Business & Pleasure of Sports: Enhancing understanding and enjoyment of the games, teams and athletes | Sun Sentinel blogs

The Business & Pleasure of Sports

previous January 2010 | Main | March 2010 previous

February 26, 2010

New York-area Super Bowl in 2014? South Florida not conceding

The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee decided this week to drop its bid to host the 2014 Super Bowl, leaving the New York-area, South Florida and Tampa in the running.

Arizona’s decision to bow out has speculation rising that the new Meadowlands Stadium opening in New Jersey this year now has a lock on the 2014 game. NFL owners, after all, agreed to waive the temperature requirements for the game – a 50-degree average daily temperature or a domed climate-controlled venue – so the New York Jets and Giants could submit a joint bid to host the game.

Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sounded bullish on the idea of an outdoor game in New York during his session with reporters during Super Bowl week earlier this month.

“I think there are real benefits to the league considering this as an option. I think the idea of playing in the elements is central to the way the game of football is played. I think being able to do that and celebrate the game of football in the number one market could have tremendous benefits to the league going forward,” Goodell said. “I think you will see that – I think our two co-chairmen are here, Woody Johnson and Jon Tisch – they will put together a very aggressive bid, one that will demonstrate the value of playing in New York and they will be competing against some great cities also. It will be an interesting vote, but I will stand on the sidelines and watch.”

Of course, a snowstorm wasn’t pounding the region then as it was Friday, when I asked South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee officials about Arizona dropping out and New York’s bid. South Florida hosted its record 10th Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

“They’ve got a real snowstorm going through New York right now. Planes can’t get in and out. It’s a great place for a Super Bowl,” said South Florida host committee member and former Miami Dolphin Dick Anderson, who is chairing a committee examining potential renovations for Sun Life Stadium to make it competitive for future Super Bowls. “In all seriousness, when you eliminate one competitor, there’s three instead of four. We still believe this is the best place to hold a Super Bowl.”

Anderson’s committee – a subcommittee of the host committee – is studying whether it makes sense for South Florida to continue hosting Super Bowls and if so, how to fund renovations that could include a partial roof over the seating stadium’s areas and replacing and reconfiguring the stadium so seats are closer to the field. Goodell has told South Florida officials the stadium needs to be kept state-of-the art to compete with newer, glitzier stadiums, such as Dallas' Cowboys Stadium, which is hosting next year’s Super Bowl.

“I think a cold weather stadium that has a dome would certainly have a much better chance than an open air stadium,” South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto said. “However, I don’t have a vote.”

NFL owners vote on the 2014 Super Bowl host site at their meeting in May.

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

Discuss this entry

Florida Panthers bidding to host NHL All-Star Game

The Florida Panthers have submitted a bid to host the 2011, 2012 or 2013 NHL All-Star Game at BankAtlantic Center.

The league did not hold an All-Star Game this year because NHL players are participating in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Bids for the next three games were due to the league earlier this month. An NHL spokesman said the league hopes to announce sites for future All-Star Games this spring.

Several other teams, including the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Ottawa Senators, are also bidding.

The Panthers hosted the 2003 NHL All-Star Game, when a soldout crowd of 19,250 fans saw the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 6-5 in a shootout. For a non-traditional hockey market, South Florida embraced the game and its accompanying festivities, including the NHL All-Star Block Party, a three-day festival celebrating hockey held outside the arena. In all, NHL officials said 88,000 people attended the events surrounding the game, including the Block Party, fireworks show and Stanley Cup arrival party at Las Olas Riverfront.

POSTED IN: BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56)

Discuss this entry

February 24, 2010

Miami-Dade County Mayor: Florida Marlins ballpark = economic boost

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez could have sidestepped any discussion of the Florida Marlins ballpark during this morning’s state of the county address.

After all, the $515 million ballpark, which is being financed with hundreds of millions in county hotel bed tax dollars, continues to be a controversial topic, even though construction at the former site of the Orange Bowl in Little Havana is more than 20 percent complete. Images of the ballpark construction were included in one of two videos shown during the mayor’s speech, but it wasn’t identified by name.

Alvarez didn’t shy away from the controversy.

“While we are on the subject of the local economy, let’s talk about something very near and dear to my heart, America’s pastime. Baseball,” Alvarez said and then paused for an almost uncomfortable few seconds in which some tittering could be heard in the packed commission chambers at the Stephen P. Clark Center.

“Last summer we broke ground on a new Marlins ballpark,” Alvarez said when he finally resumed his speech. “You don’t need a time lapse camera to see the progress, just look out your window the next time you’re riding along 836. The ballpark is over 20 percent complete. Columns and beams are going up at a lightning pace. The prospects of hosting a future All Star game are promising.

“Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, there’s no denying that the ballpark is creating jobs hundreds of them and just the kind of jobs we want, the local kind. More than 60 percent of workers on site live right here in Miami-Dade County. The Marlins are keeping their promises and we are making sure of it. It is an economic boost we need right now,” Alvarez said.

He then acknowledged: “I know there are naysayers and skeptics, but I firmly believe, that Major League Baseball promotes Major League communities.”

He mentioned the ballpark again during a rundown of buildings the county is developing that are classified as “green,” energy efficient projects.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Orange Bowl (45)

Discuss this entry

February 23, 2010

Miami Heat freezing season ticket prices, holding scavenger hunt for prizes

The Miami Heat is freezing prices for returning season ticket holders, who renew for the 2010-11 season by March 19, and including credits for food, beverage and tickets and merchandise discounts.

The team is trying to make it even easier for loyal fans to save money and stretch out payments. Renewing fans can pay in seven interest-free monthly installments, but they can stretch that to 10 payments – and get a limited edition Dwyane Wade bobblehead – if they pay by March 5.

“While we are seeing light at the end of this tunnel of economic recession, we recognize our fans are still struggling,” Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth said in a statement.

The team is also adding credits for food and beverages and tickets and merchandise discounts. The longer you’ve been a season ticket holder, the larger your credits. For example, “Rookies” – fans who have been season ticket holders for one to four years receive $50 in food and beverage credits; $250 in ticket credits, which are for select games determined by the Heat; and a 10 percent discount at the Miami Hoops Gear store. That rises to $100 in food and beverage credits and $500 for tickets, along with the 10 percent merchandise discount for “Veterans” who’ve been with the team five to 10 years. “Legends” – season ticket holders for 20 or more years, get $200 in food and beverage credits, $1,000 in ticket credits and 15 percent off merchandise.

In addition, Veterans, “All-Stars” (11 to 19 years), and Legends will have their names displayed on the My Heat House Wall of Recognition outside section 115 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Meanwhile, the team is also offering up prizes, such as free Carnival cruises and American Airlines tickets, in a Heat Renewal Booklet Scavenger Hunt. During each home game between tonight’s (Feb. 23) and March 18, clues will be given out on HeaTV and on the My Heat Season Tickets website that relate to items in the renewal booklet. Fans write the answers in their booklets and submit them at the end of the renewal period for a chance to win prizes. More information at

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

Discuss this entry

February 22, 2010

Jay Z performs at his namesake arena

JayZ1.jpgIn yet another twist in the ever-evolving business of naming rights, BankAtlantic Center gave its marquee over to Jay-Z on Saturday for the soldout concert to kick off the rapper’s BP3 Tour.

The marquees, LED boards, and website all reflected the change to Jay-Z Center for 24 hours.

Of course, since no one was paying, we didn’t get any advance notice, either.

POSTED IN: BankAtlantic Center (30)

Discuss this entry

Champs Sports stores to feature NBA shops inside

NBA-Shops1.jpgChamps Sports retailers have typically featured a limited inventory of NBA jerseys for a couple of the local team’s players and perhaps some T-shirts. The stores, known for featuring “lifestyle” sports apparel, launched a line of black on black adidas jerseys for a handful of star players at the start of the 2009-10 season.

Now, the NBA and the athletic retailer are teaming up to feature dedicated Official NBA Shops inside Champs stores that will include a broader selection of jerseys, on-court apparel and fashion clothing. There will be shooting shirts, shorts, hats and track jackets.

The partnership was announced Monday and will roll out in 69 stores this month, including in Miami Champs locations. The other initial markets include Orlando, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Portland and San Antonio. The company’s other 468 stores will have NBA Shops by the start of the 2010-11 season.

“The NBA Shop at Champs Sports provides us with a terrific opportunity to engage our fans year round with a wide selection of the newest and most popular NBA adidas products,” Chris Brennan, NBA senior vice president sales development and retail marketing, said in a statement.

The NBA shop areas will feature between 8 feet and 10 feet of wall space and will be between 80 and 100 square feet. They will be decorated with a replica NBA backboard and hardwood floor graphic. South Florida stores will carry Miami Heat items, but also gear for other popular NBA players.

The gear in the Champs NBA shops will all be made by adidas and different products will be featured year-round, including a special white on white line for this spring.

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

Discuss this entry

February 19, 2010

Player Appearance: Meet Carlos Arroyo

Miami Heat guard Carlos Arroyo is scheduled to visit Kendall Kia on Sunday to meet fans, sign autographs and pose for photos.

Arroyo, who also attended FIU, is scheduled to be at the dealership from 4 to 5 p.m. at 17120 South Dixie Highway, Kendall.

