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April 30, 2010

Miami FC and Dunkin’ Donuts forge partnership

It won’t be just the renewal of a more than 30-year rivalry tomorrow night when Miami FC hosts the new Tampa Bay Rowdies at Lockhart Stadium, but also the launch of a new business partnership.

Miami FC and Dunkin’ Donuts, which is active in sponsorships across sports, forged a new partnership this week. Details are still being worked out, but at tomorrow's game, Dunkin' is supplying 25 vouchers good for a dozen doughnuts each and conducting doughnut decorating. Meanwhile, Dunkin's Joe the Donut will also be at the game, perhaps mingling with Super Mario. Will Hotshot join in?

POSTED IN: Mascots (16), Soccer (15), Sponsorship (101)

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Friday links: Heat twHEATup, Jason Taylor merchandise purge; and more

+ The Miami Heat's first twHEATup sold out -- 50 tickets for $50 each to sit in section 307 at AmericanAirlines Arena during the team's Game 3 first round home playoff game against the Boston Celtics a week ago. TwHEATup attendees got a halftime meet-and-greet with the Heat dancers and postgame meeting with Tim Hardaway. Read more here. Yes, the team plans future twHEATups. Stay tuned.

+ Fans have unusual ways to show love for their favorite players. The "Paul & Young Ron Show," heard on BIG 105.9 and The Gater 98.7 FM hosted a funeral of sorts at Clear Channel South Florida in Miramar on Monday for Miami Dolphins Jason Taylor memorabilia. Now that Taylor has signed with the arch-rival New York Jets, the station sealed up and buried a “time capsule/casket” stuffed with JT-signed jerseys, photos, footballs and other items. “The items will stay forever buried, or at least until Taylor is no longer with the Jets and is inducted into the Dolphins "Ring of Honor." (When/if that happens, the casket turned time capsule will be unearthed and people can get their stuff back),” a release announcing the event said.

+ Meanwhile, fans have pledged more than 25,000 volunteer hours to the Dolphins’ new Special Teams volunteer corps.

+ Topps announced a multi-year licensing agreement with the NFL and NFL Players Association this week. The first Topps 2010 NFL product is to launch just before the season starts and is to include opportunities to win prizes.

+ Even if it’s not clear where it came from – is it a ripoff of Maryland’s "Fear the Turtle"? – gotta love the first-round playoff leading Milwaukee Bucks’ “Fear the Deer” slogan.

+ Gregory A. Jones Architecture in Boynton Beach has been advertising that the firm along with B&M Building have been hired by Heat forward Udonis Haslem and former Heat guard Keyon Dooling, now with the New Jersey Nets, to provide architectural services for their homes in Southwest Ranches. This follows, naturally, since my colleague Ira Winderman wrote a story last weekend about several Heat players moving to Southwest Broward to shake the South Beach nightlife.

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

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April 29, 2010

Edwin Watts Golf partners with Sears, including Pembroke Pines store

ewgsshop1.jpgFort Walton Beach-based Edwin Watts Golf announced this week it is partnering with Sears and opening a dozen “store within a store” locations across the country, including one at the Sears in Pembroke Pines.

The partnership allows Edwin Watts to expand its reach to more customers through a national retailer both in store and online. The Edwin Watts sections of the stores are expected to be 2,700- to 3,000-square feet and be modeled on the company’s free-standing stores. They will be staffed by Edwin Watts Golf associates and will feature a variety of brands of equipment and apparel, including Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist and FootJoy.

“We chose to partner with Sears based on our strategic need for a mall-based retailer with a national footprint, as well as affiliations with leading brands such as Craftsman Tools and Nordic Track, which strongly align with the golfer demographic,” Edwin Watts Golf Shops CEO John Watson said in a statement.

The first Edwin Watts Golf within a Sears is scheduled to open May 31 at the Murray, Utah Sears. The Pembroke Pines location is expected to open in mid- to late July.

“We believe they are the perfect complementary retailer to our expansive sporting goods business and we look forward to seeing them surprise and delight customers with their first-class array of products and customer service,” Jeff Stollenwerck, Sears Holdings president of real estate, said in a statement.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Golf (12)

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Some Miami Dolphins individual game tickets and mini-plans on sale Saturday

The Miami Dolphins will begin selling individual tickets -- to games against the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Tennessee Titans -- and four-game packages earlier than ever -- starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The early ticket sale is part of a Mother’s and Father’s Day and graduation promotion that ends on June 20. The four-game packs are available for $100 a game on the lower level and $65 a game on the upper level at Sun Life Stadium. The packs allow you to choose one game from among games against the New York Jets (Sept. 26 home opener), New England Patriots (Oct. 4), Pittsburgh Steelers (Oct. 24) and Chicago Bears (Nov. 18); and three from among the Bills (Dec. 19), Browns (Dec. 5), Lions (Dec. 26) and Titans (Nov. 14).

Last year, the team didn’t make mini-plans and individual tickets available until late July. To purchase tickets call 1-888-FINS-TIX or visit

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

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Player Appearance: Meet Reggie Wayne

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver and former Hurricane Reggie Wayne will be helping to promote Gatorade’s new G Series Pro products at GNC on Miami Beach on Saturday, which has been dubbed “G Series Pro Signing Day.”

