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November 25, 2009

Florida Panthers' new jersey; Jimmie Johnson's legend grows; Ray Lewis' Hurricanes' Fatheads

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+ The Florida Panthers unveiled their new third jersey this week. It’s dark blue and with pale blue (which is not one of the team’s colors), a new center jersey logo, and a “FLA” and sun logo on the sleeve. Reviews are mixed; Uni Watch wasn’t kind. They'll wear it a dozen times at home games this season, including on Friday against the Maple Leafs at BankAtlantic Center.

+ NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson made the rounds of New York this week to celebrate his record-breaking fourth consecutive Sprint Cup championship, which he sewed up at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. He and New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon posed (see below) on the top of the Empire State Building. Read NASCAR’s Andrew Giangola’s take on Johnson’s feat and need for a nickname. My favorite line in Giangola’s piece? “Just when a NASCAR driver absolutely deserves it, Sports Illustrated will probably give Sportsman of the Year to a horse.”

+ And Fathead has added Ray Lewis in his Hurricanes uniform to its product line of giant wall graphics. The company already had a version of the linebacker in his Baltimore Ravens uniform. Each version costs $99.99.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Auto Racing (42), Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56)

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November 24, 2009

AmericanAirlines Arena holds contest for tickets to all 2010 events

AAA-10-Ann-Logo2.jpgTo celebrate its 10-year anniversary, AmericanAirlines Arena, the home of the Miami Heat, is inviting fans to sit down.

Well, sort of.

The arena is hosting a “Sit-In” contest on Dec. 4 to win four tickets to every event – Miami Heat games, concerts and family shows – at the venue in 2010, starting with the Phish concert on New Year’s Eve. (If a show has multiple dates, the winning team wins four tickets to one of the dates). The package of tickets is valued at about $35,000. Parking, however, is not included.

Teams of four are to compete by sitting in every seat for no more than five seconds each in the 19,600-seat arena within 24 hours. People who sit for longer than five seconds will be disqualified.

Teams must include at least two people, but no more than four. Only one team member can do the sitting at one time, but is able to tag the next sitter on the team when he or she is ready to switch. Arena staff will monitor the participants. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 70 teams had signed up.

If more than one team completes the task, a Heat trivia contest will determine the grand prize winner. A trivia contest will also be held if no team completes the task. Eligible teams at the end of the contest that don’t win the grand prize will receive six-game partial Heat ticket plans for the 2009-10 season for each team member. And team members that sit in every seat in at least three pre-determined sections will receive two tickets to a Heat game this season.

To compete, teams must register by Dec. 3 at The contest begins at 8 a.m. Dec. 4.

The arena opened with a Gloria Estefan concert on Dec. 31, 1999.

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

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November 23, 2009

Florida Panthers offering naming rights - with a twist - to Incredible Ice

Hoping to attract more season ticket buyers and provide a unique business opportunity, the Florida Panthers’ parent company, Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, is giving local companies a shot at the naming rights to Incredible Ice for one year.

For the cost of four lower bowl season tickets for the 2009-10 season, local businesses will be entered into a contest to win the chance to put their name atop the team’s practice rink in Coral Springs. The rink, which recently underwent a $10 million upgrade that included adding a third NHL-regulation sized sheet of ice, gets more than 1 million visitors a year, SSE President Michael Yormark said.

The eligible tickets start at $42 a seat per game, meaning that for about $7,000, a local business can score the naming rights that SSE values at more than $300,000.

“We thought it would raise buzz in the market,” Yormark said. “We think it’s an interesting opportunity to get in front of C level executives, perhaps small to mid-size companies that might be interested in getting their name on a building.”

In addition to attracting more season ticket buyers, Yormark said the opportunity will also give SSE a better measure of the true value of the naming rights. He said it isn’t known whether the “Incredible Ice” name will remain on the building as part of the corporate title.

