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April 30, 2009

CBSSports.com wins fantasy games lawsuit against NFL players

Fort Lauderdale-based CBSSports.com scored a victory this week when a federal judge in Minneapolis ruled CBS Interactive does not have to pay to use NFL players’ names and statistics in its fantasy football games.

U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery said in her April 28 ruling the names and stats are protected by the First Amendment. Her ruling follows an earlier federal appeals court decision that said baseball players’ names and stats are in the public domain. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear that case. Montgomery said the ruling applies to football as well.

“The court declines to indulge in a philosophical debate about whether the public is more fascinated with baseball or football,” Montgomery wrote in her ruling.

“CBS is pleased that the court confirmed the use of player names, statistics and other materials in CBS’ online fantasy games is protected under the First Amendment,” CBSSports.com’s General Manager Jason Kint said in a statement. “CBSSports.com, along with the rest of the fantasy sports industry, looks forward to continuing to provide the fun and excitement of fantasy sports.”

The baseball case began in 2005, when a fantasy baseball game provider sued Major League Baseball seeking the right to use player statistics without a license. The district ruled the First Amendment applied to the information. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

CBSSports.com took the ruling in the baseball case to apply across sports, and even added college players’ names to its college fantasy football game. When its agreement to pay for the use of NFL players stats expired in February 2008, the company declined to renew.

The players’ union threatened to sue, but CBS struck first, filing suit against the NFL Players Association Sept. 3 in Minnesota, where the baseball case had been decided. Players Inc., the marketing arm of the players union, counter-sued Sept. 9 in Florida, where CBSSports.com is based. The Florida case was stayed until a decision could be made in Minnesota.

“We are evaluating the decision now and we haven’t determined what our next steps are going to be,” Jeffrey Kessler, an attorney representing the players, said Thursday.

The union clearly thought a different district court might rule differently and chose Florida because of where CBSSports.com is based.

Where the sports leagues and their players unions have supported the notion the players’ identities require licensing, the fantasy sports providers have lined up squarely against the need to pay licensing fees. Those providers have to be rejoicing: the fantasy sports industry counts some 27 million players in the United States, who spend an estimated $800 million annually on magazines, draft boards and Web site game subscriptions.

“This victory further cements the autonomy of fantasy sports operators from sports leagues and player unions,” newly-elected Fantasy Sports Trade Association President Paul Charchian said in a statement. “The ruling ensures that the industry’s hundreds of fantasy companies will continue creating wide ranging products to serve the needs of fantasy players."

According to an FSTA release, Charchian and Glenn Colton, a New York lawyer who filed friend of the court briefs on behalf of the FSTA in the baseball case, both said they hoped the fantasy sports industry and leagues and players' associations could work together.


POSTED IN: Fantasy Sports (6), MLB (110), NCAA (38), NFL (178)

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Update on Teebows, Mannywood, & John Henry’s romance

Sharing a few bits of tid:


+ On behalf of UF, the Collegiate Licensing Co., sent a cease and desist letter to Teebows.com, which is selling underwear bearing the letter ‘T’ and a bow, in honor of the school’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow. The school’s logo and Tebow’s image have been removed, but the site is still selling three different styles of panties for $6 apiece.

+ The Los Angeles Dodgers debut “Mannywood” starting with today’s homestand at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres. It’s two sections of seats closest to the Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez in which fans can buy two field box seats and get two free limited edition Mannywood T-shirts for just $99 in honor of the enigmatic player’s No. 99. On May 5, for Cinco de Mayo, the shirt will say “Yo estuve en Mannywood,” meaning “I was in Mannywood.”

+ And those interested in a rather intimate – in a TMI sort of way – portrait of former Marlins and current Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s courtship of second wife-to-be Linda Pizzuti can check out Boston Magazine’s lengthy and revealing piece in the May edition. With photos. The wedding is planned in June.


POSTED IN: Apparel (55), MLB (110), Tickets (126), UF (18)

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April 29, 2009

From Lingerie Football to ... TeeBows

So, the Lingerie Football League is coming to BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise … and now, you can buy Tim Tebow-inspired lingerie.

Read more (and check out photos) about the bikini top- and short shorts-clad Miami Caliente playing later this year here.

And check out the newest garment to honor 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning UF quarterback Tim Tebow: cotton blend panties with a 'T' and a bow on them. Available in three styles for $6 a pair. The mind reels.


POSTED IN: BankAtlantic Center (30), UF (18)

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April 28, 2009

Stanford Financial signs disappearing at Heat, tennis

Since R. Allen Stanford was charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission in February, his Stanford Financial Group’s numerous sponsorships with local sports venues have begun to disappear.

Stanford’s name was blacked out – well, greened over – at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne prior to the start of the Sony Ericsson Open last month. Those with sharp eyes could see where the company’s name had been on the stadium court walls.

And thanks to my colleague, Heat beat writer Ira Winderman, for noticing the VIP lobby at AmericanAirlines Arena no longer bears the company’s signage. The lobby has been stripped of the Stanford logos, which have been replaced with just generic Heat logos. Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth told Ira a missed payment led to cancellation of the deal, which he said had an additional year to run.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Sponsorship (101)

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April 27, 2009

Red Sox exec to head Dolphins business side?

Word around Boston is that Fenway Sports Group President and Red Sox Chief Operating Officer Mike Dee is leaving Red Sox Nation to become CEO of Dolphins Enterprises. That's the position overseeing the business side of the Dolphins and Dolphin Stadium that's currently held by Joe Bailey, whose contract is set to expire.

Dee isn’t saying anything at this point – he sent me a no comment via email – but installing him on the business side would fit Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ overall vision for the business side of the Dolphins. The Dolphins also had no comment. But Ross has said he’s trying to create a destination and enhance the fan experience at Dolphin Stadium. His Related Cos., built Time Warner Center, the mixed use residential and retail complex in Manhattan.

Beyond the giant brand the Red Sox represent, Fenway Sports Group is the sports marketing arm of New England Sports Ventures. NESV is the holding company for the team, Fenway Park and New England Sports Network.