Fans can meet Wayne and check out the new G Series Pro products from noon to 2 p.m. at GNC, 622 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. For more information, visit

POSTED IN: Miami Hurricanes (32), NFL (178), Sponsorship (101)

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April 28, 2010

Kobe Bryant again tops list of most popular NBA jerseys; D Wade is 6th

Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant’s jersey was again the most popular in the NBA for the second consecutive season, according to sales figures from the 2009-10 season at the NBA Store in Manhattan and

Heat guard Dwyane Wade's jersey ranked 6th most popular. Heat gear ranked eighth among the league's 30th teams, with Lakers gear also registering as the most popular.

The Boston Celtics - who knocked off the Heat on Tuesday in the first round of the playoffs - had four players' jerseys among the top 15 best-selling jerseys. Here's the list of the top 15 selling jerseys, followed by the top 10 best-selling teams for the 2009-10 season:

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
4. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
5. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
6. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
7. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
8. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
9. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
10. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
11. Nate Robinson, Boston Celtics
12. David Lee, New York Knicks
13. Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
14. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
15. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

Top 10 selling NBA teams

1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Boston Celtics
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
4. Chicago Bulls
5. New York Knicks
6. Denver Nuggets
7. Orlando Magic
8. Miami Heat
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Phoenix Suns

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

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April 27, 2010

Former Miami Dolphin Zach Thomas buys Broward beachfront digs

Former Miami Dolphin Zach Thomas has been busy the past week. Soon after lashing out at the Dolphins for their handling of his brother-in-law Jason Taylor, who signed last week with the New York Jets, Thomas bought a new beachfront mansion in Hillsboro Beach, according to the Daily Business Review.

Broward County property records show Thomas, who has retired from the NFL, purchased the six-bedroom, six-bathroom, 6,347-square-foot Spanish/Mediterranean-style home at 989 Hillsboro Mile for $3.9 million. There’s even a dock with room for a 100-foot yacht. Read the Daily Business Review’s item here.

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

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Miami Dolphins returning to original Spanish radio partner

The Miami Dolphins are returning to their original Spanish language radio partner WQBA (1140-AM) under a new multi-year broadcast rights agreement with Univision Radio announced today.

WQBA will broadcast Dolphins exhibition and regular season games in Spanish. Sister stations, WAMR-FM, WRTO-FM and WAQI-AM, will run team promotions.

The Spanish language play-by-play announcer and color analysts have not yet been announced.

The Dolphins have most recently had Spanish language radio broadcasts on WSUA (Radio Caracol, 1260-AM).

Univision and the team’s recently created Dolphins Integrated Media Group will jointly sell the advertising for the programming, which will include a live, two-hour weekday broadcast of Dolphins news and the week's matchup during the season.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178)

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April 26, 2010

Tickets to Florida Marlins games this week and next heavily discounted

Travelzoo, the online publisher of travel deals, is selling tickets to Florida Marlins homes games at Sun Life Stadium this week at significant savings.

For games against the San Diego Padres today through Wednesday, the Washington Nationals on Sunday and the San Francisco Giants May 4 to 6, fans can find tickets ranging from $8 to $22.50 -- representing savings of up to 60 percent.

For example, outfield terrace seats that regularly sell for $21 are going for $8; field box seats that are regularly $34 are selling for $14; infield box seats that usually sell for $43 are $18.50 and Club B seats that normally cost $51 are going for $22.50. Find out more here.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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April 24, 2010

Player Appearances: Meet Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway

Two former Miami Heat stars, Glen Rice and Tim Hardaway, are making appearances at Office Depot stores in Miami-Dade County on behalf of the HP and NBA “Make the Smart Play Sweepstakes.”

The sweepstakes grand prize winner gets a trip for four to the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles, an HP TouchSmart computer, HP wireless printer and $2,500 in Office Depot gift cards for an office makeover. Office Depot customers can also win prizes and meet players during the sweepstakes.

Rice will be at Office Depot at 17801 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Hardaway will be at the Office Depot at 2690 Coral Way, Miami, from 2 to 3 p.m. on Monday.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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April 23, 2010

NFL draft tidbits from the first round

+ More than 3,800 people attended Thursday night’s Dolphins draft party at Sun Life Stadium, where they waited for player and cheerleader autographs, played interactive games, got to see TD and cheerleaders perform, and watched the new Dolphins radio partner 940 WINZ-AM broadcast live. Among the most popular attractions was the Dolphins garage sale, in which hardhats, jackets, jerseys and highlight films (on film in canisters) were selling for $5 to $20.

The party was scheduled to end at 10 p.m., but after the Dolphins traded their No. 12 pick to move down to 28 -- meaning their pick would come after the party's end -- team officials allowed fans to stay. Those that did were pleased with the trade down and a bit dumbfounded when the team picked Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick, especially when Texas linebacker Sergio Kindle was still on the board.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins’ new volunteer corps called Special Teams signed up fans, who pledged more than 14,200 hours to the new program during yesterday’s draft-a-thon.

+ Passing this on a little late, from Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal -- a look at how teams overspend on top draft picks compared to their performance on the field. Perhaps it’s not so surprising teams trade down.

+ Draft analysis in Haiku! How can you not love this from the John Harris Football Blog?

