ItÂ was initiallyÂ intimidating to meet not only the owner of our favorite football team, but one of Forbes‘ richest men in America.Â And yet, Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross was incredibly kind and generous when he took the time out of his busy schedule to meet Michelle, Igor, andÂ me in his midtown New York office, and sat down to talk about football and our local fanclub.
He listened attentively as we talked about the growth and direction of DolfansNYC, and was pleased to hear that over 100 die-hard, aqua-and-orange-clad fans come to Third and Long each week to watch the games. But Mr. Ross could help but chuckle when we told him that we play the original team fight song after every Miami touchdown.
“You play the old version?” he clarified, flashing a wide grin. “I hate that song! I had Jimmy (Buffett) write the ‘Fins to the Left’ song that we now play in the stadium.”
“T-Pain — the hip-hop artist — recorded a new version of the fight song, but the fans weren’t very receptive when it was played during the preseason games,” Mr. Ross continued. “I wanted to do something in football like baseball does with the seventh inning stretch, so we now play (the old fight song) after the third quarter. The crowd goes wild and it brings a lot of excitement.”
When we told Mr. Ross about our efforts to raise money for charity, with a goal of contributing at least $1,000 to the Miami Dolphins Foundation, he was more than happy to oblige.
“You guys want some paraphernalia?” he asked as he opened his cupboard and rummaged through stacks of Dolphins items. “Let’s see what we’ve got here that they sent me. I have no idea what I have!
In a matter of minutes, our hands we filled with official team polo shirts, jackets, and hats. Mr. Ross signed both our banner and a hat with a ‘Go Fins!’ inscription, and in return, we provided him with a DolfansNYC t-shirt from the club.
Mr. Ross then showed us showed us “FanVision,” a device his company created that streams video to a 4.3-inch screen, which he hopes will revolutionize the in-stadium game experience. It allows fans to watch instant replays from three different angles, see highlights from other NFL games, and get access to every conceivable statistic.
“FanVision is a new technology that is now available in 12 NFL stadiums, including the New Meadowlands for Jets games,” he told us. “We’re hoping to have it in every stadium by next year, and a few baseball ones, too. We’re also working on a mobile version that will be compatible with cell phones.”
Before we left, we crowded around Mr. Ross’ desk, surrounded by shelves that house dozens of his real estate awards, philanthropic recognitions, and photos with various politicians and celebrities, as he and a member of his media team gave us a sneak peek at a couple of upcoming projects. Along with two breast cancer awareness campaigns featuring R&B singer Kelly Rowland, we were treated to a preview of the opening montage and theme song for the Dolphins upcoming showdown with the New England Patriots.
Let’s just say that no Fins fan will be disappointed with the splendid blend of old and new school. Monday night can’t get here fast enough.
Special thanks to Mr.Â Ross andÂ DolfansNYC member Tim Sullivan for organizing the meeting.