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October 28, 2010

Miami Heat home opener: arrive early, wear black, buy a license plate & more

The Miami Heat’s highly-anticipated home opener against the Orlando Magic at AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday is expected to have a little bit of everything. As a result, the team is encouraging fans to arrive early to avoid traffic and a protest rally planned nearby the arena on Biscayne Boulevard by Miami police and firefighters upset about paycuts.

Black is back. Again. The team wants fans clad in black and is giving out 20,000 black “I. Was. There.” T-shirts (courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines) and commemorative programs. (“Yes. We. Did.” was the slogan for the team pulling off the free agency bonanza in getting LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade on the Heat. The team handed out “Yes. We. Did.” signs at the welcoming event July 9).

“Wear black or shop black,” said Andy Montero, the Heat’s senior director of retail operations.

Merchandise: A merchandise tent – typically reserved for the playoffs – is expected to open for business in front of the arena at 3 p.m. Gates to the arena’s east plaza open at 5:30 p.m. for the T-Mobile Tip-Off celebration. T-Mobile, which just entered into a multi-year sponsorship deal with the Heat (it has had a partnership with Wade since the 2006-07 season), is holding a pregame celebration on the plaza for fans with game tickets that includes a performance by Miami rapper Pitbull. DJ Irie and the Heat dancers will entertain and T-Mobile will show off its newest smartphones.

Tickets/Doors/Pregame: Tickets are still available at Doors to the arena open early -- 6 p.m. Security could take longer because of the large crowd, but fans can enter at Gates 5 and 6 on the northeast and southeast sides of the arena – not just Gates 1 and 2. Even fans sitting upstairs can go courtside pregame to watch the teams warm up.

Get a Heat license plate: A kiosk outside section 102 will allow fans to purchase or renew their license plates with specialty Heat tags. The tags costs an extra $25, which is tax deductible and goes to charity. To get the license plates, you must have a driver’s license, proof of registration and insurance and cash or check.

Fan Up, Miami!: Fans are being encouraged to get to their seats in time for pregame ceremonies, which will include the debut of the team’s new player introduction video. Read about it here. At halftime, a video highlighting the summer’s events will be shown. A new song celebrating the new-look Heat, called “Celebrate” and written by Emilio Estefan will be officially unveiled. Estefan has created a percussion group called the Miami Heat Rhythm Section to perform at select games. Listen to the song here.

Oh, and there’s a game too. Starts at 8 p.m. on ESPN and Sun Sports.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Apparel (55), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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October 27, 2010

LeBron James: new team, new number… new website

The new is up and running. Launched Tuesday night, in time for the start of the highly-anticipated 2010-11 NBA season, the site offers information on the new Miami Heat forward’s Ohio background, basketball, training, lifestyle and community and charitable activities. It’s got great illustrations and plenty of photos and videos and even his music playlists.

“This website is very important to me, and I had a lot of ideas and provided feedback every step of the way,” James said in a statement. “My goal was to create a site that stands out visually and provides useful and interesting content. I am very excited to give my fans the opportunity to learn about my life both on and off the court, and to offer them tips on how to live a healthy, active life and give back to their community in different ways.”

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

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October 26, 2010

Marlins ballpark financing subject of HBO Real Sports

If you’ve been paying any attention to the Florida Marlins ballpark financing saga, the HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel feature on the subject doesn’t break any new ground.

What it does is put what’s been referred to as “Profit-gate” squarely into the ballpark financing debate. The ballpark may be nearly half-finished – media got a tour of the construction site Tuesday (check out a video here) – but some are still stinging from Miami-Dade County’s and the city of Miami’s decision to put $361 million into the $515 million ballpark, while the team was making a profit.

Documents released in August by detailing the finances of the Marlins and a handful of other teams show the Marlins had net operating income of nearly $50 million combined for the years 2008 and 2009. Real Sports uses the documents as a way to examine whether the ballpark deal was a fair one for the community.

The piece could easily be used as a campaign advertisement for auto magnate Norman Braman’s campaign to recall Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who declined to be interviewed for the show. Braman appears but both Alvarez and County Manager George Burgess, who also declined an interview, are both shown in clips from Braman’s trial targeting the financing for the ballpark among other county projects, saying they’d never asked to see the team’s financial books.

County Commissioners Carlos Gimenez (whose office sent out the below clip from the show) and Sally Heyman are interviewed about their concerns that county staff did not push hard to find out if the team could afford to put more dollars into the deal. County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, among the team’s staunchest supporters when the ballpark deal was approved, says she feels she was misled during the process.

Marlins President David Samson suggests Sosa is planning to run for county mayor and wants to use her questioning of the deal now to appeal to constituents. MLB President Bob DuPuy defends the deal as being good for the community.

The show, which also includes a touching piece on Marc Buoniconti 25 years since he was paralyzed on the football field, airs at 10 p.m. tonight.

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

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Dwyane Wade stars as Agent D3 in new Jordan Brand ad

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade’s new Jordan Brand commercial is decidedly different from new teammate LeBron James’ new Nike ad.

“Dominate Another Day” shows Wade as super hero Agent D3 starting his quest for another NBA championship. “Time to bring the rings back to Miami,” he says. With Miami as his backdrop, he flies through the air, he rides a motorcycle and defies all sorts of obstacles.

(The ad is not for a specific shoe -- in case you're wondering, Wade is wearing the Jordan 2010 Team shoe to start the season).