+ And what’s not to love here – first round draft picks and Subway endorsers Ndamukong Suh and C.J. Spiller rendered entirely in sandwich fixings, including pepperoni, olives and cheese, by the folks at Subway. Read Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner blog item on the meaty sculptures.

+ “Tim Tebow Broncos jersey” is currently registering as the sixth most popular search term on Google. Probably all those Tebow fans getting ready for his homecoming when the Jacksonville Jaguars open the season on Sept. 12 against, you guessed it, the Denver Broncos.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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April 22, 2010

Miami Dolphins drafting "Special Teams" of volunteers

special1.jpgWith such a large and loyal fan base, the Miami Dolphins have found a way to tap into the hearts and minds of their fans by offering them a chance to be part of a corps of team volunteers.

Called “Special Teams,” the initiative is aimed at encouraging Dolphins fans to pledge hours volunteering with the team across South Florida - and beyond - in events and programs ranging from this morning’s Treemendous Miami Earth Day tree planting and tonight’s NFL’s draft parties to the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run later this month to helping out during emergencies, such as hurricanes. Future opportunities could include cleaning parks and painting schools.

The volunteer corps allows fans to become involved in a community project alongside Dolphins players and executives without having to write a check. They’ll get a “Special Teams” T-shirt to wear at volunteer events.

“This is a terrific opportunity to really put volunteerism on the map,” Dolphins Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Adam Grossman said. “We want to be a resource for people. The goal is for us to be everywhere at all times.”

The effort borrows from the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee’s volunteer program, which drafted thousands of volunteers, who helped staff events leading up to and during Pro Bowl and Super Bowl this year. Leslie Nixon, who oversaw volunteer services for the host committee, is serving as manager of the volunteer program for the Dolphins Foundation.

With this being National Volunteer Week and the NFL Draft starting tonight, the team picked today to launch a volunteer-a-thon “draft” with broadcast partner CBS4 and Neighbors 4 Neighbors. CBS4 is hosting a phonebank from 5 to 7 p.m. for fans to pledge volunteer hours. Call 305-597-4404 to pledge hours. Fans can also sign up at draft parties the team is hosting tonight at Sun Life Stadium, Duffy's Sports Grill in North Palm Beach and Johnny Malloy's Sports Pub in Bonita Springs. The team is also offering gifts - such as team gear and tickets -- depending on the number of hours pledged.

“People can pledge any amount of hours they feel comfortable doing,” Nixon said in a statement. “We’re hoping to collectively reach at least 10,000 pledged hours on draft day.”

Grossman said the idea is not only to increase volunteerism in South Florida, but also to give fans a deeper relationship to the team.

“We want to connect people with the team,” Grossman said. “There’s also this grass roots element. People feel great about giving back. That’s the fundamental commitment of our organization as well. We want as many people as possible to come along for the ride.”

For more information and to check out volunteer opportunities, visit

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

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April 21, 2010

Miami Dolphins fans burning up NFL draft war rooms

Miami Dolphins fans have always found ways to chatter about their favorite NFL team. The NFL is just helping to make it even easier for them to find each other with the draft starting Thursday night.

Visit the Dolphins warm room on and you’ll find plenty of fans debating Earl Thomas at No. 12? Sergio Kindle? Starting Pat White? You’ll also find out Dolphins fans are in a “hopeful” mood and have been the most active posters among all 32 teams. As I write this, the Dolphins page has logged more than 37,200 comments. The next closest? The Detroit Lions with more than 28,600. The least active? Fans of the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills with fewer than 3,300 each. More than 329,000 comments total have been posted so far.

An interactive map shows you each NFL market identified by its logo along with a color to show its draft mood and live comments as they pop up across the country. launched the war rooms in a more limited fashion last year and received more comments than the league had expected, General Manager Laura Goldberg said.

“We decided this year to make them a little deeper, if you will, in terms of features and functionality,” Goldberg said. “We really want to cover the draft in a way that is highly interactive with our fans.”

As for why Dolphins fans are ruling the comment “airwaves,” Goldberg speculates that’s because the team’s fans are well organized and excited about the off season moves the team has made (Brandon Marshall, Karlos Dansby). (Note: I spoke to Goldberg before Jason Taylor officially signed with the rival New York Jets, but Dolphins fans were the second happiest when I spoke with her and now are ranked fifth happiest).

“I think the last year … new ownership, the celebrity coming to the team, I think there’s a lot of excitement around the Dolphins,” Goldberg said.

Meanwhile, at, is aggregating Twitter messages tagged with the hashtag #nfldraft. You can scan across pages of tweets to gauge how people are commenting on the draft, expressing their enthusiasm and concerns. Tweets by NFL officials, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, are among the messages. Goldberg describes the page as being “like a cool scrapbook. Maybe you find someone you want to follow.”

The key to the NFL’s online social media draft strategy was recognizing that “conversations are happening in a lot of different places,” Goldberg said. “We want to make sure we’re aggregating comments no matter where they are.”

They endgame, of course, is to build more loyal fans. “The more we engage fans, the longer they spend on our site, the more pages they look at, the more videos they look at,” Goldberg said. “It’s also great for our advertisers. The more someone is engaged, they’re much more likely to look at an ad, to notice an ad.”

Goldberg would love it if fans watching the draft on television are also checking to get updates, to comment and converse with other fans, and to watch video of the draftees. Oh, they could also be checking the real-time draft tracker and live video feeds on NFL Mobile on their Verizon Wireless phones.

