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More celebrity owners ,William sisters join the Dolphins

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MIAMI - Venus and Serena Williams have found a new sport: pro football.
The tennis-playing sisters will become the latest celebrities to own a stake in the Miami Dolphins, a person familiar with the deal said Wednesday. The person didn’t want to be identified because the team plans an announcement Tuesday. Another person close to the negotiations said an agreement was near but not yet final. That person also didn’t want to be identified because the announcement has not been made.
“There have been preliminary talks, and hopefully it’ll work out,” Serena Williams said Wednesday night after a 6-3, 6-2 win over Yaroslava Shvedova in Toronto. “That would be a great opportunity for both of us. You never know. We’ll see what happens.”

The Williamses live in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., about an hour’s drive from the Dolphins’ stadium. Their new role will be significant in part because the NFL has no African-American majority team owner.
Musicians Gloria and Emilio Estefan and Marc Anthony recently bought small shares of the team. New Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also forged a partnership with singer Jimmy Buffett.
The Dolphins have said the involvement of the celebrities reflects the diversity of South Florida and shows that the franchise is connected with the community.
“There’s always so many opportunities out there, and Venus and I are always trying to expand our brand and do the best that we can do, and if an opportunity presents itself, we would love to see where it can take us,” Serena Williams said. “Who knows what’s going to happen, but hopefully we’ll be able to hopefully continue to expand our brand.”
A Dolphins spokesman said the team had no comment regarding next week’s announcement.
The Williams sisters have combined to win 18 Grand Slam titles, and they staged their latest sibling showdown last month at Wimbledon, where Serena beat Venus in the final.
Serena has won 11 major titles and Venus seven.
Ross, a New York real estate billionaire, completed his purchase of the Dolphins from Wayne Huizenga in January and began a partnership in May with Buffett. The agreement with the Estefans was announced in June, followed by the deal with Anthony last month.
Buffett and the Estefans are longtime Dolphins fans. The Williams sisters aren’t known to closely follow the Dolphins or the NFL.
Ross has said the minority owners are strategic partners and aren’t being brought aboard because of a financial need. He has pledged to improve the fan experience at games, and the celebrities will help — although it’s unlikely the sisters will be staging tennis exhibitions at halftime.
Buffett has yet to accept Ross’ invitation to become a minority owner, but the Dolphins’ stadium has been renamed Land Shark Stadium for this season. Buffett has written a song for the Dolphins, and they’ve introduced a new version of their fight song by the rapper T-Pain.
Anthony will perform the national anthem when the Dolphins host the New York Jets on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” on Oct. 12.
The Miami Dolphins are merging with Miami Sound Machine and Margaritaville.
Singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan, are buying a "very small" ownership stake in the NFL team, a person familiar with the deal said Monday. The person requested anonymity because the deal won't be announced until Thursday by owner Stephen Ross.
Seven-time Grammy winner Gloria Estefan has had hits with Miami Sound Machine and as a solo artist. Ross began a partnership in May with Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville enterprise, which includes Land Shark Lager
Buffett has yet to accept Ross' invitation to become a minority owner, but the Dolphins' stadium has been renamed Land Shark Stadium for this season. Buffett wrote a song for the team and will be featured at tailgate parties, Ross has said.
It's unclear whether the Estefans will have a role in Dolphins entertainment. Miami Sound Machine brought a fusion of Latin and pop to the American masses with hits such as "Conga" and "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," and Emilio Estefan has also produced for such artists as Shakira and Ricky Martin.
The Estefans will be among the few Hispanics to hold an ownership stake in an NFL team. Gloria Estefan came to the United States at age 2 when her family fled Cuba shortly after Fidel Castro's revolution, and she has sold more than 90 million records.
Ross, a New York real estate billionaire, completed his purchase of the Dolphins in January from Wayne Huizenga.
The Dolphins confirmed only that the Estefans and Ross will make a "major announcement" Thursday on behalf of the Dolphins.

New Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross had to be loving the scene: the flashbulbs glittering, the passers-by straining to catch a glimpse, the questions asked and answered in Spanish.
This was the kind of energy Ross sought when he added singer Marc Anthony as a minority owner. The Dolphins held the news conference Tuesday not in Miami but in the media mecca of Manhattan, with the bonus buzz of a cameo by Anthony's wife, Jennifer Lopez.
There was Anthony presenting his wife with a Dolphins jersey as an early 40th birthday gift. There was the celebrity couple kissing before the singer-actress, wearing a short pink dress, slipped back offstage.
Ross wants to reach out to new fans, and in South Florida, that automatically includes the Hispanic community. Singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan, already bought a small stake in the club last month.
"I'm not doing this as a singer; I'm not doing this as an actor," Anthony said. "[It's] just because I love football. Steve and I, our visions are in sync, and this is a great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of Steve's vision."
Anthony will perform the national anthem when the Dolphins host the New York Jets on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" on Oct. 12 as part of the NFL's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
"There's no other place in America that has such a diverse community as Miami and certainly no place in the United States that has a greater Latin culture than South Florida," Ross said.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and ESPN president George Bodenheimer also attended the news conference in an upscale mall at Columbus Circle. But the spotlight was all on Anthony.
The 40-year-old singer grew up a Giants fan in New York. He said he's had the "itch" to buy into a sports team for about three years.
His only concern about the Dolphins deal: Lopez's father is a rabid Jets fan. Anthony said Lopez herself was supportive -- mostly because it's an excuse to spend more time in Miami. He said she was shooting a film in New York until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday morning but still found the time to stop by the news conference.
Asked later on a conference call whether this also meant she was a minority owner, Anthony joked: "By default she owns everything I do. I would say of my share, she owns a majority."
The four-time Grammy winner has sold more than 10 million albums and also starred in movies. He suggested this venture was part of the next step in his career.
"I could quite possibly be staring at the first day of the rest of my life," he said. "That's really quite exciting at this stage of the game."
Ross, a New York real estate billionaire, completed his purchase of the Dolphins from Wayne Huizenga in January. He began a partnership in May with Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville enterprise, which includes Land Shark Lager.
Buffett has yet to accept Ross' invitation to become a minority owner, but the Dolphins' stadium has been renamed Land Shark Stadium for this season. Buffett has also written a song for the team.
Ross insisted the economic downturn had nothing to do with his desire to bring in minority owners.
"Knock on wood, I can say while we're going through troubled times, fortunately I don't need to bring in partners. ... I always intended to bring in partners," he said. "I always stated before that I want this team to be representative of the community. That's what I was looking for -- who my partners were, as opposed to the money aspect."

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