Miami Dolphins

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has succession plan in place

Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen M. Ross is said to have a succession plan in place for the team.
Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen M. Ross is said to have a succession plan in place for the team.

Stephen Ross has no plans of selling the Dolphins.

But if he ever does -- or when he passes away -- New York-based real estate star Bruce A. Beal Jr. will have the right of first option to buy one of the NFL's flagship franchises.

Ross, 75, is in great health. But the real estate tycoon, who bought the Dolphins for $1.1 billion in 2008, wanted to set up a succession plan should that ever change.

The agreement, which league owners approved at the NFL's annual meeting last month, was first reported by The Miami Herald has since confirmed the report.

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The Dolphins declined comment.

Beal, who is in his mid-40s, is already a star in the world of real estate. He joined Ross' Related Companies in 1995, and now is the company's president and general partner. Crain's, a New York-based real estate magazine, named Beal to its 40 Under 40 list in 2009.

His father, Bruce Beal Sr., owns a commercial real estate firm that was been in the family for generations. In 2013, his firm merged with Related and became Related Beal.

Sources close to Ross insist that he has no intention to sell the Dolphins, but instead deemed the move as "responsible succession planning." And those sources say that just because Beal has the first option to buy the team, it does not mean he is guaranteed to do so.

Other owners privately complimented Ross for the decision, particularly in light of the chaotic situation in Tennessee, where the Titans have been rudderless since the death of Bud Adams in 2012.

"This is nothing more than smart succession planning," one source put it. "That way, down the road, everything is planned out."

Should Beal indeed buy the team, he would become the fourth owner of the Dolphins, following Joe Robbie, Wayne Huizenga and Ross.

Beal, according to Related’s website, is responsible for “overseeing the day-to-day development process for projects across all asset classes throughout the country including acquisition, finance and construction activities.”

He is also a philanthropist, serving as a trustee for NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Citizens Budget Commission, St. Bernard’s School and Diller-Quaile School of Music. Beal attended Harvard University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley