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October 31, 2008

Heat flame out?

You’ll no longer be able to feel the Heat.

The giant flames that shoot from the court at AmericanAirlines Arena during the Heat’s pre-game player introductions are no more.

That’s thanks to pyrotechnics mishaps during last season’s playoffs, including the 22-minute game delay when a New Orleans Hornets’ mascot jumped through a ring of fire and extinguishers used to douse the flames left a mess on the court. Smoke from pregame fireworks in Boston and Cleveland were also deemed a health hazard to players.

At the time, NBA Commissioner David Stern called the displays “ridiculous.” New league guidelines limit fire effects of any kind to pre-game player introductions and halftime. They also cannot be set off from the playing court and must be kept at least 15 feet from the audience, players, coaches and game officials.

But the Heat, whose logo features a flaming basketball, has a replacement planned. Look for it at tonight’s home opener.

“Our overall player introduction sequence will certainly compensate for the lack of flames,” said Michael McCullough, Heat executive vice president. “Fans will certainly not be disappointed.”

POSTED IN: Mascots (16), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139)

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October 30, 2008

Heat responds to the economy with $5 tickets

Last season, the Heat sold $10 season tickets in the 400 level at AmericanAirlines Arena. This season, $10 will get you a 300 level seat and for $5 you can sit in the 400 level.

Responding to the difficult economy, the Heat is also offering a concession special at its 11 Monday night games: 16-ounce sodas and a box of popcorn for $1 each. The team is billing the promotion as “Monday Night Madness” and points out that for $7, you can get a game ticket in the 400 level, a soda and snack.

Other promotions this season include a "Guys Night Out," which features a game ticket, promotional size beer or soft drink, regular size hot dog and a half-time meet and greet with the Heat Dancers. Those specials are limited to certain nights.

“We’re all feeling the pinch and coping with the stress of living through tough economic times,” Eric Woolworth, Heat president of business operations, said in a statement. “We thought this was a great way to give all fans an opportunity to see a Heat game and grab a snack for less than the cost of going to the movies.”

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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October 27, 2008

Huizenga, Obama and taxes

Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga’s concern that Barack Obama will raise capital-gains taxes if he’s elected president, has created a little stir.

As Huizenga explained briefly before Sunday’s Dolphins victory over the Buffalo Bills at Dolphin Stadium, the presidential election is one of the issues weighing on his mind as he ponders when to sell up to 45 percent more of the Dolphins to Stephen Ross. Huizenga said Obama wants to “double” or “almost double” capital-gains taxes, which could mean an extra hefty bill.

The Obama campaign, however, says their candidate’s plan raises the capital-gains tax maximum from 15 percent to 20 percent – a 33 percent increase -- and that’s only for the top earners – families who earn more than $250,000 or individuals earning more than $200,000. For more on Obama's plan and whether it can happen, read Harriet Johnson Brackey’s It’s Your Money blog.

Regardless of the actual increase, there’s no question Obama plans to raise taxes for the nation’s wealthiest citizens – and yes, Huizenga would be among them. Ross bought 50 percent of the Dolphins, Dolphin Stadium and the surrounding land earlier this year for $550 million. This month, NFL owners approved allowing the eventual transfer of up to 45 percent more of the team to Ross, which means it could take place anytime.

Huizenga said he plans to keep a 5 percent stake in the team. He said he’ll be talking with Ross about the transfer.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “No decision made.”

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

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D Wade’s new kicks: the Wade 4


A running theme in Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s life as a basketball player has been disproving his critics. That sentiment comes up again and again in the Heat’s “Something to Prove” television and radio advertising campaign for the 2008-09 season.

Now you’ll see it in an ad for Wade’s new Converse shoe, the Wade 4, that begins airing on Tuesday in conjunction with the $90 shoe’s release. The tagline for the ad is “Wade’s belief is stronger than your doubt.”

