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May 29, 2008

NASCAR's Jeff Gordon partners with Sunrise company

Looking for a way to save on your rising gas bill? NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon knows how.

He’s partnered with Sunrise-based N2Revolution to promote the company’s PurigeN98, a high-purity nitrogen tire inflation system. PurigeN98 helps keep tires properly inflated, thereby reducing fuel costs and improving the car’s handling. Nitrogen-filled tires also reduce fuel emissions, according to a company release.

The release quotes U.S. Department of Energy stats saying: “Americans waste 10 million gallons of fuel every day by driving on under-inflated tires. Annually this amounts to 3.6 billion gallons of wasted fuel and 77 billion pounds of greenhouse gases needlessly dispersed.”

Gordon has used the high purity nitrogen for his racecar’s tires for years, but he can use it in his non-racing vehicles as well. And so can consumers. The system is available at some car dealers, tire stores and service centers. Check here, to find a dealer.

The system is also being used by the Jeff Gordon and Mario Andretti racing schools, which operate NASCAR and IndyCar driving experiences, respectively, for fans at 16 tracks across the country, including Homestead-Miami Speedway.

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Sponsorship (101)

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May 22, 2008

Office Depot and another No. 99

Jason-Edyta-and-Mary-Wong2.jpgWhile the standoff between Jason Taylor and the Dolphins continues, the Office Depot Foundation is dancing to a different tune. The charitable arm of the Delray Beach office products retailer has agreed to give the Jason Taylor Foundation a $15,000 contribution for his second place finish on this season’s Dancing with the Stars.

The Office Depot Foundation, which teamed up with J.T.’s foundation in July, planned to donate $1,000 for each round Taylor advanced in the enormously popular 10-week dance competition. The foundation upped its contribution in honor of Taylor's second place finish.

The contribution will be used to support the Jason Taylor Reading Room in Miramar, which provides after school programs for inner-city middle and high school students. Last year, the Office Depot Foundation contributed $25,000 and computers, backpacks and school supplies. The foundation then donated another $11,000 -- $1,000 for each of the 11 sacks the Dolphins defensive end recorded last season.

“The entire Office Depot family congratulates Jason and his dance partner, Edyta Sliwinska, on their fantastic accomplishments,” Office Depot Foundation President Mary Wong (pictured with Taylor and Sliwinska) said in a statement. “We have been entertained by their dancing and inspired by their dedication in pursuit of their goals. With this contribution, we are delighted to assist the students at the Jason Taylor Reading Room with following their own dreams.”

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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May 20, 2008

NBA draft lottery good luck charms: Jay-Z? Dwyane Wade?

Rapper and music executive Jay-Z can add another title to his resume: NBA Draft Lottery good-luck charm.

At least that’s what the New Jersey Nets are hoping. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, a Nets investor, is representing the team onstage at tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery in Secaucus, N.J.

“This is very exciting and I hope my nickname, ‘Lucky Lefty,’ holds up,” Jay-Z said in a statement.

“He’s obviously one of the most recognizable figures in the world. To have him represent us at the lottery, we’re very excited about it,” Nets spokesman Barry Baum said. “We’re all about doing things differently to generate some buzz and excitement.”

Jay-Z’s presence along with guard Dwyane Wade, who will be there on behalf of the Heat, is somewhat new for the NBA. Owners have represented teams in the past, as have current players, but it’s more typical for front-office types — presidents, coaches and general managers — to do the honors.

The Sacramento Kings are sending the winner of their luckiest fan contest.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139)

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May 19, 2008

MLB Office-wear

rstie2.jpgWant to show pride for your favorite baseball team around the office? Major League Baseball has formed a partnership with vineyard vines for a line of men’s and women’s accessories, including ties, belts and sashes; swimwear; and sleepwear.

The partnership is the first with a pro sports league for vineyard vines, the preppy accessories and apparel company founded on Martha’s Vineyard a decade ago. The items, which will be produced with the logos of all 30 teams, are available at MLB Clubhouse shops, and and will be sold at other shops in the coming weeks. Vineyard vines also sells items online at and at eight free standing shops, including one at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), MLB (110)

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May 17, 2008

Marlins Stadium Update No. 70 million

spOBMarlins2.jpg Against the backdrop of the rubble that once was the Orange Bowl stadium, the Marlins made what they hope is viewed as their boldest statement of commitment to South Florida to date: the “official” signing of shortstop Hanley Ramirez to a long-term contract.

On a hot and dusty field across the street from the OB site in Little Havana -- the scoreboard is all that remains standing from the 70-year-old former home of the Dolphins and Hurricanes – the Marlins held a choreographed announcement Saturday that included politicians, Little Leaguers, Billy the Marlin and even members of the Manatees, the team’s burly men’s dance troupe.

Ramirez, who signed a six-year, $70 million contract, arrived on a bus and was greeted with cheers and the ding of a cowbell. Marlins officials said all the right things about making a commitment to the community because a new stadium “will” be built.