Fans who test drive a new Kia will receive two free tickets to a future Heat game at AmericanAirlines Arena. Kia Motors is the Heat’s “official vehicle” sponsor. More information at

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174)

Discuss this entry

February 18, 2010

The Tiger Woods announcement

With so much attention being paid to the announcement of Tiger Woods’ controlled “non news” conference, does the philandering golfer really need to make an announcement at all?

What could he possibly say – beyond when he plans to return to the PGA Tour – that would be newsworthy?

Pundits, PR and image consultants, golf writers and other members of the media have all been weighing in on what he’ll say, how he’ll say it, why he’s saying it on Friday and why at the TPC Sawgrass. I’ve gotten at least a half dozen releases pitching professionals to comment before and after the statement, scheduled to be made at 11 a.m. in front of a small, select group of media, friends and associates.

Among the comments already being shared:

Ron Torossian, CEO of 5WPR, says in a statement that Woods breaking his silence “is the first step towards healing his image.” Torossian says Woods “won’t solve everything in one press conference and shouldn’t try to.”

But why not?

Robert Tuchman, Executive Vice President of Premiere Global Sports, also calls this a beginning, but he wonders about the strategy.

“Most likely reading a prepared statement is going to make Woods come off much less remorseful then is needed to appease fans who will want to see some real emotion. It’s a PR control strategy,” Tuchman said in a statement. “Tiger really can't gain much since questions will not be asked but he also can't have a disaster. Eventually he will have to take questions on this but this is a first step.”

“Tiger is going to have to face the music eventually and most likely will be heckled by fans until he answers those questions,” Tuchman adds.


There are even odds on what he will say and how he’ll say it.

From Will wife Elin be in attendance (yes -150; no +120); the over/under on how many times he’ll use the word “sorry” (5.5); will he wipe a tear during the statement (yes +200; no -260).

From RJ Bell of Even on whether Elin will attend, and whether he’ll use the word “sorry” or “family” most. Over/under on number of times he’ll use of the word “sorry” (4.5). Odds of officially retiring (200 to 1).

Tiger Woods Bingo, anyone?

POSTED IN: Golf (12)

Discuss this entry

February 17, 2010

American flags from Super Bowl XLIV up for auction

Two American flags that flew over Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium are being auctioned with proceeds going to the Miami Dolphins Foundation and Flags4Vets, an organization that raises money to buy flags to put on veterans' graves.

Current bid: $700. Auction ends on Feb. 22. The flags come with a certificate of authenticity signed by …. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. One has to assume he’s authenticating that the flags flew over the Super Bowl, not that they’re legitimate American flags. Find the auction here.

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

Discuss this entry

February 13, 2010

Marlins FanFest about baseball, not ballpark

It’s been years since the focus of Florida Marlins’ FanFest hasn’t been the prospect of a new ballpark at some point on the horizon. So long that even Marlins President David Samson had to correct some fans who referred to the Marlins’ future home as “prospective.”

“This is the first town hall meeting, in our, this is our ninth season, where we no longer have to have to call it the prospective new ballpark,” Samson referring to Jeffrey Loria beginning in his ninth season as owner. “It’s the actual new ballpark.”

The team’s new home is 22 percent complete, the roof beams for the track for the retractable roof are going up and the bowl is taking shape at the former site of the Orange Bowl in Little Havana. The venue is so “actual” that several fans thanked Samson and his staff for their success in finally getting the ballpark project under way.

Most of the questions at Saturday’s FanFest focused on the field this season. When asked how many wins the team would notch, Samson responded “enough to make the playoffs.”

A few fans had business questions. Among them:

+ Will Palm Beach County residents be able to take Tri-rail to the new ballpark?

“Absolutely,” Samson said. Shuttles, he said, will carry fans to the ballpark from the Jackson Memorial and downtown Miami Tri-rail stations, and the team will devise transportation plans for all fans. “We want our fans north of Miami to follow us south and we want fans in Miami to comes to games to enjoy that beautiful ballpark, which is going to have a roof and air conditioning and everything you could ever want,” Samson said to applause.

Tommy Hutton told fans it took him an extra 15 to 20 minutes from Sun Life Stadium to get to the new ballpark’s location.

+ How soon will the Marlins host an All-Star Game?

“It has not been confirmed, but if you thought to yourself we would host the All-Star Game in 2015, you would probably not be misleading yourself,” Samson said.

+ When will the team have new uniforms as part of becoming the Miami Marlins in the new ballpark and will teal be one of the colors?

Samson said new uniforms are in development, but “no color palette has been decided yet. We’re working on it though.”

