Source: Dolphins owner Huizenga discussing sale of team
MIAMI -- Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga is discussing the sale of his struggling franchise to two real estate developers, The Associated Press has learned.
"Wayne loves the team and he loves the community, but he's very frustrated," the person close to Huizenga, who didn't want to be identified because of the private nature of the negotiations, said Friday night.
A Dolphins spokesman said Huizenga declined to comment. Huizenga has in the past said the Dolphins were not for sale.
The Miami Herald first reported the talks.
The newspaper said Jorge Perez of Miami confirmed that he and business partner Stephen Ross, a New York builder, are talking with Huizenga about the potential deal.
"We are looking at it very, very seriously," Perez told the newspaper.
Perez is chairman and CEO of The Related Group, one of the biggest condominium builders in the country.
The Dolphins are 0-13 in their first year under coach Cam Cameron, and they're in danger of the first 0-16 season in NFL history.
The Herald said Ross denied earlier this week that he had spoken with Huizenga about a possible sale, saying he was not interested "at this point" in purchasing an NFL organization. But Perez said he and Ross have met multiple times with Huizenga, and as recently as last weekend.
Ross has been involved with sports before, including as a minority partner with the NHL's New York Islanders. In 1990, he was part of a group interested in bringing baseball to Miami.
Instead, Huizenga became founding owner of the Florida Marlins, then later sold the team. Huizenga also was the founding owner of the NHL's Florida Panthers, then sold that franchise.
Football has always been Huizenga's first love, but the Dolphins haven't been to the AFC championship game since he became sole owner in 1994. They've failed to even make the playoffs the past six years.
"It seems like 50 years," Huizenga said before this season. "I'm tired of not being in the playoffs."
Huizenga recently committed to spend about $250 million to upgrade Dolphin Stadium, which he owns. The final phase of that upgrade is to be completed by 2009.
Forbes Magazine this year valued the Dolphins at $942 million, with a revenue stream of about $215 million. The valuation makes the Dolphins the 15th-priciest NFL franchise.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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