The contest runs through December and the winning business will be announced in January. The winner will be responsible for paying for signage. For more information or to enter, call 954-835-PUCK or visit the team’s Web site.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Sponsorship (101), Tickets (126)

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November 20, 2009

See Florida Panthers' new jersey; meet new majority owners

jerseyletter1.jpgThe Florida Panthers are trying to hold their third jersey "hostage," sending the media a note saying it won’t be revealed until Monday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at BankAtlantic Center. See the letter at left sent to media members with the teaser jersey swatch.

Players will wear the third jersey, which will have an alternate logo and colors, at 11 additional home games after Monday, including at next Friday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Fans can pre-order the jerseys and pick them up starting at 7:45 p.m. Monday. Call Pantherland at the arena 954-835-7025; Incredible Ice at 954-341-9956; or visit the Panthers’ Web site for more information.

Also, on Monday, Panthers fans can meet new majority owners, co-general partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel, who are scheduled to greet fans arriving at the game. The pair plan to be on the arena’s main plaza level.

Viner and Siegel, who were introduced as new majority owners this week after taking control from Alan Cohen, have been vowing greater accessibility to fans. They plan to hold regular town hall meetings and meet and greets, write blogs and make radio appearances.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Sports Team Owners (49)

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November 19, 2009

Player Appearance: Meet Carlos Arroyo

Miami Heat guard Carlos Arroyo will be appearing at the Miami Hoops Gear Store at Dolphin Mall on Saturday to meet fans and sign autographs.

Arroyo, who attended FIU, will be at the store from 3-4 p.m., at the mall, 11401 Northwest 12th St., Miami.

Customers who buy an 8 x 10 photo ($10); Spalding Basketball ($35) or adidas Swingman jersey ($80), will receive a free autograph on that item. One autograph per customer. More information at

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

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November 18, 2009

Humidors honoring Super Bowl XLIV

humidor2.jpgWith just 81 days until Super Bowl XLIV, the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee’s been pretty busy: volunteer recruitment rallies, meetings to discuss the game’s economic impact on Palm Beach County, the unveiling of the official humidor …

Yes, the Super Bowl has its own officially licensed humidor. Who knew? The Host Committee held an unveiling ceremony Tuesday at Bokampers in Plantation for both the commemorative poster (see below) for next year’s game by 3-D Pop Artist and 10-year veteran Super Bowl artist Charles Fazzino and the humidor (at left). Fazzino’s Super Bowl artwork, which is a colorful and playful illustration of Dolphin Stadium complete with sign-waving fans, also graces the inside of the limited edition humidor.

According to James Colucci, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Altadis U.S.A., which is manufacturing and selling the humidors, it’s the first Super Bowl humidor. There are 500 of these special humidors featuring Fazzino’s artwork. They’re already for sale across the country for about $750 each, Colucci said.

On hand, along with Fazzino, were Miami Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks, Miss Florida USA 2010 Megan Clemente, Mike Zimmer, president of the host committee and Rodney Baretto, chairman of the host committee.


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November 16, 2009

Florida Panthers ownership: Changing of the guard

FL-Panthers-ownership2.jpgBoca Raton businessmen Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel officially took over as majority owners of the Florida Panthers this afternoon. They were introduced at a news conference on BankAtlantic Center's club level attended by Panthers employees and Sunrise city officials.

They become the third majority owners in the hockey team’s history and perhaps most important to fans, wrest control of team decision-making from Alan Cohen. Viner and Siegel, who become chairman and CEO respectively, have increased their investment in the team. Here's a letter Viner and Siegel wrote to fans about the purchase.

Cohen's stake shrinks, but he still retains a sizable portion -- just not the decision making. The transaction still needs NHL approval.

Cohen led the group that bought the Panthers for $101 million in 2001. The group was introduced with much fanfare, too, in the lobby of BankAtlantic Center. Cohen and his partners spoke about how they'd decided over some neighborhood barbecues to rescue a community asset and build the Panthers into a winning team.

But during Cohen's tenure, the team missed the playoffs every year, endured coaching and general manager changes and traded some of its best players. Even the group of partners grew fractious. So by this year, Cohen was ready, some say, to move on.

