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October 29, 2009

Marlins Stadium Update No. 900,000 square feet

You may disagree with the amount of public funding that’s been committed to it or its location at the former site of the Orange Bowl, but the Florida Marlins’ ballpark is actually being built. Construction is thoroughly underway.

So much so that the team was happy to show off the ongoing construction during a hardhat media tour this morning. Check out a photo gallery here. Sid Perkins, the project’s construction manager who works for the Hunt/Moss joint venture that his building the venue, was our tour guide. He wore a black Marlins polo shirt, a cowboy-shaped hardhat with a Smith & Wesson logo, and carried a cigar.

We had to wear hardhats, too, (although not cowboy-shaped), some of which had been used by Miami-Dade County Commissioners during the ceremonial ground-breaking on July 18. I got Bruno Barriero’s; Miami Herald Marlins beat writer Clark Spencer’s was Sally Heyman's…(insert joke here…)

On the stadium’s north side, four of the dozen 138-foot tall super columns that will support the roof structure have been completed. The four on the south side are underway and should be completed by the end of November. The final four will be located in the plaza area at the west entrance of the ballpark.

On the west side of the site, the executives’ offices that will overlook home plate are also underway. Marlins President David Samson pointed out two construction workers who were literally standing in what will be his office. Of the 30,000 square feet of offices, so far about 6,000 square feet have been constructed.

Just to the south of the administrative offices, heading up the first base line, you can actually see part of the seating deck being built.

In the outfield the framing for the glass panels offering a view of downtown Miami is also coming together. Some 220 workers are on site moving cranes and dirt, sawing wood, pouring concrete. By Christmas that should rise to 400 workers. Overall, Perkins said 800 to 1,000 people will work on the project.

Carlos Ruiz called the work a godsend. Ruiz is vice president of Equipment Tool Solution in Hialeah, which is renting equipment for the project.

“If it wasn’t for this project here I would have had to let go half of my staff, literally half of my staff, because nothing is coming up. As far as new construction, there’s very, very little,” Ruiz said.

The Marlins say they have exceeded their contractual commitment to hire locals, with more than 61 percent of the firms and workers coming from Miami-Dade County, Marlins Senior Vice President, Stadium Development Claude Delorme said. He said the construction is ahead of schedule, so far, and on budget. (That’s the ballpark budget, not the ballooning cost of the parking garages and lots, for which the city of Miami is responsible. Parking was meant to be capped at $94 million, but with soft costs rose to $135 million. Last week, Miami Commissioners would only agree to spend $120 million.)

Delorme said what sets the ballpark apart from others will be its intimate size at 36,000 seats with room for another 1,000 standing, its views of Miami and its plaza that will measure three and half football fields and will include pre- and post-game activities.

“This is my fifth Major League ballpark, the first one with a retractable roof,” Perkins said. “Prior to this, they’ve all been in retro style. This is a very modernistic design. These buildings are very exciting. You have the ability to come and see it and watch it on TV.”

Samson said he visits the site once or twice a week. He said while the building is being constructed, team officials are working on plans for decorating and programming the 900,000 square foot venue, scheduled to open in April 2012.

“It’s still overwhelming because the work that has to be done to get the shell built is one thing, but then picture [picking out] finishes, going room by room like we’re doing with outlets and TVs and data drops and furniture and how many chairs do you need,” Samson said. “We have a whole group of people committed solely to figuring out where memorabilia and art is going to go, on which walls because there’s thousands of things that have to happen. And time’s ticking and it’s going to be opening day very soon.”

But then he added: “It’s great to see progress…We’re only in the second inning.”

On his way out of the site Thursday, Samson stopped one of the construction workers, who was wearing a hardhat featuring a Miami Dolphins logo. He needed to get the man’s contact information, he said, to get him a hardhat with a Marlins logo.

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

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October 28, 2009

Miami Heat tries to create "buzz" with billboard campaign


Anyone else wonder what the “DOUBTERS” billboard on I-95 southbound just north of Miami was all about?

Clearly the idea was to catch your attention. A black billboard with just the word "DOUBTERS" in white and some birds perched atop it doing their business directly on the board. No word of whom or what had placed the ad.

As days went by successively more birds appeared atop the board and with them, more droppings. So that by this week, the droppings were covering the board, close to obliterating the "Doubters." And then a few days ago, the Miami Heat tag advertising 2009-10 tickets for sale appeared below the billboard.


Last season’s Heat ad campaign took aim at the doubters, too. Guard Dwyane Wade opened one of the team’s Something2prove ticket campaign ads by saying: “To the doubters…”

Soon the billboard message should change to this year’s tagline:

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

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Miami Heat season tickets go green

When Miami Heat season ticket holders arrive at AmericanAirlines Arena for tonight’s 2009-10 season home opener against the New York Knicks, they won’t be carrying traditional stock tickets with them.

Instead, they’ll have the print-at-home variety. The team has chosen not to print up ticket booklets to “reduce environmental contamination from harsh inks and chemicals used in the printing process,” according to a message sent to season ticket holders.

“What I hope is it’s one more step towards new technology that’s coming out hopefully in time for next year, where we can embed the bar codes into credit cards, licenses, whatever, so you don’t even need anything,” said Eric Woolworth, the Heat’s president of business operations.

Meanwhile, the Heat's also promoting recycling, by having the plastic bag that wraps the Miami Herald serve as a tool for getting ticket discounts. Bring the bag to the arena's ticket office for discounts of $10 off 300 level tickets ($30 or higher) or $15 off 100 level tickets ($85 or higher). That's the bags with the Heat ad on them that look like this:

The Phoenix Coyotes became the first NHL team to go to a paperless ticketing system and are using a swipe card for entry to games. Read about it here.

