Will someone please tranquilize Stephen Ross? He's become some sort of celebrity-obsessed leprechaun, all hopped up on lucky charms and cash and Major Announcements, and we'd very much like the man to sit still and take a deep breath.
Apparently, the creation of Gate G's Ocean Drive Club -- 4,500 square feet of lounging space for VIPs and special guests complete with private cabanas, a premium bar, a chef-attended carving station, and NFL Sunday Ticket -- wasn't enough to tide over the Dolphins' owner even a few weeks: Ross is set to announce the addition of three more celeb-minority owners on August 25.
Ross won't say who the lucky stars might be, only that "In keeping with his desire to have the Dolphins represent the ethnic and racial makeup of their community, at least one of the new minority owners is black."
Phew! In his quest for targeted marketing, we actually feared the old indefatigable marketing hobgoblin would run out of Hispanic and Latino Americans and ask Trick Daddy to wear a sombrero.
It's all part of his "vision," Ross says, of a game day experience where fans gather around an orange VIP carpet to cheer the arrivals of attending stars and guests. Er....Lucky us? Thanks, Mr. Ross, for the opportunity to pay more to see people who require eyes on their un-sliced meat saunter in for free.
The flaw in Ross's plan to have the Dolphins reflect "what's unique about South Beach" is that by including all the celebrity and luxury hoopla, he's ultimately excluding all the fans who can't regularly afford a more upscale experience. For every South Beach club type, aren't there at least five times as many working families from elsewhere?
The issue is reflected in the season ticket sales: the Dolphins want to sell 60,000-65,000; they currently sit at 49,000. Here's a brilliant suggestion to bump it up: cut out all the stuff football fans don't want (see "Press Releases, 2008") and present an affordable package.
Of course, with the advent of luxury boxes, the NFL hasn't exactly been as democratic as it once was ("Hey, there's a famous person sweating in the Orange Bowl, just like me!" "Hey, now they're chewing off their own lip over David Woodley, just like me!"), but that's not insulting -- it's just how the world works.
Supplying luxury where there's little demand in a bad economy, on the other hand, and assuming average ticket-buyers will happily comply? Well, that's a little more difficult to grasp.
(Unless, of course, the black celebrity is Luther Campbell. And then we'll fork over whatever it takes.)