His attempts to merge the Panthers with a public company this summer fell through, but he'd clearly grown tired of the losing both financially and on the ice. He told me in an email last week when Viner and Siegel proposed taking control, he happily accepted. Here's what he said in a statement today:

"I want to thank Stu and Cliff for taking up this challenge. This is a great market and they deserve a winner. The team will be very successful when that happens. I had a lot of fun and I know I leave the organization in much better shape than it was when I took it over."

In fact, everyone was as gracious as could be about Cohen's tenure, however, they didn't hesitate to talk about a new era, an historic day for the franchise, a new way of doing business, accountability, discipline, accessibility and defending your actions.

"The guy's heart was always in the right place," Siegel said of Cohen. "He put a lot of devotion into this organization and still is a major partner here. We really want to thank him. Whether you view it as a success or not, obviously it wasn't a success on the ice. But we look to move forward."

When I spoke with Viner and Siegel last week they stressed they're changing the culture of the franchise, holding the coach, general manager and all employees accountable.

"We really have not unfortunately had a winning culture here for quite a while, just evidenced by the success of the team on the ice," Siegel said. "And I think the biggest thing we're going to through that professionalism and organization is really try to build a culture of winning here that we can sustain over a long period of time. It's not going to be easy, but we need to create that here."

Siegel added, "As much as we like to think we've been the ultimate professional organization, I think that in some ways, from a leadership standpoint we may have failed in that."

And this: "I think Alan had the right intentions. He put a lot of money into this thing, a lot of heart and soul into this," Siegel said. "In the end, obviously, we didn't have a winning culture here."

Siegel said where Cohen's reticence hurt him was that fans made assumptions about him.

"He wasn't out here accessible to fans, so they made their own judgments," Siegel said. "If you can only judge a team by what it's doing on the ice, and we're not doing well on the ice, then you have to judge how the organization is."

Viner and Siegel vowed change, accessibility and accountability.

"There is one thing that will change" Viner said. "Communication. There was very little communication between hockey ops and management, the president and ownership. There was very little communication. Now the lines of communication and are wide open and going to be open."

Viner and Siegel said they will be available to talk with fans and listen to their concerns. They also vowed to explain their actions.

"If we make moves that appear irrational, at least we'll explain to them why we did it as best we can," Siegel said.

You can watch the Panthers press conference introducing the new owners here:

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

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November 12, 2009

The Who to play Super Bowl halftime? set off a spirited debate this afternoon when it reported The Who is to play halftime at next year’s Super Bowl in South Florida. Not to mention the short item on the Web site provided an opportunity to put up a photo of 2007 SI Swimsuit model Tori Praver, because her body-painted outfit featured a T-shirt with The Who logo. (Right, I’m not the demo).

No, it wouldn’t be the first time British Invasion senior citizens rocked the NFL’s big party. Paul McCartney did the honors in Jacksonville in 2005. The following year, it was the Rolling Stones in Detroit – a choice criticized for several reasons, including that the performers should have been Motown artists.

But overall, since the Janet Jackson nipple-bearing wardrobe malfunction in 2004 in Houston, Super Bowl halftime acts have tended to be less modern or as I said in a 2006 story “more American oldie than American Idol” although McCartney and the Rolling Stones would be “British oldie.” Same for The Who.

The NFL wasn’t talking about the choice today. “When we have something to announce, we will announce it,” a league spokesman said.

But the Twitterverse was buzzing:

The LA Times’ Sam Farmer wrote “ reporting the Super Bowl halftime show is.... The Who. Excellent.”

However, John Halpin of said “A band full of guys in their 60s? NO WAY!”

Or this from Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson: “Honestly, Janet Jackson's bare breast was the best thing that happened 2 bands formed B4 1990. They all became Super Bowl eligible again.”

Other tweets on the subject:

" jsquared021: "The Who" is doing the halftime show of Super Bowl 44?...r u serious?...what is the NFL thinking?"