Read about the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers experimenting with paperless ticketing here.

And here’s a story I wrote last year about sports – from golf courses to teams – making environmentally friendly changes in the name of going green.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), NHL (56), Tickets (126)

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October 27, 2009

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade on Jordan Brand, making movies and the Miami Dolphins

Dwyane2JB.jpgMiami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is appearing in an ad for the Jordan Brand that broke on Sunday. Wade, who had been the face of Converse, signed a new shoe deal with Michael Jordan's shoe company this summer.

Last month, Wade held a "brand summit" with his endorsement partners to plan his advertising and marketing messaging for this season. Read more about his evolving business side in a today's piece here.

The Heat's 2009-10 season starts Wednesday, when the team plays the New York Knicks at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Here are some more of Wade's answers to questions about his off-the-court endeavors:

On moving from Converse to the Jordan Brand:

It’s a great decision. I need you to understand, Converse is under the Nike umbrella, so it was a decision from Nike, not only to put me into the Jordan Brand, where my individual things could be seen more, but also to help the brand as it continues to grow. So it was a corporate decision, and I just reaped the benefits from it. I had a great team at Converse, but I think it was time to move on from both sides, so it was great.

On whether he had concerns about moving from being the star of the Converse brand to one of several elite athletes at Jordan Brand:

When I was 24, I probably have thought about it, I probably wouldn’t have wanted it to happen. Being 27 and being smart and understanding that everyone has a place, I kind of relish it, I kind of open my arms to it. When I was 24 I would have said No, I would have said ‘I want to be the face of this brand, I want to be the all.’ But now knowing the team that we have at the Jordan Brand is only going to make it better for everyone else. It’s not pressure on one guy to build the brand, it’s going to be on a lot of different guys to help add to the brand that Michael has already built. So it sort of makes our job a little bit easier actually.

On whether he’ll have his own signature shoe at Jordan Brand:

That’s still to be determined. I just came into the brand two and a half months before the season, so a lot of stuff we have to get together … We’ve got some special things planned, but you know how we are at the Jordan Brand, we keep everything secretive…

What shoe he’ll wear this season:

I wear the 16.5 that’s a combination of Jordan 16 and Jordan 17. And also wear the Hallowed Ground, and another shoe they’re going to be putting them out. I’ll be wearing three different shoes throughout the year until they decide they want me to wear something else.

On holding a “summit” with his endorsement partners:

I think the biggest thing, which we always talked about just never could do, you want everyone you’re endorsing and partners of, to all be on the same page and tell a story, you don’t want everyone coming out with something different and telling different stories … It’s exciting for us to get everyone in the same room, and see what each other is working so we’re not overlapping, not crossing each other. It’s an opportunity to see the plans and say OK Gatorade is doing this, Jordan Brand we don’t have to do this, we can concentrate on this part. It’s just about getting everybody to work together.

On this year’s message:

This year so far, the message so far is simple … I think it’s self-explanatory to the point of where my team is and where other teams are, we’re still rebuilding , so I have to continue to keep proving myself and our team needs to keep proving themselves.

On what kinds of companies he’d like to partner with:

You always want to add the right things, and at the same time I don’t want to do too much, because I still want to have time for myself. There are certain categories I want to go after that at one point I did have. At one point, I had the car category with Lincoln, but that was only a one year deal. A lot of people still talk about my commercial now, years later. Car and food and maybe some other ones. Personally I want to do maybe Calvin Klein.

On whether he still has interest in acting in movies (he has a cameo role in Just Wright starring Queen Latifah set for release next year):

I’m going to say I’m going to hold off for a minute, on like really trying to get into movies. Like I wouldn’t mind doing cameos. It’s so long, it’s like I was there for like 13 hours and I wasn’t a major, major part of the movie. So I really have to have time to really do that. So right now I’m still going to make my cameos, and do certain things for fun that we want to do. But I don’t know if I really want to do a Space Jam or nothing like that. That takes a lot of time. It’d have to be the right time and the right thing.

On whether he’ll walk the orange carpet at a Miami Dolphins game:

We’ll see. I don’t know. I went to the first game, I was there supporting. I didn’t go on the carpet, that was for the owners. I was there to support. Maybe, maybe not.

Will he become a limited partner in the Dolphins?

Maybe, maybe not. It’s all exciting and interesting, it’s all just chatter. It’s a lot of chatter.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), Sponsorship (101)

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October 26, 2009

Knight Commission report: college football and basketball coaches’ salaries excessive

At its 20th anniversary meeting in Miami on Monday, the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics released the results of a survey of university presidents indicating the rising costs of college athletics need to be curtailed.

More than 80 percent of Division 1A (known as Football Bowl Subdivision) school presidents participated in the survey. Of those, 85 percent believe salaries for football and basketball coaches are excessive, and a majority believe even those on their own campuses are overpaid.

Costs of athletics have risen three to four times faster than those for academics. While a majority of the presidents believe serious reform needs to occur there was little consensus on how to make that happen. Read the report here. Read the AP’s account of the meeting here.

With the research in hand, the commission plans to issue a report next year detailing how to approach reform.

The Commission also unveiled a new feature, College Sports 101, on its Web site today that examines the money in college sports, including revenues and expenditures. College Sports 101 can be found here.