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

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Miami Heat giving out playoff gear kits, holding first twHEATup

blacktee.jpgIn Miami Heat fashion, the team wants to make sure fans are not only appropriately attired and excited for the 2010 Back is Black playoffs, but also keeping up with these social media-centric times.

This afternoon, the team is giving away “Black is Back 2010 Playoffs Kits” containing a Black is Back T-shirt and clacker, team poster and Dwyane Wade “This is My House” placard, to fans who stop by Miccosukee Resort & Gaming between 3 and 7 p.m. The Xtreme Team and Burnie will also be in attendance. Tim Hardaway is scheduled to sign autographs and pose for photos between 4 and 6 p.m., when the 2006 Larry O’Brien championship will also be on display. Miccosukee Resort & Gaming is at 500 Southwest 177th Ave., Miami.

Tomorrow, the “Heat Experience” visits Lincoln Road Mall on South Beach from 6 to 7 p.m. for festivities that include a playoff parade and ticket and prize giveaways.

And during Friday’s first 2010 Heat home playoff game against the Boston Celtics, the team is holding its first-ever Twitter gathering with a nifty name – twHEATup. For $50, you can sit in a special twHEATup section at AmericanAirlines Arena for the 7 p.m. game and will be treated to a halftime meet-and-greet with the Heat dancers and a postgame meet-and-greet with Hardaway. The seats are in section 307 and the $50 price represents a discount of $8 to $20 off the regular individual ticket price. Check out more information here.

Meanwhile, the team just changed its Twitter handle from @MHEAT to @MiamiHEAT.

And don’t forget to follow me @sarahtalalay

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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April 20, 2010

Tim Tebow-mania inspires PR “flash mob” in Jacksonville

When the North Florida chapter of the Public Relations Society of America was planning a “flash mob” to underscore the power of public relations professionals in Jacksonville, members began thinking about what would make their public display meaningful.

For the uninitiated, flash mobs are those well-planned public displays – a dance, a song, a pillow fight – that are meant to look spontaneous. So these PR mavens were trying to come up with something to generate a lot of attention, said Bonnie Upright, the North Florida PRSA board member, who organized the event.

Tim Tebow.

Of course, Jacksonville’s current favorite son, former Florida quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, NFL hopeful. The idea that Tebow could be the theme of a flash mob further cements his reputation as highly marketable at least until we learn where he's taken in the NFL draft, which starts Thursday night.

Secretly, the group planned a dance number to Ke$ha’s "Tik Tok" to perform the Saturday before the NFL draft at Jacksonville Landing, the shopping and dining complex on the St. John’s River. (This was planned well in advance of Ke$ha's appearance as musical guest on that night's "Saturday Night Live," Upright said.) The complex would be celebrating Earth Day, ensuring a big crowd for the PR stunt. The group contacted the complex to secure use of its sound system and find a 10-minute spot for its “impromptu” performance.

“Public relations professionals are on the forefront of social media,” said Upright, president of Upright Public Relations in Orange Park. “We want businesses that need public relations to go ‘Wow.’ We want them to contact members of this organization.”

The group would don No. 15 Tebow jerseys – donated for the cause, of course; jeans shorts (I’m told this is a Gator thing…or perhaps only in North Florida); and eyeblack. (Check out photos courtesy of the North Florida PRSA).

They recruited friends and family members, but told them only to wear jeans shorts and comfortable shoes. Upright said she encouraged FSU fan friends in the group to view wearing Tebow shirts "as mocking Timmy, having fun at Tim’s expense, while the rest of us were honoring him.”

The eyeblack, needed to have a message a la Tebow. So the group planned a charitable component too, adding to the eyeblack to promote an organization aiming to collect 1 million used and new T-shirts to send to the needy in Africa.

The group of about 70 gathered Saturday morning, spent two hours rehearsing – and there’s even a Heisman pose incorporated into the dance.

Then they stunned the complex that was swarming with customers. At the end of their dance, group members hung around to talk about FSU fans donated their Tebow jerseys to the cause, Upright said. Other performers also donated their shirts.

“Maybe Timmy will stumble upon them,” when he’s doing missionary work, Upright said.

She’s also hoping footage from their display will somehow make its way into broadcast coverage of the NFL draft. Watch the raw footage here:

POSTED IN: NFL (178), Promotions (120), UF (18)

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April 19, 2010

D. Wade limited edition headphones in honor of NBA playoffs

HeatMixMaster1.jpgSkullcandy, maker of high end headphones, partnered with the NBA at the start of the 2009-10 season, releasing a line of player-specific headphones with team logos. The headphones, made for Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, as well as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Derrick Rose, Andre Iguodala and Deron Williams, sold for $49.95 on, at Best Buy and other retailers.

The company then made a limited edition of NBA All-Star headphones.

On Tuesday, the company is releasing a special limited edition of NBA Mix Master headphones in honor of the NBA playoffs, dubbing them “the greatest professional DJ headphone ever.” There will be just 100 pairs of the headphones – for $299 each – available for each of six players: Wade, Bryant, James, Garnett, Rose, and David Lee.

