The Dolphins literally – and figuratively – put down roots in Southwest Florida this afternoon. Dolphins players, alumni, cheerleaders, T.D., and team officials stopped at Germain Toyota in Naples signed autographs, posed for photos and yes, raised an aqua Dolphins flag high above the dealership.
And so began a new team initiative to reach out to current and prospective Dolphins fans in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties. The team counts 1,200 season ticket holders from southwest Florida and hopes over time to increase that number, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said.
One way the team plans to make it easier for southwest Floridians to attend games is through “Dolphins Express” – a bus service from points in the southwest, including Germain Toyota, to Dolphins games. The new bus service does not require a group, but can be purchased by individuals just wanting transportation to and from Land Shark Stadium. Fans can purchase an upper sideline ticket and the bus trip for $75. Check out DolphinsExpress.com or 1-888-FINS-BUS.
Germain Toyota was dubbed the Dolphins official southwest Florida headquarters and the automotive company plans to host tailgate parties and promote the bus service in its own advertisements, said Bob Germain, vice president of Germain Motor Company.
“We’re reaching out to fans, expanding our footprint beyond what has been known traditionally as our core market of South Florida,” Dee said. “We’re taking our message on the road, across the state, across the southern half of Florida and the Dolphins Express program is going to be a big part of that bringing fans from around the state over to Land Shark Stadium.”
In addition to focusing efforts in South and southwest Florida, Dee said the team is also targeting the Treasure Coast and Central Florida to bolster its existing fan base and attract new fans.
The group that included wide receiver Davone Bess, tackle Vernon Carey, linebacker Akin Ayodele and running back Patrick Cobbs, then moved to Buckingham Community Park in Fort Myers for a football clinic and cheerleading camp for some 500 kids.
Bess said he likes participating in community events and meeting fans.
“They’re the reason why we do what we do. They’re a big part of why we’re who we are and our identity,” Bess said, “so it’s always good to go out and meet them and give back.”