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December 31, 2009

A decade of South Florida sports business stories

The end of the decade also corresponds with my first decade as the Sun Sentinel’s sports business writer. When I first got the job in September 1999, people would congratulate me and then ask: “What are you going to do with the rest of your time?” As if this somehow wasn’t a full-time job!?

Just in case those people are still wondering what I do with my time, here’s my $2 added to the end of the decade lists with a by the numbers sampling of South Florida sports business stories. (Disclaimer -- this does not purport to be a full or complete list):

5 NEW TEAM OWNERS: Alan P. Cohen and his group bought the Panthers from H. Wayne Huizenga in 2001. Jeffrey Loria took ownership of the Marlins from John W. Henry (by way of Major League Baseball) in 2002. Steve Ross completed his purchase of the Dolphins from Huizenga in 2009. And Cohen’s partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel (I’m counting them as two) took over majority ownership of the Panthers this fall.

5 (at least) TEAM MOVES: The Heat moved to AmericanAirlines Arena in 2000. Hurricanes football moved to Dolphin Stadium in 2008. FAU moved from Dolphin Stadium to Lockhart Stadium. FIU football moved into a new stadium. The Baltimore Orioles ended their spring training run at Fort Lauderdale Stadium and are moving to Sarasota next year.

10 (and counting...) TEAMS LOST: Miami Fusion (Major League Soccer); Miami Sol (WNBA); Miami Tropics (Spring Football League); Miami Manatees (minor league hockey); Florida Bobcats (AFL); Florida Pitbulls (ABA); Miami Morays, Palm Beach Phantoms and Florida Frenzy (all of the National Indoor Football League); Miami Diamantes (baseball); and others too numerous to count…

2 VENUES BUILT: UM opened BankUnited Center in 2003; FIU opened its new football stadium in 2008.

2 TORN DOWN: Both the Orange Bowl and Miami Arena came down in 2008.

4 TEAMS STARTED (and still exist in some form): Miami FC (soccer), Miami Caliente (Lingerie Football League); Miami Fury and Palm Beach Punishers of the Independent Women’s Football League.

NAME CHANGES get their own section: In 2001, Sports & Sponsorships President Scott Becher was more prophetic than he might have imagined when he told me this for a story about the golf tournament at Doral changing its name to Genuity:

"You're going to start to see names change for a second and a third time," Becher said. "I think by and large, fans get it, but from the sponsor's standpoint, it's like buying a used car. The car is never going to smell like new. The value of the sponsorship is diminished when you have to untrain fans to think of it as one name and reteach them a new name."

3 (Three-way tie) – Dolphins’ home stadium: Started the decade as Pro Player, then Dolphins Stadium, followed by Dolphin (no s) Stadium, and Land Shark Stadium. It’s set to become Dolphin Stadium again in January.

-- Key Biscayne tennis tournament: Lipton became Ericsson Open then Nasdaq-100 Open. Now it’s Sony Ericsson Open.

-- Golf tournament at Doral: Doral Ryder Open became Genuity Championship, then Ford Championship, and now it’s CA Championship.

2 (two-way tie) – Panthers home arena: National Car Rental Center became Office Depot Center and is now BankAtlantic Center.
--
FIU’s basketball arena: Golden Panther Arena started the decade as Golden Panther Arena, became Pharmed and is now U.S. Century Bank.

1 ZILLION Marlins ballpark plans: But the ballpark is under construction and scheduled to open in 2012.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), BankAtlantic Center (30), Dolphin Stadium (31), FAU (6), FIU (4), Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), Golf (12), Land Shark Stadium (44), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), Miami Hurricanes (32), Minor League (6), Orange Bowl (45), Soccer (15), Sponsorship (101), Sports Team Owners (49), Spring Training (11), Tennis (8), WNBA (6)

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Orange Bowl gifts; Super Bowl ticket prices; RIP TWT Sports

Iowa Hawkeyes and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets players visited the Orange Bowl “gift suite” last night to pick out items ranging from clock radios to iPod docking stations to mountain bikes and luggage sets.

Also among this year’s gifts for playing in the 76th FedEx Orange Bowl on Jan. 5 at Land Shark Stadium: a Tourneau watch, New Era hat and an Ogio backpack.

