New York real estate billionaire Stephen Ross has become a majority owner of the Miami Dolphins, completing his purchase of 95 percent of the franchise for $1 billion.
|Wayne Huizenga hands over the reigns [GALLO/GETTY]
Former owner Wayne Huizenga retained a 5 percent interest.
The two businessmen reached an agreement to complete a deal forged last February.
At that time Ross bought 50 percent of the franchise, Dolphin Stadium and surrounding land from Huizenga for $550 million, with an agreement that Ross would later become managing general partner.
Ross closed on the purchase of an additional 45 percent on Tuesday. That part of the agreement received pre-approval from the NFL in October.
Huizenga, 71, became sole owner of the Dolphins in 1994. A year ago he said it was time for another person to assume control.
Team on the rise
Ross takes over with the franchise's fortunes on the upswing. When the first phase of his purchase was completed, the Dolphins were coming off a 1-15 season, the worst in team history.
Under the new Bill Parcells regime, they improved to 11-6 this season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
The sale triggers a clause in Parcells' contract allowing him to leave and still receive the $9-12 million remaining on his four-year contract.
After the team lost in the first round of the playoffs, Huizenga said Parcells had
decided to remain for another season.
Ross gave Parcells an endorsement.
"I want to assure Dolphin fans that I share Wayne's same passion to win and will do everything I can to support Bill Parcells in his leadership of football operations,'' Ross said in a statement.