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December 31, 2008

FedEx’s big bowl exposure

After 12 straight years of advertising during the Super Bowl – and a presence in 18 Super Bowls since 1989 – FedEx is bowing out of the 2009 game. At an average price of $3 million for a 30-second spot, lots of companies are making difficult choices about television’s most expensive advertising. Read FedEx Director of Advertising Steve Pacheco’s reasoning here.

But FedEx is likely to get plenty of exposure during the next week, with its name attached to the 75th annual Orange Bowl game tomorrow night and the BCS National Championship game a week later on Jan. 8.

When the BCS added a fifth bowl game to the mix three years ago, not only did the national championship host location get an extra bowl game, the title sponsors did, too. The eight-figure four-year agreement with Fox to broadcast the BCS games includes a number of ads for the title sponsors during the games and promotion during other Fox broadcasts and in print and radio advertising. FedEx is also the “official overnight delivery service of the BCS.”

Eric Wright, vice president of research and development for Joyce Julius, which measures sponsor exposure, says the title sponsor earns more mentions during the non-championship bowl game, but the value from the national championship game is higher.

“It looks like the sponsor grabs slightly more onscreen time and mentions in their traditional bowl than the championship game, but the ad rates being what they are [in the national championship game] were higher,” Wright said.

For example, Allstate received 61 mentions and two hours and 42 minutes of screen time during this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl for a total value of $172.4 million, when measured against ad rates during the game. The insurance company got just 50 mentions and one hour and 53 minutes of screen time during the BCS National Championship game, but that time was valued at $231.1 million, Joyce Julius reported.

By contrast, the title sponsors FedEx for the Orange and Tostitos for the Fiesta and presenting sponsor Citi for the Rose Bowl, received less value from their exposure, even if there were more mentions or screen time. Joyce Julius figures show FedEx received 48 mentions and an hour and 49 minutes of screen time for a value of $117.3 million. Tostitos got 61 mentions and two hours and 12 minutes of screen time for a value of $142.3 million. And Citi got 29 mentions and an hour and 42 minutes of airtime for a value of $107.4 million.

The trend was similar in 2007, the first year the fifth game was added to the BCS rotation. Tostitos got 86 mentions and two hours 10 minutes of airtime for a value of $101.2 million for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. For the BCS National Championship game, the company got 36 mentions and an hour and 50 minutes of airtime for a value of $175.3 million.

Meanwhile, Fedex received 66 mentions and one hour and 55 minutes of airtime for a value of $88.6 million; Allstate received 56 mentions, an hour and 58 minutes of screen time for a value of $89.6 million; and Citi got 26 mentions and just 16 minutes of air time for a value of $26.6 million from the Rose Bowl.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Orange Bowl (45), Sponsorship (101), Super Bowl (53), Television (35)

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Dolphin Stampede

A version of this video shot in the Sea of Cortez is making the rounds among some very passionate Dolphins fans, who are excited about the team’s turnaround and return to the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Enjoy these real dolphins:

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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December 30, 2008

NFL confirms 2010 Pro Bowl will be played at Dolphin Stadium

The NFL made it official Tuesday that the Pro Bowl will move a week before the Super Bowl and be played at Dolphin Stadium in 2010. Future sites for the game, which has been held in Honolulu since 1980, have not been determined, but the intention is for it to be played in Hawaii on a rotating basis, the league said. Read the Dolphins news release about the move here.

“We are looking at alternatives to strengthen the Pro Bowl,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the players to make it a great event and will evaluate the concept after the 2010 Pro Bowl.”

The 2010 game will be held at 8 p.m. Jan. 31 and will be broadcast on ESPN. Super Bowl XLIV will be held a week later on Jan. 7, also at Dolphin Stadium. The idea of moving the game from Hawaii and holding it before -- rather than after -- the Super Bowl has been contemplated by the league for a couple of years.