+ Meanwhile, ticket prices have been set for Super Bowl XLIV, which will be played Feb. 7 at the same stadium, known then as Dolphin Stadium. They’re topping out at $1,000 – just as they did this year in Tampa for Super Bowl XLIII.

The NFL is doubling the number of $500 seats reserved for fans of the two competing Super Bowl teams to 2,000 – up from 1,000 this year. Of the roughly 74,000 seats at Dolphin Stadium, 50 percent will cost $800; 35 percent cost $900 and 13 percent cost $1,000.

Face value for tickets to the 2007 Super Bowl in South Florida? $600 and $700.

Looking for a less expensive alternative to see some of the NFL’s biggest stars, who won’t be playing in the Super Bowl? Tickets to the Pro Bowl on Jan. 31 range from $50 to $195 with most priced less than $100. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com, NFL.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

+ With sadness: The sports business reporting ranks weren’t that big to begin with, so it always hurts to lose another member – particularly as part of the newspaper industry’s slow painful death march. The Washington Times publishes its last sports section Friday. Good luck to sports business and media writer, Tim Lemke, whose last TWT blog post can be found here.

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31), Land Shark Stadium (44), NFL (178), Orange Bowl (45), Tickets (126)

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December 28, 2009

College sports haves and have-nots

chart-1.jpgUniversity of Florida athletics generate more revenue than any other college sports program in the state. By far.

It’s certainly helped that the Gators have won four national championships – two each in football and men’s basketball – in the past four years. Read my story that ran today about the seven Florida schools with football programs.

Florida does so well that Forbes has it ranked 6th in its list of most valuable college football teams. No. 2 Texas is 1, followed by Notre Dame, Penn State, Nebraska and No. 1 Alabama, which plays Texas for the national championship on Jan. 7. Check out Forbes’ top 20 most valuable college football programs here.

Texas also ranks first in royalty revenues it generates from selling licensed merchandise, according to rankings by the Collegiate Licensing Co. CLC handles licensing for some 200 colleges, conferences and bowl games, but not every school uses the company’s services. So the top 10 royalty generators last year that follow, for example, do not include Ohio State:

1. Texas
2. UF
3. Georgia
4. LSU
5. Alabama
6. North Carolina
7. Michigan
8. Penn State
9. Notre Dame
10. Oklahoma

At the other end of the spectrum is FAU, which started its football program nine years ago. Last year, the school's football program cost $4.5 million to operate, but brought in only $2.7 million in revenue. The school raised $8 million in student fees for athletics to help cover expenses.

Here’s a comparison of some UF and FAU expenses and revenues in 2008, according to documents filed with the NCAA:

UF

FOOTBALL
Expenses: $19 million
Revenues: $66.3 million
Ticket sales: $17.3 million

ALL SPORTS
Expenses: $98.8 million
Revenues: $106.6 million
Ticket sales: $21.1 million
Student fees: $2.6 million
Sales of programs, concessions, parking: $4 million
Royalites, licensing, advertising, sponsorship: $10.2 million
Coaching salaries: $13.6 million
Broadcast TV, Radio, Internet rights: $3.9 million

FAU

FOOTBALL
Expenses: $4.5 million
Revenues: $2.7 million
Ticket sales: $618,362

ALL SPORTS
Expenses: $16.3 million
Revenues: $16.6 million
Ticket sales: $703,809
Student fees: $8 million
Sales of programs, concessions, parking: $88,324
Royalties, licensing, advertising, sponsorship: $403,914
Coaching salaries: $3 million

POSTED IN: FAU (6), FIU (4), Miami Hurricanes (32), NCAA (38), UF (18)

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December 24, 2009

Former UM star Andre Johnson - budding endorser?

Houston Texans and former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Andre Johnson isn’t known for his sparkling personality. He even pokes fun at his lack of loquaciousness in a 2007 ad for the NFL’s fantasy football game – saying “Actions speak louder than words, so I don’t do a lot of talking…”

But some wonder why the star player, who is among the NFL’s top receivers and whose Texans face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Land Shark Stadium, hasn’t gotten the attention of advertisers. In his only ad thus far – a Dick’s Sporting Goods spot that broke this fall – Johnson’s a tad stiff and looks like he’s reading cue cards, but the spot is well-done and amusing. He’s showing off Nike vapor trail gloves and how they can help you catch anything. “It’s ridiculous,” he says with a grin. See the spot below.

