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August 31, 2010

Texas has top selling college gear, UF third

Alabama may have won the national championship, but Texas still sells the most gear, Collegiate Licensing Co. reports. For the fifth consecutive year, Texas ranked No. 1 among CLC institutions based on royalties between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.

Alabama ranked 2nd up from 5th in 2009 and bumping the University of Florida -- which held the No. 2 ranking in 2009 -- to No. 3.

In fact, royalties for all the Florida schools in the top 75 dropped between 2009 and 2010, except for the University of Miami, which ranked 27th in both years. FSU dropped to 19th from 16th in 2009; the University of South Florida dropped to 57th from 53rd; and the University of Central Florida fell to 66th from 61st.

CLC handles the licensing for about 200 colleges, bowl games and conferences.

Also of note, CLC reported, Knights Apparel Inc., the largest supplier of collegiate apparel to Wal-Mart, ranked as the No. 1 collegiate apparel licensee, knocking Nike from the top spot. And Fabrique Innovations became the No. 2 non-apparel licensee, behind EA Sports, because of its collegiate Snuggies.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Miami Hurricanes (32), NCAA (38), UF (18)

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Marlins Stadium Update No. 3D

The Florida Marlins’ new ballpark sales center offers an impressive look at the team’s new home with actual seats, a full-size suite and 3D views from any seat in the venue.

The Marlins have now made those views available online.

The team has set up a virtual tour that gives you a view – and price – of any seat in the ballpark, as well as the interiors of suites and lounges. You can even make a deposit for season tickets for 2012 – when the venue is opening -- on the site.

Of course, the online version doesn’t afford you the opportunity to see the ballpark’s construction going on across the street from the sales center. Check out the virtual seating program at marlins.com/seatviews.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Marlins Stadium Updates (112), Tickets (126)

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August 30, 2010

Party City sponsoring Florida Panthers empty seats

partycity1.jpgLeave it to the Florida Panthers to remind you that everything has a price – even empty arena seats.

The team promised it would sell a sponsorship to the coverings on upper level seats that have been added to reduce capacity and create a more intimate setting at BankAtlantic Center.

Party City, the party goods supplier and the presenting sponsor for the 2010-11 Panthers season, is adding its name to the coverings. The Panthers blue coverings reduce the number of seats by nearly 2,500 to 17,040. The covers can be removed should there be demand.

The idea is to generate revenue, but I wonder if the sponsor – especially one promoting parties – doesn’t bring more attention to the fact that no one’s sitting in those seats.

The Panthers say the reduced capacity has increased demand and the team is approaching selling more than 10,000 season tickets -- the most in three seasons. A new general manager, boosted player roster and ticket deals as low as $6 a season ticket in the upper level – in honor of new Miami Heat player LeBron James’ jersey number – probably helped, too.

“”It is an incredibly natural fit for Party City to receive exposure on the upper bowl covers that will help to make the BankAtlantic Center a more intimate and exciting setting during the 2010-11 season,” Panthers President Michael Yormark said in a statement.

POSTED IN: BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Sponsorship (101)

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August 29, 2010

Miami Dolphins: NFL's biggest loser, Forbes says

The value of the Miami Dolphins has remained a steady $1 billion, but the team jumped up to 16th from 18th last year, according to Forbes’ annual list of NFL team values.

The Dallas Cowboys and their grand new football stadium palace top the list with $1.8 billion in value and operating income of $143.3 million. They’re followed by the Washington Redskins ($1.55 billion) and New England Patriots ($1.367 billion). Even the 32nd team -- the Jacksonville Jaguars are valuable at $725 million and operating income of $25.9 million – this for a team that had most of its home games blacked out on local television last season.

What’s of interest in the rankings is the Dolphins are one of just two teams – the other being the Detroit Lions – to record an operating loss. Forbes says the Dolphins operating loss is the most -- $7.7 million; the Lions’ is $2.9 million.

It’s unclear from Forbes’ numbers what the loss is attributable to – I was hoping to ask team owner Steve Ross about the figures last week when he was scheduled to meet with the media, but the team said he had to postpone due to business commitments.

So we’re left to ponder. To be sure, it’s difficult to lose money in the NFL. Of course, owners say costs keep rising and they want to reduce the percentage of revenue shared with players as part of their labor negotiations. But national TV money typically covers team payroll (before benefits), before a ticket or sponsorship is sold.

