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March 30, 2010

Catching up: Tuesday links

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to catch up -- March is a busy month, as always -- so here are some current links, as well as some I should have posted a while ago:

The Real Deal details Miami Heat radio broadcaster and former player John Crotty’s success in the real estate business with Colliers Abood Wood-Fay. Check out the story here.

Three locals were among the SportsBusinessJournal’s Forty Under 40 business executives honored in Los Angeles earlier this month: Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, who calls becoming AD at The U his “greatest achievement”; Florida Marlins vice president and general counsel Derek Jackson, who labored with others to get the team’s ballpark financed; and Max Eisenbud, vice president of IMG Tennis, who is agent for tennis star Maria Sharapova.

UM TV’s Sports Desk held a panel discussion during Communications Week called “Miami – A Sports Media Haven” - and included Emmanuel Munoz, Florida Marlins director of broadcasting; Jason Jenkins, Miami Dolphins director of media relations; Joe Pujala, Miami Heat and Miami Hurricanes Spanish language broadcaster; and me. We covered a number of topics, including the fickle nature of the South Florida fans and Miami’s role in sports. The piece aired March 12. If you want to check it out, It’s here.

From last week’s NFL owners meeting in Orlando, my colleagues who attended told me it looks even more likely the New York region will be awarded the 2014 Super Bowl over South Florida and Tampa. We’ll find out for sure at the owners meeting in Dallas in May.

dolphgameday1.jpgAnd a little more on Dolphins owner Steve Ross pitching his “GameDay” Vision handheld TV device to the rest of the league’s owners: The SportsBusiness Journal reported Ross quietly purchased Kangaroo TV in December and not only is he expanding the number of Dolphins fans who will get the devices for games in the upcoming season (one for every two tickets in each season ticket holder account instead of just club and suite holders), but he’s offering devices to the other 31 team owners. In return, the Journal story explains, the teams would need to market the devices to their fans.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), Miami Hurricanes (32), NBA (139), NFL (178), Sports Team Owners (49)

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March 26, 2010

It cannot be easy being Yormarks

The Yormark brothers – Florida Panthers President Michael and New Jersey Nets CEO Brett – haven’t been having an easy year.

The identical twin brothers, who share an exceedingly energetic work ethic, long hours and drive to almost “out-market” each other, have lately been overseeing struggling franchises.

(Here’s the piece I wrote about them in 2006; see photo of them as kids and more recently as executives visiting each other at BankAtlantic Center).

There’s the losing: the Nets are a dismal 8-63. The Panthers are again fighting for a playoff spot – they haven’t made the playoffs since 2000 and if they miss the postseason again this year, they’ll tie the NHL record for longest playoff drought.

Michael navigated a change in the Panthers’ majority ownership from Alan Cohen to co-general partners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel, which came after lengthy negotiations with a public company that considered purchasing the team. He’s led Panthers’ parent company Sunrise Sports & Entertainment’s request to Broward County to restructure the company’s debt service payments on BankAtlantic Center to get some financial relief, but has yet to get a response. The plans for an entertainment district around the arena are also on hold.

Last weekend, Michael did help unveil the team’s brand new “Den of Honor” – a museum of South Florida’s hockey history on the concourse at BankAtlantic Center. The area of display cases that celebrates youth and high school hockey all through the development and history of the Panthers drew raves, but it must be at least somewhat humbling to know your team’s biggest stars are from the 1990s and grandest moment came in making it to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals.

Brett has weathered the very public change in architects for the Nets’ planned Brooklyn arena from the world-renowned Frank Gehry to Ellerbe Beckett; difficult discussions to move the Nets on an interim basis to the Prudential Center in Newark from the Meadowlands; and continued delays on the Brooklyn project. Construction of the new arena did finally begin earlier this month.

yormarkatarena.jpgAdd in the difficulty of trying to sell a really poorly performing team, and perhaps that’s what upset the usually jovial Brett Monday night, when he snapped at a fan wearing a paper bag over his head during the Nets-Miami Heat game at the Meadowlands. Read about the incident here.