“It was my first time doing something like that so I didn’t really know how to go about doing it. The guy who was directing everything did a great job with helping me and telling me how to say things, the expressions and things like that,” Johnson told reporters Wednesday. “It was actually a lot of fun when I got the hang of it, my lines memorized and everything.”

Johnson said he hopes his star turn will lead to more deals.

“Hopefully that commercial has opened up something for me,” he said.


POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Endorsements (20), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Hurricanes (32), NFL (178)

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Miami Heat designs ticket package around Dwyane Wade

Calling it “Buy One Get One Three,” the Miami Heat has designed a ticket promotion around star guard No. 3 Dwyane Wade.

If fans buy a ticket to one of four remaining games at AmericanAirlines Arena that the Heat has deemed its “hottest” games, they can get a 300 level ticket to one of six games the Heat has dubbed as simply “hot.” The promotion works so that for every ticket you buy at full price to one of the hottest games, you can get an equivalent number for $3 to one of the hot games.

These games are the hottest: Jan. 6 against the Boston Celtics, Jan. 25 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, March 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers, and March 18 against the Orlando Magic.

These six are the hot ones to which the $3 tickets are available: Jan. 19 against the Indiana Pacers, Feb. 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks, Feb. 9 against the Houston Rockets, Feb. 23 versus the Minnesota Timberwolves, March 2 versus the Golden State Warriors and March 10 against the LA Clippers.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit heat.com.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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December 23, 2009

In time for bowl season…All-Conference Squirrel

Just in time for bowl season, Threadless has reprinted its All-Conference Squirrel T-shirt – the one with the squirrel in the Heisman pose carrying an acorn where the football would be. And it’s on sale -- $10.

(In the spirit of full disclosure – I have one of these. It was given to me as a gift. And yes, I love it.)

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), NCAA (38)

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December 22, 2009

Miami Heat and NBA teams unveil player shooting shirts on Christmas Day

Wadeshootingshirt1.jpgAnother Christmas Day, another merchandising opportunity for the NBA.

With another slate of five Christmas Day games, NBA players, including the Miami Heat, will get a lot of exposure on Friday. That’s when the NBA will officially unveil new shooting shirts bearing players’ names.

When the Heat faces the Knicks at Madison Square Garden at noon on Friday, they’ll be sporting the new shooting shirts. So will the rest of the players performing on Christmas Day. The other teams will unveil theirs over the weekend during their first games after Christmas. They’re actually already for sale at NBAStore.com, JCPenney and Dick’s Sporting Goods. They’re $59.99 for adults, $49.99 for kids at NBAStore.com.

There’s a charity component to the holiday, too. Spalding has created a “snowflake” basketball that each team’s players will autograph that will be auctioned off starting Friday to benefit NBA Cares partners. Local kids at the five games will receive basketballs – without autographs – as part of a gift exchange.

And in New York, the court will look festive as well with the Heat wearing their red uniforms and the Knicks their green St. Patrick’s Day ones.

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

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December 18, 2009

Office Depot offering "That's Me" personalized sports jersey photos

TALALAY-Football1.jpgJust in time for the holidays, Boca Raton-based Office Depot is offering up personalized photos of sports jerseys hanging in a team’s locker room. Yes, like the one at left with my name on a jersey and locker between Miami Dolphins Joey Porter’s and Ricky Williams’.

You can have your name or a friend’s or relative’s -- of course -- printed on the back of a jersey from any NFL, NHL or Major League Baseball team. About 15 college team are available, too, including Florida, LSU, Ohio State and current No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Alabama.

Called “That’s Me Sports Prints,” the photos are all 8 x 10 and available at Office Depot locations for $39.99 unframed or $49.99 with a frame.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), MLB (110), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), NHL (56), UF (18)

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December 17, 2009

New D Wade T-Mobile ad and All Wade (almost) All the Time

Dwade1.jpgThe latest installment in T-Mobile’s advertising campaign featuring Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley breaks tonight during TNT’s T-Mobile (natch) Halftime show during the Heat-Orlando Magic game.