He said, “We’re lucky to have an owner who has an incredibly talented eye for art and beauty, and so we’ll be ready to unveil that maybe during the ’11 season, but probably not until after we win the 2011 World Series.”

More applause.

The team said it sold more than 40,000 individual-game tickets during FanFest – the first day individual tickets for 2010 went on sale.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Sports Team Owners (49), Tickets (126)

Discuss this entry

February 12, 2010

Just in time for Daytona: new book about true NASCAR fans


Been missing NASCAR and its colorful stories? The weekend’s ripe with good ones – not just the Daytona 500 on Sunday, but Danica Patrick’s much-anticipated debut in the Nationwide Series on Saturday.

Perfect timing, too, for Andrew Giangola’s new book, “The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans,” which was released Wednesday (natch) by Motorbooks.

I’ll acknowledge up front that I haven’t read all of it yet, but the chapters I’ve read so far are heart-warming, entertaining, fascinating portraits of the people who make up NASCAR’s enormous fan base – said to be 75 million strong. There’s TV news anchor Brian Williams, chef Mario Batali, but also the Boise beauty salon owner, the army corporal from Charlotte, who lost his leg in Iraq.

Giangola is NASCAR’s director of business communications. His book captures his quirky sense of humor, flair for writing and appreciation for the absurd. Anyone who’s been the recipient – as I have – of his real-life tales that he shares in neat prose via email, knows what I’m talking about. You’ll find some of them on his New Yorker in NASCAR Country blog, here

These include stories and photos of his “scary smart” – as he calls her – teenage daughter Gaby. I’d share one of Gaby’s projects, The Pie Hole, which is her take on certain current events or issues, divided into a pie chart on a white board in the Giangola home, but the only one I’ve saved isn’t safe for work.

Giangola, who has been with NASCAR since 2003, knew about NASCAR fans and their passion, but he wanted to go out and meet them. He convinced his bosses to let him tell their stories, in his own words. Follow his The Weekend starts on Wednesday blog here.

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42)

Discuss this entry

February 11, 2010

Florida Marlins go green for season kickoff

gabysanchez.jpgFlorida Marlins players, coaches, executives, Mermaids, Manatees and Billy the Marlin have been making stops throughout South Florida this week, as they do every year at this time in advance of the start of spring training.

But rather than just stopping at malls, sporting events, and schools, the team decided to go earth-friendly this year. In keeping with their effort to ensure the under-construction ballpark meets strict environmental guidelines, team officials designed a whole week of activities that recognize the earth's resources. (See Gaby Sanchez learning about zoo-keeping from Ron Magill at MIami Metrozoo on Monday).

"We’re always trying to not do the same thing, trying to be innovative, thinking about what this community needs, thinking about things that are important to us when we move into the new ballpark, thinking about the earth’s resources," Marlins President David Samson said of the idea for a "green" caravan.

On Tuesday, they toured Waste Management in Pembroke Pines and a made a donation to Food for the Poor for Haiti relief. On Wednesday morning, they conducted a "green makeover" on a house in Little Havana, making it more energy efficient and re-sodding and adding drought-resistant plants to the garden.

Later, they served lunch to the construction workers at the ballpark site.

Other activities include Marlins players joining morning commuters on Friday for a ride on the Metrorail to stress the importance of public transportation. Later that morning, they'll be working to renovate Juan Pablo Duarte Park in Miami, refurbishing the baseball field, planting trees, and building recycling bins.

The team is also off-setting the carbon emissions from the entire week of activities by buying trees and planting them across South Florida.

The activities culminate at the team's 15th annual Jiffy Lube Marlins FanFest from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Sun Life Stadium. The day includes the opportunity to purchase single game tickets for the 2010 season, autograph sessions with players, live music, memorabilia and town hall meetings with players, coaches and executives. Parking costs $5, which can be applied to the purchase of game tickets, and proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross' Haitian Relief Fund. However, vehicles carrying four or more fans receive free parking.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193)

Discuss this entry

February 10, 2010

Post-Super Bowl/Pro Bowl tidbits, wrap-up

+ Super Bowl XLIV wasn’t just a huge event for TV, it – along with the Pro Bowl – helped Sun Life Financial score from its brand new naming rights deal with the Miami Dolphins’ home stadium, according to Joyce Julius, which measures sponsor exposure. The Michigan firm says the two games helped the Toronto-based financial services and insurance company, which signed the naming rights deal Jan. 20, realize more than $27 million in exposure in TV broadcasts and media coverage. CBS’ telecast of the Super Bowl was responsible for 36 percent of Sun Life’s exposure with ESPN’s Pro Bowl broadcast adding another 5 percent. Combined, Joyce Julius reported, the Sun Life logo got 17 minutes and three seconds of airtime and was mentioned 25 times. The company measured the exposure against what advertising during the broadcasts would cost and added in exposure from other media coverage.