FSG, formed in 2004, purchased a 50 percent stake in Roush Racing and formed Roush Fenway Racing, a partnership between Red Sox owner John Henry and NASCAR team owner Jack Roush. FSG oversees the marketing for Boston College. The company also owns and operates Red Sox Destinations, which arranges unique trips to see the Red Sox, and Minor League Baseball’s Salem, Va., Red Sox. The company has an equity stake in fanfoto, which takes photos at sporting events that can be ordered and placed on mugs, calendars and other items.

Ross talked this month about making Dolphin Stadium an entertainment destination that reflects the South Florida lifestyle. Stay tuned.

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Miami Dolphins (186)

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April 24, 2009

Mock NFL Draft: anyone who ever lived is available

In honor of tomorrow’s 2009 NFL Draft, enjoy Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Gene Collier’s appearance on a Pittsburgh radio show discussing how a group of sports writers passed the time at one draft a decade ago. Thanks to SportsBusinessDaily for sharing this gem:


POSTED IN: NFL (178)

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April 23, 2009

Marlins Stadium Update No. 20,122,012

After getting an abbreviated overview of the architectural and transportation plans and with little discussion, Miami City Commissioners unanimously approved this afternoon the permit needed to begin construction of the Marlins’ ballpark in Little Havana. That’s right... a 5-0 vote for the Major Use Special Permit for the $515 million venue.

Earl Santee of Populous (formerly HOK Sport), Rolando Llanes of Civica and transportation consultant Cathy Sweetapple gave commissioners a sense of how the proposed ballpark will fit into the community, that it will be surrounded by parking, retail and as many as 96 residential units, and what kind of traffic it will bring. Santee spoke of how the ballpark will serve as a centerpiece for the Little Havana community and how it will connect the neighborhood. Its open views will allow people in the area to see into the venue at all times and the west plaza will serve as a public gathering place all year long.

“These projects are special and here in this city, this is a unique opportunity to create another special place,” Santee said. “The plan is to connect the neighborhood to a ballpark.”

Commission Chairman Joe Sanchez spoke most dramatically of wanting to ensure the ballpark includes some way to honor the history of its location at the Orange Bowl, where the Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes played and where President John F. Kennedy addressed Cuban refugees after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1962.

“There needs to be a history component,” Sanchez said. “Every great stadium whether it’s for football, baseball or hockey has a historic element.”

Sanchez also stressed his interest in ensuring the ballpark stands as an icon that will be seen from nearby roadways.

“This will be one of the best stadiums designed in this great nation of ours,” said Sanchez, who is running for the mayor of Miami. “This is it … After this, it’s the construction.”

No word yet on when the team plans to host a formal unveiling of ballpark renderings, but it’s expected sometime next month. Ballpark construction is expected to begin in July with a planned opening in 2012.

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

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Gearing and greening up for Super Bowl XLIV

Next year’s Super Bowl is 289 days away, but the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee is preparing small businesses for work related to the game and its accompanying events, recruiting volunteers, and … planting trees.

This week, representatives of the NFL, Florida Division of Forestry, the Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tourism and host committee officials and representatives of seven cities across the state have been planting slash pine trees. In Tampa, Lakeland, Sebring, Belle Glade, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and on Friday in Miami Gardens, tree planting ceremonies have been held to mark the Super Bowl’s “Trail of Trees.” The idea is to connect the site of this year’s Super Bowl – Tampa – with next year’s in South Florida.

“These tree plantings will symbolize a passing of the environmental mantle from one host community to the next and will mark the final environmental project of Super Bowl XLIII and the first environmental project for Super Bowl XLIV,” according to a release from the host committee.

Super Bowl XLIV is scheduled on Feb. 7, 2010 at Dolphin Stadium. The Pro Bowl will be played at the stadium a week before.

More than 20,000 trees have been planted during the past five years in a partnership between the league and the U.S. Forest Service. The league is trying to reduce its carbon footprint in Super Bowl host communities through recycling, using alternative fuels, and other efforts. The league has planted nearly 2,000 trees in all in Tampa this year.

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Super Bowl (53)

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Fire Thomas; hire Thompson?


Remember how FIU Provost Ronald Berkman butchered his new basketball’s coach’s name, introducing Isiah Thompson to the FIU community and media last week?

FireThatGuy.com figured it wouldn’t just sell Fire Isiah University T-shirts in honor of Isiah Thomas. Web site founder Justin Forer has added “Hire Isiah Thompson” to his roster of $20 shirts.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), FIU (4)

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M&M’s adds NBA team logos and colors

You can already buy M&M’s chocolate candies in NFL and Major League Baseball team colors with team logos.

Just in time for the NBA playoffs, Mars Direct has added NBA team colors and logos to its My Team collection of candies. The candies are available for all 30 teams - including the Heat - in 7-ounce bags at $12.99 each, but you must order at least three bags. Or you can get 5-pound bags for $140. There’s also candy dispenser with team logos and three 7-ounce bags for $59.99.

Find the team M&M’s at the NBA Store in Manhattan or online at mymms.com/nba.

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

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April 22, 2009

Win Heat playoff tickets; vote for D Wade

Got time to sit around? The Heat is reprising one of its popular promotions to win playoff tickets: "48 Hours of Intense Heat."

Fans interested in winning free playoff tickets and a shot at free 2009-10 lower level season tickets are invited to sit for 48 hours (yes, there will be restroom breaks and food) in front of AmericanAirlines Arena starting at 5 p.m. Thursday through 5 p.m. Saturday, just in time for the 6:30 p.m. start of Game 3 of the Heat-Atlanta Hawks first round playoffs series.

Fans who sit for at least the first four hours will win a pair of tickets to Game 4 on Monday. Those who make it through all 48 hours will win a pair of tickets to each of the Heat’s 2009 home playoff games. If more than one fan makes it through the full endurance test, the team will hold a trivia contest to determine the grand prize winner of the season tickets that also come with free concessions and parking. Other prizes will be awarded throughout the 48 hours of the contest.

The contest is limited to the first 200 fans, who are at least 18 with identification and proof of residency. Registration starts at 3 p.m. Thursday. The team will provide hot dogs and soft drinks, water, umbrellas and entertainment by the four-time NBA Dance Team contest-winning Heat Dancers, the Xtreme Team and Burnie the Heat mascot.

For more information, visit heat.com.