This one focuses on T-Mobile’s myTouch 3G – well, Wade’s anyway. And there’s still plenty of playful repartee between Wade and Barkley. Watch the video below.

Another T-Mobile ad featuring Barkley and Magic center Dwight Howard (who have both appeared in a previous T-Mobile ad with Wade) debuts on ABC during the Magic-Boston Celtics game on Christmas Day.

And if you can’t get enough Wade, No. 3 will be the first athlete featured in the new “Ustream All Access” online show this Saturday. Starting about 2:15 p.m., you can log on and watch Wade’s day as he begins his “3 Under the Tree,” charity efforts joining children for a holiday event. He’ll also show off his shoe collection during the day. Visit www.ustream.tv/dwyanewade to watch. Ustream All Access launched earlier this month with a visit with Will.i.am and another with Snoop Dogg.

The New York Times reports today on how Wade’s sponsors have stuck by him even as he’s weathered an ugly divorce.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Sponsorship (101)

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December 15, 2009

Marlins Stadium Update No. 3 Cheers (Public Art edition)

Marlins-Grooms-1.jpgFlorida Marlins owner and art dealer Jeffrey Loria has promised his team’s new ballpark will be a work of art and unlike any other baseball stadium. That’s why he’s focused on creating a modernist structure of sleek white stucco, silver metal and glass.

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places Trust continued Loria’s theme, approving proposals for $5.3 million in public art projects planned for the ballpark, including a playful, dynamic home run celebration feature, budgeted at $2.5 million, by renowned multimedia pop artist Red Grooms. Grooms' work was selected from several entries after a series of meetings.

It’s still conceptual and difficult to describe, but it’s something like an arcade game decorated with pelicans and seagulls, blue sky and clouds with a series of marlins that will actually jump after a Marlins player hits a home run. (See picture at left) Grooms is known for large scale works of urban-scapes and buildings.

Grooms, who was born in Nashville, said he drew on his memories of visiting Daytona as a teenager. He remembered seeing the ocean for the first time, the pelicans and seagulls, he said.

“All that stuck with me,” said Grooms, 72. That’s how he decided “to incorporate the great natural beauty of Florida and wildlife” into his proposal. “I am featuring beautiful clouds and waves.”

Grooms described the home run feature, which he learned of from Loria, as “a pretty unusual project. It’s like making up a kind of new event or game or something.”

Marlins President David Samson said Loria was insistent the home run feature be a work of art.

"It's very important to Jeffrey that our ballpark be the museum of baseball," Samson said. "The home run feature is the perfect opportunity to differentiate Miami from the other ballparks. No one will be able to look at that and say 'is that art or is that baseball?' It's both, it's art in a baseball ballpark."

Initially the project was expected to have a feature rise from a pool of real water, but county officials liked the idea of using Grooms-designed water instead. The key to the work is part of it will be visible even if a game isn’t going on, but it will spring to life once a Marlin hits a home run.

This video gives a sense of the type of celebration Grooms has in mind, though it is likely to change before the final work is completed:

Meanwhile, the trust also approved another $2.7 million in projects for the ballpark:

A series of colorful tiled pathways by Carlos Cruz-Diez that will be located in the ballpark’s west side plaza entrance (see image at left of his work at the airport in Caracas), and two projects by Daniel Arsham and Snarkitecture. One of Arsham’s works is lighting for the ballpark’s roof columns.

The other, called a commemorative marker, will honor the history of the old Orange Bowl. It will be a series of giant concrete letters that spell out “Miami Orange Bowl” just like the old stadium’s original sign. The sculpture will represent the letters as if they fell off the Orange Bowl, and landed on the ballpark’s east plaza in different combinations spelling out other words, including “WON” and “GAME.” The letters will be the size and look of the ones that graced the Orange Bowl, but will be concrete and situated so fans can touch and sit on them.