+ Saints QB and Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees already went to Disney World for the post-championship ad and was part of the parade in New Orleans last night that some estimates say attracted as many as 800,000 people. His marketability should skyrocket, experts say. In his Super Bowl XLIV Sports Marketers’ Scouting Report, Bob Dorfman of Baker Street Advertising, wrote before Sunday’s game that Brees “has the most marketing potential of any Super Bowl XLIV player, and a win in Miami could vault him into the upper echelon of athlete endorsers.” Dorfman placed only Colts QB Peyton Manning higher on his endorsement list, but said this about Brees: “articulate, comfortable on camera, a genuinely nice guy, better looking than Peyton, and his cheek birthmark adds a distinctive touch.” Brees, the father of a toddler, is already starring in an online ad for Pampers, so Dorfman believes he’s a good bet for Gerber or Fisher-Price. He’s also in the running for the cover of Madden NFL 11. Since Brees is already known as "Breesus" around NOLA, Dorfman suggests “a Bank of America ad headline ‘Breesus Saves.’”

+ The Super Saturday Night concert on Fort Lauderdale Beach was so successful that some wonder whether the city’s lifting of its ban on open containers just for the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl should be extended. Watch my colleague Brittany Wallman’s video montage from the concert here.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sponsorship (101), Super Bowl (53), Television (35)

Discuss this entry

February 9, 2010

Marlins Stadium Update No. 22 (percent)

The Florida Marlins’ new ballpark hit another milestone last week, when the first of the beams for the track for the retractable roof were installed. Each one takes about 10 hours to put in place. Installation will continue through this month and next.

During a luncheon with the media on Tuesday to kick off the 2010 season, Marlins President David Samson said the venue’s construction is 22 percent complete. He said he has daily meetings about construction and planning for the ballpark and visits the site two to three times a week for meetings and to conduct tours. He expects to be visiting the site daily by summer.

Samson said a marketing center for selling suites, club and premium seats is expected to open at the site in April or early May.

He said talks to secure a corporate naming rights partner for the new ballpark are ongoing and he hopes to reach a deal “as soon as possible, but in no case later than Opening Day of ’11, but it could be sooner.”

Meanwhile, at the team’s current home, Sun Life Stadium, Samson said he’s meeting with Dolphins officials to hammer out a lease for the 2011 season since the team’s current lease ends after the 2010 season. He said he is not optimistic the team’s current terms will improve.

“Of course we want to do better because doing better would mean more revenue which would mean more payroll,” Samson said. “I’m not holding out hope that better is an option, I’m actually trying to protect against worse.”

Samson predicts "a tad" more season ticket holders in 2010 than the 5,000 the team had in 2009. He said he thought more people would see an urgency to buying tickets to secure seats in the new ballpark, scheduled to open in 2012.

“The response has been, ‘well, listen, I know I’m going to get in the area I want, so there’s no rush’,” Samson said. “What I’m telling them is ‘listen, some of these areas are going to be sold out before you have a chance.’ So for example, I’ve had people who want to buy the front row in our new batter’s box we haven’t announced what the name is but it’s coming. The front row is sold out, it’s done. Front row behind the dugout, those areas are sold out.

“If you don’t have your place in line, the seats you think you’re going to get aren’t going to be available. I think the urgency will come. There was a far greater, like with the Twins, a far greater increase the year before [the new ballpark opened] than two years before. So I think we’re still a year away from the big bump," Samson said. "I still expect more fans this year, we have a good team that’s worth supporting, we have a ballpark that’s coming up, there is no more excuse, other than no roof and no air conditioning."

POSTED IN: Marlins Stadium Updates (112)

Discuss this entry

U.S. Senate candidate Meek takes a ride on NASCAR

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek is following in the footsteps of dozens of politicians, who have used NASCAR as a campaign tool.

On Saturday, Mike Wallace’s 01 Chevrolet will bear a logo reading “Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate” during the NASCAR Nationwide Series 2010 opener, the Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.

Meek is far from the first pol to bank on NASCAR, but how lucky did he get? Danica Patrick, the first woman to win an Indy Car race, is making her much-anticipated NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in that race. So expect Meek’s name to get a boost in viewership from the Danica factor alone.

The campaign isn’t yet saying how much it’s spending for the one-race paint scheme – it will have to report it eventually – but where top tier teams can command $100,000 to $125,000, Meek might have paid $25,000 to $50,000 based on Wallace’s ranking. Read my colleague Anthony Man’s piece on Meek’s campaign tactic here.