They insisted the out of character move was about signing a “special” player who will be part of the Miami Marlins – which will become the team’s new name when it moves to a new ballpark, the team hopes in 2011. They do not have any other long term contracts in the works at the moment, however.

They say it had nothing to do with appeasing some politicians who have been expressing reservations about the deal the city and county approved in February to fund a $515 million ballpark and $94 million parking garage. Final stadium documents need the approval by July 1 of two-thirds of Miami-Dade County Commissioners (nine if 13 members are present), rather than a simple majority.

“It has to do with signing a player we want to be here when we open the stadium and we will open a stadium here,” Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said emphatically. “It has nothing to do with smoothing anything. We don’t run our business based on politics, we run our business based on the baseball department and our baseball people thinking what they think and making recommendations.”

But it was abundantly clear the Ramirez deal would not have come without a ballpark deal in hand.

“I think the stadium obviously changes the equation,” Loria said. “Clearly, the city have voted yes, the county has voted yes. And the leaders have made their statements and with the stadium coming on now, it does change the future. Clearly.”

The pols who did show – Miami Mayor Manny Diaz; City Commissioner Angel Gonzalez; City Manager Pete Hernandez; County Commission Chairman Bruno Barreiro; Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina – are all supporters of the stadium.

“I think clearly this does show the ownership is investing in the future of this ballclub,” Diaz said. “This is as big an investment as I can remember in the years that they’ve been around. It’s a huge investment and it’s an investment premaced on the fact there’s a new stadium that’s going to be built here and that with those additional revenues they’re going to reinvest to get the kind of quality players that we need to bring another World Series trophy home.”

There’s plenty more work to be done to ensure a ballpark is actually built. A suit filed against the plan by luxury auto dealer Norman Braman, still looms. But team and city officials are optimistic about a November ground-breaking.

“I’m hoping the message, first of all, is we all know we’re here to stay with the stadium coming on board now,” Loria said. “But the message is we’re going to build this team to where I want to have it again. It’s a great bunch of players, and as I said a couple of times now, we’re going to evaluate this and the baseball people will bring me their recommendations and we’ll sit down with them.”

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Marlins Stadium Updates (112), Orange Bowl (45)

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May 15, 2008

Connecting with No. 99 -- Carl Edwards

The winner of Office Depot’s and Harlequin Enterprises' “Say Yes to a Winning Proposal” contest will have his or her marriage proposal unveiled Saturday at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race in Charlotte.

The question will go spinning around the track on the back of Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion. It’s just one of the many ways NASCAR sponsors are working to bring the regular fan as close as possible to the sport. The winner also gets a diamond ring and trip to Sedonar, Ariz.

Delray Beach-based Office Depot is collecting entries for its “Official Small Business of NASCAR” sweepstakes through June 22. That contest will allow a business with 99 or fewer employees to put its name on the back of Edwards’ car for one race – Sept. 28 in Kansas -- and in a less prominent spot for other races during the rest of the season. The company also gets a $10,000 business makeover and to use “Official Small Business of NASCAR” on stationery and business cards for a year.

The office products company has added a new component to the contest, now in its fourth year: the opportunity to increase your entries by asking friends and family to nominate your business online. The company launched “Connect with Carl,” which allows you to send recorded messages from Edwards asking to nominate your business, enter the sweepstakes or just visit the company’s racing Web site. The messages can be customized with your name and a variety of descriptions of the recipients – the technology isn’t new, but somehow it’s always entertaining.

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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May 14, 2008

Sports and Indiana Jones

Promotion for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is everywhere – even Major League Baseball team schedules and at

Indiana Jones is sponsoring the "Dunk of the Night" on and the first Indiana Jones movie in 19 years is helping advertise the NBA’s Conference Finals.

Check out your favorite Major League Baseball team’s schedule online and you’ll find Harrison Ford’s photo in the box for May 22 – opening day for the movie. There’s even an online MLB sweepstakes tied to the movie that includes tickets to see your favorite MLB “living legend” and tickets to the film.

MLB stirred up controversy in 2004 when it teamed with Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios to promote Spider-Man 2 at ballparks across the country, including putting spider webs on the bases. The web-covered bases were scrapped after the outcry.

So are you offended by Indiana Jones teaming with your sports and appearing in the MLB schedule?

POSTED IN: MLB (110), NBA (139), Promotions (120)

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May 13, 2008

Ads on WNBA uniforms

We’re used to ads on soccer jerseys, but are we ready for them in our other sports? The WNBA and McDonald’s announced a partnership today that has the fast food giant sponsoring Tip-Off of the league’s 12th season, which starts Saturday, including having its logo appear on the front of player jerseys.

This marks the first time corporate logos - other than uniform manufacturers - will appear on WNBA, NBA or D-League uniforms during the regular season.

The Golden Arches logo will appear on player uniforms during each of the 14 teams' home openers. McDonald’s is using the partnership to promote its new Southern Style Chicken Biscuit and Sandwich.

