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Dolphins owner talks NFL expansion, labor and the Super Bowl

Although he wouldn’t talk about his team’s front office or rath of injuries, Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross was pretty chatty about a variety of topics Tuesday, when he was the featured interview speaker at the SportsBusiness Journal’s Sports Media & Technology conference in New York.

He was invited to speak about his ownership of the team and of FanVision, the company that makes the handheld devices fans use at NFL games to watch replays, other games and get stats. Representatives of FanVision including former Kansas City Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson joined Ross at the conference. Ross stressed that Peterson does not have a role with the Dolphins.

He said FanVision will be available on smartphones next season.

He said he still believe his team will make the playoffs and he dismissed concerns about injuries rising if the NFL moves to an 18-game season.

Other topics he addressed:

Labor: On whether the NFL and its players association will be able to reach a new contract, Ross was optimistic.

“All owners want to see the labor negotiations be concluded and we don’t have to worry about missing a game next year,” Ross said. “Right now, it’s out of everybody’s hands. I don’t know what’s going on personally. We’re briefed, but there are some negotiations. I don’t think it’s fast enough, hopefully they’ll be concluded satisfactorily for both sides.”

He said he thinks the economic system needs to change because he believes players are earning too large a percentage of revenues “ not factoring in the additional costs and how they’ve increased throughout the years.”

On expansion: Ross said he believe there needs to be a team in Los Angeles, and perhaps two to make the economics a stadium there work.

“I think it’s important to the NFL to have a team in Los Angeles, you have the second largest media market in the country,” Ross said. “The question is how you pay for a stadium. There’s no money available for the stadium and the cost will be over $1 billion.”

Beyond LA, Ross suggests Toronto as a market to potentially land the Buffalo Bills.

On the Super Bowl: Ross reiterated the NFL has been rewarding communities and teams with the Super Bowl for renovating or building new stadiums, including New Orleans, Indianapolis, Dallas and the New York area.

“Miami is probably the preferred place to hold any Super Bowl,” Ross said. “I think until we do something for Sun Life Stadium, I’ve been told we won’t have a Super Bowl.”

He reiterated the 23-year-old stadium needs new lighting, upgraded sound system, a new bowl and a method to cover fans from the sun and rain.

“We put a lot of money into it, since I’ve owned it, put in concession stands, painted it, but there’s only so much you can do without spending large dollar amounts,” he said.

As for the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey, Ross said, “It’ll be interesting here in New York. I wouldn’t get used to it.”

Categories: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sports Team Owners (49), Sun Life Stadium (24), Super Bowl (53)

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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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