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August 30, 2008

What’s in a name?

With college football season underway, so is Fort Lauderdale-based CBSSports.com’s college fantasy football game, which comes with a new option this year: the opportunity to draft players by name, rather than position.

Instead of picking Florida QB, you can actually draft Tim Tebow.

The move has already ruffled those looking to ensure college athletics maintain the amateur label and meant more players of the game.

The NCAA’s bylaws are aimed at preventing the commercial use of players’ likenesses –their names and images – to protect their athletic eligibility.

CBSSports.com has interpreted a court ruling earlier this year that baseball players' names and statistics are in the public domain to also apply to college athletes. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled a fantasy company’s use of baseball players’ names and stats was a right of publicity, but was outweighed by the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

“As the leader in the fantasy sports business, we’re constantly looking for ways to distinguish our service from the competition,” CBSSports.com General Manager Jason Kint said in a statement, adding that he expected the change to increase the game's popularity.

And that’s troubling the NCAA and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. CBSSports.com doesn’t charge for the college game or award prizes, but does sell advertising to support the game. If players’ names make the game more popular, no doubt other fantasy providers will add names.

Will that lead to expansion of college athletes’ names in other merchandise? Will video game manufacturers add in players’ names and likenesses, rather than just Tebow's No. 15? Will jerseys be sold with players' names already on them?

The NCAA, which CBS is paying $6 billion for 11 years to broadcast the Final Four, says it must comply with the court ruling, but board members don’t want to see further erosion of the amateur bylaws.

“We’re monitoring it carefully,” NCAA President Myles Brand said in a conference call this month. “We do know there will be further activity in the fantasy league area. We think what has occurred has been a modest change from the current situation, but one of which we’re greatly concerned and we will look to see what our options are in the future, if there are further developments in the future.”

Rick Karcher, associate professor of law and director of the Center for Law and Sports at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, thinks the NCAA needs to take a firmer approach.

“It’s hard to draw a logical line between the use of names in fantasy leagues and the use of names in video games ... It’s a slippery slope. They’re all commercial uses whether you’re talking about jerseys or trading cards," Karcher said.

“I don’t have a problem with the concept of amateurism. I’m not of the view they need to be compensated or paid, I understand amateurs and I get it, but this is different,” Karcher said. “When you’re talking about a third party outside of the NCAA and its member schools profiting off the athletes, to me it’s the NCAA’s job, if their mission is amateurism, it’s their job to prevent it as much as possible.”

Steve Peretz, an intellectual property lawyer in Miami, disagrees, saying the fantasy decision is isolated.

“The difference in the fantasy league is the player’s name is not being used to endorse a product. It’s being used as part of a gaming activity. It’s not being used to endorse Nike. It’s being used for this derivative purpose," Peretz said. “I don’t see this ruling as changing those sorts of merchandising rights. This decision is not allocating who has a proprietary right. It’s in the public domain … it would diminish proprietary rights, not expand it.”

POSTED IN: Fantasy Sports (6), NCAA (38)

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August 28, 2008

Marlins Stadium Update No. B7

Apologies for the lack of news on the stadium front, but, well… it’s been fairly quiet.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen was re-elected Tuesday, but no word yet on when she intends to rule on the two remaining counts in auto dealer Norman Braman’s lawsuit targeting the financing for $3 billion in Miami projects, including the $515 million ballpark.

As you may recall when the trial wrapped up last month, Cohen promised to rule on whether the ballpark serves a “paramount public purpose” – meaning public dollars can be used to build it -- within 10 days of receiving additional information. That deadline came and went. Cohen was out of the office and campaigning for parts of August.

With her re-election wrapped up, she could rule anytime, but some speculate she may wait to rule at the same time on both the public purpose count and the count on whether a portion of the $3 billion in financing must go to a public vote. Cohen has been waiting for a ruling from the Florida Supreme Court in two similar cases before making her decision on the referendum count.

She wrote to Florida’s high court earlier this month asking when it might rule on the two cases. An Aug. 21 response from Clerk of the Court, Thomas D. Hall, was no more enlightening. Hall’s letter reads in part: “please be advised that the above styled cases are still pending before this Court and therefore the information you request cannot be released.”

Cohen did set her own Sept. 15 deadline to rule on the referendum count, hoping the Florida Supreme Court will rule by then.