In addition, the Wade 4 is all about Wade stepping up his game in the fourth quarter – the last 12 minutes of the game. That’s why there are 12 red chevron stripes on the sole of the shoe. Other details, include the his sons' names -- Zion and Zaire -- on the tongue of each shoe and the date 6/20 on one lace and 2006 on the other to remind him of his MVP performance in the Heat’s 2006 NBA championship.

Watch the ad here:

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), Shoes (15)

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October 24, 2008

Test drive a Panthers game?

Never been to a Panthers game? Now’s your chance to go … for free.

The Panthers have launched a First Timer program, in which people who have never attended a Panthers game can sign up for a free pair of tickets to certain upcoming games with a Florida driver's license. (There is also a sign up option if you don’t have a license). Sign up at the Panthers Web site.

Team officials are convinced that once you attend a Panthers game, you’ll want to come back.

“We’re giving people an opportunity to test our product, to enjoy a night of hockey on us,” Panthers President Michael Yormark said. “Hopefully they have a wonderful experience, hopefully they’ll see the value of coming to a Florida Panthers game. It’s the greatest game live and if they walk away saying 'this is the greatest game live,' we think we’ve potentially hooked a new fan.”

But be prepared for a sales pitch. After all, this isn’t just about filling seats and selling hot dogs and beer. It’s also about capturing the data of potential season ticket buyers.

“Our sales people follow up with all the attendees within 24 hours,” Yormark said.

Sales representatives will ask if the first timers enjoyed the game, plan to come back and whether they want to invest in a six- or even a three-game pack that’s to be introduced in the coming weeks.

There are typically 500 tickets available per game – two per individual – but tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks and Thursday’s against the Ottawa Senators are considered “family nights” so as many as five tickets per individual are available.

Already more than 1,000 people have signed up for a number of games this month and next and Yormark said the team saw spending per individual on concessions increase by $1.50 on Opening Night compared to the team’s 2007 opener.

“It’s about building our fan base one at a time. These people, for the most part, have never been to a Florida Panthers game before,” Yormark said. “It’s a great way to expose people, to collect data, get their feedback and hopefully turn them into fans.”

Have you taken advantage of this promotion? Do you plan to?

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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October 23, 2008

Where D Wade happens

With his gold medal performance at the Beijing Olympics, renewed health and drive to make the Heat competitive again, Dwyane Wade made for a compelling player to feature in the NBA’s “Where Amazing Happens” ad campaign.

His personal journey to the NBA, to the Heat’s 2006 NBA championship and beyond are documented through photos – which he selected – in one of a new series of ads in the campaign that will air during the NBA season tip off on ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. You can watch the spot here.

The campaign, which launched last year, became so popular that NBA fans began making their own versions – including humorous ones – and posting them on YouTube.

This year, the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard will also be featured in their own personal journey versions of the ad. Other ads in the campaign will be multi-player spots that include Chris Paul, Chris Bosh, Tayshaun Prince, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash and Paul Pierce, among others.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139)

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October 22, 2008

More World Series tacos?

Last year, Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury made sure Americans got a free lunch (taco) from Taco Bell when he stole second base during Game 2 of the 2007 World Series.

Taco Bell, which isn’t releasing the number of free tacos it dispensed last year other than to say it was in the “millions,” plans to serve up free tacos again this year. The quick service restaurant hopes the offer of a free Crunchy Season Beef Taco will help brighten these difficult times for consumers. After all, the company says there’s been a stolen base in every Fall Classic since 1990.

“Last year we gave away millions of tacos to America, and based on the wild popularity with consumers, we’re bringing back the promotion,” said David Ovens, Taco Bell Corp.’s chief marketing officer said in a statement. “With consumer sentiment near all time lows, ‘Steal A Base, Steal A Taco’ is our way of extending the magic of the World Series to everybody by celebrating the game and rewarding fans, no matter which team you root for.”

Taco Bell is in its fifth year as an official MLB sponsor and has hosted a range of promotions, which didn’t produce free tacos, such as when a player had to hit a home run to left or left center field during Game 3 of the 2006 World Series.