We do know – as he keeps reminding us – Ross overpaid for the team and Sun Life Stadium when he agreed to buy both from H. Wayne Huizenga for $1.1 billion. (By the way, Forbes identifies a photo of Ross as Huizenga -- and did the reverse in the 2009 rankings). That figure included the debt on the stadium particularly for the $250 million in renovations. Ross has also updated concession areas, added new seating areas and this year’s “The Experience,” modeled on the Fontainbleau’s Club LIV. But that debt shouldn’t be figured into operating numbers.

Perhaps that $7.7 million can be attributed to the millions Ross has spent on signing bonuses and making Karlos Dansby and Brandon Marshall the highest paid players at their positions. Last year, Ross spent more upfront money on re-signing players and attracting free agents than any team in the league and had the second highest payroll. Additionally, the team fell short of its goal of selling at least 50,000 season tickets -- ending with 49,415 last season.

Here’s Forbes’ note on the Dolphins:

The Dolphins took two key steps to improve their finances during the off-season. The team sold the naming rights to their stadium to insurer Sun Life for $4 million a year (an additional $1.5 million a year from the deal is paid to charities), replacing the temporary, soft-dollar deal it had with Jimmy Buffett's Land Shark Lager. More importantly, the Dolphins refinanced $235 million of stadium debt in a deal that includes a $159 million letter of credit that backs taxable municipal bonds sold through a government conduit but for which the stadium corporation is responsible. The deal, arranged by Goldman Sachs, contains a credit reserve that is significantly bigger than it otherwise would have been to account for the possibility of a work stoppage in 2011.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sports Team Owners (49), Sun Life Stadium (24)

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August 27, 2010

Miami-Dade County Mayor: Marlins ballpark contract won't be reopened

It didn’t take long for Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez to respond to County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa’s request to see if the agreement to finance the Florida Marlins' new ballpark could be altered.

On Friday, Alvarez issued a carefully worded memo outlining the reasons why county administrators weren’t surprised by information revealed this week in leaked documents showing the Marlins were profitable the past two years. He reiterated what Marlins President David Samson and County Manager George Burgess have said this week about the importance of the team’s solvency as a partner in the ballpark deal.

Sosa sent him a memo on Wednesday asking if the team could be required to contribute more in light of the team's profitability.

“Even if we did see the need to reopen negotiations – which we do not – the Marlins are not willing to discuss reopening the contract,” Alvarez wrote in the memo sent to Sosa and distributed to county and city of Miami commissioners and staff members. “Nothing that we have learned has changed our reasoning in a way that would demand or justify new negotiations.”

In fact, Alvarez said he thinks the release of the information – the documents were obtained by Deadspin.com – and the subsequent reporting on it has “misled the public.”

The financial statements show the Marlins had a net operating income of nearly $50 million combined for the years 2008 and 2009. The documents show net operating income of $37.82 million in 2008 when the team’s on-field payroll was a league-low $24.8 million and $11.1 million in 2009 when the payroll was up to $35.1 million.

Alvarez chose to highlight the team’s net income -- which factors in interest, taxes, amortization and other expenses. Those figures show the team earned $29.4 million in 2008 and $3.9 million in 2009.

Alvarez said the figures should give commissioners comfort, not pause, that the team can cover its obligations to the $515 million ballpark. “That the team had a positive revenue stream should not have been a surprise to anyone. It was not a surprise to your negotiating team,” he wrote.

According to Alvarez's memo, the team’s contribution works out to $120 million up-front, $93 million in rent payments, $26 million for the capital reserve (maintenance) fund and any cost overruns on the ballpark.

He said county officials did not see “the team’s confidential financial information during negotiations,” but did do “a wide range of other research before we became confident that the deal was properly structured.” That included reviewing public documents, conversations with the team and potential lenders and financing experts.

He ended the memo with a forward-looking statement suggesting county commissioners may want to join him at the ballpark’s opening: “In April 2012, I expect we will all have reason to celebrate a model of sustainable public-private cooperation when the first pitch is thrown.”

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

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August 26, 2010

Miami Dolphins scratch-off tickets best-selling; plus game ticket discounts

The Miami Dolphins scratch-off tickets have sold the most among the state’s three NFL teams since they were unveiled late last month, Florida Lottery officials said.

Through last weekend, $5 million worth of Dolphins scratch-off tickets had been sold, compared with $4.97 million worth of Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ tickets and $2.37 million worth of Jacksonville Jaguars’ tickets.

The $5 scratch-off games are a partnership between the Florida Lottery and the NFL teams to raise money for the state's Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which provides money to public schools, scholarships, community colleges and state universities.