The last time the Heat held this contest was prior to the playoffs in 2000. A total of 172 fans entered the competition with 91 making it through the full two days. The grand prize was awarded to the winner of a trivia contest. This time, the Heat is encouraging participants to chart their progress on their Facebook and MySpace pages and via Twitter.

More MV3

Meanwhile, Goodyear Blimps are encouraging fans to vote for their favorite candidate for NBA MVP from among Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. The blimps, which are providing aerial coverage for ESPN and TNT NBA telecasts flew over Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland and Staples Center in Los Angeles yesterday to gather votes by displaying the toll free number – 1-800-773-9614 – where fans can register their votes: 3 for Wade; 23 for James and 24 for Bryant.

Goodyear happens to have blimps in the area of each MVP candidate’s team. The Spirit of Innovation, based in Pompano Beach, is to fly over AmericanAirlines Arena from 6-10 p.m. Saturday.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Tickets (126)

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April 21, 2009

Dolphins Draft Party; Marlins game both at Dolphin Stadium Saturday

The Marlins are moving their Sept. 21 game against the Philadelphia Phillies to July 16 to accommodate a Dolphins-Colts Monday night game.

No such moves are being made to accommodate one of two Dolphins Draft parties scheduled Saturday afternoon. The Dolphins are holding draft parties from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at CityPlace in West Palm Beach and at Dolphin Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Marlins host their second “Super Saturday” of the season against the Philadelphia Phillies with the game starting at 7:10 p.m. Saturday at Dolphin Stadium followed by a post-game fireworks and a concert by Albita.

So, how will the stadium accommodate both events at once – something officials believe is a first? Dolphins Enterprises spokesman George Torres calls it “pretty straightforward.”

Torres said signs will direct fans attending the free Dolphins draft party at the stadium to enter the stadium grounds at Gates 1 and 7, and the stadium at Gate C – on the venue’s north side. The party, which is to feature players, alumni and cheerleaders, will be held on the stadium’s club level. Marlins fans, who are charged $10 for parking, enter at other stadium grounds gates and enter the venue on its south side.

The Dolphins’ first pick of the draft is No. 25 in the first round, meaning it will come late during the draft party. Torres said there will also be tables set up at the draft party where Marlins game tickets will be sold, should Dolphins fans want to stay for that night’s Marlins matchup.

“They can stick around and enjoy good baseball,” Torres said, but he added doors to the baseball side of the stadium will be off-limits, unless fans have tickets to the Marlins game.

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Florida Marlins (193), Miami Dolphins (186)

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April 17, 2009

Tickets for Homestead-Miami Speedway's six championships (IRL and NASCAR) on sale Monday

Tickets go on sale Monday for the six auto racing series championships Homestead-Miami Speedway will host this fall.

Tickets for adults start at $30 for the SpeedJam Championships (IndyCar, Indy Lights and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car championships) that will be held Oct. 9-10; and $55 for the Ford Championship Weekend (NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck series championships) Nov. 20-22.

But this year, the speedway is offering discounts and promotions, including a season ticket package to both weekends starting at $130, which represents a $55 savings off face value; and kids 12 and under will be admitted free to the SpeedJam weekend, with 13 to 16 year olds admitted for $15. At Ford Championship Weekend, kids 12 and under will be admitted free to the truck series finale and for $15 to the Nationwide finale.

The speedway is billing the fall as “Six Races, Six Championships, in Six Weeks” and hopes fans will want to attend both race weekends.

“We’re hoping that because now we’ve got all the championships, we’re hoping to grow that segment,” speedway President Curtis Gray said. “We’ve got a fan base that loves to go to big time championship events. The NASCAR fan that goes to an IndyCar race, can’t believe how exciting it is. The same thing for the IndyCar fan going to a NASCAR race. The difference is it’s the championship race.”

You can buy tickets in advance at two presale events this weekend:

During a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix watching event at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bokamper's Sports Bar, 1280 N. Pine Island Rd., Plantation; or at an IndyCar Grand Prix at Long Beach watching event at 2:30 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings, 20505 S. Dixie Highway in Cutler Bay.

Fans purchasing tickets on Monday will be entered to win an Official Indy Experience Two-Seater Ride at the track on May 17. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 866-409-RACE or visit www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.


POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Tickets (126)

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Heat banners will get second life as totes and folders

flzrecycle09b2.jpgLast week, the Heat announced its home arena had received coveted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for making the building environmentally friendly. Now the team is taking its efforts a step further by turning its old banners into new products.

The team is partnering with RetroActif, a Pembroke Pines company that takes old banners and turns them into handbags, travel pouches and portfolio folders and sometimes sells them back to the banners’ original owners for corporate events. My colleague Doreen Hemlock wrote a piece about the company that ran last month – you can read it here. See Sun Sentinel photo of company founders Monica and Ziad Shuman with some of their products at left.

After the story ran, Heat officials saw an opportunity to recycle the team and player banners that hang from street poles at AmericanAirlines Arena.

"It's a simple equation of sports plus recycling equals fashion--and the solution is creative, chic and most importantly, it's environmentally responsible," said Lorrie-Ann Diaz, Heat director of marketing communications.

Ziad Shuman said the partnership is the company’s first with a sports team. He said he is waiting for the banners to be delivered. The company has agreed to make carry-all tote bags that will sell for $24 and letter size portfolio folders for $28. Both will be sold at the arena.

“I don’t think they’ll use banners showing faces of guys no longer there, like Shaquille O’Neal,” Shuman said.

I suggested that might be a collector’s item, but Shuman quipped: “We’d have to make a really big bag.”

The bags and folders won’t be ready in time for the playoffs, but the Heat says, look for the new products next season.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Miami Heat (174)

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April 16, 2009

New Dolphins owner Stephen Ross putting his “stamp” on the team, stadium

Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross is working hard to put his “imprint” on his football team by enhancing the Dolphin Stadium experience for fans. Ross is hoping his changes and new amenities at the stadium – which he’s keeping under wraps for now – will encourage fans to leave the comfort of their homes and High Definition TVs on Sunday afternoons and Monday nights this season.

“You’re going to see a new look, a new excitement,” Ross said Thursday.