Redemption is once again limited to specific times, but Taco Bell has extended the time by an hour this year. If the first base is stolen during Games 1, 2, 3, or 4, consumers can pick up a Crunchy Seasoned Beef Taco (retail value 91 cents) between 2 and 6 p.m. local time on Tuesday, Oct. 28; if it occurs in Games 5, 6 or 7, the redemption period is 2-6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3. One taco per customer.

In addition, Taco Bell will make a $20,000 donation in the name of the player who steals the first base of the series to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Meanwhile, politics will play a role in the World Series, too. Presidential candidates Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama are reading quotes from famous Americans, including Martin Luther King Jr., and former presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, about baseball serving as “a beacon of hope through some of America’s difficult eras,” according to a FoxSports press release. The quotes will be included in the opening segments of Fox's World Series broadcasts.

POSTED IN: MLB (110), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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October 16, 2008

Cinderella isn’t good for TV ratings, but…

…she isn’t all bad. OK, so television executives and Major League Baseball officials are distressed at the potential for a Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays World Series. The Phillies are already in and the Rays lead the Boston Red Sox 3-1 going into tonight’s Game 5 at Fenway Park.

And the media’s been plenty down on the prospect already, knowing that MLB and Fox were salivating at the possibility of a Red Sox –Los Angeles Dodgers matchup. My favorite storyline in that would have been the Red Sox paying for Manny Ramirez to face them in a Dodgers uniform.

But since that’s not going to happen, I wondered if there’s any aspect of the baseball business that benefits by having a small-market or a team that’s brand new to the postseason or just a plain old good story in the World Series? After all, the Phillies have won the World Series just once in their history – in 1980.

Besides, as a sports fan, how can you not love Cinderella stories?

Here’s what MLB President Bob DuPuy said via email:

“From a business standpoint, having competitive balance and a Cinderella story like Tampa Bay is very good for the game. It not only stimulates the Tampa Bay market, both in terms of ticket sales going forward and merchandise, but it gives the fans in other communities that have had lackluster seasons hope that they can catch lightning in a bottle next year.”

He went on to say, “There is no reason why Kansas City or Pittsburgh cannot next year be the Tampa Bay of this year or the Colorado of last year.”

Kansas City and Pittsburgh? But you get the idea. We’re talking about the Rays, who’ve never had a winning season before.

“While it may take a while for the nation to catch up with the Rays on television, their dramatic march through the playoffs has captured the interest of the casual as well as the avid fan and will only continue to grow as/if they move on to the World Series,” DuPuy said.

POSTED IN: MLB (110)

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October 15, 2008

Marlins Stadium v. the economy

A considerable amount of concern from pro-Marlins ballpark ranks has arisen over a story in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal that looked at how sports franchises are faring in this tumultuous economy. It's a wide-ranging story explaining how sports are not immune from the economic downturn: stadiums await naming rights deals, teams worry about selling tickets and are taking steps to offer discounts or payment plans.

The story even quotes New Jersey Nets CEO Brett Yormark (twin brother of Panthers President Michael Yormark), saying sports are no longer competing just against other entertainment options: "We're going up against milk and orange juice," Yormark told the paper.

But the section that has some concerned about the prospects for a new Marlins ballpark at the site of the former Orange Bowl quoted veteran stadium opponent Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorensen saying support for the project is likely to wane:

"Everybody is a little skittish right now," added Ms. Sorensen, who has always opposed the project. "It's going to be a tough sell to the public to approve something like this."

The Marlins declined to comment. Bruno Barreiro, the county commission's chairman and a supporter of the project, said he hopes to submit a final deal for a vote in coming months, but he acknowledged that securing financing for the project might take a while.

"We have to wait until the market stabilizes," he said.

Sure the economic crisis will affect the price of the proposed $515 million stadium, but it wasn't unexpected the cost would go up, given the ongoing delays. (Some have always believed the price was much higher anyway).

Sorenson expressed concern about there being enough hotel bed taxes to cover the construction debt, but county officials have repeatedly said those dollars have already been identified and accounted for. And in fact, history shows governments sometimes like to embark on large public projects in difficult economic times because they stimulate the economy and create jobs. (Think the New Deal).