“Taking the Pro Bowl to new locations can showcase our top players to more fans around the country," NFL Senior Vice President of Events Frank Supovitz said in a statement. "We are also in discussions with key leaders in Hawaii to continue our partnership with the State of Hawaii, which has embraced the Pro Bowl for 30 years.”

South Florida tourism officials were asked to prepare for the possibility of the game moving, by lining up hotels and other accommodations. They say the game could pump another $150 million into local businesses on top of the economic impact from hosting the Super Bowl.

The Pro Bowl’s annual ticket subscribers, Dolphins season ticket-holders and members of the public will have a chance to purchase tickets. Would you want to attend?

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Super Bowl (53)

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South Florida tourism officials preparing for Pro Bowl in 2010

The NFL hasn’t officially announced the Pro Bowl will move a week before the Super Bowl and to South Florida from Honolulu in 2010, but tourism officials say they’ve been told to plan for the possibility.

The Associated Press reported the news Monday. The NFL, which has a contract to play in Hawaii through the 2009 game, said the decision hadn’t been made yet.

"Plans for future Pro Bowls are not final, but we have stated publicly several times that we are giving strong consideration to moving the Pro Bowl to the week before the Super Bowl,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “We also have been exploring playing future Pro Bowls at the site of the Super Bowl as well as in Honolulu, host of the Pro Bowl since 1980.”

With South Florida already gearing up to host its 10th Super Bowl in 2010, the possibility of a Pro Bowl at Dolphin Stadium, too, is welcome news. Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau President Nicki Grossman said the Pro Bowl could mean an additional $150 million for local businesses on top of the impact from the Super Bowl.

“We were told to prepare to have venues and hotels available for a first-ever since 1980 move out of Hawaii by the Pro Bowl. We are ready, willing, able, excited and determined to make this a spectacular two weeks of great football in South Florida,” Grossman said. “We have huge beach shoes to fill. Hawaii has been a consummate host. We’ve got a go a long way to go to match that experience, but we are certainly a place that can do that.”

Grossman called the idea of NFL converging on South Florida for both events, “an opportunity to take a one-week spectacular and turn it into a two-week spectacular.”

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Super Bowl (53)

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December 28, 2008

The Dolphins are going to the playoffs. Are you?

Tickets for the Dolphins’ first playoff game since the 2001 season go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday. Will you be buying them?

The last two times the Dolphins hosted first-round playoff games (in the 2001 season against next Sunday’s opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, and in the 2000 season against the Indianapolis Colts), the games didn’t sell out in time to lift the local television blackout. The match-ups sold out on game day, but those who didn’t purchase tickets had to listen to the radio broadcast or drive far enough outside the 75-mile radius around Dolphin Stadium to find the game on TV.

According to the NFL's blackout policy, games must sell out 72 hours in advance or they can't be aired on stations with signals that penetrate within 75 miles of the game. Federal copyright laws prohibit local sports bars with satellite dishes from showing the game.

Times are vastly different now. It’s been a long time since the Dolphins were in the playoffs and they’ve also made history by winning 11 games – and their division -- after winning just one game last season (against the Ravens, by the way).

Is the playoff drought and the team’s remarkable turnaround enough to convince you to buy tickets? Or is the economy just too tough to make the investment? Or are there other reasons you’re planning to skip this one?

Playoff ticket prices have been rolled back. They start at $46 for next Sunday's game. Tickets to the playoffs in the 2001 season started at $57.

The team must sell 62,133 general seats in the upper and lower decks (excluding suites and club seats) at 75,540-seat Dolphin Stadium to avoid a blackout. Back in 2001, season ticket holders bought nearly 58,000 tickets during the season. This year, the team hasn’t officially released the number of season tickets sold, but it is fewer than 50,000.

The Dolphins host the Ravens at 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday at Gate F at Dolphin Stadium, online at or through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

Fans who attend the game will receive a rally towel. And just in case you were wondering, there’s already AFC East Championship gear available for sale at the Dolphins Pro Shop.