“They have become one with the site and people can interact with them in whatever way they are comfortable, in terms of spurring memories of their relationship with the Orange Bowl and with events they’ve been to at that site,” Samson said. “They’ll be able to see the letters as part of the landscape, be able to come in actual contact with them … it’s sort of a common psychological thing when you can touch something it can spur a memory or smell something.”

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Marlins Stadium Updates (112), Sports Team Owners (49)

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December 14, 2009

Florida Marlins, Miami Heat and Florida Panthers holiday ticket deals

It’s not unusual for teams to offer holiday ticket package specials, but the Florida Marlins are offering a holiday deal aimed at filling the stands for lots of games.

Not a surprise, of course, but this deal includes tickets to a game at every home series in 2010 or 26 games for $150. Yes, that’s $5.77 a game. While the tickets are on Land Shark Stadium’s lower level, they’re in right field in what has been the picnic area. But still – that’s less than parking. Find out more here.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat’s deal allows you to craft your own holiday three-game pack starting at $99. The team has divided up games ranging from $33 a game to $65 a game. Check it out here.

The Florida Panthers, too, are offering a holiday deal starting at $99 that includes two to four seats at up to seven games, and a David Booth autographed puck. The number of games and prices depends on the seat locations: The $99 pack, for example, includes two upper level seats; get four lower level seats for $499. More details here.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), Miami Heat (174), Tickets (126)

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December 11, 2009

Catching up on Tiger, Super Bowl ads, Friday links etc…

Sorry for the delay in catching up on news since vacation, but well, it’s been another busy week. And in case you didn’t know, the Super Bowl will be here in 58 days… but who’s counting?

Some thoughts and links:

+ Starting with Super Bowl, CBS says it’s 90 percent sold out of advertising spots for the Feb. 7 big game and ads are hitting $3 million. More from the LA Times here.

+ Baseball teams switching to healthier food, care of the Wall Street Journal here.

+ Olympic merchandise fun… got to read a story from the Vancouver Sun that starts: "Faster, stronger, higher — but not that high." Here.

+ Tiger and more Tiger: Plenty of fallout from the ongoing Woods crash/sexcapades story. Sponsors ponder their deals with the world infamous golfer. Gatorade says its decision to drop Gatorade Tiger unrelated to recent events.

+ Gotta love that sales of John Gribbin’s book Get a Grip on Physics, which was found in Woods’ wrecked car have skyrocketed. Here.

You can file this in the bulging "people with too much time on their hands" category, but there’s something catchy about Woods’ voicemail message Slow Jam Remix.

Bill Plaschke’s sportsman of the year award goes to “Sleaze.” Read his nicely-done column on the issue in the LA Times that includes gems like this: "Strong work, Sleaze. You made us forget about that awful beauty of baseball and focus on how the philandering third baseman got to second base. You made us ignore the sappy serenity of golf to watch the hound-dog champion play through his protesting wife to drive over water and into a tree."

Plaschke says our appetite for these kinds of stories seems insatiable, but the Poughkeepsie Journal reports on a Marist Poll that says more people think Woods should deal with the events privately and most don’t think the news will impact decisions about buying Woods-endorsed products.

+ City of Miami delays issuing bonds for parking lots at Florida Marlins ballpark: Bloomberg and The Miami Herald fill you in on this one here and here.

+ And speaking of the Marlins, as we know, team President David Samson is a man of many talents. He’s added playwright to the list. Penning a one-act play that is included in this Sunday’s soldout Miami Stories show at the New Theatre in Coral Gables. Samson is also to act in his own play. Read more here.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @sarahtalalay

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Endorsements (20), Florida Marlins (193), NFL (178), Sponsorship (101), Super Bowl (53), Television (35)

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December 10, 2009

Palm Beach County buys into Super Bowl; at least one pol won't put $$ toward stadium upgrades

3-with-football2.jpgThe Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council announced plans today for at least 14 events to be held in the county next year in conjunction with the 2010 Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, which will both be played at Dolphin Stadium.