"Soxy_T: I like The Who but playing Super Bowl halftime?! Zzzzzzzzz no wonder they call it the No Fun League"

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

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Miami making World Cup pitch

A contingent of Miami-Dade and Land Shark Stadium officials is in New York today making the region’s pitch to be included in the United States’ bid to play host to the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

In August, Miami was included on a short list of 27 U.S. communities that are finalists as host sites. The 27 communities have been meeting and attending host community workshops with the USA Bid Committee in New York this week.

Mike Sophia, executive director of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, is in New York, along with Commission Chairman and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Bill Talbert, Land Shark Stadium President M. Bruce Schulze and Vice President and General Manager Todd Boyan.

“It’s really an opportunity for us to go up and just highlight our bid, any changes,” Sophia said. “We’ll take a little bit of time to explain here’s what we are, who we are.”

Sophia says the committee is expected to narrow the group of 27 to 18 that will be announced in early December. The U.S. application to FIFA to host either of the two upcoming World Cups is due in May, with the announcement of the host nations coming in December 2010.

Meanwhile, local World Cup supporters are encouraging soccer fans to sign a petition showing their support for bringing the World Cup to the U.S.

“The USA Bid Committee wants to show the grassroots support for soccer,” Sophia said of the petition drive.

Those interested in signing the petition can find it here or through the Sports Commission’s Web site.

Additionally, the commission is planning to drum up support at local sporting events by setting up petition drive booths at Saturday night’s Miami Heat-New Jersey Nets game at AmericanAirlines Arena; Sunday’s Miami Dolphins-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at Land Shark Stadium; and at next Wednesday’s "Celebracion Honduras Mundialista 2010" soccer friendly featuring Honduras and Peru, also at Land Shark.

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POSTED IN: Land Shark Stadium (44), Soccer (15)

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Michael Jordan taps Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade as heir to Air Jordan; discusses comparisons

nikejordan2.jpgA select group of media was invited Wednesday night to Temple House -- at 16,000 square feet, the largest single family home on South Beach -- for the unveiling of Michael Jordan’s newest shoe. We gathered in a white room with a concrete floor, where Jordan Brand logos were projected on white curtains. A video of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade being interviewed for a spot on the Brand Jordan team was shown and it even poked fun at the spelling of Wade’s first name.

And then, we got to see the Air Jordan 2010. The 25th anniversary shoe in the popular Jordan Brand line is constructed for performance, but also pushes the envelope of design as the brand’s been doing now for more than two decades. Even Michael Jordan seemed a little stunned at the brand's longevity.

This one’s even got a hole – a window, if you will – in the side that allows sneaker fans and shoe aficionados into the Jordan Brand world. But only a little bit. Jordan Brand is calling it the “first see-through performance basketball shoe featuring a unique thermoplastic urethane window.”

That hole gives fans a glimpse into the line, but “doesn’t take away from the performance of the shoe,” Jordan said of the shoe designed by Tinker Hatfield, Nike vice president of special projects/design, and Mark Smith, Jordan Brand creative director. “We want to be trendy, we want to be stylish yet we still want to be a high performance shoe,” Jordan said.

The shoe will be released on Feb. 13 and is expected to retail for $170.

While other NBA players have worn Air Jordans on the court, the 2010 is being released with the idea it will be worn by a current player. Jordan Brand tapped Wade this summer for its elite brand that also includes Derek Jeter, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Wade had been the face of Converse for six years, but relished the idea of joining the brand and its already established team. It's expected he will eventually have his own signature shoe in the Jordan Brand line, but for now, he's honored to be heir to Air.

Jordan was asked about Wade being compared with him. He cautioned that he and Wade didn’t play at the same time.

“Two individuals that never played in same era,” Jordan said. “Yes, we’re very, very similar. Yes he has characteristics that I have … Is he Michal Jordan? No. Am I D Wade? No.”

Jordan went on to say his brand had been interested in Wade for years, but the Heat guard was already tied up with Converse. That changed this summer. Both Converse and Jordan Brand are owned by Nike.

“He has similar passions for basketball,” Jordan said of Wade. “I played in Chicago, he grew up in Chicago … I was very happy we had an opportunity to work with him. “

Jordan also said while comparisons are entertaining to debate, they’re not fair given how times have changed.