The history of politicians teaming with NASCAR is lengthy. Among the highlights:

President Richard Nixon hosted Richard Petty at the White House in 1971 – marking the first time a racecar diver had been invited to Pennsylvania Avenue.

In 1976, Democratic presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter announced the start of the Southern 500.

As a candidate for president in 1992, Bill Clinton was booed at the Southern 500.

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Mark Warner put a “Warner for Governor” logo on a Ford F-150 in 2001.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced the “Terminator 3” car at California Speedway in 2003.

In 2003, one Ford F-150 won its first Craftsman Truck Series race in 2003 carrying a “Bob Graham for President” logo on it.

Also in 2003, while driving a Winston Cup car at a charity event, then-North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley crashed into a retaining wall at 120 mph -- he was unhurt – and was re-elected in 2004.

And President Obama hosted NASCAR’s top 10 drivers on the White House lawn last August.

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

Discuss this entry

February 8, 2010

Indianapolis Colts championship gear to get new life -- in Haiti

zambiabears.jpgT-shirts, caps and towels touting the Indianapolis Colts as Super Bowl XLIV champions were boxed up and shipped Tuesday to a distribution center near Pittsburgh where they will be sorted for eventual delivery to Haiti.

There was a moment Sunday night, when the gear sat in four Reebok athletic bags on the Sun Life Stadium field. But when it became clear in the closing minutes of the game that the New Orleans Saints would be champions, the Colts' gear was returned to the "secret room" in the bowels of the stadium. The four bags of Saints gear was rushed onto the field at the end of the game and shared with victorious Saints players.

For years, the league would destroy the losers’ items after the game.

“We would literally incinerate it or shred it,” said David Krichavsky, NFL director of community affairs. “Then it dawned us, it probably wasn’t the best use because others around the world could use it.”

The NFL now designates the losers’ product for a new assignment. International relief organization World Vision has been sending the gear to needy populations in developing countries since 1994. Product is also collected from the retailers, such as Sports Authority, which order it to have on hand once the game is won.

patsnica.jpgWorld Vision typically receives about $2 million in donated NFL apparel from the Super Bowl and conference championship games, organization spokeswoman Karen Kartes said.

This year, the league and World Vision had chosen Haiti -- the poorest nation in the western hemisphere -- before the Jan. 12 earthquake rocked the country. In the next few months, as the post-earthquake needs in Haiti grow less critical, palettes of shirts and caps will make their way to the country.

Last year, Arizona Cardinals product went to El Salvador. Those New England Patriots 19-0 shirts and caps? To Nicaragua. In 2007, Chicago Bears’ merchandise went to Zambia. (See photos courtesy of World Vision).

The NFL gets a tax deduction and avoids putting the product into landfills.

“It helps us meet really critical needs,” Kartes said. “A lot of these children and families, literally haven’t had a new item of clothing in their lives. It’s really touching. They don’t care what’s written on it.”

Major League Baseball partnered with World Vision three years ago. “The Phillies merchandise started arriving in Indonesia in December,” Kartes said.

In all, World Vision, which works with 100 countries, takes in $400 million in donated corporate product each year, including the sports gear and pharmaceutical and school supplies, Kartes said.

Kartes said while the inaccurate product could end up somewhere that someone notices it, “the benefits outweigh the risks.”

But some wonder if it would make more sense to sell the inaccurate gear for big money -- like a collector's item -- and send the money to the needy countries instead. The leagues don't want incorrect gear floating around the United States, but the idea is an interesting one. Check out Dan Shanoff's "You Lost, They Win" concept here.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), NFL (178)

Discuss this entry

February 7, 2010

Boycott the Super Bowl?

Sure, there are plenty of people ignoring the Super Bowl today – taking advantage of empty malls and entertainment attractions that have nothing to do with football.

But conservative political activist Mark Dice thinks we should be reading a book on history or politics instead of partaking in Super Bowl Sunday excess. The spokesman for The Resistance, which bills itself as “a conservative political and media watchdog and activist organization focused on preserving family values and upholding the Constitution of the United States,” says this country’s obsession with football is “partially to blame for the decline of country.”

“Most Americans know more about football than they do about the Constitution or their political leaders,” Dice said in a statement. “People yell and scream at the TV when their team messes up, but they aren’t even aware when politicians pass legislation that will cause higher taxes, deeper government debt, or violate the Constitution.”

OK, so the group's release is one of a myriad that went flying around this past week - some more questionable than others. There were the atheists asking to pay hourly for a chance to name Sun Life Stadium during the game, a pet insurance company picking the Super Bowl winner based on pets’ names reflecting Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints, and the state of Louisiana comparing its economic success with the on-field success of the Saints. But if The Resistance skips the Super Bowl, it will also miss the controversial Tim Tebow-Focus on the Family ad.