The tickets include a dozen chances to win cash prizes from $5 to $100,000. Losing tickets can be entered into second-chance drawings at flalottery.com for team themed-prizes such as tickets and stadium tours.

The lottery partnerships were approved by NFL owners in spring 2009 as a way to generate more revenue for teams.

In addition to being available at regular lottery ticket retail locations, the Dolphins tickets are also for sale at Sun Life Stadium. Tickets can be purchased seven days a week – even at Florida Marlins’ home games – at a Lottery Instant Ticket Vending Machine in the Gate G Team Store, and on Dolphins’ game days at six customer relations/advance ticket sales locations on the 100, 200 and 400 levels.

And the Dolphins are offering discounts of $5 off lower level tickets and $10 off upper level tickets to four regular games this season, through its partnership with the lottery. Click on partner offers at flalottery.com for discounted tickets to games against the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sun Life Stadium (24), Tickets (126)

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Discover Orange Bowl’s new name

ob1.jpgSouth Florida’s most famous college football game has a new moniker: Discover Orange Bowl.

Discover Financial Services, operator of the Discover card, has reached agreement with the Orange Bowl Committee and ESPN to title sponsor the BCS game for the next four years and five bowl games, including the national championship game in 2013. The contract runs from 2011 through 2014.

“As title sponsor of the Orange Bowl, Discover will be rewarding their card members all year long with exclusive benefits, including ticket offers and unique experiences at the Discover Orange Bowl,” Harit Talwar, president of US.S. Cards for Discover said in a statement. “It’s a great way to show how it pays to Discover.”

After 21 years – the longest reign as title sponsor of a BCS game – FedEx announced earlier this year, it was dropping its Orange Bowl sponsorship.

“Discover’s commitment to the Orange Bowl reinforces the game’s national strength and appeal as one of the premier sporting events in the country,” Orange Bowl Committee CEO Eric Poms said in a statement. “We welcome Discover to South Florida and the home of championship college football and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership. Our shared passion will leave a lasting impact on our community, while further enriching the 77-year history of the Orange Bowl.”

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), NCAA (38), Orange Bowl (45), Sponsorship (101)

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August 25, 2010

More thoughts on Marlins finances

Documents detailing the finances of the Florida Marlins’ and a handful of other Major League Baseball teams (reported by Deadspin.com), of course, reveal details we’ve never seen, but the team’s reaction to them is perhaps most surprising.

Of course, we’ve known the Marlins were making money and have even written as such repeatedly – despite the team’s protestations otherwise. While the release of the documents is, as Marlins President David Samson says, a crime, now that they're out there, here are some key details:

The Marlins brought in more than $75 million in both 2008 and 2009 from Major League Baseball’s revenue sharing program and central fund, before even selling a ticket, sponsorship or factoring in local TV and radio broadcast contracts.

Those figures combined were $79 million in 2008 and $75.4 million in 2009. That’s $47.9 million from revenue sharing and $31.3 million from the central fund in 2008; and $43.9 million in revenue sharing and $31.6 million from the central fund in 2009.

Revenue sharing is the system by which rich teams share revenues with lower revenue ones to even competition. The MLB central fund, which includes sources such as the national TV contract and to which all teams contribute – is distributed evenly. From other national sources, the Marlins got: $7.6 million in royalties and $2.9 million from the team’s investment in MLB Advanced Media – the sport’s Internet arm.

The documents show, the team had nearly $50 million in net operating income combined for 2008 and 2009. That was $37.84 million in 2008, when the team's on-field payroll was a league-low $24.8 million, and a more modest $11.1 million in 2009, when the payroll was up to $35.1 million.

Each time Forbes released its annual team valuations, Samson disputed the figures saying he didn’t know Forbes sources, but he also insisted the team wasn’t making a profit, and if there was one, team owner Jeffrey Loria would put it back into the team.

There are several examples of this, but here’s one from 2007, when Samson was asked about Forbes’ reporting the Marlins had the highest operating income of the leagues’ 30 teams at $43.3 million and with a league low payroll of $24.8 million:

"Very often the mistake that's made is they look at revenue sharing numbers and the team's payroll and take the difference and see profit without looking at our expenses," Samson said.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria "would want any dollar extra going into payroll," Samson said.

"What's happened is he committed to stop losing money, but he has never said he makes his living from the operation of the Florida Marlins. He simply doesn't want to lose all his money."

Jorge Costales, a Miami CPA who blogs about Marlins finances, has done a great job examining the documents compared to Forbes findings. Read his blog at 2thinkgood.com.