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

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Colts capitalize on sponsor relationships

Helmet2.jpgThe Indianapolis Colts closed out their first regular season at Lucas Oil Stadium this afternoon. The stadium offers an example of how teams are working to generate more dollars from sponsors while giving companies more real estate and fans more things to do inside sports venues.

Sponsors don’t just get signage anymore. That’s been true for some time, but in Indianapolis, companies’ names are connected to an actual section of Lucas Oil Stadium. The companies work with the Colts to decorate and program the areas to maximize their businesses and entertainment for fans.

There’s the Lucas Oil Gate, naturally, the Huntington Bank Gate, the hhgregg Gate and so on. The Air Tran Food Court features a first class fuselage that people can sit in. The team’s five- to eight-year sponsor contracts are worth $10 million to $12 million annually.

“We are considered a small market NFL team so a new stadium was critical for us. Based on the way the economics of the National Football League work today, we needed a stadium that was going to drive revenue,” said Peter Ward, Colts senior executive vice president. “This helps us stay competitive on the field...This allows us the opportunity to maximize our revenue.”

At the Lucas Oil Gate, there are dragsters; old-fashioned gas pumps that have LCD TVs installed in them; over-sized oil cans that also serve as stations for TVs; planes that hang from the ceiling; and a horseshoe-shaped stage for bands and TV and radio shows.

“Our goal was to create areas that could be sponsored and themed that also create points of interest for the fans. It had to work for the sponsors as well as our fans,” Ward said.

CameraHorseshoe2.jpgHhgregg, a TV and appliance retailer with stores in nine states including Florida, has a 26,000-square-foot interactive fan area at the stadium’s south entrance with flat screen TVs, digital cameras and even washers and dryers on display. There’s an interactive video game in which fans can throw or kick a football across a virtual screen designed to look like Lucas Oil Stadium.

There are also six 52-inch Samsung TVs, a seating area in the shape of a horseshoe, and poles that look like goalposts. There’s a product pavilion with Electrolux appliances, including refrigerators. Everything is wrapped in hhgreg signage, but there's also signage for Electrolux, Sony and other appliance brands.

In addition, the Colts’ official appliance retailer of flat panel TVs, has sales associates working the gate entrances, handing out coupons.

“We’ve had a long-standing partnership with the Colts,” said Jeff Pearson, hhgregg vice president of marketing. “We sell a large number of flat panel TVs. All of that helps us sell TVs … Lucas Oil Stadium is going to be a place a lot of people go through in the next number of years.”

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Sponsorship (101)

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December 24, 2008

The NBA’s Christmas Day gifts

LBJ-wide.jpgThe NBA must be in a giving mood. In addition to a record five nationally televised games on Christmas Day, there will be plenty of extras surrounding the games.

The league is introducing a series of new comical ads in its popular “Where Amazing Happens” campaign. These ads feature the “Amazing Tour Bus” – a mini double-decker bus complete with an open roof filled with fans on a tour of some insider NBA moments: on the practice court with Greg Oden, during a game with Pau Gasol, and in the locker room with LeBron James.

The spots were directed by Randy Krallman of the talking baby E*Trade commercials and feature character actor Joey Slotnick, who has been on Boston Public, Boston Legal and Family Guy. Check out Oden’s spot here and behind the scenes filming from James’ ad, where we see him sing to Cyndi Lauper’s "Time After Time." The league is launching with extra features such as James’ favorite songs, which will be available on iTunes.

