Sport » Tennis

Updated: December 1, 2009 13:13 IST

Williams sisters to own part of Dolphins

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Venus Williams (L) and Serena Williams.
AP Venus Williams (L) and Serena Williams.

Venus and Serena Williams will become the latest celebrities to own a stake in the Miami Dolphins, a person familiar with the deal said on Wednesday.

The person didn’t want to be identified because the NFL team plans to announce the involvement of the tennis-playing sisters next week.

The Williamses live in Palm Beach Gardens, about an hour’s drive from the Dolphins’ stadium. Their new role is 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 team is connected with the community. A Dolphins spokesman said the team had no comment regarding next week’s announcement.

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 Buffett. The agreement with the Estefans was announced in June, followed by the deal with Anthony last month.

Buffett and the Estefans are long-time 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 he has written a song for the team.

Anthony will perform the national anthem when the Dolphins host the New York Jets on October 12.

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