Another of Samson’s favorite sayings about payroll is that it will reflect revenues. When reminded of this during Monday’s conference call with reporters, Samson agreed but quickly added “local.” That’s a word that was conveniently absent from Samson’s previous discussions of team finances.

If you’re going to say payroll matches “local” revenues, he’s more accurate. Local revenue in 2009, the documents show, mainly consisted of $21.5 million in ticket sales revenue, $2.5 million from concessions and $16.7 million in local TV and radio broadcasts.

(As an aside, the documents reveal details of the team’s contract with Fox Sports Florida, which was a major part of its negotiations to build the new ballpark. The team needs regular revenue streams, such as TV money, to pledge against its portion of the construction. During 2005, the documents show, the Marlins and Fox Sports Florida struck a 15-year broadcast rights agreement – through 2020 – that pays the team $172 million during the life of the contract. It started with an initial payment of $40 million from Fox and comes out to $13.2 million this year, $13.6 million next year and $14 million in 2012.)

But this still begs the question-- what about all that “national” revenue.

Clearly the Marlins walked a fine line: if you make a profit, how much public money can you ask the public to chip in to your ballpark? If you say you’re saving the dollars for the ballpark – something Samson says the team has been saying all along, but hasn’t been – that’s a more palatable argument than the team isn’t profitable.

After years of saying the team wasn’t making a profit, Samson on Monday told reporters the documents “confirm everything we have said over the years of how we’ve operated the team.” He went on to talk about promising to secure baseball in South Florida and saving the dollars to put the team in a solid enough financial position to be able to fund its portion of the $515 million ballpark.

“We knew our contribution would have to be substantial enough, with team that did not have commensurate revenue,” Samson said. “In order to satisfy our contribution to the ballpark, we had to make sure we would be a team that would have the ability to borrow money.”

You have to wonder why Miami-Dade County officials didn’t push harder to see the Marlins’ books. And why a judge said opening the books wasn’t required, despite auto dealer Norman Braman’s lawsuit pushing for such, given that taxpayer dollars were being spent on the ballpark.

If the money really was going to the ballpark fund -- as a fan, you can still be angry the “profit” wasn’t going into payroll, but at least you’d know it was planned for somewhere other than the owner’s pocket.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Marlins Stadium Updates (112), Sponsorship (101), Sports Team Owners (49), Tickets (126)

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August 24, 2010

Miami Dolphin Brandon Marshall new Warren Henry spokesman

brandon1.jpg
Add new Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the list of famous Warren Henry Automobiles spokesmen.

Marshall’s now an “Official Brand Manager” for the luxury car dealerships, meaning he’ll appear in ads and will make appearances for the company. He’s also driving a new gray 2011 Jaguar XJ from Warren Henry Jaguar in Miami. (See Marshall above with a 2011 Jaguar XJ, photo courtesy of Warren Henry).

“I am thrilled to partner with Warren and his family of dealerships,” Marshall said in a statement. “The Jaguar XJ that I am now driving is super hot, super charged and I can’t wait to ‘Unleash the Best.’”

Over the years, Warren Henry has partnered with a number of South Florida athletes, including Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Dolphins running back Ricky Williams and speedskater Jennifer Rodriguez.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), NFL (178), Sponsorship (101)

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August 23, 2010

Miami Heat players, Office Depot & Tony Stewart’s car welcome kids back to school

pittman1.jpgStudents at Miramar Elementary got a special star-studded welcome back to school on Monday morning.

Miami Heat center Dexter Pittman and guards Kenny Hasbrouck and Patrick Beverley helped Heat sponsor Office Depot distribute some 900 backpacks filled with school supplies.

In a rare convergence of sponsorees, the event also included the No. 14 Office Depot show car. The Boca Raton office supply company is also a co-primary sponsor of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart's No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet. Stewart wasn't at the school this morning, but he did carry the Back to School paint scheme on his car in Chicago in July.

Hasbrouck checked out the inside of Smoke's car this morning. Photos courtesy of Office Depot. Above, PIttman helps hand out supplies.

The players addressed the students during morning announcements and the Heat Dancers, Xtreme Team and Burnie the Heat mascot were also in attendance.
Hasbrouck1.jpg

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Sponsorship (101)

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August 22, 2010

Help fight genetic diseases, win 1st Pitch at Florida Marlins game

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Want to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Florida Marlins game?

Gene Spotlight, a new South Florida-based foundation formed to fund medical research into treatment and cures for 7,000 rare genetic disorders that afflict 25 million Americans, is offering that chance.