The headphones are each numbered – you can find the number where you adjust them to fit your head – and come in a fancy case with team colors. There will be just 20 pairs of the headphones for each player sold at and 80 for each player exclusively at Apple stores in Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

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

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April 16, 2010

Fort Lauderdale student learning business of NASCAR

Stephanie1.jpgWhen NASCAR fans settle in to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 on Sunday afternoon, Stephanie Lockhart and four of her fellow students will be overseeing a race watch-party at Blackburn student center at Howard University in Washington, DC.

Lockhart, who hails from Fort Lauderdale and graduated from Dillard High School in 2006, knows it’s a bit unusual that a historically black college would even be thinking about stock car racing, but she says that’s been an interesting part of the challenge.

Lockhart is one of five students participating in the NASCAR Kinetics program, which is akin to an internship program aimed at educating and exposing students on six college campuses to the NASCAR brand and giving them hands-on experience. The program launched in 2009 and is just completing its third semester, NASCAR spokesman Brad Klein said. Read about the program's launch at Howard here.

One of their assignments is organizing a race viewing party for the Texas race this Sunday or the April 25 race at Talladega. They’ve also worked on plans to promote the book, The Weekend Starts on Wednesday: True Stories of Remarkable NASCAR Fans, by NASCAR Director of Business Communications Andrew Giangola.

“Most people are kind of shocked, especially at a historically black college, it’s a great shock,” Lockhart, 22, said of the reaction from students to her promoting Sunday’s viewing party. “They say 'Wow, what are you doing?’”

That’s her opening to talk about NASCAR and the program, which also includes a competitive element. The other schools, Notre Dame, Coastal Carolina University, Clark Atlanta University, Central Michigan University and Winston-Salem State University host their parties on April 25. Each group is being evaluated on its assignments, including the success and creativity of their viewing parties. The grand prize is a trip to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star week next month in Charlotte, including garage tours, pace car ride, and pre-race and victory lane access.

A public relations major, who wants to work in sports communication, Lockhart graduates May 8. She’s hoping her experience working in NASCAR’s Kinetics program helps her stand out.

“I thought NASCAR would be something cool to be into,” she said. “It was just something new. I love to try new things … I like to do a lot of things to make me more marketable.”

The groups are getting help and goodies for the viewing party from M&M’s, sponsor of Kyle Busch's No. 18 M&M's Toyota and creator of M&M's Most Colorful Fan of NASCAR contest.

Lockhart said she and her fellow students have been putting ads in Howard's student newspaper, making announcements in the college chapel, promoting the event on their Facebook page and through the school radio station, and arranging for contests to win prizes at the event.

The winner will be announced May 5.

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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April 14, 2010

Nivea partners with AVP Tour, which returns to Fort Lauderdale this weekend

The AVP Tour hasn’t had a pro tour stop on Fort Lauderdale Beach since 2006. The beach volleyball tour returns this weekend with a new look and title sponsor. Oh, and gold medalist Misty May-Treanor, who missed last season because of an injury suffered training for Dancing With the Stars.

Nivea, the world’s largest skin care brand, signed a five-year deal with the tour, last month. The deal makes Nivea the exclusive skin and personal care product of the tour and turns the tour's dominant color from yellow (for Crocs, which was the tour's previous title sponsor) to blue.

The 12-stop tour starts Friday through Sunday at the AVP Nivea Tour Gatorade Fort Lauderdale Open. May-Treanor (wife of former Marlins and current Texas Rangers catcher Matt Treanor) returns to the tour with a new partner, Nicole Branagh, since her usual partner Kerri Walsh is pregnant with her second child.

Nivea is using the tour - where plenty of skin is exposed -- to promote its Happiness line of products, including the Happy Sensation Body Lotion and Touch of Happiness Body Wash.

"Through our partnership with the AVP, Nivea will have a unique opportunity to spread happiness to the U.S., from coast to coast and across the country where beach volleyball fans will gather to enjoy happy days of sand, outdoor, fun and play," Nicolas Maurer, vice president of marketing for Nivea manufacturer Beiersdorf, said in a statement.

ESPN2 is to televise the women's final at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit

POSTED IN: Olympics (3), Volleyball (1)

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April 13, 2010

Florida Panthers fans' depreciation

My colleague Ethan Skolnick had an interesting column out of the Panthers’ 2009-10 season finale at BankAtlantic Center on Sunday. He asked fans what makes them stick with and what they would do to change the fortunes of the hapless team that has now tied for the longest playoff drought in the NHL.

Since that column ran, Skolnick’s been getting other complaints from fans about the post-game fan appreciation festivities, including this one: the T-shirts the team threw to fans after the game? They were from Opening Night 2007! Read his Season Ticket blog entry on the post-game insult here.

POSTED IN: Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Promotions (120)

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April 12, 2010

Player Appearance: Meet Darius Butler

New England Patriots cornerback and Fort Lauderdale native Darius Butler is helping to reopen the remodeled Nike Factory Store at Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise this weekend.

The upgraded store, which has gotten a modern look, reopens on Friday and will host a variety of special events on Saturday and Sunday. The first 200 customers on Saturday will receive a free gift; customers can enter a contest to win a $1,000 shopping spree.

Butler will host a question and answer session from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday at the store in the mall at 12801 West Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise.