Meanwhile the makeup of the court is changing. Gov. Charlie Crist named 2nd District Court of Appeal Judge Charles Canady to fill a vacancy that will be left by Justice Raoul Cantero, who resigned effective Sept. 6. Crist will also need to fill a second vacancy that will occur in October. As a result, it’s unclear if the court will rule on the two cases before its membership changes and how a shift in makeup might affect the rulings.

The public purpose count is more important to the Marlins, Miami and Miami-Dade County because it could impair the whole financing plan if Cohen rules the stadium should not receive public financing. If Cohen rules a referendum is required for some of the financing, the team, city and county do not believe the vote would include the stadium because it does not rely on property taxes. Braman and his lawyers disagree.

The Marlins have been hoping to break ground for a ballpark at the site of the former Orange Bowl by year's end in order to open by 2011 -- a date that is becoming increasingly unlikely.

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

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August 27, 2008

Wade renews with McDavid

Olympic gold medalist and Heat guard Dwyane Wade has renewed his endorsement deal with McDavid Inc., Illinois-based maker of HexPad protective apparel Wade routinely wears.

After a three-year deal signed in 2005 expired, Wade has signed on to promote the company for another two years, the firm announced this week. Financial terms were not disclosed.

You’ve regularly seen him wear the company’s Hex Power Shooter Arm Sleeve, among other items.

”Dwyane is the perfect example of how McDavid can help athletes stay in the game,” McDavid Vice President Terry Fee said in a statement. “He was among the first in the NBA to make HexPad an everyday piece of equipment. After rehabbing from a string of injuries Dwyane felt secure enough wearing HexPad to not only get back on the court but perform at the highest level.”

The company partners with a number of other athletes including Arizona Cardinals and former Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James and Golden State Warriors forward Corey Maggette, as well as international soccer, basketball and volleyball players.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Endorsements (20), Miami Heat (174)

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August 26, 2008

NFL partners with Ticketmaster for ticket resales

The Dolphins already offer Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange service, which allows fans to post tickets they can’t use for sale on the team’s Web site. Now the NFL has partnered with Ticketmaster to offer the service league-wide across its 32 teams.

That means fans can go to NFL.com to post or find tickets for sale for any team or can continue going directly to their team’s Web site, if their team offers the service. So far, some 22 teams have individual agreements with TicketExchange, a Ticketmaster spokesman said.

The Heat and Panthers also use TicketExchange. Teams and leagues are supporting the service in the hope it will encourage more fans to buy season tickets if they know they have a secure method for recouping some of their costs.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Tickets (126)

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August 25, 2008

All Florida sports, all the time

Seeking a way to follow all of Florida’s pro and college sports teams without having to search dozens of Web sites each day, veteran public relations executive and former newspaper reporter Ron Sachs has created a one-stop shop for the state’s sports fans.

Just in time for football season, FLSportsFan.com, which launched today, aggregates sports news from across the state, linking to the sports pages of newspapers, including the Sun Sentinel; sports columnists; blogs; and television sites. It includes sections for football, baseball, basketball and hockey, college sports, golf, tennis and NASCAR.

“I love sports, like millions of other Floridians, and I have found in recent years, while I’m a Miami Dolphins fan, because I was born and raised in Miami, I also like to follow the exploits of the Jaguars and the Bucs,” Sachs said. “I like the University of Florida, of which I’m a graduate, but I also follow Miami and I live in Tallahassee, so I like to follow Florida State.”

Sachs said he’s also found himself following the state’s other increasingly successful college football teams, including those at USF and FAU. And with Florida’s two baseball teams, the Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, both in playoff races, Sachs believes Florida baseball fans are most likely watching both teams.

“If you love sports, it’s difficult to find enough of it just in one site,” Sachs said. “We decided to feed that hunger on the biggest platform, a very simple, but big platform, for all the teams in Florida.”

Sachs credits Justin Sayfie, founder of the Sayfie Review, for the inspiration. Sayfie Review aggregates political stories from around Florida.

For now, FLSportsFan.com’s only original content is the Sports Addict Blog, being written by former Miami Herald Tallahassee writer Gary Fineout. But Sachs has plans for other features, including a weekly video component for sports arguments something like ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.