That’s up from the one big festival, Super Clematis By Night, the county hosted prior to the Super Bowl in 2007. That event attracted some 25,000 people, and the Super Bowl, as a whole, accounted for about 6,000 hotel room nights in the county, and pumped more than $42 million into local businesses, TDC officials said. (See photo by PB County's Pat Truscello -- of South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee President Mike Zimmer, County Commissioner Burt Aaronson and TDC Executive Director Roger Amidon)

Even though the poster with the game logos hung up for the press conference fell off the wall during the event, officials remained optimistic. Those figures have warmed the hearts of politicians who are looking for ways to stimulate the local economy. The lineup of Super Bowl -related events kicks off with Super Art & Jazz on the Avenue in Delray Beach on Jan. 28 and includes youth football clinics at four schools. Super Clematis returns on Feb. 4.

"It's going to stimulate the economy in Palm Beach County. That's the most important thing, stimulating the economy," County Commissioner Burt Aaronson said.

But Aaronson wasn’t so bullish when asked if the county would be willing to help pay for renovations at the Dolphin Stadium, which the NFL says are needed to keep it on par with newer, glitzier venues that are scheduled to host future Super Bowls.

“I think the owners of the stadium can improve the stadium and keep on bringing Super Bowls here,” Aaronson said. “They’re the ones that are the greatest beneficiaries of the money that comes here. I think mixing taxpayers dollars for private enterprise only works to a certain extent. But I think the owners of the stadium and the owners of the Dolphins have enough at stake, they will fix it and make it up to standard that the NFL wants If they want to continue having Super Bowls. And I know for a fact they want to continue having Super Bowls. We want to continue having Super Bowls, Miami-Dade and Fort Lauderdale want to continue having Super Bowls. I think everything will work out, without Palm Beach County having to put money into fixing the stadium. And that’s my personal opinion. “

POSTED IN: Dolphin Stadium (31)

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December 9, 2009

Tourism officials welcome Orange Bowl matchup

When Iowa played USC in the FedEx Orange Bowl in 2003, Iowa Hawkeyes fans turned South Florida black and gold. So much so that tourism officials are hoping the Hawkeyes’ return to the Orange Bowl will be just as lucrative.

“I tell you I feel very bullish, because I remember a few years ago when Iowa played and they had their yellow shirts and those yellow shirts were here early and they stayed late. You saw them all over town,” said Bill Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Whether fans of Iowa’s OB opponent, Georgia Tech, will travel as well isn’t known, but Talbert is optimistic about them as well. “Georgia -- and Atlanta -- is one of the strongest vacation feeder markets for Miami and in January, it will be cold there and warm here.”

And, of course, Georgia Tech hasn’t played in the Orange Bowl since losing to Florida in 1967.

But back to Iowa. Experts say Iowa fans in South Florida outnumbered Trojans fans by as many as four to one. USC pounded Iowa 38-17 in the game.

“I don’t know if the same numbers will be there as last time because last time was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen,” said Tom Kakert, publisher of hawkeyerepoort.com, who spoke to me while driving in a snowstorm. “They had 25,000 people show up for a pep rally.”

But Kakert expects the Hawkeyes to be well represented again, even though they’d thought they might be going to the Fiesta Bowl instead.

“A lot of people have a lot of good feelings about South Florida. They enjoyed that trip, even though they didn’t enjoy the results of the game.”

The economy and the late Jan. 5 date of the game at Land Shark Stadium are likely to prevent some fans from attending this time, he said. But, he reminded, temperatures will be around 10 degrees in Iowa in early January.

“Hawks fans are excited,” he said. “They’ll be ready to go.”

POSTED IN: Land Shark Stadium (44), NCAA (38), Orange Bowl (45)

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December 8, 2009

Dunkin' Donuts and Miami Dolphins team up, provide tickets to Texans game

Concourse-Sign2.jpgThe Miami Dolphins-Pittsburgh Steelers game at Land Shark Stadium on Jan. 3 has already been officially declared a sellout. But there are still tickets to see the only other remaining 2009 regular season home game on Dec. 27 against the Houston Texans.

In a sponsorship and promotional campaign that combines radio, trivia, in-person and social networking opportunities, Dunkin’ Donuts is teaming with the Dolphins to offer a chance at 1,040 free individual tickets to that game.