I'm told county, city of Miami and Marlins officials continue to negotiate definitive documents spelling out the details of construction management, non-relocation and other agreements. It's always been known receiving the nine county commission votes needed for each of those agreements will be an uphill battle, regardless of the economy.

Additionally, it's possible the Marlins are waiting until after Miami Circuit Court Judge Jeri Beth Cohen rules on the final count in auto dealer Norman Braman's case before unveiling renderings of the ballpark. But it's also possible the renderings just aren't ready yet.

As always, stay tuned...

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

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October 14, 2008

Eventual transfer of Dolphins ownership approved

In a strictly procedural move, the NFL owners gave formal approval Tuesday to allowing H. Wayne Huizenga eventually to transfer up to 45 percent more of the Dolphins to Stephen Ross.

This is not news in the sense that it was always understood -- and anticipated -- that Ross would eventually become majority owner of the Dolphins. He and Huizenga said as much when they announced in February that Ross would be buying 50 percent of the team, Dolphin Stadium and the surrounding land for $550 million. They reiterated the same when the NFL owners approved Ross’ 50 percent purchase on March 31.

And Tuesday’s vote at the owners meeting in St. Petersburg didn’t set a date of transfer, it merely makes the transfer possible. It is not expected to have any bearing on the operation of the team this season.

“This is just another step toward the eventual transfer of up to 95 percent ownership interest in the team and the stadium from Mr. Huizenga to Mr. Ross,” Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said.

There’s been plenty of speculation about when Huizenga, who remains managing general partner, will cede control to Ross. The owners don’t have another formal meeting scheduled until March. Could the transfer happen before then? There’s nothing set in stone, but that’s certainly a possibility.

Regardless of when the transfer occurs, Huizenga has vowed to maintain at least 5 percent interest in the team.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sports Team Owners (49)

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October 12, 2008

It’s a cow!

So it wasn’t exactly rocket science figuring out the Panthers were introducing an inflatable cow, when they said the new mascot would be related to the cowbell movement.

“Mad Cow” was introduced between the first and second periods of Saturday night's home opener at BankAtlantic Center to the strains of the Buckwheat Boyz' Peanut Butter Jelly Time -- typically reserved for the Dancing Banana. The inflatable cow bobbed up and down on the ice and showed off his rear end, which says “More Cowbell.” Fans could oblige since the Panthers gave out 15,000 red cowbells.

The Dancing Banana indicated in a teaser video that he was too busy this season to help with "more cowbell," but the Panther insist the Banana will be back and will make appearances in the "flesh" this season.

See the cow sitting in the stands, thanks to a photo borrowed from Murphy Burch – also known as VanMurph because that’s what he wears on his jersey – who with his wife Vanessa started the cowbell movement at the Panthers last year. The Cooper City couple brought the first cowbells to the arena during a game last December and the movement was born. The Panthers have obliged selling two different sizes of cowbells at Pantherland in the arena and showing clips from the Saturday Night Live skit in which actor Christopher Walken implores Blue Oyster Cult to use “more cowbell.”


POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), Mascots (16), Promotions (120)

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October 10, 2008

FIU seeks a packed house

When FIU hosts Middle Tennessee Saturday at 7 p.m., the school wants the Golden Panthers, with their two-game win streak, to find their new on-campus stadium crowded with fans.

That’s why the school is running a “Pack the House” promotion, which allows FIU students in for free, and each can bring one guest. Alumni and high school football teams can get in free as well. FIU staff can buy as many tickets as they want for $1 each.

“It’s really to show appreciation for faculty and staff and the other thing is we’re trying to get alumni back,” FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia said. “We’ve gotten a tremendous response. This is going to be a one-shot deal for one game so they can see the atmosphere … We figured we let them taste it, they’ll want to come back and eat all the time.”

Garcia is convinced the promotion will be worth it because it will give more people an opportunity to experience Golden Panthers football and the school will still reap the benefits of parking, concessions and merchandise sales.