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October 23, 2009

NASCAR driver Carl Edwards does backflip into Biscayne Bay

Carl-Flip1jpg.jpgIn advance of the Nov. 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sprint Cup driver Carl “ESPN Body Issue cover model” Edwards, made a stop in South Florida this week.

Edwards, now sponsored by Aflac, wore a company tie covered with ducks, and took a ride on a Duck Tours Miami land and sea vehicle. He even agreed to make one of his signature backflips off the vessel into the bay. See the video below.

The driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion is a fan of the Homestead track, having captured both the Ford 300 Nationwide and Ford 400 Sprint Cup series races during Ford Championship Weekend last year.

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

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October 22, 2009

Everlast, 24 Hour Fitness expand fitness boxing; Andre Berto to appear in Miami

ALICOMPOSITE1.jpgIn advance of its 100th anniversary next year, Everlast Worldwide is capitalizing on the popularity of boxing for fitness by expanding its relationship with 24 Hour Fitness.

An updated version of the Everlast Shadow Box workout is being offered at all 24 Hour Fitness locations.

To help South Florida 24 Hour Fitness centers kick off the upgraded classes, WBC Welterweight World Champion Andre Berto, who is originally from Miami, will lead a class (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and then sign autographs and pose for photos (12:30-1:30 p.m.) on Saturday at the 24 Hour Fitness Town & Country location, 8420 Mills Rd., Miami.

The workout is 45 minutes that includes traditional boxing conditioning in a dozen three-minute rounds. Everlast equipment is incorporated into the exercises.

“The Everlast Shadow Box Workout class allows us the opportunity to demonstrate the health benefits of boxing for fitness through an authentic Everlast boxing workout and introduce consumers to quality equipment and apparel that will enhance their overall fitness experience,” Everlast President Adam Geisler said in a statement.

The company is also celebrating the 35th anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s “Rumble in the Jungle” with a vintage line of Ali products.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55)

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Miami Dolphins-colored Breathe Right strips: bringing new meaning to "game face"

Dolphinsbreathe.jpgWhen fans arrive at Sunday’s Miami Dolphins-New Orleans Saints game at Land Shark Stadium, they’ll receive an aqua and orange Breathe Right Nasal Strip.

Not eye black, mind you. A nasal strip. It looks something like a Band-Aid -- it's affixed just below the bridge of your nose -- but it helps you breathe easier, while you’re sleeping or exercising.

According to the strips maker, GlaxoSmithKline, NFL players are increasingly using the strips because they reduce the energy needed to breathe, while you’re working out or competing. NFL players have been using them since 1994, the company says.

GSK is planning to distribute 400,000 of the strips in the next month at five NFL games to introduce its Breathe Right Extra Nasal Strips, which are 50 percent stronger than the original version. The company is to give away 75,000 strips to fans attending Sunday’s Dolphins game and 80,000 at Sunday’s New York Giants-Arizona Cardinals game.

“Breathe Right has had a long relationship with professional football players using our products both on and off the field,” Breathe Right vice president of marketing Darren Singer said in a statement. “By sampling the new Extra strips at football stadiums nationwide, we’ll have an opportunity to help people understand that this is a product strong enough for high-performance athletes, but available to every day consumers.”

POSTED IN: Land Shark Stadium (44), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178)

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October 21, 2009

Miami Heat celebrates Heat week with community activities

HeatBiz1.jpgThe Heat is holding a series of events in the community to gear up for its 2009-10 home opener on Oct. 28 against the New York Knicks at AmericanAirlines Arena. Visit for more information.

Oct. 22: Heat dancers, Burnie the mascot, Xtreme team and DJ MDOT serve customers at McDonalds, 32nd Avenue and U.S. 1, Coconut Grove, 1-3 p.m.

Oct. 23: Heat Happy Hour at Tobacco Road, Miami, including Heat dancers, Burnie, Xtreme team, 5-8 p.m.

Oct. 24: Tweet with the Heat, Twitter scavenger hunt at Dolphin Mall, 1-3 p.m. Registrations starts at noon at Miami Hoops Gear store. Grand prize is Heat season tickets. Follow

Oct. 25: Open practice, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena. Doors open at 10:30 a.m., parking and practice are free and first 500 fans receive an Adidas hat.

Oct.26: Rush Hour Heat. The team pays tolls and dancers and Burnie will hand out goodies and entertain commuters heading east on 836 at Northwest 17th Avenue, 7-9 a.m.

Papa John’s Pizza Deliveries, order between 6-8 p.m. and your pizza might be delivered by a player, dancer, Burnie or Xtreme team member. Vouchers for a free ticket to select November games will got out to first 20 deliveries in Broward, West Palm Beach and Miami-Dade locations during that time.

Oct. 27: Heat window decals will be given out at AmericanAirlines Arena, 5-7 p.m., while supplies last.

Oct. 28: Opening night versus the Knicks, includes Tim Hardaway’s jersey retirement ceremony pregame, 7:30 p.m., AmericanAirlines Arena.

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

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October 19, 2009

Tony Stewart undergoes Burger King polygraph; Estrada’s sunglasses for sale

TSpolygraph.jpgThe moment of truth – about NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart’s love for Burger King’s Whopper sandwich – takes place at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Stewart has agreed to undergo an hour-long polygraph test with questions submitted by fans.