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

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April 11, 2010

Some Sunday links: skybox tax breaks, locals sports figures sell real estate and more

Catching up on last week:

+ Duke law professor Richard Schmalbeck and Rutgers Business School professor Jay Soled had an interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times last week suggesting it’s time to retire tax deductions for businesses that buy suites and club seats at sporting events. The professors say the deductions have led not only to skyrocketing ticket prices but also a squeezing out of the non-corporate fan in favor of building ever more revenue-generating luxury suites. It makes me wonder, too, if all those deductions led in part to all that extra entertainment – the frills such as dance teams, contests, djs and the like -- to keep all those people who’ve spent that big money occupied.

+ Former Miami Dolphins majority owner H. Wayne Huizenga, who sold the team and stadium to Steve Ross last year, quietly sold the Floridian Golf and Yacht Club for $25.6 million, the Palm Beach Post’s Jose Lambiet reports here.

+ Ever feel like the Black Eyed Peas have become the soundtrack to life? Might be onto something. The Wall Street Journal’s piece on the band, including Miami Dolphins limited partner Fergie, as a brand is here.

+ Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade sold his home…at a loss. Read more here.

+ Here’s the video to go with Creed singer Scott Stapp’s “Marlins Will Soar” – a rewriting of his song “You Will Soar” that honors the Florida Marlins and is shown on the scoreboard at Sun Life Stadium:

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), Tickets (126)

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April 9, 2010

Florida Marlins (home) Opening Night tidbits: new song, missing scoreboard and more

Perhaps it was just as well the Florida Marlins’ 2010 home opener was a nighttime affair, given that it reached a steamy 88 degrees this afternoon. Turns out it was the team that asked for the 7:10 p.m. start.

“Two things led us to do it at night. One, it’s not a season opener and two, it was a Friday,” Marlins team President David Samson said. “I prefer home openers during the day, no question about it, but season openers.”

The crowd of 40,666 was treated to a festive atmosphere nonetheless, including recognition of Chris Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez for winning last year’s National League Rookie of the Year and Batting Champion awards respectively; Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Andre Dawson throwing out the first pitch; and Creed’s Scott Stapp singing the National Anthem.

Stapp, a Palm Beach County resident, recently forged a partnership with the Marlins that has the singer and the team helping each others' charitable foundations, Marlins Vice President of Marketing Sean Flynn said. Part of the partnership includes Stapp re-writing his song “You Will Soar” as “Marlins Will Soar” complete with lyrics about baseball and the line: “Come on Marlins, make us proud.” A video of Stapp singing the song interspersed with Marlins highlights helped kicked off the festivities.

If you didn’t catch it tonight, Flynn says it will be shown in the stadium as well as online. He says it will be used similar to the way the team uses rapper Pitbull’s “Marlins Time to Represent.” Watch that video below.

Samson said he met Stapp at an airport when their flight was delayed. They began talking and have since exchanged text messages. Stapp also sat in the Marlins' suite during the Super Bowl in February.

stadium_teal-monster1.jpgOne thing that irked at least a few people today was the disappearance of the out-of-town scoreboard – or teal monster – in left field. Remember this (see photo from a few years ago)? That’s no more. No more lineups and out-of-town scores. Instead, there are giant ads for MLB Network, a picture of Billy the Marlin holding a baseball glove, and a sign for a “Hit Me, Win Me” sweepstakes for a Ford truck that a fan can win if a Marlin hits the sign.

The way the Marlins explain it, the sign was malfunctioning last year and stadium ownership decided it was too costly to maintain. The Marlins had the option to pay, but chose not to, Samson said, because fans nowadays are getting real-time scores and updates on their cell phones and pdas.

With the Marlins scheduled to be in their new ballpark in 2012, is it any wonder no one was willing to shell out the dough to fix the board?

The team doesn’t yet have a lease to play at Sun Life Stadium in 2011, but Samson said he expects that to be worked out within a few weeks.

The Marlins introduction cards on the scoreboard show each player in front of an image of the new ballpark. Both Samson and team owner Jeffrey Loria said construction of the new venue in Little Havana is going well. Loria said he visits the site every month and a half or so. “It’s going to be the crown jewel of South Florida when we’re done,” Loria said.

Samson said while the team is entertaining calls from companies interested in purchasing the naming rights, other sponsorship opportunities and suites at the new ballpark, a new sales center for premium seating is expected to open at the ballpark site by late May. He said the team hopes to have a naming rights partner by next April at the latest.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Sponsorship (101)

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Florida Marlins new ballpark webcam; Forbes team valuation

In honor of the Florida Marlins’ home opener at Sun Life Stadium this evening -- tidbits of team business news:

The team has installed a new robotic webcam at the ballpark construction site so you can watch the progress from inside the ballpark. The webcam is mounted on the south roof track so you get panoramic views and images of construction inside the bowl, rather than just from outside the project, which the webcam mounted across Northwest 7th Street at Robert King High Towers affords. Images from both webcams can be found at

The construction appears to be moving along so rapidly that it seems as if the venue could be open as soon as next year. But we’re told it’s the roof construction that takes months and that’s why the team is targeting an April 2012 opening.

The team’s value is certain to rise – along with its revenue streams – when the new ballpark opens. According to Forbes' annual Major League Baseball team valuations, the Marlins are already more valuable than they were a year ago. In fact, Forbes says the value of the Marlins increased more than any other MLB team. The team ranked 27th – up from 30th last year – and saw its value increase 15 percent to $317 million, the magazine says. Marlins President David Samson once again dismissed Forbes' numbers, because he says the magazine doesn’t have access to the team’s books. Read Samson’s comments in my colleague Juan C. Rodriguez’s story here.