FIU is focused on gaining revenue from its new on-campus stadium, by scheduling home-and-home deals with other schools. The school turned down a huge $1.2 million offer to play a one-shot away game against an SEC team next year.

“Having a brand new stadium, we can’t continue playing five home games and seven away games. We’ve got to play six and six home and homes,” Garcia said. “You do pass it up as a money game, but with a brand new stadium here's the difference … we’re getting 100 percent of parking, merchandise, club seat sales, suite sales.”

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October 9, 2008

The cowbell and sports

More cowbell? The Panthers think so.

Capitalizing on the cowbell craze that swept BankAtlantic Center last season, the Panthers will give out 15,000 red cowbells at Saturday’s 2008-09 home opener. Don’t forget to bring earplugs.

Cowbells won’t just be for supporting the team, they’ll be introducing the team’s new inflatable mascot. Fear not, the popular Dancing Banana will still be making appearances this season.

The cowbell phenomenon at the Panthers started last December when Murphy Burch, a Panthers fan from Cooper City who will be dropping a ceremonial first puck Saturday, saw fans ringing cowbells at a Chicago Wolves minor league hockey game.

Burch, known as "VanMurph" on his Panthers jersey, had grown tired of noisy fans of opposing teams outnumbering -- or at least out-cheering -- Panthers fans at BankAtlantic Center. He bought a couple of cowbells to a game, then a couple more for some friends. Cowbells became a topic on the Panthers message board. Soon a clip of the popular Saturday Night Live skit in which Christopher Walken pleads for Blue Oyster Cult to use “more cowbell,” was playing on the scoreboard and cowbells were for sale at the team’s Pantherland store.

Read Burch's explanation of the cowbell movement here.

While the SNL skit has given renewed life to cowbells in pop culture, the cowbell has been intertwined with sports for years. Popular at minor league and college hockey games, cowbells have also been heard at the Olympics in support of downhill skiers and at bicycling races, among other events.

They’ve been so popular at college football games that the SEC instituted a ban on the noisy bells, threatening a loss of yardage should they get too loud. Fans of Mississippi State still smuggle in the bells.

The Tampa Bay Rays adopted cowbells in 2007 because principal team owner Stuart Sternberg loves the SNL skit. They’ve been handed out to Rays fans – fans in opposing team jerseys are denied – and are used when opposing players have two strikes. And you wondered what the secret was to the Rays finally making it to the playoffs for the first time in team history…

Watch the teaser video for the Panthers' new inflatable mascot here:

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), MLB (110), Mascots (16), Minor League (6), Promotions (120)

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October 8, 2008

Dwyane Wade’s jersey drops in popularity in Europe

The Heat plays exhibition games against the New Jersey Nets in Paris on Thursday and again in London on Sunday, but guard Dwyane Wade’s jersey is no longer No. 1 in Europe. Wade had the top-selling jersey in Europe during the 2006-07 season, but fell to No. 8 last year.

Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant’s jersey topped the list in Europe for the 2007-08 season, according to the NBA. This year five European players are in the top 10, including Pau Gasol (Spain) of the Lakers; Tony Parker (France) of the San Antonio Spurs; and Andrea Bargnani (Italy) of the Toronto Raptors. Newcomers on the list are Marco Belinelli (Italy) of the Golden State Warriors and Jose Calderon (Spain) of the Raptors.

International players account for about 20 percent of NBA rosters. International sales make up more than a quarter of the league’s global merchandise business. And international visitors represent about 40 percent of the customers at the NBA Store in Manhattan.

The top 10 best-selling jerseys in Europe last season were:

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
3. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
4. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
6. Allen Iverson, Denver Nuggets
7. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors
8. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
9. Marco Belinelli, Golden State Warriors
10. Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors

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

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October 7, 2008

Where’s the beef in the baseball playoffs?

Was it something in the recipe?

