Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Anthony joins star-studded ownership
NEW YORK -- New Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had to be loving the scene: the flashbulbs glittering, the passers-by straining to catch a glimpse, the questions asked and answered in Spanish.
This was the kind of energy Ross sought when he added singer Marc Anthony as a minority owner. The Dolphins held the news conference Tuesday not in Miami but in the media mecca of Manhattan, with the bonus buzz of a cameo by Anthony's wife, Jennifer Lopez.
There was Anthony presenting his wife with a Dolphins jersey as an early 40th birthday gift. There was the celebrity couple kissing before the singer-actress, wearing a short pink dress, slipped back offstage.
Marc Anthony bestows an early birthday present to his wife, singer-actress Jennifer Lopez. The jersey number refers to her birthday -- July 24.
Ross wants to reach out to new fans, and in South Florida, that automatically includes the Hispanic community. Singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan, already bought a small stake in the club last month.
"I'm not doing this as a singer; I'm not doing this as an actor," Anthony said. "[It's] just because I love football. Steve and I, our visions are in sync, and this is a great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of Steve's vision."
Anthony will perform the national anthem when the Dolphins host the New York Jets on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" on Oct. 12 as part of the NFL's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
"There's no other place in America that has such a diverse community as Miami and certainly no place in the United States that has a greater Latin culture than South Florida," Ross said.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and ESPN president George Bodenheimer also attended the news conference in an upscale mall at Columbus Circle. But the spotlight was all on Anthony.
The 40-year-old singer grew up a Giants fan in New York. He said he's had the "itch" to buy into a sports team for about three years.
His only concern about the Dolphins deal: Lopez's father is a rabid Jets fan. Anthony said Lopez herself was supportive -- mostly because it's an excuse to spend more time in Miami. He said she was shooting a film in New York until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning but still found the time to stop by the news conference.
Asked later on a conference call whether this also meant she was a minority owner, Anthony joked: "By default she owns everything I do. I would say of my share, she owns a majority."
The four-time Grammy winner has sold more than 10 million albums and also starred in movies. He suggested this venture was part of the next step in his career.
"I could quite possibly be staring at the first day of the rest of my life," he said. "That's really quite exciting at this stage of the game."
Ross, a New York real estate billionaire, completed his purchase of the Dolphins from Wayne Huizenga in January. He began a partnership in May with Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville enterprise, which includes Land Shark Lager.
Buffett has yet to accept Ross' invitation to become a minority owner, but the Dolphins' stadium has been renamed Land Shark Stadium for this season. Buffett has also written a song for the team.
Ross insisted the economic downturn had nothing to do with his desire to bring in minority owners.
"Knock on wood, I can say while we're going through troubled times, fortunately I don't need to bring in partners. ... I always intended to bring in partners," he said. "I always stated before that I want this team to be representative of the community. That's what I was looking for -- who my partners were, as opposed to the money aspect."