Forbes said the New York Yankees were the most valuable team at $1.6 billion, followed by the Boston Red Sox at $870 million and New York Mets at $858 million. Find the complete list at

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

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April 8, 2010

Office Depot, Tony Stewart celebrating Earth Day at NASCAR race Saturday

odstewart1.jpgIn honor of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart and Boca Raton-based Office Depot are “Growing Greener” this weekend.

To promote its efforts to sell eco-friendly items and ship in an environmentally friendly manner, Office Depot has teamed with wind and solar power producer NextEra Energy Resource’s EarthEra program.

Stewart will drive his No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet with a special “Grow Greener” paint scheme in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway. The paint scheme (see photo courtesy of Action Sports Photography) will feature Office Depot and EarthEra logos along with the “Greener Shipping” message. The office products supplier encourages consumers to be more “green” in the way they purchase and ship items by placing larger orders and reducing the number of deliveries.

Meanwhile, Office Depot is balancing the carbon footprint of the race by buying EarthEra “Green-e Certified Products,” which refers to the independent certification and verification program for renewal energy and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Learn more about Office Depot’s “Grow Greener” program here and watch the wrapping of Stewart’s car with the special logos below:

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Auto Racing (42), Sponsorship (101)

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It is official: Tim Tebow NCAA Football 11 cover athlete

tebow1.jpgAs anticipated and repeatedly reported, former UF quarterback Tim Tebow IS gracing the cover of EA Sports’ NCAA Football 11.

The videogame will be available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation2 and PlayStation3 on July 13. Find out more about the game and watch a video of the cover shoot at

ESPN shadowed Tebow during the cover shoot. Read the Q&A here.

Meanwhile, Nike announced this week that it has signed a partnership with the NFL hopeful. The deal is reportedly for shoes and apparel, but a Nike press release dated Monday says only “Nike plans to utilize Tebow to assist in elevating the training products and tools the company has developed to build championship athletes.”

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), NCAA (38), Shoes (15), UF (18)

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San Francisco Giants to host innovative Tweetup

What better way to connect with your fan base, reach potential new fans and forge new networks in the hyper social media age?

The San Francisco Giants may have hit on the answer. The team is hosting a Tweetup at its April 30 game against the Colorado Rockies. And it isn’t just an excuse to offer a special ticket price and hope for the best.

For $20, you get a View Reserved or Bleacher Section seat and a pregame mixer and a panel discussion with social media experts, including Twitter co-founder Biz Stone (Twitter is based in San Francisco) and Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt, who is on Twitter, natch. The first 1,000 fans get an @sfgiants T-shirt that says “Follow Us” on the back. And $2 of each ticket goes to Room To Read, an organization that promotes literacy in developing countries by establishing libraries.

The Tweetup fits into the Giants’ roster of special theme nights, said Bryan Srabian, the team’s social media/marketing specialist.

“Our heritage nights are a perfect example, reaching a new audience. Social Media is obviously very big in the San Francisco Area, and we are really stepping up our efforts this year in that area,” Srabian said. “ With that being said, more of our fans are using Twitter and Facebook and thought this would be a great event to bring together Twitter and Giants Baseball.”

NBA teams have adopted the concept. The Phoenix Suns have held at least two. The Milwaukee Bucks are hosting one Saturday, and tickets include a #FearTheDeer T-shirt. The New York Knicks held a Tweetup in February: $40 included a ticket and T-shirt, panel discussion, early entry for pregame and a postgame event.

If all goes well in San Francisco, Srabian said, the Giants could host another Tweetup soon.

“We really hope to take social media to a new level, engaging our fans, creating new fans, and learn from our fans as well, as social media is a two-way conversation,” Srabian said.

Don't forget to follow me, on Twitter, too: @sarahtalalay Who knows, maybe our local teams will be inviting us to a Tweetup, too.

POSTED IN: MLB (110), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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April 7, 2010

From spring training to… water park?

Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners are mulling what to do with Fort Lauderdale Stadium, abandoned last year by the Baltimore Orioles, who found a better deal for their spring training operations in Sarasota.

On Tuesday, the commission agreed to keep its aging stadium open for another seven months buying time to make a long-term decision on the future of the venue, which had been home to spring training – first the New York Yankees and then the Orioles – for nearly 50 years.

Traffic Sports, owner of Miami FC, the professional soccer team holding its home games at next-door Lockhart Stadium this season, which kicks off Saturday, will pay rent to use the baseball stadium and its grounds for practice, but also keep it open for community use. Traffic Sports wants to transform the old stadium into a soccer academy long-term.

The semi-professional men’s baseball league, the Federal League, wants to turn the stadium into a baseball academy. But perhaps the most radical idea is to transform it into a water park-hotel-retail sports destination. Schlitterbahn Development Group submitted a proposal to the city last week. Read my colleague Brittany Wallman’s story about the proposal here.

Any long-term use will need the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration, because the stadium sits on land owned by adjacent Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The FAA wants the land used for aviation purposes or to be paid fair market rent for use of the site. That’s what hung up the proposal for the Orioles to revamp the stadium – the FAA wanted $1.3 million annually from the team.

