Armando Salguero

Top Miami Dolphins executive gets a big promotion

Tom Garfinkel guided the refurbishment, renaming and rebranding of Hard Rock Stadium.
Tom Garfinkel guided the refurbishment, renaming and rebranding of Hard Rock Stadium.

Tom Garfinkel, atop the business side of the Miami Dolphins organization and a confidant to owner Stephen Ross since 2013, is climbing the club’s organizational ladder.

Garfinkel has been promoted to vice chairman to go along with his duties as president and chief executive officer, The Miami Herald has learned.

His new title will be Vice Chairman, President and CEO and he will continue to oversee the club’s day-to-day business operations.

Garfinkel joins Don Shula, Jorge Perez and Matt Higgins as vice chairmen. Only Bruce Beal, who as vice chairman and partner to Ross has been initially tapped to be the team’s next owner, is higher in the Dolphins corporate structure.

It’s unclear if Garfinkel’s new title comes with a percentage share of ownership in the club.

The promotion was a way for Ross to keep Garfinkel with the Dolphins at a time he was presented with other opportunities, per a league source.

The reason the Dolphins owner obviously values Garfinkel has to do with results.

Unlike the football side of the organization which has gotten mixed results since Ross took over as owner in 2009, the business side has flourished under Garfinkel.

The Dolphins privately funded and executed a $500 million renovation of the club’s Miami Gardens stadium.

The team secured naming rights to the facility from Hard Rock in a deal estimated at $250 million.

Ticket sales have flourished and the Dolphins are currently riding a three-year streak of consecutive home sellouts.

Garfinkel also has helped the Dolphins stay active in their charitable giving. The Dolphins Cancer Challenge annually provides the Sylvester Cancer Center at the University of Miami with significant donations from their events. It has grown to being the largest such fundraiser in the NFL.

Hard Rock Stadium will also become the annual site of the Miami Open tennis tournament in 2019 aside from its usual chase of Super Bowls and the College Football National Championship Game. The Super Bowl will return to Miami in 2020 and the national title game will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in 2021.

Garfinkel joined the Dolphins after serving as president and CEO of the San Diego Padres, chief operating officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and as executive vice president of Chip Ganasi Racing’s NASCAR, IndyCar, and Grand Am teams.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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