The site is supported by a small amount of advertising. Sachs said he expects to be able to attract more advertising, but “I don’t think anybody’s going to get rich off it … I think it’s going to have a very loyal readership … I’m excited about it, because I do believe we are helping sports fans, giving them options.”

POSTED IN: None

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Watching the U this week

The University of Miami Hurricanes will begin a new era Thursday when they open their first season at Dolphin Stadium against Charleston Southern. But unless you have a ticket, your only option for viewing the game will be on ESPN360.com. And that’s only if your Internet Service Provider carries the broadband sports network.

The broadband network, which has operated at ESPN360.com for about a year, but has actually been around in some form since 2002, is streaming more than 300 college football games this year, some of them – like Thursday’s UM game – exclusively. The college games are just a small portion of the more than 3,000 events a year the service is broadcasting. It’s just another way ESPN is seeking to broaden the broadcast offerings for sports fans.

“ESPN’s mission is to serve sports fans, whenever and wherever they are,” said Damon Phillips, vice president of ESPN360.com. “ESPN360.com is a critical part of the strategy. We want sports fans to be able to access sports at home on ESPN, ESPN2, in the car on ESPN Radio, at a party, they can access ESPN mobile or at work or at home on ESPN360.com.”

ESPN360.com chooses its college games after the networks make their selections.

“When we saw the University of Miami game was still available, we thought it would be an amazing opportunity to take such a storied program,” Phillips said. “It’s Coach [Randy] Shannon’s second season, one of the first times in a long time Miami is not nationally ranked.”

UM has been on ESPN360 exclusively in the past, including the games against North Carolina State last year and Duke in 2006.

The broadband network is available for free to users with high-speed Internet connections through providers including AT&T and Verizon. Log in and the site will tell you whether your provider carries the network. It’s available in about 24 million homes across the country and to more than 18 million users on college campuses and military bases. The net’s goal is to be available to all 60 million to 65 million broadband users.

ESPN360.com has a range of offerings including major U.S. sports properties such as the NBA, NASCAR, college football and basketball; international sports including soccer, Euroleague basketball, and cricket; and other niche sports including open wheel racing, international raquetball and polo from Argentina. It also archives the games.

The other college games being broadcast Thursday are Jacksonville State v. Georgia Tech (exclusively); North Carolina State v. South Carolina (also on ESPN); and Oregon State v. Stanford (also on ESPN2).

POSTED IN: Miami Hurricanes (32)

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August 24, 2008

Long shot for Olympics host site

With the Beijing Olympics wrapping up, I couldn’t resist sharing this New York Times story about the mayor of Birmingham, Ala., pitching his city as host site for the 2020 Summer Games. Mayor Larry P. Langford has even proposed a $500 million domed stadium. Sound familiar?

As you can imagine, with the city’s many needs and issues, such as a rising murder rate, reaction has been laughable, at best. But you have to credit the mayor: according to the story, he’s had T-shirts and tote bags made bearing the slogan “Olympics 2020: Why Not Birmingham?”

POSTED IN: None

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August 20, 2008

Ronnie Brown pitching while he’s rehabbing

Just a month after he was selected second overall by the Dolphins in the 2005 NFL draft, running back Ronnie Brown signed a deal to be a national spokesman for EAS Inc., a Colorado-baesd national supplement maker. The deal was newsworthy not just because Brown was a rookie, but because EAS was the first product to be approved under the NFL and its Players Association’s supplement-certification program.

The program was started to ensure players could find supplements free of the more than 70 items on the league’s banned substances list that includes everything from steroids to growth hormones to masking agents. The program allows manufacturers to apply for approval to state their products contain no banned ingredients.

Brown is among a group of athletes endorsing EAS, called Team EAS, that includes Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn and Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.

The company has taken a unique approach to telling its story, featuring Brown’s post-knee surgery workout in a video. He’s wearing an EAS logo on his shirt and he does talk about the benefits of EAS and which products he uses, but it’s woven into the piece that mainly focuses on his workout routine.

No word yet on a followup to watch Brown rehab his injured thumb.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Endorsements (20), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178)

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August 19, 2008

Billy, Sebastian and more

Hot-Tub-Billy2.jpgThe fourth class of nominees for the Mascot Hall of Fame includes Billy the Marlin among five pro candidates and Sebastian the Ibis among six collegiate candidates.