Until Sept. 3, the foundation is auctioning a first pitch and four Batter’s Box seats (behind home plate) at one of seven September home games at Sun Life Stadium. The package is valued at $6,000 and bidding is currently up to $2,300. Check out the package at charitybuzz.com.

Click here for more information on Gene Spotlight.


POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Promotions (120), Sun Life Stadium (24), Tickets (126)

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August 20, 2010

Favre drives ticket prices, but game against Dolphins not among highest priced

favreeffect1.jpgSay what you will about his wavering and his on-again, off-again retirement, but Brett Favre moves ticket prices.

Ticket search engine FanSnap.com put together this nifty graphic charting average ticket prices based on Favre announcements and developments last year and this year. Tickets were up to an average of $240.82 this week after Favre’s definitive return announcement and demand has pushed average prices up more than $50 a ticket, FanSnap says.

As you might imagine, the home game against the rival Green Bay Packers – Favre’s former team – is the highest at an average of $230. Tickets for the game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 (Sept. 19) are averaging just $98.

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

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August 19, 2010

Miami Dolphins bringing nightclub experience to Sun Life Stadium

clubliv1.jpgMiami Dolphins owner Steve Ross keeps stressing the need to enhance the fan experience at Dolphins home games at a Sun Life Stadium.

On Wednesday at LIV Nightclub in the Fountainebleau hotel on Miami Beach, the team unveiled the latest incarnation of boosting the fan experience: a 10,000-square foot, two-level South Beach-style club from which fans can watch Dolphins games.

Modeled after LIV and run by its operators, the exclusive area of Sun Life Stadium is to encompass a portion of the 200 and 300 levels in the west endzone overlooking the field and including an outside veranda with stadium and couch seating.

“We were attracted to this project because of Steve Ross’ unconventional thinking and willingness to try different things to create the best experience possible for Dolphins’ fans,” Brian Gordon of Miami Marketing Group (MMG), which is partnering with the team on the project, said in a statement.

The idea is to bring a bit of the celebrity and sizzle of South Beach to the stadium.

“We’re bringing the kind of entertainment and energy inherent in South Beach nightlife – but in a way where these fans can still enjoy the game,” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said in a statement. “With MMG’s guidance, the experience at Sun Life Stadium will deliver a unique football and exceptional party experience that only South Florida and the Dolphins can provide. This new fan experience at Sun Life Stadium will become the place to be and be seen.”

The area will include waitress and butler service, 60 high definition TVs, DJs, eight indoor cabanas and a fantasy football concierge to help fans manage their teams during game time.

Prices vary depending on the type of seating (seat, couch, cabana or annual membership) and the game. To order, call 305-623-6200.

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Florida Marlins pitching ballpark tour to raise funds for Haiti

The Florida Marlins are using their new under construction ballpark as an incentive to encourage donations to help rebuild earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

As part of its “Marlins Ayudan” (Marlins Help) community program, the team has partnered with Waste Management and Food for the Poor on a “Homes for Haiti” campaign. Waste Management kicked off the program with a $50,000 donation to build 10 two-room homes. The goal of the program is to build a village of 25 homes.

The first 10 individuals or companies to donate $1,000 or more by Monday, will get a special behind-the-scenes hard-hat tour of the ballpark site. The tour at 6 p.m. Tuesday includes a cocktail party at the ballpark sales headquarters from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and will receive a personalized hard hat. Donors will get to meet Marlins executives and catcher John Baker, who visited Haiti with team officials last month.

To make a $1,000 donation, call 305-623-6497.

Fans can make $10 donations at marlins.com/homesforhaiti or by texting “Haiti” to 25383.


POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Marlins Stadium Updates (112), Promotions (120)

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August 16, 2010

Report: Discover Card could become Orange Bowl title sponsor

With FedEx announcing earlier this year it was dropping its title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl college football game after 21 years – marking the longest reign as title sponsor of a BCS game – ESPN has been in negotiations with potential corporate partners for the game’s name.

Neither ESPN nor the Orange Bowl Committee are discussing the companies, but sources have told CNBC that Discover Financial Services is expected to strike a deal for the name.

The financial services company, which operates the Discover Card, has orange in its logo.

"We are engaged in active discussions with several advertisers around the Orange Bowl and will make an announcement at the appropriate time,” ESPN spokeswoman Amy Phillips said in a statement.

The Orange Bowl Committee is not negotiating the deal but is in regular communication with ESPN about it.

“We are in regular discussions with ESPN regarding the title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl,” Orange Bowl Committee CEO Eric Poms said in a statement. “There are active conversations in the marketplace around the title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl, which is viewed as a premier property and presents a tremendous marketing opportunity.”