POSTED IN: Super Bowl (53)

Discuss this entry

44 and counting...

This evening, four gentlemen will take their seats at Sun Life Stadium for their 44th Super Bowl.

Yes, 44th.

Don Crisman, sporting a blue shirt with the inscription “Never Miss a Super Bowl Club, 44th Anniversary,” was snapping photos at the Super Bowl Media Center this week. He explained how they all found each other.

Crisman, 73, of Kennebunk, Me., started making the journey with friend Stanley Whitaker, who’s now 84 and dropped out two years ago for health reasons. It was at Super Bowl XII or XIII, they discovered they weren’t the only ones. Tom Henschel’s been with them since XIV. The baby of the group at age 68, Henschel splits his time between Pittsburgh and Tampa.

By Super Bowl XXXIII – in South Florida – the NFL included their stories in the game program and that’s how they discovered Larry Jacobson of San Francisco, who’s now 70. Oh, and now the NFL reserves tickets for them so they don’t have to search for them. They do still have to pay.

At Super Bowl XXXVI, they found Bob Cook of Wisconsin, who is 79.

“It was 36 or 37,” Crisman says. They now visit each other’s homes and attend regular season NFL games together. Crisman, for example, has gone to a Patriots-49ers game in San Francisco with Jacobson.

They have other streaks, too. Crisman attended 25 Daytona 500s in a row. Jacobson’s been to about a dozen summer Olympics games, Crisman said.

They each have responsibilities for the Super Bowl trip – one books hotels, another arranges a luncheon for the group. They typically back different teams in the Super Bowl, but this year, they’re all rooting for the Saints, Crisman said. “What the area went through, those people deserve some good in their lives.”

As for future trips, Crisman said: “I’m hoping to make it to 50, then I’ll be 80 and it’s OK to stop.”

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Super Bowl (53), Tickets (126)

Discuss this entry

February 6, 2010

Eating on Super Bowl Sunday

With the USDA naming Super Bowl Sunday the second highest food consumption day of the year -- after Thanksgiving -- plenty of people this Super Bowl week were hawking messages about the dangers of -- and alternatives to -- gluttony.

Jared Fogle, the Subway Guy, has a few recommendations.

“We’re trying to encourage people to do things in moderation,” said Fogle, who was making the Super Bowl rounds this week to promote Subway’s “Footlong Nation Appreciation” to reward the public for making Subway’s footlong subs so popular. “People have New Year’s resolutions they stick to in January, but on Super Bowl Sunday, people easily fall off the wagon.”

Fogel suggested Subway’s fruit and vegetable trays or its eight sandwiches with fewer than 6 grams of fat, including his personal favorite, sweet onion chicken teriyaki. Fogle still eats Subway sandwiches two to three times a week.

The Footlong Nation Appreciation website went live Thursday at, where the public has the opportunity to win a year's worth of footlongs. The public can also vote for its favorite footlongs -- the community that casts the most votes will win 500 sandwiches for a local food bank.

Fogle, 32, will also be at Sunday’s game at Sun Life Stadium, just as he was in 2007 to root on his hometown Indianapolis Colts. “I know stadium food is not always the healthiest either. I’ll probably end up eating before I go to the game. I may even eat a Subway sandwich.”

Meanwhile, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has been lobbying CBS to air the non-profit organization’s PSA about the heart attack risk of game day gorging. Watch the ad here.

“ As the nation’s most talented athletes compete on the field, fast-food companies are working overtime to make sure fans at home are overindulging in buffalo wings, pepperoni pizza, and other high-fat fare. The NFL encourages these unhealthy eating habits by running Web ads for KFC hot wings and by pushing high-fat foods in the Taste of the NFL recipe archive,” Susan Levin, PCRM director of nutrition education, wrote in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and CBS President Les Moonves.

Levin cited a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine story showing the number of heart attacks doubled in a major city during a big sporting event. She also wrote, “High-fat tailgating fare will cause an average fan’s triglycerides (a measure of fat in your bloodstream) to increase 60 percent by halftime and 150 percent before the evening is over. By the end of the game, blood flow to the heart can decrease by more than half.”

And the organization put out a report listing the details of five Super Bowl foods: Quiznos Tuna Melt (1,793 calories, 28 grams of saturated fat); two slices of Papa John’s The Meats Pan Crust Pizza (920 calories, 56 grams of fat); Muffuletta Potato Skins (601 calories, 26 grams of fat); KFC’s Honey BBQ Hot Wings (590 calories, 35 grams of fat); and Papa John’s Cheesesticks and garlic dipping sauce – four sticks (520 calories, 33 grams of fat).


