Miami Dolphins stadium to have a new name

A naming-rights deal that will see the Miami Dolphins' home renamed the Land Shark Stadium has been signed.

A naming-rights deal that will see the Miami Dolphins' home renamed the Land Shark Stadium has been signed.

Dolphin Stadium, which has carried a number of different sponsors' names in the past, will be named after the Land Shark beer produced by Margaritaville Enterprises, the company owned by singer Jimmy Buffett, for the 2009 National Football League (NFL) season. The deal does not include naming rights for the venue for the Super Bowl or Pro Bowl games to be played in the stadium next season.

The deal is the first major change announced by new owner Stephen Ross, the New York-based real estate developer who spent US$1 billion to secure 95 per cent ownership of both the team and their stadium earlier this year. Ross has also invited Buffett to become a minority owner of the team. "He's going to be featured at tailgates and things like that. We're going to incorporate him into being part of the Miami Dolphins," he added. "Football today, with HDTV, you can sit at home. You've got to create an experience and a reason to come here and have a good time. It’s a blend of entertainment and winning football. We're going to fill up those stands."

The unusually short-term deal - naming rights deals can often be worth tens of millions of dollars over a number of years, but in the current economic situation such deals are hard to come by - was kicked off when Buffett and an eight-piece band performed three songs at the stadium in a concert this weekend. The discounted naming-rights element has been valued at US$2 million, but a host of other initiatives will increase that value significantly, with a Margaritaville-themed area of the stadium expected to be opened, even before factors such as corporate hospitality are taken into account.

The University of Miami's American football team, the Hurricanes, and Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins also play at the stadium.

"We're going to be associated with Jimmy Buffett forever," said Ross. "That's what the important thing is."