“I would give my one leg to be able to go out and play with today’s athletes,” he said. “Yeah, I’d love to play with Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James. You sit there and think what if, what if … I didn’t have a chance to play with Jerry West, I’d love to play with Jerry West or Elgin Baylor. And today’s athletes didn’t have a chance to play against myself or Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. That’s just the way things happen … We get caught up in these debates. And we live through them.”

And then he added with a chuckle, “But he is wearing my shoe, I’m not wearing Dwyane Wade’s shoe.”

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

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November 11, 2009

Miami Heat's Micky Arison: ticket sales down; sponsor sales better than anticipated

Knowing it was going to be a challenging year on the business side, the Miami Heat has made upgrades at AmericanAirlines Arena to increase sponsor and advertising opportunities. The team’s new MediaMesh – the giant LED marquee on the front of the arena – was unveiled in May. New high definition television screens and menu boards have been installed for this season.

In a meeting with reporters Tuesday, Heat owner Micky Arison said the innovations appear to have made a difference, although he can’t say for sure what’s helped drive sponsorship sales during the recession.

“On the cruise side, one of our brands recently did a consumer survey, trying to find out if people will buy vacations this year. The questions dealt with what will consumers cut back on next year, and sports was number one in the answer of cutting back. This is a national issue, probably a global issue,” said Arison, who is also chairman of Carnival Corp.

In the NBA, Arison said, “The league is dealing with significantly less ticket sales, but … sponsorship has held up better than I would have expected. We’re in a very tough market, because it’s very real estate and banking oriented. We’ve also had some sponsors like Stanford Financial, and others that have failed on us, so there’s no question this is going to be a tough year and a tough period, financially for the franchise. But I don’t think that’s unique to us. It’s a national and global problem.”

Stanford Financial had signage across the Heat’s VIP lobby entrance until earlier this year when R. Allen Stanford was charged with fraud. The signs were pulled from the lobby after the company missed a payment. Meanwhile, with law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler now in turmoil since Scott Rothstein’s alleged involvement in what federal authorities are calling a massive fraud scheme, RRA advertisements are no longer appearing in the Heat’s game program.

But the team’s sponsors sales, including signing Assist-Card to the team’s first-ever presenting sponsorship this season, have been healthier than he anticipated.

“We’re in good shape with sponsorships, surprisingly good shape, but really struggling with ticket sales,” Arison said.

As for why sponsor sales have increased, Arison pointed to the new inventory such as the MediaMesh and speculated that some companies may be excited about the Heat’s young team.

“Because it’s such a banking, real estate oriented community, I thought it would be really murder. And last spring it looked that way,” Arison said. “As the summer progressed, it came around. Where we’re struggling is premium seating and ticket sales, which is really hard right now. People can watch it at home and consumers are very, very price conscious. It’s a unique product, you can sit at home and get it for free. You can’t do that with a cruise.”

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Sponsorship (101), Tickets (126)

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November 10, 2009

Florida Panthers' new sponsors generate more than $4 million annually, total more than $20 million

By January, there should be a JetBlue Airways tailfin on the plaza in front of BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, thanks to the Florida Panthers’ new sponsorship agreement with the airline announced last Friday.

Hugo Boss is outfitting the team’s television and radio broadcasters and even Coach Pete DeBoer. The in-arena host is known as the Celsius Girl due to the team’s deal with the Delray Beach company that touts calorie-burning beverages.

Despite not making the playoffs for eight seasons – the longest playoff drought in the NHL – and currently having a 5-9-1 record, the Panthers are still able to attract sponsors.

In all, the Panthers’ parent company Sunrise Sports & Entertainment has signed up 24 new sponsors for this season – for a value of more than $4 million annually. That’s on top of the already bursting roster of sponsor deals that total more than 100 – yes, that’s why so much signage! – for a value of more than $20 million a year.

The Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler signs that adorned the dasherboards and other parts of the arena have either been removed or covered, but there’s still plenty of advertising across the arena. New deals have been forged with Guinness, Lucas Oil, Mama’s Italian Ice, Bennett Auto Supply, Gran Thornton, Boar’s Head and, among others.

SSE and Panthers President Michael Yormark is still hoping to sell the naming rights to the ice on which the team plays and to the team’s practice facility at Incredible Ice in Coral Springs.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Sponsorship (101)

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November 6, 2009

JetBlue partners with Florida Panthers

jetblue1.jpgJetBlue Airways has been snapping up sponsorships with sports teams across the country in the past 18 months, including the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, Buffalo Bills, Texas Longhorns and New York Jets.

On Friday, the airline announced its first ever sponsorship with a hockey team and arena, becoming the official – and exclusive – airline partner of the Florida Panthers and BankAtlantic Center. Already, JetBlue’s signage is on the awnings over the arena’s doorways and dots the plaza in front of the building.

By January, a signature JetBlue tailfin is to be added to the plaza – the first ever installation for the airline. (See rendering above).

To honor the new multi-year partnership – and the addition of the airline’s 18th destination from Fort Lauderdale (starting Nov. 17 to San Francisco) – the airline is offering 18 percent off on bookings made today for travel Dec. 2-16 made at

Officials would not disclose the financial details, but a release about the deal says it will include joint marketing and advertising through 2011. It is expected to include special travel packages for Panthers fans to attend away games and for fans in cities JetBlue serves to visit South Florida and take in a Panthers home game.

Panthers President Michael Yormark announced the partnership Friday on the arena’s front plaza, which will know be known as the JetBlue Tarmac, saying “Today, the BankAtlantic Center gets more leg room. Today the Florida Panthers become true blue.”

Marty St. George, JetBlue senior vice president of marketing and commercial strategy, said the airline considered other sponsor opportunities in South Florida, but chose to partner with Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, the Panthers’ parent company and operator of BankAtlantic Center, because of the variety of events the company oversees.

“It’s not just a team,” St. George said. “The building has 200 plus events a year. Over 2 million people have come in every single year to various events. And I think that’s something we saw as a great kicker on top of it, which is not only do we get to work with a dynamic team that I think has got a great future, we also have the opportunity to get our name in front of customers that come here for all the different events … This is a dream opportunity.”

The announcement also included a concert by Cobra Starship, and was attended by JetBlue employees, as well as Panthers coach Pete DeBoer and team limited partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel.

Viner and Siegel are expected to buy a portion of majority owner Alan Cohen's stake in the team and be named co-general partners. Cohen will retain a stake in the team, but will no longer make team decisions. Viner and Siegel weren't talking Friday, but the restructured ownership situation is expected to be announced next week.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), Sponsorship (101)

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November 5, 2009

Player Appearance: Meet Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem

Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers and forward Udonis Haslem will be visiting fans and signing autographs in the Cubavera section at Macy’s at Dadeland Mall on Saturday.

The Heat stars will appear from 5 to 6 p.m. at the mall, 7303 SW 88th St., Miami. One autograph per customer. Fans who make a Cubavera purchase of at least $50 will be escorted to the front of the autograph line. And two free Heat tickets will be given to the first 50 fans who make a $50 purchase (clearance items excluded).

For more information visit the team’s Web site.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174)

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November 3, 2009

Scott Rothstein's (and RRA's) sports connection

If you’re a sports fan in South Florida, chances are you’ve seen RRA’s logo. Or heard of one of the companies Scott Rothstein’s invested in. That’s because Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler has been rapidly racking up sports sponsorships and teaming with local athletes and their charitable organizations.
Remember those billboards featuring Rothstein with Dan Marino, promoting RRA’s partnership with the Dan Marino Foundation? RRA served as a presenting sponsor of The Summer Groove, hosted by Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade, held in July at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.

Ten days ago – not long before it became public Rothstein was under investigation -- RRA was the sponsor of the Miami Dolphins 2009 Alumni Weekend. RRA sponsors the Heat and messages promoting the firm's connections with Marino’s and Mourning’s charities have flashed from the giant MediaMesh LED marquee on the front of AmericanAirlines Arena that overlooks Biscayne Boulevard. There’s even an RRA ad in the Miami Heat’s opening night program.