When he did finally respond, Brett downplayed the incident.

But at least he has a sense of humor.

Fans who brought brown paper bags to Wednesday's game could swap them for a Nets bag filled with team souvenirs, including a poster, trading cards and a note from Brett, reading “Thanks for letting us see your face.” Brett included his email address, too.

No word from his brother on the incident.

POSTED IN: BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), NBA (139), NHL (56)

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March 22, 2010

Player Appearance: Meet Tim Tebow

Former Gator Tim Tebow is scheduled to sign autographs, pose for photos and do the "Gator Walk" at an appearance at Palm Beach Autographs in Palm Beach Gardens on Saturday.

The NFL hopeful, 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and two-time BCS champion quarterback will be participating in a free event with activities, raffles and giveaways. The autographs and photographs will cost you because they’re for a fundraiser for the Tim Tebow Foundation, which seeks “to bring hope, faith and love” to the needy.

Tebow, who has an exclusive memorabilia contract with Palm Beach Autographs, is scheduled to appear from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Palm Beach Autographs store at Downtown at the Gardens, 11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Ave., #3108, Palm Beach Gardens. His appearance at the Palm Beach Autographs store in Jacksonville on March 6 drew more than 2,000 people and ended up extending Tebow’s visit with fans.

Tickets are limited. Photographs are $75 and allow you to get your photo taken with Tebow and the Heisman Trophy. Autographs cost $160 to $185 depending on the item and inscription: $160 covers typical items such as 8 x 10 or 16 x 20 photos, footballs, or mini-helmets, and personalized autographs with “God Bless,” “Go Gators” or a short Bible verse of your choosing. It costs another $25 for large items, such as full-size helmets or jerseys, and for inscriptions that include “07 Heisman,” “06/08 Champs” or “08 BCS MVP.”

For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, visit

POSTED IN: NFL (178), UF (18)

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March 19, 2010

NASCAR Sprint Cup series Coors Light Pole winner too young to drink

The pole winner for this Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is so young, they’ve had to rename the award.

Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano qualified for his first-ever pole, but since he’s only 19 – and therefore not yet legal drinking age -- the Coors Light Pole Award has been renamed the “21 Means 21 Pole Award” for Sunday’s race.

NASCAR has been confronted with such an issue before. In February 2005 at Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch became the youngest pole winner in NASCAR’s top series. Back then, Budweiser sponsored the pole award, and at the time, Busch was also only 19. It’s unclear if the pole award’s name was changed for that race – perhaps it was a less enlightened time.

Busch was no stranger to being underage in racing. According to a Charlotte Observer story from 2005, he’d been at Fontana for a NASCAR Truck Series race in November 2001 when he was just 16. Although he’d been told he had been the fastest in practice, he was barred from competing because there was also a CART race at the same track that weekend being sponsored by cigarette maker, Marlboro.

Six weeks later, the story says, NASCAR set a minimum age requirement of 18 to compete in its top three race series.

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

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Fun with mascots: Albert the Alligator does the Hora

Albert1.jpgOK, perhaps this is a stretch for a sports business blog, but it’s hard not to share this image of UF mascot Albert the Alligator dancing the Hora at a Jewish wedding last weekend.

Thanks to Susie Gilden of rbb public relations for sharing this photo from Robert and Alison Streit’s wedding at the Diplomat. Yes, that's Albert in the chair that's part of the traditional Jewish wedding dance. I’m told Albert was a rock star.

I included Robert Streit in a sports business story I wrote last summer about New Yorkers – and fans of other opposing teams – who now make their homes here and fill up South Florida teams’ stadium and arenas. The story ran in advance of the New York Yankees playing the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. Streit’s a Yankees fan, who moved to Fort Lauderdale from New York two years ago. You can read that story here.

Yes, Robert and Alison actually arranged and paid for the beloved Gators mascot to make the trip to attend the nuptials.

What devotion.

What lengths do you go to express your sports passion?