In his first lengthy meeting with the media since taking majority ownership of the Dolphins in January, Ross said he’s close to signing contracts to add amenities at the stadium. Other than saying the changes will reflect the entertainment and lifestyle of South Florida, he wouldn’t reveal any of his plans. He says we should hear more next month.

“The three most dynamic cities in the United States are New York, Los Angeles and Miami and Miami has the benefit of the best weather. So it gives you an opportunity to do things you can’t otherwise do anywhere else,” Ross said. “I think a lot of things weren’t done in the past to really take advantage of Miami… South Florida, of what you can really create and do. So it’s kind of fun to try and put these pieces together to create a great experience for the fans.”

While the stadium has undergone a $250 million renovation, Ross said he has more changes planned. He does not, however, envision developing the surrounding land, which he says is needed for parking.

“It’s how you create the experience around the stadium and make the stadium more iconic. Those are the types of things I’m looking at,” Ross said. “I have ideas for that stadium, I don’t think it’s done being improved. It’s a work in process. You’ll see it this year. We’ll be spending money this year and doing things that are somewhat unique.”

He wouldn’t discuss his talks with potential limited partners in the team, other than to say he plans an ownership group that reflects the diversity of South Florida. He also spoke of wanting to reach out more to Hispanic fans and is starting that soon with a new Spanish-language team Web site.

“Pittsburgh has one, San Diego has one. How can Miami not have a Hispanic Web site?” Ross said.

He said he’s excited about Dolphin Stadium hosting both the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl next year and he hopes to make the stadium a regular stop – every four years – for the Super Bowl.

Ross said he hasn’t yet discussed a new lease for the Marlins, whose lease at Dolphin Stadium expires next year, before their ballpark is set to open in 2012. But he knows the team needs a place to play.

“What am I going to do? All of a sudden they can’t play there?” Ross said. “They’re a utility like we are. You have to respect that. We’re not going to squeeze them or anything.”

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Miami Dolphins (186)

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April 15, 2009

Fire Isiah Thomas (from FIU) T-shirts already for sale

Even before Isiah Thomas was introduced as Florida International University’s new basketball coach this morning, Justin Forer saw another merchandising opportunity –- and outlet for fans, who might not think too highly of the controversial Thomas.

With the ink barely dry on Thomas’ contract on Tuesday, Forer had already posted “Fire Isiah University” (FIU, get it?) T-shirts for $20 apiece on his FireThatGuy.com Web site. They’re in Golden Panthers colors, too: blue and white and blue and gold.

Forer, 31, a Miami native, who recently moved back to the Magic City after a decade in New York, including Thomas’ rocky tenure with the New York Knicks, actually launched the business in 2005 with shirts calling for the firing of former University of Miami football coach Larry Coker. The shirt was so popular that Forer’s side business was born.

“At the time there was a big move to have Larry Coker fired,” Forer said. “FireThatGuy is not necessarily to hate coaches, but to give fans a chance to voice how they really feel.”

Although not an alum, Forer knows a thing or two about Miami football, having, as he says, “grown up in the endzone of the old Orange Bowl.” And about South Florida sports: his first foray into the sports souvenir business was in 1996 during the Florida Panthers’ Stanley Cup run when he bought cases of plastic rats and he and some friends sold them out of boxes on street corners in Miami.

For his second sports business, other coaches and general managers followed Coker. There were Isiah Thomas shirts from his time with the Knicks. And hats and baby bibs, too.

“I don’t know that we sold any baby bibs, but they were out there,” Forer said. “After Larry Coker, Isiah became the No. 1 seller.”

Forer said he thought about starting a blog, but decided the merchandise was a more proactive way to get fans involved. His other victims have included former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph and former Detroit Lions President Matt Millen. Current ones include Miami football coach Randy Shannon and Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis. Forer insists that only two targeted coaches – Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics and Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants -- “not only did not get fired … but went on to win championships.”

“I hope that Isiah is not walking around with a 'Fire Justin' T-shirt,” he said. “And to be honest, the shirts are all in good fun. Fans deserve a chance to voice their opinion, too.”

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), FIU (4), Florida Panthers (108), Miami Hurricanes (32), Orange Bowl (45)

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Marlins Stadium Update No. 2.2 (Additional views)

downtownview.jpgOK, these aren't new -- they're just some of the renderings that have been included in a presentation made to the Miami Planning Advisory Board earlier this month. The board voted April 1 to recommend a Major Use Special Permit for the ballpark. That's the permit that's needed to begin construction.

The Miami City Commission is to consider the permit at its meeting on April 23.

Here's a selection of photos from the presentation by Populous (formerly HOK Sport). The first one at the top shows what the view of downtown Miami should be from inside the $515 million venue planned at the former site of the Orange Bowl.fountain.jpg


westplaza.jpg Get a sense of the vast west plaza with its reflecting pool and plenty of room for community gatherings. See how when the roof is open it will park over the western plaza to provide shade.

The surrounding parking garages will have retail on the ground floor.

plazaopen.jpg

The two at the bottom this entry show how the roof will look open and closed.roofopen.jpg

roofclosed.jpg


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

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April 14, 2009

Hispanic Market Weekly launches sports business feature

With sports teams, leagues and events beginning to understand their Latino fan bases better, Hispanic Market Weekly has added the sports business to its roster of weekly features.

“HispanicSportsBusiness” appears on Fridays in the Coral Gables-based online publication that covers Hispanic business trends, advertising and media. The section focuses on deals, marketing, and other efforts sports are using to reach the Hispanic market.

The section first launched April 3 and in its first two editions has included stories about a study NASCAR commissioned to learn more about its Latino fans; Mexican beer Tecate title sponsoring boxing on ESPN; and how the Houston Astros are catering to their Hispanic fans, who represent a variety of cultures and income levels.

The section, which also has included sports business news briefs on broadcast deals and coverage of the IMG World Congress of Sports conference in Miami earlier this month, aims to cover the dollars associated with soccer, football, baseball, basketball, auto racing and extreme sports.

“We’re about following the money, following the dollars,” said Adam Jacobson, HispanicSportsBusiness associate editor. “The Hispanic sports fan represents a huge part of the U.S. consumer base. Retailers understand this. Sports franchises are just beginning to understand this -- that the growth lies in the Hispanic fan base.”

