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Society Bites: LandShark Stadium Is Fins and ‘Phins

May 9th, 2009 · No Comments

Jimmy Buffett, Miami Dolphins and the Parrotheads: Fins, ‘Phins and Fans

By Thom Smith, Columnist

     Fins to the left, ‘phins to the right. You can bet there’s a new game in town.

     With a news conference heavy on the entertainment value and light on information, the Miami Dolphins on Friday morning confirmed what many knew:

       Next season Dolphin Stadium will be known as LandShark Stadium.

      The name is rooted in a Saturday Night Live skit that begat a Jimmy Buffett song that inspired a somewhat palatable beer. Flipper is gone; say hello to a logo featuring the stadium topped by a menacing teal and orange dorsal fin. 

            Buffett is in on the deal and not just for beer money. The Dolphins withheld specifics. The singer-author will have some stake in the team. His investment, according to reports, will be two concerts, money from which could reach eight figures. Ross did say the Buffett arrangement is just the start of  several projects that the Dolphins will announce in the coming months.

  Beer is in Bud’s Family

      landsharkbeer1    LandShark Beer is one of several Buffett brands. After years of identification with Mexican brand Corona, he ended the relationship and joined with Anheuser-Busch to produce his own lager.

      This mating is not as strange as it may seem. Parrotheads, like Dolfans, love to tailgate. Buffett owned shares of two minor-league baseball teams. He’s a beach boy (from Mobile, Ala.) turned millionaire; Dolphins’ majority owner Steve Ross spent his high school years in Miami Beach. Both live in Palm Beach.

            “It’s a natural fit,” Ross told the crowd, “LandShark becomes a Land…mark.”

landshark-steve_ross

Steve Ross

            Asked wehther he had been to Reef Road, Palm Beach’s legendary surfing spot and a Buffett favorite, Ross said he didn’t know, “but I’ll surf, I’ll fish, whatever, to keep him around.”

          Just before the event began at 10:30 Friday morning in an upstairs lobby at the stadium, the media, sardined onto two tiny elevated platforms, watched dumbfounded as a flock of several hundred appropriately garbed Parrotheads and Dolfans strolled into the area in front of the stage.

             Guess they didn’t get the notice that the Big Parrot himself would perform.

            “We got the word about four days ago,” said Don DeRyke, a member of the Fort Lauderdale Parrothead flock. “Couldn’t miss it.”

       landshark-buffett   The Big Parrot Warbled

  Buffett performed, backed by his long serving Coral Reefer Band, and opened with Margaritaville, then followed with Volcano.  “We gave half the tickets to the Parrotheads and half to Dolfans, and you can’t tell the difference!” Buffett said and then confessing to being in a party mood after spending a week in the Bahamas, launched into a Dolphin-ized version of Fins.

 

 From Lauderdale and Boca,

Palm Beaches and Florida Keys,

It’s a game day mass migration

High fives fill the breeze

Kick-off time’s approaching

We gotta shut off our cell phones (great idea)

And get our arms up in the air

We are entering the “FinZone”

Can’t you feel us circling Dolfans

Can’t you feel us swimmin’ around?

We got fins to the left, fins to the right,

We’re at the only game in town.

         

           It certainly has more oomph than the old “Miami Dolphins, Miami Dolphins, Miami Dolphins No. 1.”

 Don’t Engrave the Name Yet

   A couple of closing remarks from Ross, who built West Palm Beach’s CityPlace and many other monster projects, and it was all over. Ross lingered for a few questions, but Buffett was out of the stadium in a flash. Next concert: May 14 in Phoenix.

            But here’s the catch. Unless something drastic happens between now and mid-December, LandShark Stadium will disappear. Dolphins publicist Harvey Greene said the arrangement is only for the Dolphins’ season. The Super Bowl will be played in Miami, but should the ‘Fins make it that far, they won’t play in LandShark Stadium. Greene would not say what the next name would be.

Jorge Perez

Jorge Perez

Former Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga did not attend, nor did that other big fish, VP of Football Operations Bill “the Big Tuna” Parcells. But Ross’ longtime partner Jorge Perez hovered nearby, as did Bernie Yuman, a Ross schoolmate at Miami Beach High, and former U.S. Tennis Association boss Arlen Kantarian, another Ross confidant. Also in the crowd, Best Buddies founder and Kennedy offspring Anthony Shriver, Miami Heat hero Alonzo Mourning, ex-Dolphins Nat Moore, Bob Brudzinski, Kim Bokamper, Joe Rose and Shawn Wooden and second-year coach Tony Sparano, with wife Jeanette.

            “I’ve never seen anything like this,” Sparano said.

 

(All photos by Thom Smith.)

***

    Thom Smith keeps up with the boldfaced names in his Society Bites column here. Contact Thom at thomsmith@ymail.com.

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