It’s all part of Miami-based Burger King’s “Tony Stewart School of Endorsements” ad campaign that launched in September and includes CHiPs star Erik Estrada hawking “Estrada” sunglasses and Carrot Top trying to sell a juicer. Stewart tells the class it should “only endorse things you believe in.” Thus the polygraph test, which can be seen at estrada1.jpg

Meanwhile, Estrada’s sunglasses have become something of a novelty: 150 pairs are being auctioned on eBay with the proceeds going to Burger King’s Have It Your Way Foundation. Check them out at, but be forewarned, as the site says, they’re a novelty, not for actually seeing.

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

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NBA launches comprehensive Hispanic marketing initiative

enebea.jpgLast week, the NFL refs announced penalties in Spanish for the benefit of the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the Miami Dolphins-New York Jets Monday Night Football game at Land Shark Stadium. The stadium took on a decidedly Latin flavor with a Calle Dolphins tailgating area; Gloria Estefan and Hank Williams Jr. singing a bilingual “Are you ready for some football?” in the MNF theme video; and Marc Anthony performing the national anthem.

Sports leagues certainly recognize the power of marketing to Hispanics. Today, the NBA announced its most comprehensive Hispanic marketing effort that encompasses all of its previous efforts, which have included Spanish-language radio broadcasts in 11 markets and Spanish language team Web sites, and new ones, including advertising, broadcasting and online components.

The league’s effort is called “éne•bé•a,” – or the Spanish pronunciation of ‘NBA,’ – and includes a dedicated Web site at, which currently features a story about the Miami Heat signing guard Carlos Arroyo (who is from Puerto Rico); advertising that features Heat guard Dwyane Wade along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on Spanish networks; and content on Spanish language social networking sites. There will also be special merchandise. NBA TV even broadcast the NBA Mexico game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns in Spanish on Sunday.

Already recognized for its efforts to reach fans globally, the NBA wants to make further inroads with its Hispanic fans, who make up 15 percent of the league’s fan base. Some 25 NBA players hail from Latin America and Spain.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said the number of Hispanics living in the U.S. is close to 50 million that will have a spending power in the next several of years of $1 trillion.

“We pride ourselves on our diversity and inclusiveness as a league,” Stern said. “We’ve slowly begun to diversify our efforts to speak to our Hispanic market.”

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Television (35)

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Minor league hockey team puts Hardee’s logo in the goal

bisquitmallards1.jpgThe Quad City Mallards of the IHL are promoting what they say is another professional hockey first: a logo in the ice in the goal. Not in front of the goal. Not near the goal. Actually in the goal.

It’s a logo for Hardee’s in honor of the quick service restaurant’s “Biscuit in the Basket” promotion, which will award select fans with free biscuits for Mallards’ goals. Fans in a randomly selected row of seats will receive a coupon good for a biscuit for each goal scored by the Mallards at home games at the i Wireless Center in Moline, Ill., this season. Fans in the entire section get free biscuits, if the Mallards score at least four goals.

Hardee’s will also sponsor giveaway items at several games. Mallards players will be visiting select Hardees beginning this morning to promote the partnership.

The Mallards, you may recall, are the team that when I wrote about the Panthers’ new “locker room” seats, which allow fans to get autograph sessions and email cards from a Panthers player, pointed out they let fans into the actual locker room up to 30 minutes before game time. The Mallards’ home opener is Oct. 24.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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October 16, 2009

Jacksonville Jaguars blackouts; NFL television maps

The Jacksonville Jaguars host the St. Louis Rams on Sunday and once again the game isn’t being aired on local television. Three home games; three blackouts.

That’s not news -- team officials have predicted they aren’t likely to sell out any home games this season in time to prevent local television blackouts. They’ve blamed the economy. There’s also that loss of 17,000 season ticket holders from last season.

But I think another telling detail is this: a co-worker is one of the Jaguars original season ticket holders. The team played its first game in 1995 and is celebrating its 15th season this year. To honor this milestone, the team sent its original season ticket holders 15-year commemorative pins. Here’s what the note that came with the pins says:

“As a token of our appreciation, we have sent you and 3,819 other special fans who have been with us since Day 1 a pair of 15-year commemorative pins.”

It’s not clear how many season tickets those 3,820 “special fans” account for, but to be at a number that small in just 15 years can’t be good for helping you avoid blackouts.

Meanwhile, here’s a way to tell which NFL games are being broadcast where -- someone’s done a lot of work to figure this out -- check out this site for NFL TV distribution maps. Thanks to Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for finding this.

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Television (35), Tickets (126)

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Miami Dolphins & Café Bustelo: a grounds breaking partnership

DOLPHINSbustelo1.jpgThe Miami Dolphins are calling it “groundbreaking,” but grounds breaking seems more apt. The team and Café Bustelo have teamed up.

At a launch party announcing the new partnership at the Gansevoort Hotel on South Beach Thursday night, Café Bustelo was dubbed the “Official Espresso” of the team. The espresso coffee is now available at Dolphins home games in the club level at section 242 and the invitation-only Ocean Drive Club at Land Shark Stadium.

Today, the team and Cafe Bustelo, which is owned by Rowland Coffee Roasters (a Cuban family-owned South Florida company), are launching a contest on the Spanish channel of for a chance to win a cafecito break with team limited partners Gloria and Emilio Estefan during a home game this season, two tickets to the game, Dolphins merchandise and a year’s supply of Café Bustelo. Enter at through Nov. 6.

Next spring, the company will release Café Bustelo in Dolphins-branded coffee cans.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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October 15, 2009

Ricky Williams adds restaurant to his resume

Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams is adding yet another job to his resume: restaurateur.