Meanwhile, if you have extra holiday cash or didn’t get enough gifts, the league is offering fans a chance to bid on the jerseys players wear during the Christmas Day games. There will be a total of 120 jerseys, each featuring a Christmas Day patch – with snowflake and NBA logo – and a tag to mark the event. Interested fans can bid at at the tipoff of each game. These are the matchups:

New Orleans v. Orlando (noon, ESPN)
San Antonio v. Phoenix (2:30 p.m., ABC)
Boston v. Los Angeles (5 p.m., ABC)
Washington v. Cleveland (8 p.m., TNT)
Dallas v. Portland (10:30 p.m., TNT)

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Apparel (55), NBA (139)

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December 22, 2008

Marlins Stadium Update No. 560,222

Apparently, auto dealer Norman Braman hasn’t been put off by losing in circuit court – or losing a “considerable amount” of money in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Braman’s attorneys filed notice Friday that he’s appealing to the Third District Court of Appeal the case targeting the financing for $3 billion in Miami projects, including the Marlins ballpark.

Braman promised all along he would appeal. All that’s been filed is the notice –that’s all that’s required. Braman’s briefs in the case are due in early March, unless deadlines are extended.

Several people have asked me if the state pulling its support of the traffic tunnel to the Port of Miami earlier this month will have any bearing on the ballpark. It shouldn’t. Although the projects were tied together in the so-called “global agreement” that laid out financing for the $3 billion in projects, none of the projects is dependent on any other. Each needs its own set of government approvals and it’s not a domino situation, where if one falls so do the others.

And speaking of government approvals, it’s likely the financing, construction management, non-relocation and other agreements spelling out details of the $515 million ballpark proposed to be built at the site of the former Orange Bowl, will be presented to Miami-Dade County and city of Miami commissioners in early January, with votes coming later in the month.

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

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December 19, 2008

Panthers pin hopes on pin promotion

Pins2.jpgTaking a page from Disney, the Panthers will launch a collectible pin-trading program at Sunday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche at BankAtlantic Center.

Ushers and other team staffers will be wearing collectible pins on lanyards that fans can trade for with their own NHL- and hockey-related pins they bring with them or that they purchase at the game. Pins will be sold for $6.95 and $12.95 at a pin stand at Section 125 of the arena.

Panthers President Michael Yormark came up with the idea this fall when he saw pin trading occurring during a visit to Disney World with his daughter, Sophia. He said he “was amazed at the reaction from children of all ages. I do believe it will work here and potentially pull more families and children to our Panthers games.”

The Panthers have been boosting family-friendly activities and areas at the arena, including the Kids Korner, which launched last season and features games, activities and kids’ menu items, including mini-pizzas and caramel apples.

Additionally, IT’SUGAR, the chain of candy stores, has partnered with the Panthers this year and opened a store on the plaza level, where fans can buy old-fashioned sweets in bags by weight.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Promotions (120)

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December 18, 2008

Marlins Stadium Update No. 411

With no real news on the state of ballpark negotiations, the Marlins announced today they have launched a new Web site dedicated to news of the ballpark.

In all seriousness, they did launch, “the official site of the Marlins ballpark,” complete with details about the planned $515 million stadium, how it will be financed, the history of the Orange Bowl, economic details, and background about the venue's architect, HOK. There’s a news section, commentary, even a section where fans can print their own signs of support for the ballpark.

And there’s a section for photos… Alas, under the section titled “renderings,” the site says "Coming Soon" in English and "Under Construction" in Spanish. There’s also a Spanish version of the ballpark Web site here.

The team said the idea for the site came from fan research. In a statement, Marlins President David Samson called it a "one-stop shop for ballpark information."

It's still possible the agreements spelling out the details of the ballpark's financing, construction management, non-relocation and other items could be presented to Miami-Dade County and Miami city commissioners in December, but it's more likely they'll be made available in January with a vote scheduled sometime that month.

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

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BCS in 3-D

Can’t score tickets to the BCS National Championship game between Florida and Oklahoma on Jan. 8 at Dolphin Stadium, but want something more that just to sit in front of your TV?

Fox is producing a 3-D broadcast of the game that is to be shown live in 80 theaters, which have been equipped with the new technology, in 35 states across the country. Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. and 3ality Digital's 3-D image-capture technology are working with Fox on the production. Tickets are expected to run $18 to $22.