POSTED IN: Mascots (16), UF (18)

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Ticket site discounts teams' excess inventory, partners with Florida Panthers

Just like you might search for a hotel room or an airfare deal on a discount travel website such as Travelocity, Seth Cantor is hoping you’ll want to do the same for less than prime sports ticket inventory.

He launched in November and partnered with the New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Clippers to offer up reduced price tickets to some of those NBA teams’ less popular game dates. The tickets come directly from the teams’ inventory. The company has since forged partnerships with the Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors and MLS teams, Chivas USA and the San Jose Earthquakes.

For teams it doesn’t partner with, directs visitors to secondary ticketing services, which it does not control.

Last month, the company partnered with the Panthers. For tomorrow night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres at BankAtlantic Center, for example, you’ll find $50 sideline balcony seats for $20, and a $95 premium endzone seat for $65. Check out other Panthers offers at

FanRates wants to offer fans a less expensive ticket option, and teams a way to fill more seats.

“Not every team sells out nowadays and it has nothing to do really with their records,” said Cantor, CEO of Brooklyn, NY-based

Well, sometimes, it does. Particularly in South Florida. But Cantor’s point is that in a difficult economy, fans have to make choices and sometimes they’re choosing not to attend games at all.

“People have to understand we’re not selling the prime inventory at the reduced price,” Cantor said.

By way of example, he said, travelers who want to fly non-stop to Las Vegas, sit in first class and arrive at a specific time, don’t find those flights on discount travel websites.

“But if you want to go to Vegas and you don’t mind if it’s a connecting flight or if you get in at 11 o’clock or if you’re sitting in the back of the plane, you go to the travel sites,” he said. “Same deal with our site.”

Cantor also stresses FanRates isn’t undercutting season ticket holders, who make their investment based on wanting to choose their location at every game, playoff ticket priority and extras, such as player autograph sessions.

“If you want to buy based on location,” Cantor says, isn’t for you.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), NBA (139), Tickets (126)

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March 18, 2010

Player Appearance: Meet Michael Beasley

Want to go shopping with Michael Beasley?

The Miami Heat forward is trading in his NBA uniform to dress like a Champs Sports employee on Friday. He’ll be manning the cash register and working as a personal shopper to help a few fans pick out adidas NBA duds at the Champs Sports location at Aventura Mall.

Beasley is appearing from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. to help promote the new Official NBA Shop at Champs Sports. The NBA announced last month that it was partnering with adidas and Champs stores to add the NBA Shop-branded sections starting in 69 stores, including in Miami, and then rolling out to the company’s other 468 stores by the start of the 2010-11 NBA season.

Fans who attend Beasley’s visit can enter raffles to win prizes including adidas gear and Champs Sports gift cards. The store is located at the mall at 19575 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura.

More information at

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

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March 16, 2010

Marlins Stadium Update No. 47.5 feet

Under construction since July, the Florida Marlins’ ballpark is actually beginning to look like a stadium.

On a media hard-hat tour of the site today (see video below), we not only could make out the seating bowl, but we got to walk from the ground level up to the upper deck, which will be known as the Vista Level, on the stadium’s west side for a spectacular view of downtown Miami. You can see the downtown skyline and even make out the Adrienne Arsht (performing arts) Center to the east.

To the west you can watch planes heading to Miami International Airport and overlook the west side plaza, which is going to be the length of three football fields and serve as a gathering place for fans on game days and the community on non-game days. When the retractable roof is open, it will be parked above the plaza.

Sid Perkins, the project’s construction manager who works for the Hunt/Moss venture building the ballpark, was again our tour guide. He wore his signature cowboy-shaped hard hat, but this time there were Marlins stickers all over it, including across the Smith & Wesson logo. And yes, he carried a cigar.

Perkins says the project is between 25 percent and 30 percent complete and has about 350 workers on site, which will rise to about 500 in the next month. He says construction is moving smoothly and the ballpark should be ready for baseball in 2012.

Every corner of the site seems to be humming with activity – storm sewers and water lines are going in, as are pipes for the first bathrooms. Roof beams that will support the track for the retractable roof have gone up on both the north and south sides of the stadium.