Discuss this entry

February 4, 2010

NFLPA campaign: Players are more than just their numbers

players1.jpgRecent visitors to South Florida arriving at Miami International Airport have been greeted by larger than life posters featuring NFL Players sharing tidbits about their lives off the field.

The banners, which cover the columns at baggage claim include Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen sharing this wisdom: “The mullet isn’t just a hairdo, it’s a lifestyle.” And New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper saying “I’m a jokester. I like to keep people laughing.”

The idea is to show players out of uniform, living every day lives. The banners, which went up on Jan. 15 in time for last Sunday's Pro Bowl and this Sunday's Super Bowl, will be up through Feb. 15. They are part of a multi-platform campaign in collaboration with mobile marketing company, Mogreet Inc., to show the players as more than their jobs on the field or as the campaign states “as normal guys with a great job.”

Other players featured include New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk. Visit to learn more about the players, watch videos, check out photos and even email player postcards to friends.

Fans who text “NFLPA” to 21534 will get a video sent to their phones and an entry to win a trip to the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles. You can also enter the sweepstakes here. Those who enter the sweepstakes can also receive a gift from the Players Association.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), NFL (178), Promotions (120), Super Bowl (53)

Discuss this entry

February 2, 2010

Super Bowl partying, auction, predictions and other tidbits

+ MOVES Magazine, the Hollywood-based magazine about and for athletes, hosts its annual Red Carpet Super Bowl Gala at Christine Lee’s at Gulfstream Park on Wednesday night with hosts Ray Lewis and Ludacris.

The latest issue of the glossy magazine that features high end advertising and articles both about athletes and that are meant to interest athletes, has LeBron James on the cover. That’s after the magazine had already planned its edition with Tiger Woods as cover boy.

The magazines were distributed to NFL players at the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl team hotels and is being made available at parties and events across South Florida this week.

+ Also on Wednesday, Hunt Auctions opens its preview of items for its Super Bowl XLIV Live Auction on Sunday at the Hard Rock Café in Bayside Marketplace in Miami. The preview, which includes more than 280 football-related items such as a Joe Namath game-worn jersey and 1972 Dolphins team-signed football, runs Wednesday through Saturday at the NFL Fan Zone on South Beach. There’s also an appraisal fair, where fans can bring any kind of sports collectibles – not just football items – to learn how much they may be worth.

Sharp-eyed Sun Sentinel Assistant Sports Editor Steve Svekis noticed a problem with one of the items listed in the auction catalog: a model Washington Redskins home jersey for running back John Riggins from the 1980s features No. 42. Riggins wore No. 44.

+ There’s still time – until 1 p.m. Wednesday -- to buy raffle tickets for four tickets to Super Bowl XLIV and two rooms for three nights at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, where the New Orleans Saints are staying this week. Raffle tickets are $2 each, but you must buy at least five. The package doesn’t include airfare. Proceeds go to the Heath Evans Foundation, which is dedicated to healing children and families affected by sexual abuse, and the Drew Brees Dream Foundation, which raises money for cancer research, cancer patient care, and rebuilding schools, parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields. Buy tickets at

+ And just in case you forgot that Super Bowl is rife with unusual and wacky pitches, releases, and often suspect connections to the big game: Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., which insures some 475,000 pets, checked its database of pet names and says the New Orleans Saints just slightly edge the Indianapolis Colts when it comes pet owners naming their pets for their favorite team and its players. The company included pets named Drew, Brees and Drew Brees; Manning, Peyton and Peyton Manning and a variety of other Saints’ and Colts’ names – even Saint and Colt – and the tallies were 230 Saints-related names to 227 Colts-related names. How’s that for pet equity?

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Super Bowl (53), Tickets (126)

Discuss this entry

February 1, 2010

Dunkin' Donuts celebrates Super Bowl XLIV

DD3.jpgStarting today, Dunkin’ Donuts locations from Miami-Dade County to Indian River County are selling Super Bowl XLIV-themed doughnuts.

Donuts with vanilla frosting and blue sprinkles will celebrate the Indianapolis Colts and ones with maple (gold) frosting and a black marble design honor the New Orleans Saints. The two teams face off in Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

You’ll also find a Boston Kreme donut with white “football laces.” The stores are selling two dozen for $9.99.

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101), Super Bowl (53)

Discuss this entry

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.
Connect with me

Search this blog
E-mail newsletters
Get the news that matters to you delivered to your inbox. Breaking news, hurricane alerts, news from your neighborhood, and more. Click here to sign up for our newsletters. It is fast, easy and free!