A spokesman for Discover declined to comment.

In May, reports had Hershey’s Reese’s brand negotiating for the game’s title sponsorship.

The Orange Bowl committee announced FedEx as its game title sponsor in 1989 for the 1990 game -- before the Bowl Championship Series was formed in 1998. The Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta bowls each host a BCS bowl game and the fifth BCS game is the national championship game, which rotates among the four bowls.

The Orange Bowl next hosts the national championship game in 2013.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Orange Bowl (45), Sponsorship (101), Sun Life Stadium (24)

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Boca Raton, Miami Dolphins team up for road game parties

During the Miami Dolphins’ first pep rally in advance of the 2010 season, the team and the city of Boca Raton announced a unique program to make away games a party in the city’s downtown.

Dubbed the “Fins’ South Florida’s Biggest Away Game Party” in Downtown Boca, the partnership is aimed at providing a free party atmosphere in which fans can join together to watch away games on large screens. The Super Sundays will also include activities such as question and answer sessions with Dolphins alumni, performances by the Dolphins Cheerleaders, football-themed games and giveaways.

“We are humbled and excited that the City of Boca Raton has chosen to designate Downtown Boca as Finstown and enter into a truly innovative public/private partnership with the Miami Dolphins,” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said in a statement. “South Florida’s Biggest Away Game Party is a special way for our fans in Boca and throughout South Florida to come together to cheer for their Fins while the team plays away from Sun Life Stadium.”

In addition to offering fans a party while the team's on the road, the partnership is aimed at continuing to bring people to the city's downtown.

“The City of Boca Raton is pleased to team up with the Miami Dolphins to present our own away game tail-great parties in our Downtown Boca so that fans of all ages can cheer on our South Florida home team,” Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel said at the event. “We invite Dolphins fans to come early and stay late to discover all that is Downtown Boca as we rollout the aqua and orange carpet, complete with fresh new activities each away game event.”

The road game parties start an hour before kickoff. These are this season's Dolphins road games and the party start times:

Sept. 12: Dolphins at Buffalo Bills, Noon
Sept. 19: Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings, Noon
Oct. 17: Dolphins at Green Bay Packers, Noon
Oct. 31: Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals, Noon
Nov. 7: Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens, Noon
Nov. 28: Dolphins at Oakland Raiders, 3 p.m.
Dec. 12: Dolphins at New York Jets, 3 p.m.
Jan. 2: Dolphins at New England Patriots, Noon

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Television (35)

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August 13, 2010

Eagles presenting Florida Panthers training camp

eagles1.jpgIn what is thought to be the first marketing partnership of its kind, the Eagles rock band is presenting this year’s Florida Panthers training camp.

With the announcement this week that the Eagles will be playing a concert at BankAtlantic Center on Oct. 8, the band is getting some extra exposure by branding Panthers Training Camp 2010. Training camp will get the special logo at left and the partnership will appear on the team’s website; at the Saveology.com Iceplex, where the team trains; and in advertisements and news releases. Training camp runs from Sept. 11 to Oct. 10.

“Panthers Training Camp 2010 presented by the Eagles is an innovative program unlike anything that has ever been done in the sports and entertainment industry,” Panthers President Michael Yormark said in a statement. “It is also proof that our organization is willing to use all the resources at our disposal to promote concerts, shows and events that visit the BankAtlantic Center.”

Rather than an actual sponsorship agreement in which money exchanges hands -- that's not happening here -- the deal is a marketing partnership that aims to help sell tickets to the Eagles concert. A Panthers spokesman said the turnaround for ticket sales is short, and the partnership provides additional promotion for the band. Spurring tickets sales in turn helps the Panthers, who operate the Broward County-owned arena.

“It’s very unusual,” said Jim Andrews, editorial director at IEG Sponsorship Report. “We’ve certainly had what we would consider two properties sponsor each other, like Six Flags sponsor a NASCAR, something like that, but in particular a music concert sponsoring a sports property, that’s very likely the first of its kind.”

However, Andrews said he doesn’t expect it to become a trend.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Sponsorship (101)

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August 11, 2010

Chris Bosh gets Milk Mustache

boshmilk.jpgMiami Heat forward Chris Bosh has hit the big-time: he’s featured in his own Got Milk? ad.

In the Body by Milk campaign, Bosh is wearing his USA Basketball uniform sporting the signature milk mustache, but he’s pitching the health benefits of chocolate milk.