“That beam has been cast on the ground and pulled into place four or five days ago,” Perkins said pointing at one section of beam, which he says weighs 3.5 million pounds.

Perkins showed off what will be the stadium’s seven levels: the Field level; the Administrative level, which will include team offices; the Promenade level or the main concourse, which will be 360 degrees – meaning fans can walk all the way around it; the Founders level, encompassing 14 exclusive Founders suites containing 22 seats each; the Club level; Media level; and Vista Level – or the upper deck.

One of the main things Marlins Senior Vice President, Stadium Development Claude Delorme stressed during the tour was the cozy intimacy of the ballpark. For example, the Vista Level is 93 feet high – offering a panoramic view of downtown. The top of the upper deck will reach about 125 feet, which Delorme says is shorter than many ballparks, which reach 150 feet to 160 feet.

Delorme said 21,600 of the ballpark’s 37,000 seats will be on the Promenade or main concourse level. “We really wanted to make sure the majority of our fans were on the main level,” he said.

Additionally, he said, the seat closest to home plate will be just 47.5 feet away – rather than the typical 55 feet in most stadiums. “We were able to get an exemption from MLB to be at 47.5, [which] again, makes it much more intimate.”

Delorme said contracts worth about $300 million or about 80 percent of the value of the construction have been awarded, including bid packages for concrete, steel, the scoreboard and seating. He said work is to begin on the two parking garages on the stadium’s north side in May with the two on the south side to begin in October or November.


POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Marlins Stadium Updates (112)

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March 12, 2010

Player Appearance: Meet Carlos Arroyo

Miami Heat guard Carlos Arroyo is making the rounds of Kia dealerships.

He’s scheduled to appear at Esserman Kia on Saturday, where he will meet with 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 Esserman Kia, 10455 NW 12th St., Miami.

Arroyo’s appearance is also to promote the “Heat Ultimate Flyaway Driven by Kia Motors," which is a sweepstakes in which fans can win a trip to see the Heat play the New York Knicks in New York on April 11. Kia Motors is the Heat’s “official vehicle” sponsor. To enter the sweepstakes, visit:

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), Promotions (120)

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Miami Heat, Florida Marlins celebrate Latin heritage

Starting with tonight’s game, the Miami Heat is being prominently featured in this season's NBA’s “éne•bé•a” “Noche Latina” tribute to Latin heritage.

ElHeat2.jpgThe Heat isn’t pulling out the “El Heat” jerseys again until next week’s games at AmericanAirlines Arena – on Tuesday against the San Antonio Spurs and Thursday against the Orlando Magic – but the Chicago Bulls will be “Los Bulls” at AA Arena tonight.

The NBA launched a comprehensive Hispanic marketing initiative last fall with the creation of “éne•bé•a,” – the Spanish pronunciation of NBA. This month’s Hispanic Heritage/Noche Latina celebration is aimed at celebrating the league’s Latin players and more than 16 million Hispanic fans across the country.

Celebrations are taking place at games this month in nine NBA markets – Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, New York and Orlando. Noche Latina was first held during the 2006-07 season.

The special nights include the uniforms with team names in Spanish, musical performances, giveaways and other activities. The uniforms and other products with the teams’ Spanish names are for sale at the NBA store in Manhattan, Champs stores, and at the in-arena stores for the participating teams. The Miami Hoops Gear store sells a variety of El Heat items.

LosMarlinslogo1.jpgMeanwhile, the Florida Marlins this season are dubbing Friday night home games at Sun Life Stadium as “Fiesta Fridays” replacing “Fish Fridays.” Fiesta Fridays will have a heavy Latin flare, says Sean Flynn, the team’s vice president of marketing.

