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Duffy’s partners with Dolphins, Panthers & Marlins

Buoyed by the success of its partnership with the Miami Dolphins, Duffy’s Sports Grill has been expanding its relationships with South Florida’s sports teams.

The Palm Beach Gardens-based sports grill chain became the “Official Sports Grill of the Miami Dolphins” last August and launched the Dolphins Express – a network of bus transportation from Duffy's locations to and from Dolphins home games at Sun Life Stadium. Not only has that relationship expanded, but the sports grills are also including Dolphins tickets and special offers as part of their MVP loyalty card program, in which members get seated without waiting, discounts and other benefits.

This year, the Dolphins Express has expanded to 10 locations from Fort Lauderdale to Melbourne. The buses, which will all be express rather than making stops along the way, are leaving earlier and rather than a box lunch, the price for the trip includes a ticket and a pregame tailgate at Sun Life Stadium catered by Duffy’s. The prices are $79 for upper corner endzone seats; and $124 for lower corner endzone seats. The tailgates include hamburgers, chips, cookies and a cash bar for beer and wine.

“We’ve learned a lot from last year,” said Paul Emmett, Duffy’s president and owner. “The buses are leaving, there will be a tailgate party. All the buses will get together and we’ll be offering the grill and beer before every game.”

A schedule of the Dolphins Express stops and times is below.

The success of the Dolphins partnership has led to the sports grills – which have 22 locations and more than 300,000 loyalty card members -- partnering with the Florida Panthers and more recently with the Florida Marlins.

The Panthers partnership launched in June with Duffy’s hosting the team’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Watch Parties at Duffy’s locations in Palm Beach Gardens and Fort Lauderdale. Duffy’s will also hold watch parties during the season and Panthers benefits are also part of the restaurant’s loyalty card program.

Meanwhile, the restaurant chain recently forged a partnership with the Florida Marlins, which is under way this season, but will be more visible in 2011. Among the plans are watch parties and promotional events aimed at driving ticket sales, said Brendan Cunningham, Marlins senior director of corporate sales.

“They’ve got a great footprint in the South Florida area, their plans for future expansion matched up well without backyard market,” Cunningham said. “It seemed like a perfect fit.”

Emmett said the relationships helps Duffy's with branding and drives more customers to the restaurants.

The Dolphins Express departure locations and times are as follows:

Melbourne: 1 p.m. games, 8 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 11 a.m.,; 8 p.m. games, 3 p.m.
Superplay: 1 p.m. games, 8:30 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 11:30 a.m.; 8 p.m. games, 3:30 p.m.
Jupiter East: 1 p.m. games, 8:45 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 11:45 a.m.; 8 p.m. games, 3:45 p.m.
Villages: 1 p.m. games, 8:45 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 11:45 a.m.; 8 p.m. games, 3:45 p.m.
Southern: 1 p.m. games, 9 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, noon; 8 p.m. games, 4 p.m.
Boynton East: 1 p.m. games, 9:15 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 12:15 p.m.; 8 p.m. games, 4:15 p.m.
Delray: 1 p.m. games, 9:30 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 12:30 p.m.; 8 p.m. games, 4:30 p.m.
Coconut Creek: 1 p.m. games, 9:45 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 12:45 p.m.; 8 p.m. games, 4:45 p.m.
Plantation: 1 p.m. games, 10 a.m.; 4 p.m. games, 1 p.m.; 8 p.m. games, 5 p.m.
Fort Lauderdale: 1 p.m. games, 10 a.m. ; 4 p.m. games, 1 p.m.; 8 p.m. games, 5 p.m.

Categories: Florida Marlins (193), Florida Panthers (108), Miami Dolphins (186), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101)

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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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