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
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
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
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
"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.