It’s part of milk’s “Refuel America” program that seeks to inform the public about the benefits of “refueling” during the two hours after exercising. Lowfat chocolate milk has the components to help rebuild what exercisers lose during their workouts, the campaign says.

"Lowfat chocolate milk is an important part of my recovery plan – plus it tastes great," Bosh said in a statement. "I'm excited to be part of this important campaign to help teach athletes the importance of fitness and nutrition, and how drinking chocolate milk can help them refuel after exercise."

Learn more and see behind the scenes photos from the ad shoot here.

The Milk deal is a huge boost for Bosh’s marketing portfolio. He didn’t get nearly as much exposure when he played for the Toronto Raptors. Apparently, he’s fielding a lot of offers from potential sponsors these days.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Endorsements (20), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139)

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Miami Heat are one hot ticket

OK, several hot tickets. Not exactly a newsflash here, but with the full NBA schedule now released, there’s even more evidence of what a popular ticket the Three Kings-led Miami Heat have become.

According to ticket search engine, FanSnap.com, the average ticket price on the secondary market for last year’s Heat home opener against the New York Knicks at AmericanAirlines Arena was $116.

This year’s Oct. 29 opener versus the Orlando Magic? Try $805.

The website says the average price for the highly-anticipated Christmas Day matchup when the Heat travel to Los Angeles to take on the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers is already at $717. And the team’s season opener at the Boston Celtics on Oct. 26 is averaging $545 a ticket.


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

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August 10, 2010

Carlos Arroyo’s new single and other Miami Heat tidbits

Returning Miami Heat guard Carlos Arroyo has his own theme music accompaniment at AmericanAirlines Arena – El Gran Combo’s “Fiesta de Pilito.”

Now he has a new single out with reggaeton recording artist and fellow Puerto Rican, Yomo. You can listen to the song called “Se va Conmigo” (“She comes with me”) below and purchase it at iTunes.

You can also watch a photo shoot of the pair here.

Arroyo, who is a reggaeton fan, released “Oculto Secreto” (“Hidden Secret”) last year – you can watch it here.

+ With the release of the full NBA schedule today, the Heat has just 29 nationally televised games this season. The team can have a maximum of 34 on national TV. Fans can vote on NBA.com for games they want to see broadcast nationally on “Fan Night” – Tuesdays on NBA TV.

+ And with the release of their schedule, the Heat reminded that fans still seeking season tickets for the 2010-11 season, can sign up for the Heat Hopefuls Waiting List for a non-refundable $100 per seat. Those on the waiting list will be given the first shot at partial season ticket plans. Email seasons@heat.com or visit heat.com. Details of the plans are scheduled to be released next week.

+ And according to TMZ.com, LeBron James has sought business assistance from a higher power. The website carries an exclusive photo of James meeting “today with Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto, ... a man known around New York as the 'Rabbi to the Business Stars.'" Sources told the website James consulted Pinto for guidance on business matters relating to some merchandising deals.

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

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August 9, 2010

Florida Panthers: Name your own price for tickets

shatner.jpgPlaying off new general manager Dale Tallon’s “plan” for his team and borrowing a page from Priceline, the Florida Panthers created “The Perfect Plan” for season ticket sales.

The ticket plan allows fans to pick seats, name a price and learn within 24 hours if their offer has been accepted. The offer, which runs through this week, is available for seats in the lower and upper bowls and club level at BankAtlantic Center. Retail prices range from $60 to $130 per seat per game. Potential buyers could have their offers accepted, be offered another location for that price or work out a different agreement.

So far, the team has sold slightly more than 50 full season ticket equivalents through the “The Perfect Plan” and turned away about 50 others, either because their offers were rejected or an agreement couldn’t be reached, a team spokesman said.

“’The Perfect Plan’ is an unprecedented ticket sales campaign in pro sports and puts the power of negotiation in the hands of our fans,” Panthers President Michael Yormark said in a statement. “Borrowing from the travel industry, for a limited time Panthers fans can name their price and seat location and try to make a deal. And with GM Dale Tallon moving quickly to turn this franchise into a contender, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for fans to get in now, before it’s too late.”

To make an offer or get more information, visit FloridaPanthers.com or call 954-835-PUCK.

The St. Louis Blues offered a limited time “Name Your Price” promotion in 2008. The deal, in which the Blues were encouraging fans to make “a reasonable offer,” was for select seating areas for full-season tickets, premium or weekend 10-ticket packages or any individual game that October. The team could accept or reject the offer with a Ticketmaster sponsorship covering the difference between the retail and requested price.