On Dec. 4, 3ality Digital worked with the NFL to broadcast the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers game to invited guests at theaters in three markets – Boston, New York and Los Angeles. Although it wasn’t perfect, it reportedly got generally good reviews. Cinedigm and Turner Sports have reached agreement to broadcast the NBA’s All-Star Saturday night festivities from Phoenix in theaters in 3-D on Feb. 14.

For the BCS game, the closest theater to South Florida scheduled to carry the broadcast is the Rave Port St. Lucie.

POSTED IN: NBA (139), NCAA (38), NFL (178)

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December 16, 2008

Orioles still searching for permanent spring home

Communities don’t appear to be fighting over the prospect of becoming the permanent spring home for the Baltimore Orioles. This morning, Indian River County Commissioners rescinded an offer to make Dodgertown in Vero Beach the team’s spring home.

The commission is concerned the county had made a final offer, only to have the Orioles return with another proposal that asked for significantly more. That doesn’t mean Vero Beach is out for good, but commissioners want at least a 30-day “cooling off period” from the team to see where things settle.

Meanwhile, Sarasota may emerge as the front-runner to land the Orioles. Sarasota County officials are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a tourism tax increase that could help build a stadium for the Orioles. The team has a minor league complex in Sarasota.

Still, all we know for sure is the Orioles are to train at Fort Lauderdale Stadium this spring. Some still hold out hope the Orioles will remain in Fort Lauderdale in a vastly upgraded stadium, but no one has yet agreed to pay more than $1 million a year to the Federal Aviation Administration for use of the property.

POSTED IN: MLB (110), Spring Training (11)

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December 12, 2008

The Heat offers a ticket deal for educators

The Heat is expecting a big crowd – possibly a full house – for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. The team’s won four games in a row and crowds tend to pick up during the holiday season.

But filling seats hasn’t been easy this season. That’s one reason the team launched the “Educator Appreciation Program” -- to help out South Florida school district employees and try to fill seats. School district employees in Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Collier counties can get one free ticket to select games this season (based on availability) and additional tickets – for friends, family and students -- at a discount.

The idea is to honor educators and fill seats. After all, the Heat expects school district employees, who take advantage of the offer, won’t want to attend alone. The program is in effect for these games:

Monday v. Milwaukee Bucks
Jan. 3 v. New Jersey Nets
Jan. 26 v. Atlanta Hawks
Feb. 2 v. LA Clippers
Feb. 8 v. Charlotte Bobcats
Feb. 18 v. Minnesota Timberwolves
March 14 v. Utah Jazz

Employees will need to provide proof they work at one of the participating school districts. To take advantage of the program, call 786-777-DUNK or visit the Verizon Wireless Ticket Office at AmericanAirlines Arena, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and at noon on Saturdays, when there is a Heat game.

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

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December 11, 2008

Hialeah Baseball Academy gets support, again

Since there hasn’t been much to say about the Marlins ballpark project lately, I figured I’d tell you very little about the baseball academy planned for Hialeah.

Miami-Dade County’s Airport and Tourism Committee gave unanimous and “unequivocal” support today to Major League Baseball’s planned youth baseball academy in Hialeah. That was the bone MLB threw the city earlier this year as thanks for trying to develop a Marlins ballpark in a far western swath of the city. After months of discussion and examination in 2006, the idea of amassing the land there was deemed too cumbersome and expensive and talks with the city of Miami were renewed. But MLB made sure Hialeah got something from the Marlins ballpark plan.

In fact, even if the $515 million Marlins ballpark is never built at the site of the former Orange Bowl – as is planned – the youth baseball academy in Hialeah will still go forward, officials say. Construction on the 20-acre complex that is to include seven baseball fields, batting cages, clubhouse, training facility and office space, is expected to begin next year. The complex is planned for children as young as 5 through high school.

Commissioner Rebeca Sosa stressed that she’d like to see more academies developed. Commissioner Sally Heyman wanted to make sure the academy can progress even if the stadium doesn’t.

