all love football.”
To further promote the ethnic diversity that makes Miami a cultural melting pot, the Dolphins will strengthen and improve their entertainment element by getting Lopez, Estefan and Anthony to entertain at games. Anthony’s performance is set for during the Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets game Monday Oct. 12 as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.
“I’m a huge sports fan,” Anthony told PEOPLE in July when his partnership was announced. “These opportunities don’t come around too often.”
In addition to welcoming these new owners to the Dolphins, other celebrity oriented promotions will further tap into Miami’s cultural diversity. Rapper T-Pain has updated the Dolphins’ out-of-date fight song, and other pop stars such as Fergie, who is a frequent visitor to Miami and a lover of the Dolphins, will perform at football games.
Further capitalizing on Miami’s strong night club cachet, the Dolphins have also inaugurated an “Orange Carpet,” reflecting their team colors. “At every game we are going to host the Orange Carpet leading to our new Ocean Dr. Club VIP area,” Dee tells PEOPLE. “This way, any celebrities, former football players, or other sports stars who are attending the game will be seen as they enter the stadium headed for the VIP club.”
Ross, who bought his share of the team for $1 billion, according to Sports Illustrated, believes Miami is a unique community, a similar city to New York and Los Angeles. He wants to celebrate its prestige with a major celebrity and entertainment mix at the games.
“He also wants to put a team on the field that will win,” Dee tells PEOPLE, citing that both the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl will be held in Miami this February.