The promotion kicked off Monday with the first Dunkin’ Donuts Dolphins Appreciation Day: running every weekday through Dec. 18, fans get a shot at winning four tickets to the game by being the first to answer a Dolphins trivia question at Dunkin’s South Florida Twitter account: @DDSoFla. The trivia question today will go out at 11 a.m. in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Dolphins’ 11-0 start in 1984.

That Twitter account will also keep fans informed of other ways to win tickets, including sending out the 10 Dunkin’ locations between Miami and Sebastian, where on Dec. 19, the first 50 people at those stores – starting at 7 a.m. -- will receive two game tickets.

Meanwhile, on weekdays through Dec. 18, WQAM 560 AM during Joe Rose’s show and on ESPN 760 AM during a local break on the Mike & Mike show, two tickets and a $25 Dunkin’ gift card will be given to the fan who answers a Dolphins trivia question. Find out more at the Dolphins' Twitter page, too.

Oh, and there's signage at the stadium and a display area in the Grand Plaza on game day.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @sarahtalalay

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101), Tickets (126)

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December 7, 2009

NFL Commish kicks off Pro Bowl, Super Bowl; pushes stadium upgrades; plus Miami Dolphins season tickets up

With just two months until South Florida hosts its record-setting 10th Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in town today for the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee's kickoff luncheon. (Billboards counting down the days until both the Jan. 31 Pro Bowl and Feb . 7 Super Bowl are now up on I-95).

While he praised the region's hospitality and track record for hosting the big game, he also warned -- again -- that the Super Bowl won't be back unless Dolphin Stadium (currently Land Shark) stays current. A $250 million renovation that vastly spruced up the club level isn't enough to compete with newer, glitzier venues in Dallas, Indianapolis, Arizona, the commish said.

"I think the key thing, it’s a great community, they've done a great job hosting Super Bowls in the past, so I think they have that as an advantage," Goodell said of South Florida. "The key thing is making sure this stadium is state of the art and that it can compete with the stadiums in some of these other communities. They are moving to another level some of these stadiums."

It's not Goodell that makes the decision about Super Bowl host locations - it's the 32 owners. But you can be sure he knows the clubs' marching orders. Sure South Florida has its advantages, but without the lighting needed to high definition nighttime broadcasts and other amenities, the dual-purpose stadium won't be at the top of the owners' lists. Goodell and South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto say the Florida Marlins' move to a new ballpark, expected in 2012, presents a perfect opportunity to make what Dolphins owner Steve Ross calls "fine tuning" changes to the 22-year-old stadium.

Ross and Barreto say alterations and funding possibilities are being considered. While it's too early to say precisely what changes will be made and how they'll be paid for, it's quite likely we'll learn more soon since the region is bidding for the 2014 Super Bowl. The owners are expected to consider the 2014 site at their meeting in May.

Barreto said the community, which is awarded the game -- not the Dolphins -- needs to decide if it's worth the estimated $450 million to local businesses to host the game.

Meanwhile, Goodell said if the region successfully hosts the Pro Bowl on Jan. 31, that game could come back here regularly. South Florida's considered the test locale for the game being held prior to the Super Bowl and outside of Hawaii for the first time since 1980. So far, more than 45,000 tickets have been sold to the game. Goodell says he is hoping for a sellout and enthusiasm inside the stadium.

Ross, however, is hoping the Dolphins become the first team to both host and play in a Super Bowl at the same time. "I want to be the first city to host playing in the Super Bowl," he said. "That hasn’t happened yet and it should only happen in Miami. This year wouldn’t be soon enough."

Other topics Goodell addressed include the ongoing labor negotiations with the NFL Players Association, lengthening the regular season and replacing the NFL Experience. Goodell said the good news is the league and union are continuing to hold talks about a new contract. He said the regular season could be lengthened by shortening preseason. Goodell said fans don't like preseason games, but the league needs to be consider the impact on players.

He said the NFL Experience is being replaced in South Florida with a series of other community events since the region just hosted the Super Bowl in 2007.

+ The Dolphins just missed their goal of selling 50,000 season tickets for the 2009 season, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said. Even so, the team sold 49,415 full season tickets up 7 percent from 46,131 in 2008. Plus, some 10,000 represent new season ticket holders.

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