POSTED IN: BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), NHL (56), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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Monday links: Catching up, more Heat hotel deals, radio interview, junk food & more

+ Perhaps it’s not enough these days to live like a “king” in a Miami hotel. Kimpton’s EPIC Hotel is getting in on the excitement of new-look Miami Heat, offering “king-sized savings” as well as “king-sized accommodations” to season ticket holders. Season ticket holders, who book through heat.com can take advantage of the savings during the 2010-11 season, and receive a free appetizer at the hotel’s Area 31 restaurant, and a complimentary upgrade when available with proof of season ticket holder status. EPIC, at 270 Biscayne Blvd., and not far from AmericanAirlines Arena, has 13 rooms featuring extra-long beds for its especially tall visitors. I’m told that even those season ticket holders who live nearby might want to take advantage of the offer. And if you’re not a season ticket holder, you can also book through the Heat’s website for 20 percent off the best available rate.

+ More on the business of the Three Kings: A little late, but here’s a link to a radio interview I did on the business of the new-look Heat with Greg Linnelli at Fox Sports Radio WBGG-970-AM in Pittsburgh. The interview starts after the commercials.

+ As Dallas gears up for the 2011 Super Bowl next year, two South Florida businesses that got contracts from the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee are being recognized in Texas for being part of the Super Bowl’s Emerging Business program, which gives a boost to local small, minority- and women-owned businesses: Coral Springs printing company TypeStyles Inc., and McCray’s II Backyard BBQ in West Palm Beach. Read more here.

+ Love this ode to junk food from Sunday’s New York Times, with stadium staple Cracker Jack being first on the list. I’m not sure the Big Gulp qualifies, but in my book, a Slurpee definitely does.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @sarahtalalay

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), NFL (178), Promotions (120), Super Bowl (53)

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August 2, 2010

Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Reggie Bush help kick off celebrity Facebook messaging

You could just post a birthday message on a friend’s Facebook page or send a virtual birthday cake or card. Cameo Stars is hoping you’ll want Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to help deliver the message. Or his teammate, running back Reggie Bush. Or perhaps Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

The three NFL stars join Carmen Electra and other athletes and celebrities in launching Cameo Stars, which allows you to send video messages from the stars to friends’ Facebook pages. They can also “poke” your friends.

Many of the items are free, others cost Facebook credits. According to a New York Times story on the company, a video of Brees holding a birthday cake and sharing a message can be sent to a friend for $3.

“Cameo Stars has been a great experience, as it allows us to add a little more personality and life to people’s social media pages that never existed before,” Brees said in a statement. “Fans are always looking for ways to feel closer to their favorite players and celebrities and Cameo Stars is an ideal way to do it.”

Bush, in a statement, said, “It always amazes me what new products come into the market to have fans feel one step closer to being on the field with us. Cameo Stars offers a unique way to touch fans while taking advantage of the social networking phenomenon which has helped us stay more connected all year round.”

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

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August 1, 2010

Dolphins & Heat try to assure season ticket holders their venues' food is safe

Since ESPN's Outside the Lines’ exhaustive report on food vendor safety at North America’s 107 pro sports venues was released last weekend, the Miami Dolphins and the Miami Heat have sent letters to their season ticket holders ensuring their venues’ food is safe.

Executives from both the Miami Dolphins and AmericanAirlines Arena took pains to point out what they say are inaccuracies in the ESPN report. Despite scoring among the worst percentages of vendors with “critical violations” in the report, the executives say none of their vendors failed any of their inspection tests and none was shut down.

Our followup on the ESPN report, which you can read here, detailed the state of Florida’s strict food safety inspection standards and assured that none of the concessions stands at South Florida’s three venues – including BankAtlantic Center – had failed inspection tests.

The Dolphins called the reports “misleading and inaccurate.” Calling the report and subsequent stories “inflammatory,” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said Sun Life Stadium has passed all of its inspections and its food is safe.

The Dolphins' note also included a link to a letter from Centerplate, the concessionaire at both Sun Life Stadium and BankAtlantic Center.

AmericanAirlines Arena pointed out – just as we did – that their violations were not related to food preparation, but had to do with equipment issues, such as wiring, and all were fixed immediately. “Fans can be assured that when they visit our venue for a sporting or entertainment event, all of the food is prepared within the cleanest, safest environment possible,” the note said.

Read the full AmericanAirlines Arena letter from arena general manager Kim Stone, here.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), BankAtlantic Center (30), Florida Panthers (108), Miami Dolphins (186), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), NFL (178), NHL (56), Sun Life Stadium (24)

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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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