In a separate item today, commissioners were told by a representative of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau that after record years of hotel bed tax collections, next year’s figures are expected to be down slightly. Hotel bed tax is the main source of public money being used for the ballpark. Commissioners were told two-thirds of hotel officials surveyed said they plan to adjust room rates to ensure tourists keep visiting, even in tough economic times.

Behind the scenes, agreements spelling out the financing, construction and other details of the ballpark are said to be near completion. Miami city and county officials hope to bring them before city and county commissioners for a vote in January.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110)

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December 10, 2008

South Florida's teams fall in brand index rankings

What a difference a lousy year makes.

Turnkey Sports & Entertainment released the results of its second annual Team Brand Index survey last week of all 122 NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams. The survey, which is purchased by teams and sponsors, measures the brand strength of each team based on the perceptions of fans in those markets.

The company surveyed 12,000 sports fans in 47 U.S. and Canadian markets on their perceptions of the team’s entertainment value, players, ownership and other factors. All four of South Florida’s teams fell in fans’ estimation between the 2007 and 2008 studies, especially the Heat, which was ahead of the Dolphins in the 2007 study. Here’s where the teams rank among the 122 in this year’s survey compared to last year:

Team 2008 rank; 2007 rank
Dolphins: 55; 42
Heat: 65; 33
Marlins: 78; 70
Panthers: 103; 99

Green Bay Packers
Boston Red Sox
Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots
Indianapolis Colts

New York Islanders
Indiana Pacers
New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks
Seattle SuperSonics*

*The survey was conducted before the SuperSonics moved this season to Oklahoma City

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), MLB (110), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), NFL (178), NHL (56)

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December 9, 2008

Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley make Time’s Top 10

Heat guard Dwyane Wade finally made Charles Barkley’s "Fave 5" this year.

Now the duo has made Time magazine’s “Top 10 TV ads of 2008.” In fact, T Mobile’s NBA ads are No. 1 on the list of TV ads in the magazine’s “Top 10 Everything of 2008.”

The ad debuted during the Super Bowl.

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

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December 8, 2008

Tourism officials cheer OB and BCS match-ups

Even with the Gators in the BCS national championship game on Jan. 8, tourism officials were expressing their gratitude Monday for the match-ups in the two bowl games that will be held at Dolphin Stadium in January.

The other three teams are from out of state and their fans are expected to travel. Virginia Tech will face the University of Cincinnati, which has never appeared in a major bowl game, in the FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 1. The Gators play Oklahoma in the national championship game on Jan. 8.

Tourism officials are predicting that even in this difficult economy, fans will pump as much as $250 million or more into the local economy in hotel rooms, restaurants and other businesses. College football fans have a passion that’s unrivaled, even in tough times, tourism officials say.

Mary Beth Romig, spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, told my colleague, tourism reporter Doreen Hemlock, that hosting the title and Sugar Bowl games in January, brought an estimated $350 million to the region, including $200 million from the BCS game, even though it included a local team, Louisiana State University.

And the Sugar Bowl game brought newcomer Hawaii. Romig said Hawaiians typically don’t travel east of Las Vegas, so it wasn’t clear the team’s fans would make the trip to New Orleans. Tourism officials needn’t have worried. The team’s fans chartered planes.

“The spirit of Hawaiians was terrific,” Romig said. “It was good for New Orleans. Having the national spotlight on us was very important.”

Broward is expected to benefit this year because not only is the media headquarters hotel the Marriott Harbor Beach in Fort Lauderdale, but Virginia Tech and Florida are to stay at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood. Virginia Tech will practice at Nova Southeastern University; Florida at American Heritage in Plantation. Cincinnati and Oklahoma will stay at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach and practice at Barry University.

Meanwhile, last week, tourism officials said they weren’t quite sure what to expect from fans of Big East champion Cincinnati. To hear it from the university, though, the school is expecting a big crowd. The athletics department has been fielding phone calls ever since it was clear the Bearcats were bowl eligible. Those calls picked up after the team became the Big East champion, said Mike Harris, Cincinnati assistant athletic director for sports communications.