Stay tuned.

POSTED IN: Soccer (15), Spring Training (11)

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April 6, 2010

Player Appearance: Meet Lindsey Vonn

vonn1.jpgOlympic alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, who won gold and bronze medals in Vancouver, is visiting South Florida on Saturday.

Vonn, who also appears in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, will be signing autographs and posing for photos from noon to 3 p.m. at Rapids Water Park, 6566 N. Military Trail, Riviera Beach.

Bring your own camera and souvenirs, but there will also be photographs (for autographs) for sale. More information at


POSTED IN: Olympics (3)

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April 5, 2010 broadcasting Tiger Woods’ Masters action

As Tiger Woods played a practice round with Fred Couples at Augusta National and prepared for his 2 p.m. press conference, just a reminder that Fort Lauderdale-based (and will be the only place you can catch all of the Masters’ first and second rounds -- or Woods’ return to pro golf.

ESPN will be able to break into programming Thursday for Woods’ first round tee shots from the first hole. But other action will have to wait until ESPN’s 4 to 7:30 p.m. time slots on Thursday and Friday. in conjunction with, meanwhile, has beefed up its coverage of the Masters significantly since last year. The site will feature all four days of the tournament, including more than 86 hours of live video – up more than 50 percent from the 2009 Masters.

The company has also added the Featured Group channel, which will show live video of selected pairings on holes 10 through 18. After CBS’ television coverage of action on Saturday and Sunday, will show a Masters Live recap show.

POSTED IN: Golf (12), Television (35)

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April 2, 2010

Fantasy Baseball in all its gory detail

In honor of Opening Day on Sunday, here’s my story about how fantasy baseball – well, actually all fantasy sports -- has grown so big that services designed to help players navigate trades and rules disputes have been springing up.

As I say in the story, perhaps it was inevitable that a hobby that’s gotten so big it has spawned fantasy magazines, TV shows, and trophy manufacturers, would also require legal services. No one’s getting rich off these services, but the fact that they’ve grown is significant. After all, even if fantasy players are only playing for bragging rights, they’re still spending a significant amount of time during a six-month period caring for their teams.

Which brings me to “Fantasyland,” the documentary based on Sam Walker’s (of the Wall Street Journal) book of the same name. The online film follows the 2008 season in the expert fantasy baseball league called Tout Wars. There’s plenty in this film, available through, to show you the depths to which fantasy baseball players go for their hobby.

POSTED IN: Fantasy Sports (6), MLB (110)

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April 1, 2010

Preliminary bids to host 2014 Super Bowl due today

South Florida’s preliminary bid to host the 2014 Super Bowl was sent in a few days before today’s deadline, South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee Chairman Rodney Barreto told me today.

The region may have hosted a record 10th Super Bowl on Feb. 7, but it has really big and formidable competition this time. The new New York Giants' and Jets' Meadowlands Stadium opening in New Jersey this month is considered the favorite to host the 2014 game, despite the potential for frigid and snowy weather. The owners waived the requirements of an average 50-degree temperature or domed stadium to allow the region to bid. Tampa is also bidding.

“New York is an exciting city, very dynamic, the NFL is based there, I know [Mayor Michael] Bloomberg is working very hard with others to secure it,” Barreto said. “I think it would be an incredible game, like a how do you call it? One-fer. Like in Jacksonville. If we can do it in Jacksonville, we can do it in New York.”

Jacksonville beat out South Florida for the 2005 game in a vote by the owners in 2000.

But Barreto still believes South Florida has a shot and says it doesn’t make sense not to bid. He reminded the 2010 game came South Florida’s way after it was initially promised to New York contingent on the New York Jets receiving government approvals to build a stadium on Manhattan’s West Side. When state funding didn’t come through, the NFL put the game back up for bid to the three runners-up, including South Florida, passed over for the 2009 game, which was held in Tampa.

“From our perspective, you never not bid or walk away,” he said. “Let’s be in it to win it. The beautiful thing is you can win the consolation prize. You’ve got to participate. Do we win them all? No. There’s more newer stadiums to compete with.”

As of May 1, Barreto said the bidders will go to New York to go over their proposals with league officials. The owners will vote at their meeting May 24-26 in Dallas.

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

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Tim Tebow stays to sign autographs, raise funds for charity; help with marriage proposal

Crowd estimates for former Gator quarterback Tim Tebow’s appearance last Saturday at Palm Beach Autographs ranged from 2,000 to 3,000 people. So many that Tebow stayed until about 7:30 p.m. – long after the event at the store at Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens was supposed to end at 5 p.m., so he could sign every autograph and pose for every photo, according to Palm Beach Autographs co-founder Steve Dodson. The event was a fundraiser for the Tim Tebow Foundation.

Only Gators spoke with Tebow at the event, read more here.

And of course, there’s that now famous moment when Tebow helped Ian Lis propose to Sarah Springer. Lis arranged the moment with representatives of the store and Tebow agreed. When Lis, in an orange shirt, and Springer, in a blue dress, got to the stage to meet Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner pulled out the ring box and told Springer that Lis had a question for her. The moment even made CBS’ The Early Show.

Having Albert the Alligator do the Hora at your wedding is one thing, but Tebow helping you propose? How do people come up with these ideas?


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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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