Who knew the Mascot Hall of Fame was already in its fourth year? The members include such storied pro sports team characters as the Phillie Phanatic, San Diego’s Famous Chicken, Mr. Met, and college characters Brutus Buckeye and Bucky the Badger. The University of Nebraska’s Lil Red became the Hall’s first inflatable inductee.

The public plays a small, but crucial role in the voting. The public's votes cast online are an important measure of which mascots are installed each year, according to Christopher Bruce, vice chairman of the Hall’s executive committee.

“It’s used as a gauge of support these characters have in their communities,” Bruce said of the public vote, which only accounts for about 5 percent of the overall vote.

The majority of the voting is based on the ballots by the executive committee and nominees must receive at least 75 percent of that vote. That means it won’t be clear how many mascots will be inducted this year, until the votes are cast.

The Hurricanes’ Sebastian actually was passed over last year, but he had enough support to be returned to the ballot this year, Bruce said.

You can see why some of us think Billy the Marlin deserves a shot at the Hall in our Two-Minute Drill in the Sun Sentinel's sports section today, including that he overcame adversity when he lost his head on Opening Day in 1997. Online voting runs through Sept. 12 here.

This year’s nominees hold a special place in the heart of Miami resident John Routh, for he has been the embodiment of three of them: the University of South Carolina’s Cocky, Sebastian and he was the original Billy the Marlin.

“It makes me feel good,” said Routh, who serves on the hall’s executive committee. “It’s kind of weird to go back to South Carolina and people still remember me and say ‘You’re Cocky’.”

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Mascots (16), Miami Hurricanes (32)

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August 18, 2008

Selling tickets in this economy … and with these records

Even sports teams are recognizing fans don’t have the disposable income they once had to spend on tickets to ballgames. In today’s story, I explored some of the creative ticket packages, discounts, and bundling of food and gas cards with tickets that our local teams and Homestead-Miami Speedway are offering this summer.

I’m wondering, are these options enticing to you? Have you given up season tickets to any of our teams because you can no longer afford them or can’t deal with the losing or both? Are you taking advantage of any of these promotions? Let me know.

POSTED IN: Tickets (126)

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August 15, 2008

Insects and Olympians

TrulyNolen-logo-color2.jpgNo question this one’s a stretch (pun intended), but how could I pass up an opportunity to connect pest control with the Olympics?

Thankfully, Barry Murray -- as in “Barry The Bug Guy,” national spokesman for pest control company, Truly Nolen, –- already did. In his blog, Barry lobbies for a Bug Olympics, given insects’ remarkable abilities, which he compares to those of Olympians. Fleas are outstanding jumpers and Cicadas, Barry says, are “the world champions of noise making.”

Barry’s even found a way to link bugs to swimmer Michael Phelps, who has already won six gold medals in his quest for eight in Beijing. Barry went in search of a golden insect and found Edgar Allan Poe’s story, The Gold Bug. I’ll go one step further and bring this full circle: Phelps is from Baltimore, which is where Poe lived and is buried.


POSTED IN: Advertising (79)

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August 14, 2008

Phelps golden for his sponsors

Michael Phelps’ dominance in the swimming pool and five gold medals on his quest for eight in Beijing have boosted exposure for his sponsors to the tune of $9 million.

That’s what Joyce Julius & Associates, a Michigan firm that measures sponsor value, figures adidas, Nike, Speedo and Visa have picked up in primetime broadcast exposure on NBC.

Logos for those companies on Phelps’ apparel have garnered six minutes of on-screen time during NBC’s broadcasts. Joyce Julius measures on-screen exposure by the cost of advertising during the broadcasts.

The Nike logo on the warm-up jacket Phelps has worn during the medal ceremonies has a gotten three minutes and 33 seconds of airtime, which Joyce Julius believes is worth $5.3 million. Another $3.6 million in media exposure comes from Speedo logos on his warm-up jacket, swim cap and bodysuit.

Meanwhile, Phelps has an impressive diet, too. Read about the 12,000 calories he consumes daily, according to this piece at Yahoo! Sports.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Apparel (55), Sponsorship (101)

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August 13, 2008

Kobe’s jersey still tops in China

Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant still has the top-selling NBA jersey in China based on sales at retail stores in China during the 2007-08 season, according to the NBA. Bryant’s jersey was the top seller in 2006-07, too.