Williams and former Cincinnati Bengal Rudi Johnson have signed on as co-owners of PROOF on Ocean Drive, a health-conscious restaurant and lounge set to open next month in the Z Ocean Hotel South Beach.

“We are thrilled to have such highly-regarded, well-known backers as Ricky and Rudi in our new venture,” Douglas McAllister, president and CEO of the restaurant’s developers Hospitality Development Management Group, said in a statement. “Their leadership and determination on the field will translate just as well off the field, and will no doubt contribute to our commitment to making PROOF a major Miami Beach hot-spot and success.”

Read Ethan Skolnick’s blog item on the restaurant endeavor here.

Williams isn’t the only local athlete with ties to a South Beach restaurant. Last year, retired Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning joined a group of athletes, including retired Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis and the Denver Nuggets' Chauncey Billups, who together own about a third of Philippe Miami, the South Beach installment of the upscale Chinese restaurant Philippe Chow in New York. Philippe Miami is in the Gansevoort South Hotel.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), NFL (178)

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New Gators cereal available; win fridge full of milk

2009_gators_box1.jpgThe 2009 Gators cereal, which hits stores across Florida today, features UF coach Urban Meyer holding up the 2008 National Championship trophy from his team’s victory in the BCS national championship game at Dolphin Stadium in January.

The box of frosted corn flakes is the sixth in the limited edition series produced in a partnership between Florida’s Dairy Farmers and Gator Sports Marketing, which handles UF’s sponsorship and advertising. The cereal is distributed by Deerfield Beach-based Triton Innovative Marketing. (UF is among a number of college and pro teams with special edition cereals. Read the piece I wrote about the program in December here).

As part of this year’s release, the Dairy Farmers have also launched a contest to win a refrigerator and a year’s a supply of milk. (That’s 52 coupons good for a gallon of milk each week, in case you were wondering). Entrants must be at least 18 and explain why they want a new fridge and milk. Enter the contest until Dec. 15 – one entry per person per day -- at

More than 20,000 of the boxes go on sale today at Winn Dixie, Albertsons, Sweetbay and at

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), NCAA (38), Sponsorship (101), UF (18)

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October 14, 2009

Miami Heat's Michael Beasley featured in online adidas ad

Beasleyadidas.jpgMiami Heat forward Michael Beasley is among the NBA players adidas is featuring in its 2009-10 “It’s On Me for My Brotherhood” marketing campaign, which begins airing Thursday.

Beasley is appearing in print ads (see photo) and an online ad at In the ad, Beasley goes to pick out his shoes and invokes the names of other adidas athletes, including Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups. He then pulls on his pair of TS Commander LTs with “B. Easy” on them.

While spots featuring the adidas athletes individually appear on the company’s revamped Web site, a separate ad with several adidas athletes, including Garnett, Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose, will air on TV. Beasley does not appear in the group ad, but you can see his online ad here:

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

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Marlins Stadium Update No. 928,000

Luxury auto dealer Norman Braman has struck out again.The Third District Court of Appeal affirmed on Wednesday the lower court’s ruling in Braman’s suit targeting the financing for the Florida Marlins' new ballpark and other Miami projects.

That means the appeals court agreed with the Miami-Dade Circuit court, which last year ruled against Braman. Braman’s attorneys argued, among other things, the public should have been allowed to vote on the use of public tax dollars for the venue for a private baseball team.

“We’re evaluating the decision and our options,” Braman said Wednesday afternoon.

The Marlins are continuing construction of the $515 million ballpark, which began in July on 928,000 square feet at the former site of the Orange Bowl. The team declined to comment on the appeals court ruling.

Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami were also named in Braman’s suit.

“Incredible progress is being made at the site of the new Miami Marlins ballpark,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said in a statement. “Jobs are being created and the Little Havana neighborhood is alive with new activity. Today’s ruling ensures that we will continue to move forward in a positive direction, creating opportunities for businesses, residents, and visitors.”

The ballpark is scheduled to open in 2012.

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

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October 13, 2009

Miami Dolphins may add Fergie as a limited partner

Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross could be adding Fergie as his next limited partner in the team.

NFL owners meeting in Boston this week approved Fergie as a potential owner in the team, but the Dolphins have yet to complete a deal with the Black Eyed Peas' singer.

“The owners did approve Fergie’s application for ownership today but there is nothing more to announce at this time as a formal agreement has not been completed,” Dolphins owner Steve Ross said via e-mail.

Fergie’s on tour in Australia, so don’t expect a formal announcement until she’s returned. Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas already have a marketing partnership with the Dolphins – that’s why you see all those promotional messages from band members on the scoreboard during home games at Land Shark Stadium.

Fergie also sported a pink Dolphins jersey and recorded a public service message (see video below) for the NFL’s “Crucial Catch” breast cancer screening campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The addition of Fergie would continue to spice up the already crowded orange carpet crowd that makes up Ross’ ownership group.


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

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October 12, 2009

Miami Dolphins: orange carpet extravaganza

Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross' limited partners weren't the only Latin celebrities to walk the orange carpet Monday to help the NFL celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Sure Gloria and Emilio Estefan were there, as were Marc Anthony and his wife Jennifer Lopez. Anthony sang the national anthem; the Estefans helped out with the halftime show.

But there were lots of others: IndyCar driver Rafael Matos, who lives in Miami and competed in Saturday's IndyCar Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, attended his first football game. “I’m here to see Ronnie Brown and the Wildcat,” Matos said.

Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and soap opera star wife Adamari Lopez wore matching No. 1 jerseys. Also on hand were: Lili Estefan (Emilio Estefan’s niece) and Raul de Molina of TV’s El Gordo y La Flaca; Mexican pop duo Jesse and Joy; Texas Rangers and former Marlins catcher Pudge Rodriguez; and artist Romero Britto.

Ross and ESPN President George Bodenheimer arrived together. Also walking the orange carpet were model Naomi Campbell; IndyCar driver and Boca Raton resident Ryan Hunter-Reay; Daymond John of TV’s The Shark Tank; and the Heat’s DJ Irie.

"It's an absolute spectacle," Irie said of the atmosphere. "This is the definition of Miami."

Legendary coach Don Shula, who served as honorary captain Monday night, arrived with his wife Mary Anne, to chants of "Shula! Shula! Shula!" As he was walking the carpet, so were some Victoria's Secret Angel wannabes. Shula posed for photos with the women.

The orange carpet has been evolving since it was unveiled at the team's home opener on Sept. 21. On Monday night, Lexus was sponsoring the orange carpet experience, so two Lexus cars -- an IS 250 and an IS 350 -- were displayed on either side of the carpet. At one point, the alarm on one of the cars went off...

POSTED IN: Land Shark Stadium (44), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178)

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Miami Dolphins business, MNF v. Jets, bagels & Pro Bowl tickets

+ Wondering why the Miami Dolphins haven’t struck a sponsorship deal with the Florida lottery now that the NFL allows such arrangements? The Dolphins told me they didn’t think a deal could be reached for this season. The SportsBusiness Journal reports the Dolphins nixed a three-team sponsorship deal with the lottery that would have also included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The journal says the Dolphins felt they deserved more in the deal. According to the piece, which you can read here, 18 teams have deals with 20 state lotteries.

By the way, through yesterday’s games, Florida’s three teams are a combined 3-11 on the season.

+ But the Dolphins don’t play until tonight – their highly anticipated matchup against the New York Jets at Land Shark Stadium. The MNF game marks the NFL’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The Dolphins are wearing their orange jerseys; team owner Steve Ross’ Latin limited partners Marc Anthony and wife Jennifer Lopez, Gloria and Emilio Estefan will be out in force. Gloria’s MNF theme video with Hank Williams Jr. complete with lines in Spanish, such as “Estos listos para futbol” debuts. Anthony is to sing the National Anthem. Latin stars perform pregame and during halftime. has even created a series of videos in honor of the matchup that pit a Hispanic Dolphins and Jets fan. There are four – one for each quarter – with the first showing a child in a Mark Sanchez shirt beating up a dolphin piñata. Thanks to Advertising Age’s Laura Martinez for finding these. Here’s the first one:

Watch the others here: second, third and fourth quarters.

+ The Dolphins are 2-0 when they’ve worn their orange jerseys, but just in case the Jets do win, Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company (14451 S. Military Trail, Delray Beach) reminds us, customers can get a free bagel the day after a Jets or Giants win. One bagel per customer who can share the winning score. Bagels are being given away today because the Giants beat the Oakland Raiders 44-7. If the Jets win tonight, same drill for customers who can recite the score.

+ Pro Bowl: Tickets for the 2010 Pro Bowl, which is being held the Sunday before the Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium, go on sale at 7 p.m. They cost $50 to $195. Buy them at, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Land Shark Stadium (44), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sponsorship (101), Sports Team Owners (49), Tickets (126)

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October 10, 2009

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Florida Panthers' ownership, league economics

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman attended the Florida Panthers' home opener against the New Jersey Devils Saturday at BankAtlantic Center. He met with reporters before the game and addressed a number of issues including the team's ownership. Read more about the Panthers on Steve Gorten's blog here.

Bettman said the Panthers are not being sold to a public company -- the team had been in talks this spring with public company Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., but an agreement was never reached. However, he expects the precise makeup of majority owner Alan Cohen's ownership group to change. He said that does not mean limited partners will change or be added, but their levels of investment and roles in the group could change. Stay tuned...

Here's how Bettman addressed a number of issues:

On Panthers' ownership:

I think that the group is in discussions to see about making some adjustments among themselves, and I think those discussions are ongoing ... I think the solution here is going to come out of perhaps a rejiggering of the existing ownership group, not necessarily somebody getting in or out, but just kind of a restructuring on the day to day.

On whether he's concerned about the ownership and financial health of the team:

I think the club needs to continue to work to improve its performance ... but they should be OK. Barring something extraordinary that nobody anticipated and I’m not suggesting that’s going to happen, they should be fine.

Performance on the ice?:

Listen it’s no secret the club’s gone eight seasons, nine years with out being in the playoffs. There’s a good fan base here and I don’t think anybody doubts that. I think with improved performance ... By the way, last year was the most points they had since the last time they made the playoffs.

On whether he's confident the team will be successful:

At some point in time, every team’s competitiveness or lack thereof has an impact and teams can go through rebuilding periods, but listen they’re a good core group of players here, good young coach. If they continue to develop the right way... listen there’s a lot of fans of this club that show up, this is a big building and I think with improved performance it will be easier for them to fill it. ... I think this is a franchise that has potential, has an opportunity, I think the issues they’re dealing with can be sorted and out and dealt with going forward ... I think they’re probably closer now to a resolution of the ownership issues than they’ve been.

Since the Panthers opened in Finland, are there other European cities the league is considering for NHL games:

We’ve played in London. We’ve played in Prague. There are a variety of opportunities in Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia and maybe perhaps as we continue this, some more traditional European cities, [but] non-traditional hockey cities, such as Paris, Barcelona. We would like to continue to expand our European presence on a regular basis. By that I don’t mean franchises on the ground, I mean more and more clubs, more and more games to open the season, so maybe we’re in seven or eight cities at the same time, to open the season because if you were there you know there’s tremendous interest in our players and our game.