RRA has a sponsorship deal at BankAtlantic Center with the Florida Panthers. Three other companies in which Rothstein has an investment -- Bova, Renato and V Georgio Vodka -- also have sponsorship agreements with the team and arena. Bova sponsors the Panthers' Ice Dancers.

The Heat, Panthers and Dan Marino Foundation all declined to comment Tuesday. But don't be surprised if RRA's logo is no longer included as part of the Panthers' game presentation.

The Florida Marlins are the only one of the four major pro sports team in South Florida that doesn’t have any sort of partnership with RRA or Rothstein-connected company.

In January, attendees at a VIP party before the BCS National Championship Game received a football-shaped luggage tag featuring the BCS and RRA logos.

On Monday, Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown broadcast his weekly radio show, “The Ronnie Brown Show,’” on WQAM-560 AM from Bova Prime in Fort Lauderdale, just as he's done all season.

Last month, Rothstein announced the formation of RRA Sports & Entertainment, a division to handle marketing and endorsement deals for athletes. Its first clients are Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder and junior tennis player Sachia Vickery.

Rothstein is also a member of the corporate marketing committee of the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee, but so far has been missing in action, host committee chairman Rodney Barreto said Tuesday.

“I did have lunch with him to discuss the Super Bowl and if he wanted to get involved with us. He’s involved with a lot of great charities. He agreed,” said Barreto, who met with Rothstein a few months ago.

“He’s attended no meetings, participated with no referrals or anything to date. As far as I’m concerned, he hasn’t done anything with our committee yet. I wish he would have,” Barreto said adding he thought someone of Rothstein’s stature and connections could help the host committee.

“He was a force, don’t kid yourself,” Barreto said. “It was brought to my attention, why don’t we consider having him help open doors for us, to help find potential sponsors. It didn’t work out.”

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), AmericanAirlines Arena (35), BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), Mascots (16), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), Sponsorship (101)

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Miami citizens thank Norman Braman for fighting the Florida Marlins ballpark

Norman Braman may have lost his long-running battle targeting the financing for the Florida Marlins’ ballpark and other Miami projects, but he has several supporters.

Nearly 100 politicians, lawyers, activists and other Miami-Dade County residents took out a full page ad in Monday’s Miami Herald to thank the luxury auto dealer for acting on the public’s behalf. According to the Herald, it’s 97 people who paid $5,000 for the ad that reads:

“The Greater Miami Community Thanks Norman Braman.

You fought the good fight and we appreciate all you have done. On behalf the hundreds of thousands of Greater Miami residents we want to you to know that we stand with you knowing that you have stood for what is right and just for all of us and future generations.”

The list of supporters included Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, former Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer, art collector and businessman Marty Margulies, auto and real estate magnate Alan Potamkin, Perry Ellis CEO George Feldenkreis, Ivax founder Phillip Frost and lots of others.

Braman was seeking, among other things, a public vote on the use of public tax dollars for the venue for a private baseball team.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

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November 1, 2009

Steve Ross from NY; Miami Dolphins four-game pack

Sun Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde interviewed Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross in his 19th floor office at Time Warner Center in Manhattan on Friday. Time Warner Center is the mixed use residential and retail complex Ross’ Related Companies built that has transformed Columbus Circle. The piece ran today before the Dolphins defeated the New York Jets 30-25 at the Meadowlands – and completed a season sweep of their rivals. Read Hyde’s piece here.

Just a quick thought on today’s game: is there another team in the NFL that has worked so hard to be 3-4? Just asking.

And speaking of being 3-4, the Dolphins hope you’ll want to watch the rest of the team’s home games this season live. They’ve introduced a new four-game pack that features lower bowl tickets to each of the team’s final four home games of 2009 for $348. That’s to see the Dolphins play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers. It offers a savings off the individual ticket price and gives you priority for playoff seats. Check it out here.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sports Team Owners (49), Tickets (126)

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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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