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Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

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  • Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

    Top Dolphins' say they didn't know about Ricky's intent to retire
    By Sarah Talalay
    Staff Writer
    Posted July 26 2004

    Top Dolphins executives said Sunday that they either didn't know of running back Ricky Williams' intention to retire or considered the situation unresolved before individual tickets for the 2004-05 season went on sale to the public Saturday morning.

    "The conversation was between Dave [Wannstedt] and the player. I wasn't involved in those conversations, [General Manager] Rick Spielman was not involved in those conversations, nor was [President] Eddie [Jones]," said Dolphins Executive Vice President Bryan Wiedmeier. "It's an ongoing dialogue. ... So if you're Coach Wannstedt, the last thing you're thinking about is telling the marketing guys. We couldn't operate our business that way."

    Jim Ross, Dolphins senior vice president sales and marketing, said he didn't know until Sunday morning. However, Wannstedt said he did tell executives on the football side.

    "Bryan and Eddie and everybody either got on board if not Friday night, then Saturday," Wannstedt said.

    The team sold more than 15,000 individual game tickets and more than 200 season tickets Saturday during a sales event at Pro Player Stadium. Ross said the event had been planned for weeks.

    Wiedmeier said the team has not received refund requests and has not addressed what it would do if such requests came. He also said fans buy tickets to see the team as a whole, not an individual player. Wiedmeier and Jones likened Williams' situation to that of a player who is injured.

    But Randy Cohen, who writes the syndicated The Ethicist column for The New York Times, said the team has "an obligation not to deceive the fans."

    Cohen said the Dolphins should have been clear with fans as soon as the team knew.

    "As soon as the team learned that Ricky Williams decided to retire, they were required both to announce this to fans and to cease using Williams to promote ticket sales," Cohen said. "To delay the announcement until the retirement is "official" would be to engage in a kind of cheap legalism, to use the letter of the law to trick the fans, and there's nothing ethical about that. The idea is to be direct and honest."

    Cohen said that if the team knew before individual tickets went on sale, fans who bought tickets after Friday should be allowed to change their minds and offered refunds.

    Fans and observers said they didn't think Williams' decision would have much bearing on ticket sales.

    "The Dolphins, more than other teams, people buy tickets because they want to be part of it," said Steve Nudelberg, founder of Plantation-based On the Ball Marketing, which helps corporations strike sponsorship deals with the Dolphins. "I don't see it as something the team tried to hide. I know up until early this morning and even now they're trying to talk him out of it."

    Nudelberg said the team will miss Williams on the field, and off, where he was among the marquee players, whose image appeared on billboards and season tickets. But team officials were careful to promote other players, too, and did not make Williams the only face of their marketing campaign.

    Williams also helped make the Dolphins 10th in the league in licensed merchandise sales last season. His No. 34 jersey ranked eighth among players in sales of jerseys on between April and June of this year, according to figures released by the NFL.

    If the Dolphins knew about Williams retiring Friday night and hid the news so that they could sell more tickets the next day when their tickets went on sale, that'd be pretty messed up. The different stories between Wannstedt and the other high-ranking members of the organization makes me wonder what was really going on.

  • #2
    Re: Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

    Does sound pretty shady. And I heard yesterday that they (RW and the Team) started having this talk on Friday.

    Only "honest" thing they could do is offer to buy the tickets back from anyone that no longer wanted them...
    This space for rent...


    • #3
      Re: Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

      Not sure if Ricky Williams retirement would have had any relevance on ticket sales anyway. Would any of you NOT buy a ticket just because Faulk retired? I doubt it. So why hide it?


      • #4
        Re: Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

        Originally posted by txramsfan
        Not sure if Ricky Williams retirement would have had any relevance on ticket sales anyway. Would any of you NOT buy a ticket just because Faulk retired? I doubt it. So why hide it?
        Maybe none of us because we're hardcore Rams fans... after all, we post on a message board about them. But some casual fans who are more a fan of a player than the team would probably think twice about buying if Faulk retired.


        • #5
          Re: Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

          So how many of those "casual" fans actually buy a ticket?

          I bet not too many.


          • #6
            Re: Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

            Originally posted by txramsfan
            So how many of those "casual" fans actually buy a ticket?

            I bet not too many.
            It's hard to say. Any answer either of us give will be speculation at this point. The bottom line is that if the Dolphins withheld information about Ricky Williams's retirement because they didn't want ticket sales to suffer, regardless of whether or not they would, that's still pretty shady.


            • #7
              Re: Did the Dolphins deceive the fans for a profit?

              Well, I'm still trying to figure out how the Raiders stay under the salary cap every year......



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