Miami Dolphins adding value to overcome tough sell

Author Christian Tovar-Vargas, University of San Francisco

Posted: October 22, 2015

Tagged: marketing / revenue / teams

The Miami Dolphins have recently implemented several initiatives focused on increasing the value of a product that has been tough to sell in the recent past and has had a negative association tied to it due to the recent bullying scandal of Richie Incognito (Kaplan, 2015). The front office has gone about this through the influence of several value and servicescape variables.

One initiative implemented was to eliminate the amount of season tickets given to brokers, which were usually being sold to fans of opposing teams. This was done because it was negatively affecting the home advantage that the Dolphins had (Kaplan, 2015). By allowing their revamped sales staff to sell the tickets, presumably to Dolphins fans, the organization is affecting a social factor of the organization’s servicescape (Hightower, 2014, pp. 146-147). By filling up Sun Life Stadium with more Dolphins fans, the organization is trying to provide better stimuli for fans that attend Dolphins games (Hightower, 2014, p. 146). This enhanced stimuli might lead to a consumer having an enhanced perception of a Dolphins home game and may lead them to buy tickets for a future game (Hightower, 2014, p. 146).

Another initiative implemented involves the Dolphins providing fans with amenities such as parties and meetings with members of the coaching staff and players (Kaplan, 2015). This initiative can be thought of as a leveraging activity that affects an experience value variable (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 58). This initiative serves a method for the Dolphins organization to create an emotional connection between their fans and their product (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 58). The fostering of this emotional connection between fans and the Dolphins product should lead to a sense of satisfaction for consumers, which ultimately leads to the creation of value for the Dolphins product (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 58). This connection should increase the sense of commitment that Dolphins fans have (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 58), which could benefit future season ticket sales.

Another initiative is centered on a $450 million renovation to Sun Life Stadium, which includes a train center roof and the addition of the club living room boxes (Kaplan, 2015). The implementation of these boxes is a modification to a design factor stimulus of the Dolphins’ servicescape (Hightower, 2014, p. 145). Specifically, this implementation serves as a way to increase consumer’s comfort, a sub-dimension of the design factor stimuli (Hightower, 2014, p. 145). The implementation of the roof is also a modification to the design factor stimuli of the Dolphins’ servicescape (Hightower, 2014, p. 145). This modification also increases a consumer’s level of comfort, and addresses temperature, which is an ambient factor in the Dolphins’ servicescape (Hightower, 2014, p. 145). These changes should be beneficial since aesthetic factors (i.e. design factors) are more likely to have a bigger impact on their servicescape, purchasing behavior and the possible impact of the Dolphins brand (Hightower, 2014, p. 145).

Another initiative implemented addresses barriers to an ideal fan experience. Specifically, new technology and apps have been created to inform fans of bathroom waits, concession lines and important logistical news (Kaplan, 2015). In doing this, the Dolphins are focusing on what challenges their product environment or sportscape may create and being responsive to these challenges (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, pp. 56-57). By doing this, they should be able to increase a consumer perception of service quality and perception of value (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, p. 56). The apps created are a leveraging activity implemented to reduce the participation costs of consumers (McCarville & Stinson, 2014, pp. 56-57). Overall, these recent initiatives should allow the Dolphins to gain more fans since they have been able to sell out of their season tickets (Kaplan, 2015). Most importantly, these initiatives can be seen as a method to break away from the perception that they are a team of “sunshiny mediocrity” (Kaplan, 2015).



Hightower, R. (2014). Leveraging sports brands with the servicescape. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 142-156). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kaplan, D. (2015, September 7). Why the Miami Dolphins are fired up about the future. SportsBusiness Journal, 18(21). Retrieved from:

McCarville, R. & Stinson, J. L. (2014). Creating value as part of sport marketing. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 51-64). New York, NY: Routledge.

About Christian Tovar-Vargas, University of San Francisco

Christian is a first-year student in the University of San Francisco sport management master’s program. His current sport management involvement includes a fan experience internship at UC Berkeley and Marketing/Social Media internship with the San Francisco State University athletic department. His current areas of interest include marketing and fan experience in the areas of intercollegiate athletics, professional basketball and the Olympic movement. Christian is a native of San Antonio, TX where he received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology and sport management from Trinity University (TX). Within his time at Trinity, Christian worked with sport organizations such as the Valero Alamo Bowl and the San Antonio Spurs. Christian can be reached at This article is an edited version of a paper Christian prepared for Dr. Michael M. Goldman’s Sport Marketing class at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Keith Allison, "Ryan Tannehill", Accessed via Creative Commons license.