The school included $50 bowl credits with the sale of each season ticket that can be applied to the purchase of bowl game tickets. Those credits were also sold individually and by Friday afternoon a total of some 8,600 credits had been purchased, Harris said.

Reggie Philpott, a student employee in Cincinnati’s ticket office, said last week that Bearcats fans were planning vacations around a possible trip to South Florida. “It’s like 18 degrees in Cincinnati,” he said.

POSTED IN: NCAA (38), Orange Bowl (45)

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December 3, 2008

Two bowl games are better than one

Even with all the economic uncertainty we’re facing – now that we’re officially in a recession -- Orange Bowl Committee officials are still happy to be hosting two bowl games this year: the 75th FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 1 and the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 8.

Corporations and fans are belt-tightening, of course, but that’s why hosting the national championship game this year – and the extra bowl game – is good news, said Orange Bowl Committee CEO Eric Poms.

“You feel it with the corporate community, you certainly pay attention to the ability of fans to travel, but fortunately the BCS has great significance. So hopefully the universities the first week build a lot of excitement and have that opportunity to play in the 75th FedEx Orange Bowl," Poms said. "And the next week, when you have the national championship at stake we expect there won’t be enough inventory of tickets and sponsorships and suites.”

A bit of an unknown is Cincinnati, which is expected to face the ACC champion (Boston College or Virginia Tech) in the Orange Bowl game, but chances are Bearcats fans will relish the trip to see the team in its first major bowl game in warm South Florida.

“We don’t know because it’s a program that joined the Big East a few years ago. We don’t know what the reaction will be,” Poms said. “Our gauge is when programs get in for the first time, there’s an explosion of enthusiasm because it’s a stage they’ve never been on … It’s cold there, so it’s an opportunity.”

Following that game with the national championship game should be good for the tourism industry.

“The hotels, airlines and rental cars and restaurants get double the dose,” Poms said. “I think it’s great visibility for the community.”

"The economy affects every industry in this country, the bowl industry is no different,” Poms said, but he also said the enthusiasm of college football fans is unrivaled. "There's a passion, people went to school there, they're connected to their university. So when it comes to opportunities such as suite sales or hospitality or travel, I think it transcends that decision."

POSTED IN: NCAA (38), Orange Bowl (45)

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December 1, 2008

Sports leagues get boost from Black Friday

The Panthers wouldn’t say how many tickets were sold at discounts of 30 percent to 50 percent during their one-day sale from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday, other than it was one of the team’s most successful selling days in the past few years.

Around pro sports, Black Friday was a good day.

The NFL recorded an 85 percent increase in sales at on Black Friday compared to 2007, making the day the league’s third highest grossing sales day. The biggest day was yesterday (Thanksgiving Sunday), followed by Thanksgiving Sunday in 2007.

The best sellers since Thanksgiving? Brett Favre’s replica men’s green jersey and youth green jersey, followed by Giants-custom hooded sweatshirts and Eli Manning’s replica men’s blue jersey.

Meanwhile, the NBA said its online store recorded its best Black Friday sales ever, more than doubling last year’s figures. Sales at were up 95 percent for the full weekend. Together, sales at the online store and at the NBA Store in Manhattan rose a combined 38 percent from last year.

Chris Paul’s jersey was the top seller over the weekend, followed by NBA team logoed T-shirts.

And the league kicked off a 12 days of deals promotion at today. A new discount will be announced each day., which sold select jerseys at 40 percent off, said sales were up 25 percent compared with 2007.

The NHL said sales at were up 67 percent on Black Friday compared to 2007 and that sales were up 25 percent from a year ago on Cyber Monday. For the full weekend sales rose more than 10 percent from 2007 at the NHL Store in Manhattan.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Florida Panthers (108), MLB (110), NBA (139), NFL (178), NHL (56)

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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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