Hispanic baseball legends will sign autographs and salsa and pleneros bands will perform before games. And with the exception of Opening Night on April 9, the Marlins will be known as “Los Marlins” at Friday home games and will wear a Los Marlins patch on their uniforms.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Apparel (55), Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120)

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Florida Panthers and JetBlue to unveil tailfin Tuesday

jetblue2.jpgIt’s a little later than anticipated, but the JetBlue tailfin that’s part of the airline’s partnership with the Panthers and BankAtlantic Center is scheduled to be unveiled on the arena’s plaza Tuesday prior to the Cats-Washington Capitals game.

The partnership, announced in November, includes joint marketing promotions and advertising through 2011. Among the promotions are “TrueBlue Nights” at the arena, when fans have a chance to win free tickets to a Panthers game by wearing blue or signing up to become TrueBlue members during Tuesday’s game.

The 22.5-foot high, 26-foot wide tailfin will be unveiled at a ceremony at 5 p.m. on the “JetBlue Tarmac” on the arena’s front plaza. Panthers and JetBlue Airways officials expect the tailfin to serve as an iconic meeting place for hockey fans and concertgoers.

“We look forward to becoming part of the experience for fans and customers at the BankAtlantic Center, and supporting the Fort Lauderdale community, one of JetBlue’s strongest cities and growing,” Marty St. George, JetBlue’s senior vice president of marketing and commercial strategy, said in a statement.

POSTED IN: BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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March 11, 2010

MLB Union Chief: pleased with Florida Marlins payroll progress

New Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner made the union’s annual spring stop at Roger Dean Stadium this morning to meet with the Florida Marlins.

It’s been two months since the release of the carefully worded settlement agreement among Major League Baseball, the Players Association and the Marlins requiring the team to increase its commitment of revenue sharing dollars to payroll as it moves toward its new ballpark’s opening, scheduled in 2012.

“We’re actually pleased with the way things have played out under the settlement,” Weiner said after meeting with Marlins players. “We’ve said publicly what we’re going to say about the specifics, but I have no problem saying that so far, we’re pleased with the way things have played out.”

Weiner said, of course, the union has concerns about other teams, which he wouldn’t name. He also wouldn’t say if he expects similar settlement agreements could be forged with other teams.

“I can’t predict that, I can’t say there is the level of attention that we’re paying is the same with respect to other teams as with the Marlins, and if it reaches the stage where we think that kind of agreement is appropriate, we’ll push for it.”

Weiner said it wasn't the objective of the settlement with the Marlins to serve as an example to other MLB clubs.

“It may have that effect. That wasn’t what we set out to do,” he said. “What we set out to do was say we think we have a potential problem with the contract and how can we deal with that? If it has precedential impact, it has that, but what motivated us was we have a problem, we think, how can we resolve that. And the Marlins and the Commissioner worked with us and we think we got a good resolution.”

Marlins pitcher Andrew Miller, the team’s player’s representative, said Weiner mentioned the settlement briefly.

“He said he thought it was a good thing, he thought it was something the union asked, they made that announcement and I think the direct cause and effect that everybody saw was probably the Uggla signing, whether that has anything to do with it or not, who knows,” Miller said referring to the team agreeing in January – days after the settlement was announced – to a one-year $7.8 million deal for second baseman Dan Uggla to avoid arbitration.

“The only persons who knows the answer to that is [General Manager] Michael Hill or [President of Baseball Operations] Larry Beinfest or [President] David Samson,” Miller continued, “but I think they were encouraged by that. Everybody is. I’ve been here for a couple of years now and we’ve been competitive regardless of the payroll. I think it’s just one of those things, obviously, the union wants teams to spend their revenue sharing money and whatnot and so it looks like the Marlins are doing that right now. “

Weiner and Miller said other discussion mainly focused on general topics and basic planning for the current collective bargaining agreement’s expiration in December 2011.

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

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March 10, 2010

Cooking Miami Heat style

With the massive popularity of cooking shows, why not cook with the Miami Heat?