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Auto Racing (42), Sponsorship (101), Television (35)

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April 13, 2009

D Wade’s original Converse shoe reissued

WADE-1-Angle2.jpgIn honor of Dwyane Wade’s MVP-caliber season and because fans have been asking for it, Converse has reissued a limited number of the Heat guard’s original signature shoe, the Wade 1.

Fewer than 2,400 pairs of the black shoe with the red accents that Wade wears on the court – yes, he’s been wearing it this season, too – have been released and are currently on sale only at Champs Sports, according to Converse. The shoes, which were first launched before the 2005-06 season, are $90.

The shoe features 0.8 (or 8/10ths of a second) on the inner heel to symbolize the time the ball left Wade's hands when he made two game-winning shots during his first two NBA seasons. His No. 3 appears on the shoelace eyelets and his name is on the shoe’s back and top.

But those nifty “MV3” shirts some were sporting at yesterday’s game against the Knicks, in which Wade scored 55 points, aren’t for sale. They were made just to promote Wade’s candidacy for MVP.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Shoes (15)

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April 10, 2009

Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards include former Marlin

UPDATED
2009---Braun2.jpgMy mother still gets emotional when she remembers how Sandy Koufax chose not to pitch the first game of the World Series in 1965 because it fell on Yom Kippur.

An old friend gave me a baseball with a photo of Shawn Green on it that has a place of prominence on my desk.

And determining if there are enough Jewish players in the Major Leagues to form a minyan (maybe if you reach down into the minors) is something akin to a parlor game.

Well, apparently there have been enough Jews in the Major Leagues for a fifth edition of “Jewish Major Leaguers” baseball cards, which Upper Deck is to begin shipping next week. The 2009 edition of 50 cards purports to include all Jews in the majors in 2008, including Milwaukee Brewers left fielder and former Hurricane Ryan Braun; Scott Schoeneweis; Gabe Kapler; Brad Ausmus; Ian Kinsler; and Kevin Youkilis (who knew?). Actually, as it turns out, lots of people knew -- check out Denis Leary discussing Youkilis' faith a few years ago here.

The set also includes “a newly-discovered player from the past,” according to a release: Bill Hurst, who was born in Miami Beach and pitched in two games for the Marlins in 1996. The set includes three former team owners – Andrew Freedman of the New York Giants (1895-1902); Julius Fleischman of the Cincinnati Reds (1902-1925) and Judge Emil Fuchs of the Boston Braves (1923-1935). Also in the set: Jerome Holtzman, MLB’s official historian, who died last year.

Jewish Major Leaguers is selling 3,000 of the sets for $36 apiece plus $3 for shipping. Find out more at jewishmajorleaguers.org.

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

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April 9, 2009

Dara Torres’ Milk mustache

dara_torres2.jpgAge-defying five-time Olympic swimmer Dara Torres is having a big week. Her book Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams At Any Stage In Your Life has just been published and today she debuts as “Dairy Torres” in a “Got Milk?” ad.

The 41-year-old Parkland mother is sporting one of those milk mustaches – she joins more than 250 athletes and celebrities who’ve worn it -- and praising the benefits of lowfat milk for women’s fitness.

“I’m a natural in water. But after a workout, my natural choice is milk. It’s a strong starting block for wellness,” her ad reads. “The protein helps build muscle, plus its nutrients help me refuel. Three glasses of lowfat or fat free milk a day. Lap it up.”

Researchers say milk helps repair muscles after workouts and improve bone density.

Read more about Torres’ campaign and see photos and video at whymilk.com.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79)

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April 8, 2009

More fun with Heat and doughnut brackets, Phanatic ice cream and Panthers' Sunrise Edition

Tidbits:

+ The Heat dancers still own the NBA’s dance bracket competition, winning the title for the fourth time in the contest’s four-year history. The teams are judged by fans who vote online. Wonder if Pat Riley has plans to trademark something with the number four...

+ In Dunkin’ Donuts bracket contest, Florida Donut Champ is … Boston Kreme. But runner-up Coconut gave the favorite a good run. And apparently there’s also precedent for Boston Kreme… in 2000, in honor of Dunkin’s 50th Anniversary, Americans voted Boston Kreme their favorite doughnut.

+ Win the World Series and your mascot gets an ice cream flavor. Or so it is for the Phillie Phanatic. The popular mascot for the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies now has his own “Phillie Phanatic Double Play,” which is: “Bavarian cream-flavored light ice cream with caramel corn and caramel swirl” according to a release. It joins Turkey Hill Dairy’s official team flavor, Phillies Graham Slam. “Just like the Phanatic, this ice cream is a little unusual but it's something you can't help but love,” Turkey Hill President Quintin Frey said in a statement. The mascot flavor will be sold at Citizens Bank Park.

+ And from BankAtlantic Center, increasingly energetic Panthers President Michael Yormark has added blogging to his early morning duties. His “Sunrise Edition” blog is on the team’s Web site. Even after last night’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that hobbled the team’s playoff hopes, Yormark tries to push optimism, while he also touts a new sponsor, Fontainebleau Miami, and his personal trainer, whom he says he works out with most weekdays at 4 a.m. Sunrise edition, indeed.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), MLB (110), Mascots (16), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120)

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April 7, 2009

Heat, Hawks arenas go green; others to follow

arenagreen.jpgAmericanAirlines Arena is bathed in green for tonight’s Heat-New Orleans Hornets game, in honor of the venue receiving LEED (which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The coveted designation was bestowed upon the Miami venue and Philips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers, this week. Heat and Miami officials announced AmericanAirlines Arena’s “green” stamp of approval Tuesday morning. My colleague Doreen Hemlock, who covers “green” business, was there to capture the sentiment.

Among the green features at the arena are its roof paints and sealants that reflect the sun, instead of absorbing heat; drought-resistant plants and irrigation system; and its purchase of chilled water from a nearby plant for more than $100,000 a month rather than building a water plant that would have cost about $30 million and requires high energy to operate.

Eric Woolworth, Heat president of business operations, said the decision to seek LEED certification was "strategic" to differentiate the arena from others and boost business.

