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Checking in with new Dolphins CEO Mike Dee

Had a chance to catch up a little bit with new Dolphins CEO Mike Dee this week.

The veteran sports team executive, who joined the Dolphins in May after five years as Chief Operating Officer at the Boston Red Sox, is as enthusiastic about enhancing the business side of the Dolphins, as his new boss, team owner Stephen M. Ross.

Dee shares Ross’ philosophy that owning and running a franchise is akin to being the steward of a community asset. The two want to be as inclusive as possible with all fans, Dee said: “We have a new saying that: no fan gets left behind.”

That partly explains the new partnerships with Jimmy Buffett and Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Dee reiterated that while Ross’ priority is winning, he wants to ensure an entertaining fan experience, too.

“We want to make sure everything we do is fun, looking through the lens of the fan,” Dee said. “Steve’s career and his success has been built on being avant garde. He’s a bold aggressive entrepreneur. That’s what attracted me to him. He lives outside the box. That’s what makes him successful and also what makes it fun.”

The changes being made are Ross putting his “own stamp” on the team,” Dee said.

And it’s the success of the business side, Dee says, that can help the football side make upgrades and sign new players.

Among Dee’s challenges is boosting season ticket sales. Season ticket sales dropped to 47,000 in 2008, from 54,465 in 2007 and 61,121 in 2006. Dee said he expects the team to sell about 50,000 in 2009, but he’s aiming for more than 60,000 in the next few years.

“Season ticket holders are the lifeblood of your franchise,” Dee said. “We have some work to do.”

The Land Shark Stadium concession stands are being upgraded. The 100 and 400 level concession stands are being equipped with 180 flat-screen digital menu boards – just like the 110 that were installed on the club level in 2007 during the stadium’s $300 million renovation.

He said the team is also evaluating the ticket pricing in the 100 and 400 levels.

Expect more announcements of enhancements in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...

Putting his money where his mouth is: Dee says he’s making a contribution to the Dolphins Foundation each time he references the Red Sox.

Reminder: follow me on Twitter @sarahtalalay

Categories: Land Shark Stadium (44), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sports Team Owners (49)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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