Meanwhile, Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s jersey has dropped from 4th most popular in 2006-07 to 8th this past season. Kevin Garnett, of the 2008 NBA Champion Boston Celtics, has the most popular jersey in the U.S. and second most popular in China.

Of the 10 top-selling jerseys in China, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets have fallen off the list between 2006-07 and 2007-08, replaced by Paul Pierce of the Celtics and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.

The league opened its first two NBA stores outside the U.S. in Beijing in July. Sales at the stores have exceeded projections by almost 70 percent already and 1,000 people were lined up outside for the grand opening of one of the stores.

Here’s the list of top 10 best-selling NBA jerseys in China compared with 2006-07:

2007-08 Top Selling Jerseys in China
1) Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2) Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
3) Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets
4) Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
5) Allen Iverson, Denver Nuggets
6) Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
7) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
8) Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
9) Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
10) Yao Ming, Houston Rockets

2006-07 Top Selling Jerseys in China
1) Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2) Allen Iverson, Denver Nuggets
3) Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets
4) Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
5) LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
6) Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
7) Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves
8) Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
9) Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
10) Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139)

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August 11, 2008

Everything Favre

Brett Favre’s jersey is so popular it occupies the top two spots in the list of the NFL’s top-selling jerseys at NFLShop.com. That’s right: his brand new New York Jets jersey ranks No. 1 among jerseys sold between April 1 and today and his Green Bay Packers jersey ranks No. 2.

The NFL’s online store sold 6,500 Favre jerseys on Thursday – that’s a one-day record for a single player’s jersey. Between Thursday and Sunday, the total number of Favre Jets jerseys sold reached 12,000 – another record for a four-day period, according to the NFL. Check out the variety of Favre items for sale.

Meanwhile, Madden NFL 09 will be released Tuesday with Favre in his Packers jersey on the cover. The photo was planned even as Favre was “in retirement” as a way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the popular Madden game.

“We wanted to pick someone to show what Madden was about,” said Katherine Coulthart, EA Sports senior publicist. “For us, it was a no brainer."

But since it’s a unique situation, EA is also providing a unique opportunity for Madden NFL 09 buyers to print out a free cover of Favre in his Jets uniform that can be inserted into the game’s case. No predictions on how many of the new games will be sold, but the Madden game has sold 70 million copies in its 20 years.

Donruss also announced last week that it is rushing a Favre trading card – in which he’s holding his No. 4 Jets jersey -- into its Playoff Absolute Memorabilia packages scheduled to be in retail stores the first week of September. f_08fbPA_Favre2.jpg

And the Dolphins, who host the New York Jets at Dolphin Stadium on Sept. 7, are expecting a sellout. It’s the home opener and the Jets, but the prospect of seeing Favre - and former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington face his old team - might have helped drive individual ticket sales up about 20 percent from last year, when they went on sale Saturday.

Interested in the top 25 selling jerseys at NFLShop.com between April 1 and today? Here’s the list:


1 Brett Favre, New York Jets
2 Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers
3 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
4 Tom Brady, New England Patriots
5 Eli Manning, New York Giants
6 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
7 Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
8 LaDainian Tomlinson, S.D. Chargers
9 Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys
10 Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders
11 Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
12 Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
13 Devin Hester, Chicago Bears
14 Randy Moss, New England Patriots
15 Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
16 Michael Strahan, New York Giants
17 Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles
18 Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys
19 Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants
20 Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
21 DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
22 Reggie Bush, New Orleans Saints
23 Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
24 Jay Cutler, Denver Broncos
25 JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sponsorship (101), Tickets (126)

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August 9, 2008

Sharp signs Hanley Ramirez

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez continues to be in good company. He’s joining a dozen other MLB stars in endorsing Sharp Electronics – Sharp Aquos is MLB’s “official High Definition television” – the company announced Friday.

Ramirez will make appearances and do promotions on behalf of Sharp at local retailers and events. He joins a roster of Sharp endorsers that includes David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox; Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain of the New York Yankees; Matt Holliday of the Colorado Rockies; and Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers.