"This is a really challenging time to attract sponsors, and this is one way to separate ourselves from the pack," he said, noting that Waste Management already has signed up as a partner in a multi-year deal. "And hopefully, it will attract entertainers and acts that want to play green venues and visitors who want to support green venues."

Costs for certification were minimal, because nearly all paperwork was handled in-house and few improvements were needed to qualify, said Kim Stone, the arena's general manager. The nearly 10-year-old building already boasted many of the electricity- and water-saving features to earn the certification, such as underground parking that produces less heat than above-ground asphalt lots.

Green has now reached the consciousness of sports teams and leagues. BankAtlantic Center has adopted environmental measures, and has explored LEED certification, but it not pursuing it at this time. The Sunrise venue that is home to the Panthers uses green cleaning products, recycles everything from cardboard to light bulbs to cell phones and is considering adding solar panels on the venue’s roof, arena officials said.

And Silver LEED certification is a requirement of the Marlins’ planned $515 million ballpark in Little Havana. Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami have agreed to contribute up to $1.75 million each toward the certification; with Major League Baseball pledging $1 million to the cost. The team would pick up any additional costs. The ballpark would become the second silver LEED certified building in the league, after the Washington Nationals’ ballpark.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), MLB (110), Miami Heat (174)

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Marlins Stadium Update No. $563 million (Bond issues)

Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved issuing as much as $563 million in bonds Tuesday to cover the cost of construction of the Marlins’ $515 million ballpark in Little Havana, but not before opponents got another chance to question the financing plan.

Commissioners voted 8-4 with Katy Sorenson, Carlos Gimenez, Sally Heyman and Joe Martinez voting no, just as they did for the ballpark financing plan on March 23. Opponents raised concerns about everything from the size of the bond issues being larger than authorized in the financing plan to having to tap the county’s general fund, if hotel bed taxes are not enough to cover the bond payments.

The team, city or county can still back out of the ballpark agreement by July 1.

Heyman worried about the county’s $4 million exposure if the deal is terminated by June 1 or $7 million if it’s done by July 1. She also wondered how much more the county will have to pay if its bond rating leads to a higher interest rate on the bonds.

“If the rate changes a half a percent, what is that going to cost us on a half a billion dollar series?” Heyman asked. “And then one percent?”

The commission was told the interest rates would be capped at 7.5 percent for non-taxable bonds backed by hotel bed taxes and 6.5 percent for the $50 million general obligation bond. They were also told an extra .01 percent could cost as much as $25 million more.

Martinez and Gimenez raised concerns again about the county using its general fund revenue as a secondary pledge to repay the bonds.

“If you don’t have it, you may have to go to your secondary pledge,” Martinez said. “I’m not opposed to the construction of it, I’m not sure anyone here wants to lose the Marlins, especially if yesterday’s game is an indication of a really good season.”

The Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 12-6 in their home opener at Dolphin Stadium Monday.

What concerns Martinez is the method of financing. “The economy is not what it was. Tourism has slid down quite a bit, the possibility exists,” he said.

County Manager George Burgess, who plans to go to credit agencies this month, said he believes the financing plan is responsible, but the county won’t know what kind of bond rating it will receive until it goes to the market.

“This is not an easy decision and nobody can guarantee anything,” he said.

Gimenez said, “It’s a risk I’m not willing to take. I don’t think it’s prudent for us to proceed with such a volatile funding source.”

Burgess said the team, city and county built in the July 1 termination date as a precaution. He said it was set then in order to ensure enough time for construction of the ballpark, scheduled to open in 2012.

“It allowed us the opportunity to see how the market responds, which is the essential,” Burgess said. “We won’t know until we go to market, and it gives us the opportunity to see more on bed tax performance ... We felt having that safety valve was wise.”

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

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April 6, 2009

Marlins Stadium Update No. 243 (Opening Day edition)

There are 243 home games until the Marlins’ new ballpark is scheduled to open in Little Havana in 2012. So at Monday’s home opener against the Washington Nationals at Dolphin Stadium, the team launched a new scoreboard feature: fun facts about the ballpark.

According to Marlins President David Samson there will be 243 of them – one unveiled at each home game during the next three seasons.

The first one?: The “ballpark retractable roof consists of 8,300 tons of steel, which is the exact weight of the Eiffel Tower!”

The ballpark is already part of the fabric at Dolphin Stadium. The team showed a video on the scoreboard with renderings by architecture firm Populous, the new name for architecture firm HOK Sport.

And the left field wall, which for the past five and half seasons has been covered by a giant Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida advertisement, is now back in Marlins’ hands. The tribe didn’t renew and now the team is using the wall to advertise its Super Saturday concerts; inaugural season in 1993; two World Series championships in 1997 and 2003; and projected 2012 ballpark opening. But Samson’s favorite part is the ballpark rendering and the words “Priority Seating for the New Marlins Ballpark @ Marlins.com."

“I’ve been waiting for six years to get the ballpark seating priority,” Samson said. “It’s been my dream, from the beginning. Reflecting the history was always something we’ve tried to do, this is the year we were able to do it.”

Samson said if the team received “an offer we can’t refuse,” he could see giving over advertising space, but he said the new ballpark seating reference is more valuable.

“The benefits we can derive, by having people buy tickets, priority in the new ballpark, is far greater than what we can get for an outfield wall,” he said.

Samson said the team has already created some 60 committees to consider all aspects of the new venue from naming rights to ticket prices to concession equipment storage areas to marketing.

For the first time since buying the team in 2002, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria faced an Opening Day without questions about getting ballpark financing. Loria said he’s thrilled at thinking of ways to program the new ballpark.

“It’ll be a destination. It’s going to be a beautiful piece of contemporary architecture, and there will be a lot of special things there for fans,” Loria said. “It will be a place where you know the game will be played, you won’t have any inconveniences. There will be air conditioning, so in more ways than one we’re looking at a ballpark that’s the coolest place in town.”

In the meantime, Loria hopes to keep his team competitive and to attract more fans to Dolphin Stadium.

“It may not be the ideal place, but it’s where we are,” he said. “We’re going to deal with it over the next three seasons, but at least we know the rainbow is in front of us. More than a light at the end of the tunnel, we have the rainbow, which I’m excited about. To me, to be able to watch this ballpark grow is what drives me.”