The team, broadcast partner Sun Sports and AmericanAirlines Arena concessionaire Levy Restaurants have teamed up to create a cooking show of sorts called “Recipes for Success.” The show pairs Heat players, coaches and broadcasters making some of their favorite dishes with arena executive chef Eric Chopin. The show is airing during halftime at Heat home games this month, during the Heat Live post-game shows on Sun Sports and on and

The series started on Saturday with forward James Jones preparing curry chicken and curry shrimp enchiladas and spinach salad. You can watch the first part of the video below – the second part is at, as are the recipes.

Meanwhile, fans who eat in the Flagship and Dewars’ 12 lounges at the arena during games can sample that night’s featured recipe.

The rest of the schedule: tonight forward-guard Yakhouba Diawara is dishing up tilapia and steamed vegetables. On Friday, guard Daequan Cook makes pasta salad, steak and potato. On Sunday, guard Mario Chalmers serves jambalaya and garlic bread. March 16 brings broadcaster Tony Fiorentino’s calamari pasta, calamari salad and appetizers. On March 20, Joel Anthony makes oxtail with black eyed peas and plantains. The March 28 game will feature assistant coach David Fizdale’s macaroni & cheese, pork chops and string beans.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Television (35)

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March 4, 2010

Miami Dolphins raise some ticket prices, freeze and lower others

More details on Dolphins 2010 ticket prices than I was able to include in today's story:

The Dolphins are increasing prices on more than half the seats at Sun Life Stadium next season, but offering significant cost-savings and extras to fans who buy season -- rather than single game -- tickets.

In the first major price restructuring in three years, the team is raising prices on 56 percent of seats, and freezing prices for 31 percent and reducing 13 percent. Six new categories show an eye to pricing seats in the shade and closer to the 50-yard line higher than those in sunny and endzone locations.

Season ticket prices range from $34 a game in the “Phan Zone” on the 400 level of the east end zone -- $31 for fans who renew by March 31 – up to $120 in the Lower Prime South -- 100 level seats on the shady, home side between the 20-yard lines. On a single game basis, Phan Zone seats rise to $45 and Lower Prime South to $150.

New season ticket holder benefits: Game Day Vision -- handheld devices that show replays, different camera angles, other games and fantasy statistics -- available only to club and suite holders last season will be given to all season ticket holders – one for every two seats in an account. Other amenities include priority sales for concerts at the stadium and booklets of buy one-get one concession offers.

“We’ve said the season ticket base is the lifeblood of a successful sports franchise, and we need to walk to walk, not just talk the talk,” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said.

The team hired consulting firm, Analysis Group, to evaluate ticket prices and demand as the basis for devising the new pricing structure.

Renewal packets were sent to season ticket holders this week.

The Dolphins sold 49,415 season tickets last year -- up 7 percent from 46,131 in 2008. Dee said the team hopes to reach 55,000 in 2010.

The average ticket price for early season ticket renewers is $70.54 compared to an average $92.69 for single game tickets. Frozen and reduced seats are in 400 level: Upper Corner Endzone seats remain $42 apiece for season ticket holders and $52 for individual game buyers; Upper Sideline seats are dropping from $70 to $60 for season ticket buyers and from $80 to $70 for single game tickets.

The team has also altered prices on the club level, taking into account that endzone tickets aren't as desirable as sideline ones. East endzone seats, which dropped from $262 per game to $92 last year during construction on the Dolphins offices, will be $125 this year, but include only limited access to club amenities. The west endzone club seats also will have limited amenities and will cost $150 per game down from $262.50 last season.

Parking prices will be frozen at $25 to $28, team officials said.

Dee reiterated team owner Steve Ross’ mantra that the team must create an entertaining game-day stadium experience to entice people off their couches.

“One of the biggest competitors to growing our season ticket base and attendance in general is how good the family room experience has become,” Dee said. “Football in high definition is perhaps as good as anything in high definition that you can get on television, so we have to be better than we’ve been in the past, we have to offer new amenities.”

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Tickets (126)

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Promotions revving up in advance of Saturday’s Grand Prix of Miami

Last Thursday, the Homestead-Miami Speedway and Hooters Girls held a free car wash for Grand Prix of Miami ticket holders at the Hooters in Doral, complete with a car show, happy hour specials and Grand-Am drivers.