Here’s how WNBA President Donna Orender describes the partnership in a league statement:
“In using WNBA jerseys as a unique marketing tool to support McDonald’s product launch, the WNBA and its players will display, en force, the dynamic integration capabilities we bring to a partnership.”

Regardless of whether partnering with the women’s basketball league will help spur sales of the new chicken sandwich, corporate logos on uniforms seem inevitable. The Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s wore sponsor logos on their jerseys and helmets during the two games that opened the 2008 MLB season in Japan. And NBA Commissioner David Stern didn’t rule out NBA players wearing sponsor logos during exhibition games in Europe this fall.

Does the idea of corporate logos on uniforms bother you?


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May 12, 2008

Big Papi and Big Poppy

Couldn’t resist this minor league giveaway: The Lancaster JetHawks, a Boston Red Sox affiliate, gave out “Big Poppy” bobblehead dolls on Saturday. That’s right, the doll looks like David “Big Papi” Ortiz, but has a big orange “poppy” flower for a face.

The poppy is the California state flower. It blooms in the Lancaster area in the spring, and if the weather conditions are just right, the brown desert hills burst with color and look like they’re on fire. I know, I used to cover the city of Lancaster for the LA Daily News, long before the city had a minor league baseball team.

POSTED IN: Minor League (6), Promotions (120)

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Dunkin’ Donuts helps the Heat celebrate the draft lottery

Dunkin’ Donuts is continuing to push its iced coffee and its partnership with the Heat. Customers who purchase an iced coffee at participating Broward or Miami-Dade stores through May 20 will receive a coupon for a free limited edition 1988 inaugural season Heat draft cap.

You need to attend the Heat’s Draft Lottery party at AmericanAirlines Arena, 6-9 p.m. May 20 – where the team will learn when it will pick in this year’s draft (somewhere between first and fourth) -- to cash in the hat coupon. But you’ll also get gift cards for Dunkin’ Donuts purchases and a chance to attend a meet and greet with the Heat’s 2008 draft pick on June 27.

To kick off the promotion, which begins today, the Heat dancers, Burnie and others will stop by the Dunkin’ Donuts at 3280 Davie Blvd., Fort Lauderdale from 3-5 p.m. today. And Dunkin’ Donuts will host its second annual “Free Iced Coffee Day” from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday. Stop by AmericanAirlines Arena between noon and 4 p.m. on Wednesday for free samples, as well.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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May 9, 2008

Marlins Stadium Update No. 70,108

Just in case you somehow thought there would be no more roadblocks to construction of a proposed $515 million ballpark for the Marlins at the site of the Orange Bowl, luxury auto dealer Norman Braman’s lawsuit is still alive and kicking.

Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Pedro Echarte Jr. dismissed on Thursday the claims that Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess negotiated the ballpark deal in private in violation of the state's public records laws. But he let stand claims questioning the constitutionality of the financing and whether the ballpark “serves a paramount public purpose.”

The split decision allowed representatives of both the county and Braman to claim partial victory, but the key here is the case is scheduled to go to trial on July 1.

Attorneys for the county, who were pleased the judge dismissed the Sunshine law complaints, argued that having to negotiate a stadium deal - and similar agreements - in public would bring government to a standstill. They also argued that they followed the law – holding a public hearing - when choosing to move a $50 million general obligation bond voters approved in 2004 to renovate the Orange Bowl to the ballpark project. They also said the ballpark does serve a public purpose.

Braman’s attorneys argued that using public dollars for a private enterprise violates the state’s constitution.

Echarte agreed to let the bond issue and public purpose claims go to trial. His decision does not mean Braman will prevail, but his attorneys were pleased the case will go to trial.

“The Marlins are getting a business operation delivered to them on a silver platter for business purproses,” said Bob Martinez, an attorney for Braman. “[We’re] alleging violation of the constitution in the expenditure of approximately a half billion dollars for the benefit of a private party … I think the people are entitled to have that matter fleshed out and publicly in court.”

POSTED IN: Marlins Stadium Updates (112)

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May 1, 2008

Panthers call season ticket holders

Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun and defenseman Mike Van Ryn are busy on the phone this week. They’re calling season ticket holders who have yet to renew for next season.

Goalie Craig Anderson and center Stephen Weiss did the honors last week, along with team executives and broadcasters.

It’s not unusual for teams to enlist players to help sell tickets. Last month, injured Heat players made calls to sell season tickets during halftime of a game. In February, University of Miami baseball players called season ticket holders to thank them for their support and also encouraged those who hadn’t yet renewed to come back.

Obviously, the teams hope a chat with a player will convince reluctant season ticket holders to renew. The Panthers provided this testimonial:

“I was very surprised when Stephen Weiss called me last week regarding my renewal,” Pompano Beach resident Dennis Purcell said in a statement released by the team. “Stephen provided me with great insight for next season and answered the questions that I had. It was very nice that he took some time out of his day to make the call and it proved to me that the organization was headed in the right direction, so I decided to renew on the spot.”

Have any of you gotten calls like this from the teams? Did you renew?

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), Tickets (126)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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