On other leagues watching what happened in court with ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes:

Everybody was watching what happened in the legal proceedings very closely, because the, and you’ve heard me say this before, two most important issues for any sports league, are who owns the franchises, who’s going to be a partner, and where franchises are located. And the concern those rules could be circumvented, was one all of the sports leagues took seriously, which is why early on in the proceedings the other leagues intervened.

On whether the lockout has improved the financial health of teams:

It has ... We don’t run the 30 franchises, every team has to be accountable for its own on and off ice performance. The system has made it much better. The competitive balance has never been better. There are always going to be situations. Phoenix didn’t belong in bankruptcy ... That was an attempt by two people to circumvent our rules.

On the economy impacting ticket sales:

I think it’s market by market, but our season ticket renewal in this market league-wide was about what it was last year, before the economic downturn. We’re not expecting to be down, based on the preliminary projections we have this year in revenues…We’re flat to up a little bit is my best early guess as to where we’re likely to be. I know over the last few months, there was a lot of speculation the [salary] cap’s going to go down 20 percent. That’s absurd, that’s just made up, it isn’t going to happen. Business is much stronger than that. Our attendance last year, through the recession set another record, our revenue set another record, revenues were up about 5 percent in local dollars, not accounting for the decline in the Canadian dollar ... In real dollars, we think we’ll at least be flat, if not up a little bit. In attendance, including so far this season is at least flat, if not up a drop.Our fans are very connected to the game. I’m not suggesting the recession isn’t having an impact. Like for example, I thought last year I thought we’d be up 7 percent, we were up 5 percent. Listen, I don’t foresee dramatic growth, but a lot of people say the new up is flat. There’s been some erosion ... The speculation of 10, 20 percent decline, I don’t see that at all.

On how the economics have changed since the league locked out players in 2004-05:

We’re not paying out 76 percent of our revenues, on one element of our expenses. Teams by and large, and there are going to be outliers, when you look at competitive balance, everybody can afford to be competitive [with] the combination of the [salary] cap and revenue sharing. Last year it took 1,220 out of 1,230 games to have the first playoff matchup determined, it took 184 out of 186 days of regular season to know who was going to be in the playoffs, and we didn’t know the matchups overall until after the last game was played. When you look at also the range in points between the middle of the pack making the playoffs and who didn’t make the playoffs, I think a handful of points separated whether or not you made it. Virtually, if not all, of every game in the regular season had some impact as to how this is all going to wind up in terms of making the playoffs. You hear players, you hear coaches talking about every game is like a playoff game particularly down the stretch. That’s a function of the way the game’s being played and it’s a function of the fact that teams Feel that they can compete. That there are no easy games any more. While our economic circumstance has changed by about 19 percent what the cost the actually is, which probably equates to about 25 percent, you have the fact, we have a system, where teams are better off and can compete and you’re seeing it.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Sports Team Owners (49)

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October 8, 2009

Kobe Bryant’s jersey still top seller in China; D Wade's moves up to fifth

Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant had the top-selling NBA jersey in China for the third consecutive year during the 2008-09 season, according to sales figures from NBA stores in China released by the league on Thursday.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s jersey moved up to fifth in 2008-09 from eighth in 2007-08.

Here’s the top 15 for 2008-09:

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
4. Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets
5. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
6. Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
7. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
8. Allen Iverson, Denver Nuggets/Detroit Pistons
9. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
10. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
11. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
12. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
13. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
14. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
15. Brandon Roy, Portland Trailblazers

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

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October 6, 2009

Florida Marlins ballpark = overpass? (UPDATED with video)

marlstad.jpgAbout an hour into ABC’s broadcast of Saturday’s UM-Oklahoma game at Land Shark Stadium, Brent Musburger waxed about the Hurricanes’ former home, the now-demolished Orange Bowl.

ABC aired video showing where the old stadium once stood. On the site, as you know, workers have been constructing columns that will serve as the supports for the Florida Marlins’ $515 million retractable-roof ballpark. The images were something like this one at left, although much closer up. (Many, many thanks to Edward Martinez for posting the video on YouTube -- see below).

Here’s what Musburger said (thanks to a friend with a DVR):

“Well, there’s where the old Orange Bowl stood. All those great years and great games. Now an overpass is being built down there.”

Huh? An overpass? Could someone have clued him in?

Here’s what else he said:

“Many, many memories for a lot of folks here in South Florida and around the country, from Doug Flutie to Kellen Winslow, Joe Namath, you can go on and on. And here, they are in their new digs, Land Shark Stadium, where the Dolphins play their home games.”

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Miami Hurricanes (32), Orange Bowl (45), Television (35)

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Miami Heat’s presenting sponsor: sign of the times

When the Miami Heat introduced Assist-Card as its first-ever season presenting sponsor last week, the team became part of a trend as teams look for new ways to generate more revenue.

Assist-Card, a Geneva-based travel insurance and assistance company, forged a five-year agreement with the Heat to help the company launch its services to U.S. customers. The 39-year-old company served 7.2 million international travelers last year, but is just entering the U.S. market.

The company assists travelers with everything from lost luggage to medical care to translators to legal services. Its name will appear on tickets, banners, schedules, advertisements and arena signage. For this season, the company’s name will also appear like this: “Heat ’09-10 presented by Assist-Card.”

