Will Miamians LIV it up in stadium club?
MIAMI GARDENS -- The South Beach crowd will invade Sun Life Stadium en masse Monday night. Some will enjoy the Dolphins-Patriots Monday Night Football game. But most will be basking in the privilege of watching the game from LIV Sun Life -- an in-stadium version of Club LIV, the hottest nightspot on Miami Beach.
LIV Sun Life debuted with resounding success at last week's home opener against the New York Jets. Among those who stopped by were the Miami Heat Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Socialite Kim Kardashian also came in and sat for a while.
"Steve Ross keeps breaking the barrier," said Miami businessman Rodney Barreto, a two-time head of the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee, "and I think he's hit a home run with this one."
Tickets start at $275-$300 (depending on the opponent) for admission to the swanky club and end-zone seats. There are also pricing packages at $450, $500 and $650.
But why skimp? For $15,000 you can get a 15-person cabana complete with a Dom Perignon magnum, a bottle of premium liquor and beer.
During last week's game, Adriana Cisneros sat at the bar with friends Milany Marquez and Lina Guerrero, taking it all in.
"What a way to make some money," Cisneros said, glimpsing all the beautiful people packed shoulder-to-shoulder around her.
The Dolphins disappointed that night, losing to the hated Jets 31-23.
But LIV Sun Life, the brainchild of Ross, the progressive owner of the Dolphins, was a smash hit. There were so many people in there you could barely move.
LIV Sun Life is a stomach-turning idea to hardcore Dolphins fans, but Ross is trying to keep both sides happy. For hardcore fans, he got wide receiver Brandon Marshall and linebacker Karlos Dansby. For the South Beach crowd, there's LIV Sun Life.
Ross, a Miami Beach native who made his fortune as a New York real estate developer, thinks big. He put together a multi-cultural Dolphins minority ownership group that includes entertainers Fergie, Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony, and Venus and Serena Williams.
Last season he opened the exclusive invitation-only Deco Drive Lounge. Ross has also initiated an orange-carpet arrival for celebrity guests.
You want thinking big? Ross reportedly bid to host the proposed Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight last year, back when it was going to be the "Fight of the Century." But back to the club.
As for the look, the place is just as impressive as its patrons. The neon-lit facility has multiple bars, cabanas, a dance floor and deejay booth, and an open-air, end zone view to the stadium. And the people? The absolutely beautiful people -- they were everywhere you looked.
There were high-profile people, too. Dolphins defensive end Jared Odrick, the first-round pick from Penn State who is sidelined with a broken leg, was hanging out in one of those expensive cabanas with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Really.
At halftime, former Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, the man who sold the team to Ross in 2008, was seen entering the club with curiosity.
Cisneros and her friends didn't pay admission. They work in the nightclub industry.
"And they wanted girls to come," she said.
Some people had their doubts when they heard about LIV Sun Life. But not Cisneros' friend Marquez.
"I thought it was an amazing idea," she said.
Of course, as brilliant as LIV Sun Life might seem right now, it could all fall apart quickly.
The South Beach crowd is a fickle bunch. And if the Dolphins (2-1) lose to New England, the South Beach crowd might not be willing to drive 15 miles north to LIV Sun Life to watch a .500 team.
After all, these aren't necessarily diehard Dolphins fans, and competition is high for the entertainment dollar in Miami. Asked who their favorite team is, both Marquez and Guerrero said the Patriots. Cisneros?
"The Heat," she said.
But for now, the party is on at LIV Sun Life.
Chris Perkins is a freelance writer for Sports Media Exchange, a national freelance writing network.