MIAMI -- Awaiting the arrival of his celebrity guests, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross confessed to butterflies.
Playing the Indianapolis Colts had him a bit nervous, too.
The game Monday night against Indy was the Dolphins' first in Miami since Ross completed his purchase of the franchise in January. A sellout crowd was expected to include Serena and Venus Williams, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jimmy Buffett and Marc Anthony, who have all forged partnerships with the team.
"We've put a lot of time and effort into preparing for the season, and we're showcasing it tonight for the first time, so you have butterflies," Ross said a few hours before kickoff. "We've tried a lot of new things. Certainly we're going to make mistakes. We're watching to see what works, what doesn't work."
Innovations under Ross include a private club at the stadium, a rap rendition of the fight song by T-Pain, and hand-held wireless TV units for premium seat holders.
"It's an exciting night," Ross said. "We're trying to really enhance the fan experience."
The change attracting the most attention has been the addition of the Williams sisters, the Estefans and Anthony as limited partners. Ross also forged an agreement with Buffett, who wrote a song for the Dolphins.
Some of the VIPs were to make their pregame arrival on a new celebrity orange carpet with Hollywood trappings, and Buffett was expected to perform for tailgaters.
"We have just a great bunch of partners who have a great feeling and compassion for South Florida and the Miami Dolphins," Ross said. "It has been a fun experience getting to know them."
The celebrities are part of Ross' effort to spice up excitement at games. He says they reflect the diversity of South Florida and show the franchise is connected with the community.