The Vienna Beef company honored the Chicago Cubs' pitching rotation with special edition hot dogs: the Dempster Dog (Ryan Dempster); Marquis Dog (Jason Marquis); Wood-ie Dog (Kerry Wood); Marmol Dog (Carlos Marmol) and Lilly Dog (Ted Lilly). The Cubs made an unceremonious exit in the first round of the MLB playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Rays, meanwhile, have won their first and only playoff series so far and will face the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. Gallagher’s Steak House in Tampa has devised a number of dishes to honor the Rays: Popeye [Don Zimmer] Porterhouse; Calos Pena Crab Cakes; Jason Bartlett Beef Steak Tomato & Colossal Onion Salad; Akinori Iwamura Seared Ahi Tuna; Manager Joe Maddon-Mignon; Scott Kazmir New York Sirloin; and B.J. Upton Center Cup Pork Chops.

Eat up.

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

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October 6, 2008

D-Wade and Charles Barkley are back

T-Mobile and the NBA are announcing today a multi-year extension to their partnership that began in 2005.

The partnership includes the NBA, WNBA and now the NBA Development League. In addition, Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley will film new T-Mobile ads to add to the popular ad campaign that has previously shown Wade’s effort to be included in Barkley’s "Fave 5." Perhaps Wade is regretting being among Barkley’s "Fave 5," after Barkley took that as license to call Wade at all hours of the day and night.

No word yet on details of the campaign.

In addition to the ads, T-Mobile will continue and expand its platform of fan involvement programs that include NBA All-Star balloting, fan voting for top performers in the Finals, rookie of the month and other honors. There will also be in-arena signage and promotions.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139)

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October 3, 2008

Marlins Stadium Update No. 100,308

Another deadline, another delay.

Rather than issue her ruling on the final count in auto dealer Norman Braman’s case challenging the financing for a Marlins ballpark, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jeri Beth Cohen said Friday she would wait - once again - until the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in a similar case is final.

Since attorneys for Gregory Strand filed a motion Monday with the Florida Supreme Court to re-hear Strand v. Escambia County, which challenges the use of property tax dollars to repay a $135 million bond issue without first asking taxpayers, the high court’s ruling is not considered final. After re-hearing the case last year, the court overturned an earlier 7-0 ruling and decided on Sept. 18 in a 4-2 ruling that referendums are not needed to use property taxes to pay back bonds on large public projects.

The court isn’t likely to re-hear the case a second time, but it also has no deadline by which it must decide whether to re-hear the case.

“Although I anticipate that the Court will deny the rehearing, it is incumbent on me to wait until the decision becomes final before issuing a definitive ruling. Thank you for your patience,” Cohen wrote Friday in a note to the attorneys in the Braman case.

Cohen has said she plans to follow the Supreme Court and rule a public vote is not needed for a portion of the financing for $3 billion in Miami projects. Braman has said he plans to appeal.

The Marlins, Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami do not believe a referendum would apply to the ballpark financing and are likely to continue with their plans to finalize definitive agreements spelling out the financing, construction management and other details of the ballpark.

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

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October 1, 2008

Billy the Marlin: The Al Gore of mascots

Was Billy the Marlin robbed?

OK, not literally. Although back in 1997 the home of the original Billy the Marlin was the target of burglars who took off with his University of Miami championship rings from his days playing Sebastian the Ibis, but I digress….

No, was he robbed of the 2008 Mascot Hall of Fame induction?

Billy, you see, was the winner of the popular online fan poll voting for the Mascot Hall of Fame, but he did not secure induction into the Hall.

Call him the Al Gore of mascots.

That’s right, he won the online fan voting, but missed out on the Hall induction. The public vote plays only a small role in the voting. Nominees must receive at least 75 percent of the ballots cast by the hall’s executive committee.

This year’s inductees on the professional sports side are Rocky, the Denver Nuggets mascot, and Slider, of the Cleveland Indians. On the collegiate side, Smokey of the University of Tennessee won induction with both the Hall and the popular vote.

So, Billy edged out Slider in the popular vote, but missed out on induction. Something fishy there…. Do you think this is another sign of the “small market” Marlins being ignored nationally?

The winners were announced Monday - watch the announcement here:

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Mascots (16)

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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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