He said he wants to send a message to fans that with ballpark financing approved and ground breaking planned for this summer, the team will be in South Florida for generations.

“It’s OK for them to fall in love with your team, it’s going to be here,” he said before his Marlins opened the season with a 12-6 win over the Washington Nationals. “It’s time to make a commitment and fall in love permanently, we have a terrific baseball team.”

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Florida Marlins (193), Marlins Stadium Updates (112)

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More on the WBC and the All-Star Game from MLB

The Marlins are certainly going to be considered to host World Baseball Classic games in 2013, in a new ballpark, Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy said Monday during the Marlins opener against the Washington Nationals.

In town in part to thank local politicians -- several of whom attended the team's opener at Dolphin Stadium -- for approving the ballpark financing last month, DuPuy said MLB was impressed with the Marlins’ hosting of second round WBC games last month.

“The enthusiasm shown for the Venezuelan and Puerto Rican teams in the WBC was very encouraging. Clearly the market responded to those clubs and we would explore hosting a round in a new ballpark when it’s built,” DuPuy said. “Obviously for an event like the WBC, having a 60,000-seat facility is too massive.”

But DuPuy pointed out the more than 30,000 that attended the U.S.-Puerto Rico game last month, would have fit well in the team's planned 37,000-seat ballpark in Little Havana

“They’d be considered for any of the rounds,” DuPuy said of the Marlins in a new ballpark.

But a Finals in Miami raises some prickly questions. How would South Florida fans respond to a Finals like this year’s at Dodger Stadium that pitted Japan and Korea? Los Angeles has a large Asian population, but South Florida doesn’t. Could Miami host a Finals that included the Cuban team with so much anti-Castro sentiment locally? With the Obama administration looking to ease some travel restrictions to Cuba, maybe that won’t be an issue by the time a new ballpark opens.

Meanwhile, DuPuy reiterated that a new ballpark should also mean an MLB All-Star game in the Marlins’ future. This year’s is scheduled in St. Louis, followed by the 2010 game in Anaheim.

“The commissioner has made it a practice and a goal to award communities that build ballparks to showcase new ballparks and clearly the fact the Marlins are going to have a new ballpark, and that they lost an All-Star Game, will no doubt be strong considerations in awarding future All-Star Games,” he said.

DuPuy wouldn’t suggest a date for the Marlins to host one.

“For one thing," DuPuy said, "we haven’t broken ground yet.”

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Florida Marlins (193)

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Future NCAA and WBC games for South Florida?

Michigan State and North Carolina will close out the 2009 NCAA tournament with the title game in Detroit tonight. But the question remains, will South Florida host a portion of the tournament again?

Despite crowds that barely broke 10,000 at 20,000-seat AmericanAirlines Arena for the March 20 and 22 first and second round games last month, South Florida officials hope to bring men’s college basketball tournament games back. Bid specifications for the first and second rounds and regionals for 2011, 2012 and 2013 are to go out shortly, NCAA officials say.

“Most certainly,” Pete Garcia, athletic director at host school FIU, said of bidding again, “because it’s not just good only for FIU, but it’s good for the entire basketball community in South Florida.”

But it wasn’t lost on the hosts that the colleges assigned to AmericanAirlines Arena held scant attraction for South Floridians, who aren’t hugely supportive of college basketball to begin with.

“You worry about the things you control, what we couldn’t control was the matchups,” Garcia said. “We did the best with the teams that got awarded to us, it’s nobody’s fault. Team like Florida didn’t get to the NCAA tournament.”

Mike Sophia, executive director of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, said he was disappointed with ticket sales, but understood the matchups weren’t a draw.

“This year, we had first and second round and you wound up with the eight teams that may or may not sort of fit,” Sophia said. “I think Syracuse was an interesting team for us, a Big East team for us, but the rest of the group, was certainly strange.”

South Florida also lost out on the destination factor with two teams from warm weather Arizona.

“I just think now, we’ve got to look at it and I think they [the NCAA] should look at trying to make sure all the sites have some sort of geographical or national attractiveness to the teams that are playing at each site,” Sophia said.

As a result, Sophia said the host group will look at whether to apply for first and second round games (like those it hosted last month) or a regional (Sweet 16 and Elite 8), or both.

Jeanne Boyd, NCAA director of Division I Men’s Basketball, praised the hosting of the games at AmericanAirlines Arena and said a host of factors are considered for hosting in the future.

“They’ve done a very good job, the building has been very responsive,” she said.

Boyd said a thorough evaluation of everything from the experience at the arena to hotels will be taken into consideration, as well feedback from the hosts, the schools and others.

Meanwhile, the World Baseball Classic second round games at Dolphin Stadium last month didn’t draw as well as hosts had hoped – in part because the Netherlands were among the four teams, rather than the Dominican Republic. But officials were pleased with the turnout and are planning to bid for games in the next WBC in 2013, perhaps even the Finals. The Marlins hope to be hosting games in a new ballpark in Little Havana, scheduled to open in 2012.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Dolphin Stadium (31), Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), NCAA (38)

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April 3, 2009

Heat faces Charlotte on and off the court; and more with brackets

The Heat takes on the Charlotte Bobcats at 7 tonight, but the Heat dancers have already beaten the Charlotte Lady Cats in the NBA’s fourth annual NBA.com Dance Team Bracket Competition.

That means the three-time dance competition champion Heat dancers are in the championship round against the Houston Rockets Power Dancers.

Heat President Pat Riley allowed the dancers to use his trademarked “three-peat” term in their quest to win the dance competition last year. They wore “Three-peat” T-shirts and sent out email blasts reminding fans to vote for them. Riley trade-marked the term in 1988 when his L.A. Lakers were attempting to win their third straight NBA title. But the Detroit Pistons swept the Lakers in the 1989 Finals.

Fans can vote for the dance team they want crowned until 2 p.m. Monday online here.

Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts’ bracket is down to its “Fabulous Four” today:

It’s No. 1 Glazed; No. 3 Boston Kreme; No. 5 Chocolate Glazed; and No. 10 Coconut (talk about an upset).

The Florida State Donut Champion will be crowned Tuesday. Doughnut fans can lobby franchisees to vote for their favorite via Facebook and Twitter.


POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), NCAA (38), Promotions (120)

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April 2, 2009

Marlins Stadium Update No. 2.0 (The next chapter)

So, with financing approved, the Marlins ballpark project has now moved to the next stage – permitting, issuing bonds, examining and tweaking blueprints. On Wednesday, Miami’s Planning Advisory Board considered the ballpark plans for a Major Use Special Permit. That’s the permit that’s needed to get the ballpark constructed.

Since the $515 million ballpark and $94 million in parking spaces are planned for the former site of the Orange Bowl, the process is simpler than if it were planned for a site that had never housed a stadium.

Planning Advisory Board members heard from representatives of stadium architect HOK Sport (the company was renamed Populous this week, but apparently the change hasn’t yet occurred in Florida), and a transportation planner. They got an overview of how the ballpark is meant to fit into the surrounding Little Havana community, some of its unique features and key details about getting to and parking at the ballpark.

The architects said they view the ballpark as a “piece of art,” or “a sculpture” in an urban neighborhood. The ballpark will be “facing toward the city of Miami skyline to really place the building in the city of Miami,” said Greg Sherlock, HOK Sport principal. The way it’s designed, the outfield frames downtown Miami.

The roof is created in three panels that stack over the grand west plaza, a vast area with a reflecting pool that will become the focal point, not only for entry to the stadium, but also for pre- and post-game activities, and community events and gatherings.

“It’s a Kodak moment, where people want to enter the building,” Sherlock said.

Four mixed use garages with retail on the first floor are to flank the ballpark -- two on the north and two on the south. They are to feature wide – 15- to 21-foot – sidewalks alongside them. The idea is to make the ballpark pedestrian-friendly and a good fit within the neighborhood. Three surface lots each are planned on the east and west sides of the ballpark. There are also plans for residential units and a mix of landscaping with palms and shade trees.

Two Metrorail stations are within a mile of the stadium. Officials are exploring using water taxis on the Miami River as a method of reaching the ballpark.

Planning Advisory Board members raised minor concerns about ensuring enough recreational space for the public and about the type of landscaping. Board member Paul Mann questioned the financing of the deal, worrying that it puts the city’s general fund at risk.

“It makes me very uncomfortable that the negotiators on the city side did not protect the general fund,” Mann said. “We can build the stadium and hope everything works fine, but ultimately it’s the city of Miami’s general fund at stake here.”

But Mann and other board members were reminded their role was to consider the details of the ballpark’s blueprint, not the financing, which had already been debated by the city commission.

The board voted 6-1, with Mann dissenting, to recommend the permit for the ballpark’s construction.

Miami City Commissioners are to consider the permit later this month. Miami-Dad County Commissioners are to consider the documents to issue more than $300 million in bonds for ballpark construction at their meeting on Tuesday.

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

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Sports and the economy: building venues?

The IMG World Congress of Sports, held in Miami for the first time this year, got underway Wednesday morning with a panel discussion on the impact of the economy on professional sports. Sports leaders from NASCAR CEO Brian France to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to retired Heat player Alonzo Mourning talked about belt-tightening, changing the way teams and corporations do business and cutting ticket prices to fill stadiums and arenas.

Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, the sports and entertainment giant that includes Staples Center and the Los Angeles Kings, warned that it’s a difficult time to be getting financing for venues.

But after the panel discussion, Leiweke said he’s convinced sports venues are the right kinds of projects for investment these days. He described the Marlins’ odyssey in getting financing for a new ballpark, as “unbelievable perseverance.” Miami-Dade County Commissioners are to consider the documents to issue more than $300 million in bonds for the project at a meeting Tuesday.

“The banks are going to come out. At some point or other they’ll stick their head out of the sand and begin to understand it’s OK to do business again,” Leiweke said. “They’re going to be looking for things that are predictable, and they’re going to be looking in particular for things that create huge economic impact. And what I can attest to, when we built facilities, Staples center in LA or the 02 in London, the economic impact of those facilities is greater than just about any project I can imagine that we use to resuscitate an economy and create jobs.”

Leiweke has overseen development of L.A. Live, a mixed use sports and entertainment complex that surrounds Staples Center.

“And so, the stadium and in particular the public risk of the bonds, I think is as good an investment as you can make to try to jump-start an economy. I get highways and I clearly get schools, but I also think there has to be a mix of about trying to find things that have the greatest multiplier within the economy,” he said. “And these sports facilities, despite these professors that want to come out of their classrooms and argue against it, you go look at L.A. Live and the $2.5 billion that has been invested around that district and you tell me Staples Center wasn’t one of the greatest economic engines in the history of downtown Los Angeles and I think so too shall be the Florida Marlins stadium.”

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

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April 1, 2009

Scouting for 2010 Super Bowl; bidding for 2013

NFL officials have been in South Florida this week planning for the next year’s double dose of the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium. Event architects and planning teams held meetings, dropped in on the stadium and scouted venues to use for next year’s accompanying events, said Frank Supovitz, NFL senior vice president of special events.

Meanwhile, South Florida officials are submitting a bid today for the 2013 game, along with New Orleans and Phoenix. Preliminary applications are due today with a decision by NFL owners expected during their May 18-20 meeting in Fort Lauderdale.

"We truly believe as a host city, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach county, we have so much to offer, with respect to hotels, restaurants, golf courses, beaches, weather. It’s kind of hard to beat, said South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto.

In the interest of spreading the game around, however, New Orleans might be difficult to beat. The city, which along with South Florida has held the game a record nine times, has not hosted the game since 2002, before Hurricane Katrina. South Florida, which hosted the 2007 game, will top the list of times hosting with 10 when Super Bowl XLIV is scheduled for Dolphin Stadium on Feb. 7, 2010. The game was in Phoenix in 2008.

Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to the Super Bowl. South Florida was awarded the 2010 game before the 2007 game was even played, after an agreement to hold the game in New York was abandoned after plans for a new football stadium in Manhattan fell through.

Former Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga had hoped the Super Bowl would be played in South Florida on a regular basis every few years. New team owner Stephen Ross said he shares that sentiment. Bid packages for the 2014 game are expected to be released in November, Supovitz said.

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

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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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