In honor of the new deal, Ramirez is scheduled to appear at the Brandsmart in North Miami, 4320 NW 167th Ave., from noon to 1 p.m., next Friday, Aug. 15.

Sharp, which signed a deal with MLB Properties last year, sponsors the National and American League players of the month and Hank Aaron awards. The company also has a sweepstakes running for a trip to the World Series and HD TVs.

POSTED IN: Endorsements (20), Florida Marlins (193), Sponsorship (101)

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August 8, 2008

Shaq’s real estate venture

Two years ago, when he was still playing for the Heat, Shaquille O’Neal formed a real estate venture aimed at developing “lifestyle” redevelopment projects in cities nationwide. The O’Neal Group launched with its first project being a partnership with the developer of Metropolitan Miami, a downtown Miami complex of condos, a hotel, office and entertainment space.

This week, O’Neal, now center for the Phoenix Suns, announced a new project, this one in in downtown Newark, N.J., near where O’Neal grew up. According to a story in the Newark Star-Ledger, Boraie O’Neal Urban Development is planning a $90 million, 25-story condo tower. Read the story here.


POSTED IN: NBA (139)

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August 7, 2008

Marino not dancing, but still pitching

So Dan Marino won’t be appearing on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” but he’s still pitching products.

When I called yesterday to check on the rumors that swirled about Marino’s two-step, the Hall of Fame Dolphins quarterback was in Miami finishing up the filming on a television commercial for Fort Lauderdale-based United Steel. You’ve probably heard the radio ads or seen the print ones Marino has done for the company that bills itself as metal and steel building experts. Now the company is adding a TV spot.

Check out Marino’s endorsement for the company here.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Endorsements (20), Miami Dolphins (186)

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August 6, 2008

Marlins Stadium Update No. 10 days

Not much of an update, but since people have been asking when Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen will rule on whether a ballpark for the Marlins serves a “paramount public purpose” – meaning that is justifies spending public dollars – you might want to know the schedule has changed a tad.

At the end of the trial in the lawsuit filed by auto dealer Norman Braman against the plan to finance $3 billion in Miami projects, including a Marlins ballpark, Cohen asked the attorneys for Braman, the Marlins, Miami-Dade County and city of Miami to provide her with additional information. She extended the deadline for that information until last Friday.

She has promised to rule within 10 days of receiving the information, but some are suggesting she might need longer. Regardless, she isn’t likely to rule before next week -- at the earliest.

In the meantime, my colleague, Juan Ortega, wrote this piece about the Lauderdale Lakes Community Redevelopment Agency working to avoid a Florida Supreme Court decision that has Cohen delaying her decision on whether a referendum is needed for some of the financing of the $3 billion in projects. The Lauderdale Lakes CRA has sought another type of financing to avoid a public vote. Cohen, meanwhile, is waiting on a decision in the re-hearing of the Supreme Court case, but the court is on recess until later this month.

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

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August 4, 2008

Manny Being Merlot

Two of the biggest trades in baseball last week have created a little dilemma for Charity Wines. That’s the Massachusetts company that launched a line of wines in honor of athletes to raise money for their favorite charities. A portion of the sale of each bottle of wine goes to the charity.

The concept actually started with three Boston Red Sox players -- Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield. But with Ramirez moving to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, the labels on his “Manny Being Merlot” aren’t going to change. They don’t say Red Sox, but they do reflect the team’s colors.

“The bottles are already printed and in retail, so the labels cannot be changed,” Brett Rudy, co-founder and director of marketing for Charity Hop Sports Consulting, said in an email.

Charity Hop is a Boston company that assists sports and charity organizations with fundraising.

“We have a similar challenge with Ken Griffey Jr's wine now that he was traded from Cincinnati to Chicago,” Rudy wrote. “Players get traded all the time and it doesnt hurt the baseball card industry, so perhaps it won't hurt the wine biz either.”

Proceeds from Ramirez’s wine benefits Miami-based CHARLEE Homes for Children, which provides support services for abused, abandoned and neglected children. Proceeds from Ken Griffey Jr.’s “Junior Cabernet Sauvignon” go to Griffey’s foundation, which supports a variety of children’s causes.

Rudy said the company’s licensing agreement with the MLB Players Association does not cover producing wines for Ramirez and Griffey in their new cities.

You can still place online orders at charitywines.com.

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

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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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