Then on Saturday, Guitar Center Hallandale hosted a PRS (Paul Reed Smith) Tech Day – an event that brought together music and race fans. The Grand-Am Daytona Prototype racecar was on site, as were the PRS guitars that will be awarded to the driver of the winning Daytona Prototype car in the Grand Prix and the driver of the Rolex Sports Car that earns the Motor Racing Network’s “Move of the Race.”

On Wednesday, drivers and show cars were in place for a Grand Prix Pre-Party at Monty’s on South Beach.

This evening, Homestead-Miami Speedway is holding a Haitian Relief “Drop-N-Drive” event, in which fans can donate items for Haiti and get a chance to drive their own cars on the track. The event is from 5 to 8 p.m. and also includes an opportunity to donate blood. Keg South of Homestead will serve food and beverages. Suggested donation items include sheets, towels, blankets, tents, flashlights, batteries, candles, soap, iodine, bandages, canned soup and bottled water.

All of this is in advance of Saturday’s day of Grand-Am racing. The Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Homestead 200 starts at 1:15 p.m., followed at 5 p.m. by the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami.

General admission on Saturday is $20 and free for children 12 and under. Spend another $10 for access to the paddock area on Saturday. Want to meet Rolex Series Driver and actor Patrick Dempsey? There’s a $40 package that includes a ticket to the Grand Prix, meet and greet with Dempsey Racing drivers, an autographed hero card and a provides a $20 donation to the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer, Hope & Healing and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

For more information, visit

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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March 2, 2010

Player Appearance: Meet Udonis Haslem

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem will appear at the Miami Hoops Gear store at the Dolphin Mall on Wednesday as part of the Panini Adrenalyn Tour.

Panini, the NBA’s trading card partner, has launched an interactive trading card game and will be distributing up to 4 million packs of Adrenalyn cards and game boards across the country.

Panini will arrive with the Adrenalyn Bus, which bears photos of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki, and will travel more than 12,000 miles in support of the game, which is geared to children ages 6 to 11.

Haslem will be coaching kids on their free throwing on an NBA half-court, and playing the Adrenalyn game.

Haslem is scheduled to be at the store from 5 to 7 p.m., at Miami Hoops Gear at 11401 Northwest 12th St., Miami. Learn more about the game at

Meanwhile, the Heat announced a multi-year partnership with Panini America today and will host "Panini Adrenalyn Night" at Thursday's Heat-Los Angeles Lakers game at AmericanAirlines Arena. The team will give out 12,000 packs of cards and game boards to fans attending the game. Each pack will contain a Dwyane Wade All-Star card. The Adrenalyn Bus will also be at the arena Thursday, so fans can play the trading card game and participate in basketball skills contests before the Heat game.

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

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March 1, 2010

High schoolers who support legal drinking age can win scholarship, NFL player school visit

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, the NFL Players Association and Discovery Education have launched a program to encourage high school students to abide by the legal drinking age of 21 -- and get rewarded for it.

The venture, called “It’s 21. Just Pass,” includes a quiz testing students’ knowledge of drinking laws and consequences of underage drinking. Entrants are eligible to win a $5,000 scholarship. The school that submits the most entries, wins the school prize of a visit by an NFL player. Students ages 13 to 19 are eligible and can submit one entry per day during the sweepstakes period, which ends April 15.

There’s also a video contest, in which students can enter original videos of up to two minutes that reinforce the legal drinking age message for a chance to win two tickets to an NFL game.

“By partnering with the NFLPA and Discovery Education, we’ve leveraged high-profile sports personalities and a very credible educational resource to help us develop an innovative campaign that demonstrates our ongoing commitment to become an industry leader in social responsibility,” Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America President and CEO Craig Wolf said in a statement.

Added George Atallah, NFL Players Association Director of External Affairs: “The NFLPA proudly supports all of its players in their community service endeavors. Ventures like ‘It’s 21. Just Pass’ give these player role models an invaluable platform to spread a positive message.”

For rules, to enter and more information, visit

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