For the Heat, the sponsorship is a way to generate more revenue. The Heat has had playoff presenting sponsors. Other teams have had sponsors for individual games or series.

The Florida Panthers have had a presenting sponsor for the past four seasons, starting with ADT and followed the past three seasons by the Seminole Tribe, whose Seminole Casino Coconut Creek was the presenting name and the “official Florida Panthers Post Game Party Spot.” The deals have been worth mid-six figures to low seven figures.

“First and foremost the benefit from a team standpoint is revenue generated from a piece of inventory that didn’t really exist before. And for us, it has been a significant revenue source,” Panthers President Michael Yormark said.

Yormark’s twin brother, Brett, who is CEO of the New Jersey Nets introduced basketball’s first off-season sponsor, signing Wrigley to sponsor the team’s summer activities in 2007.

The Panthers are always looking at new ways to forge sponsor partnerships.

“The presenting sponsorship of a season is just the tip of the iceberg,” Yormark said. “We have a sponsor for all of our player transactions – Coral Springs Moving & Storage. These types of things are only going to expand in the future because they provide a company with a customized exposure package that is unique to their partnership and will more efficiently help them meet their goals and objectives.”

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), Miami Heat (174), Sponsorship (101)

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October 2, 2009

South Florida teams, events create 10-event Super Pass

In a highly unusual collaboration, 10 South Florida sports teams and events have banded together to sell a package of tickets to 10 different sporting events that saves fans $150 to $550.

The South Florida Super Pass, being sold in limited numbers through Oct. 30, costs $330 for regular seats and $1,125 for premium seats to see the region’s four pro sports teams, NASCAR finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, horse racing at Calder and Gulfstream, soccer, and attend the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament and the World Golf Championship event at Doral.

Getting all the teams and events to agree wasn’t simple. But Aaron Davidson, chairman of the sports committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, which is selling the ticket, said everyone saw the benefit.

“The economy probably helped. Our South Florida sports market is a challenging one in general,” said Davidson, who is also president of Miami FC soccer team. “Everyone realizes we’ve got to promote our South Florida sports. I hope this joint initiative is the first of many.”

The Super Pass can be purchased at

Each event works differently and the revenue is shared based on the team or event’s cost, Davidson said.

The Miami Dolphins, for example, are providing a 400 level seat with a food voucher or a Hall of Champions suite seat with food and beverage to the Dec. 27 game against the Houston Texans. The Florida Panthers are offering a goal zone ticket or an ADT Club ticket with food and beverage to any home game this season. Homestead-Miami Speedway is offering a reserved grandstand or Speedway Club seat to the Nov. 22 NASCAR finale.

The idea is to give fans a discount and encourage them to attend an event they might not have considered. Other teams and events have teamed up to sell a joint ticket, but those partnerships typically involve two events or teams. For example, the World Golf Championship and Sony Ericsson Open sold a joint ticket that allowed fans to attend both events, when their schedules overlapped in 2007. This summer, the Cleveland Browns and Indians sold a suite package together that included two Indians games and one Browns game.

Bill Sutton, associate director of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida, applauded the South Florida ticket plan, which he compared to an entertainment book of vouchers and discounts.

“It makes sense,” Sutton said. “It’s one of the hardest hit regions by the economy ... It gives people value and a sampling opportunity.”

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), Golf (12), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), Tennis (8), Tickets (126)

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October 1, 2009

Favre’s jersey still top-seller, Ronnie Brown makes top 50

It helps to be a 3-0 quarterback.

Brett Favre’s jersey remained the top seller between April 1 through Sept. 30, according to sales figures from

Fellow 3-0 quarterbacks Mark Sanchez (Jets); Eli Manning (Giants); and Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) have all seen their jersey sales spike according to the latest figures. Sanchez is now up to 4 from 7; Manning is up to 7 from 10 and Flacco is ranked 14 from 17.

No Miami Dolphins jerseys ranked in the Top 25, but the NFL says Ronnie Brown is now in the top 50. And despite their 0-3 start, Dolphins gear is close to cracking the Top 10 in team sales. The league only releases the rank of the Top 25 players and Top 10 teams.

Below the Top 10 best-selling jerseys and team gear:

1. Brett Favre
2. Troy Polamalu
3. Jay Cutler
4. Mark Sanchez
5. Michael Vick
6. Tony Romo
7. Eli Manning
8. Tom Brady
9. Ben Roethlisberger
10. Adrian Peterson

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. Minnesota Vikings
4. Chicago Bears
5. New York Giants
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. New England Patriots
8. Green Bay Packers
9. San Francisco 49ers
10. Washington Redskins

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178)

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Bagel joint gives free bagels for NY Jets & Giants wins

Got a hankering for a New York bagel? Bet on the New York Giants and Jets.

The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., in Delray Beach is offering customers free bagels on Mondays following a Giants or Jets win on Sunday, if customers can recite the score of either game. One bagel per customer, even if both teams win on Sunday.

“We have customers coming in all the time in their Jets and Giants apparel and we wanted to find a way to thank them for their patronage,” Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., owner Steve Fassberg said in a statement. “We’d love to give away hundreds of bagels each week as a result.”

On Sunday, the Giants face the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jets play the New Orleans Saints. “Fuggetaboutpaying!” a release about the promotions says, if either team wins and you remember the score.

The store, which makes fresh bagels using “replicated Brooklyn water from patented technology,” is located at 14451 S. Military Trail, Delray Beach.

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Promotions (120)

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