It's an installment in a season-long campaign. The ad ends with: To be continued….

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

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Muhammad Ali at your fingertips

Mosaic Legends, the digital media company that makes thousands of photos into portraits of musicians, including the Grateful Dead and Bob Marley, has made its first foray into sports apps with a comprehensive portrait of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.

The Ali app, available for the iPhone ($2.99) and iPad ($4.99), is a rich portrait containing 3,200 images. Each tap on the portrait brings the smaller photos into focus and each photo is attached to historical data about Ali and his iconic quotes. There’s a timeline and a shop, too.

“There is no person who has had a more significant impact on the history of sports and popular culture than Muhammad Ali,” Mosaic Legends Artist Craig Adam said in a statement. “We are proud to unveil our most ambitious project yet, one that details his extraordinary career to millions of fans and admirers around the world like never before.”

Mosaic Legends, whose executive vice president Jonathan Schweiger, lives in Boca Raton, has done portraits from Bridget Bardot to Bono to David Bowie. Its portrait of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was the top-selling item at Yankee Stadium when it was released last month.

The company is looking at retail locations in South Beach with an eye toward opening a gallery to display its mosaic portraits.


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October 25, 2010

LeBron James addresses summer controversy in new Nike ad

A new Nike ad featuring Miami Heat forward LeBron James called “Rise” begins airing Tuesday night in conjunction with the start of the 2010-11 NBA season and the launch of the Nike LeBron 8 shoe at retail.

James is shown in a variety of situations, speaking his mind about his controversial decision this summer to join the Heat and his future. It even includes a segment with Don Johnson a la “Miami Vice” and features James saying “I am not a role model.”

The ad will air during TNT’s broadcast of the Heat’s highly-anticipated opening game against the Boston Celtics and during sports and entertainment programming across national networks into next month.

POSTED IN: Advertising (79), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Shoes (15), Television (35)

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October 23, 2010

Pink sticks, pads, pediatrics and hashtag battles

NFL players have been sporting pink gloves, cleats, and even mouthguards this month to promote breast cancer awareness. This month is also Hockey Fights Cancer month in the NHL.

This week, the Florida Panthers Foundation announced it had donated $400,000 to the Broward Health Foundation to renovate the pediatric oncology unit at Chris Evert Children’s Hospital to make it Panthers-themed.

At Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, the team welcomed a number of groups working to fight cancer including Gilda’s Club and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; and included organizations such as Children Battling Cancer, Jessica June’s Children Cancer Foundation and Broward Health Foundation in the ceremonial puck drop. Children with cancer rode the Zambonis and participated in the puck stacking competition.

Pink-Pads1.jpgMeanwhile, the New York Islanders, who are playing the Panthers at BankAtlantic Center tonight, used sticks wrapped in pink tape and breast cancer ribbons during a game last weekend that were auctioned to raise money for charity that benefits cancer awareness.

Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro has taken the cause a step further, wearing specially-made pink pads all month and seeking to have extras made to auction for charity.

And tonight, a Twitter battle to raise money for charity is being waged while the Los Angeles Kings face the Colorado Avalanche. While the game is going on during Hockey Fights Cancer Night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, fans are being encouraged to tweet messages with the hashtags #GoKings or #GoAvs . The team with the most mentions wins the HashTag battle, but in addition, for each team-associated hashtag the Kings will donate $1 to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Avalanche will donate to Kroenke Sports Charities. Read more about the battle here.

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

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October 21, 2010

Sn’eads features LeBron James and D Wade in latest comic

Way out of my league here – in sneaker culture -- but check out the newest Sn’eads by Ree comic strip titled “South Beach Player.” It’s the work of Tyree Dillihay, sneakerhead comic, and features the Miami Heat's LeBron James and D Wade and is so current it includes Wade’s sore hamstring and the South Beach edition of the Nike LeBron 8 shoe.

Check out the full strip on and

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

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Car decals, happy hour, opening night watch party and more highlight Miami Heat Week

As if any more build up were needed before this highly-anticipated Miami Heat season, the team is keeping with tradition hosting community events and giveaways leading up the 2010-11 home opener Oct. 29.

Heat Week kicks off Friday with a free Heat car decal giveaway at AmericanAirlines Arena. For more information, visit Here’s what’s scheduled this week:

Friday: Heat car decal giveaway from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at AmericanAirlines Arena, while supplies last.
Then join the Heat for Happy Hour, 5 to 7 p.m. at Brickell Irish Pub, 1471 S. Miami Ave., Miami, along with Burnie the Heat mascot, Heat dancers and the Xtreme team.

Saturday: Feel like a pizza? Order from Papa John’s in Broward or Miami-Dade counites between 5 and 7 p.m. and you might just get it delivered by a Heat player, dancer, Burnie or Xtreme team member.

Sunday: The Heat’s Fireball Express bearing giveaways will visit local bars in downtown Miami starting at 4 p.m.

Monday: Fans 18 years or older can participate in a pickup basketball game at AmericanAirlines Arena during Heat After Dark, 7 p.m. to midnight. It’s free and participants get a Heat After Dark T-shirt.

Tuesday: Join other fans for the Bacardi Road Rally at AmericanAirlines to watch the Heat’s opening game against the Boston Celtics on the road. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free, but parking in the arena lot costs $5.

Wednesday: Watch the Heat’s second game of the season against the 76ers at the Bacardi Road Rally at Sandbar Sports Grill starting at 7 p.m., 3064 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove.

Oct. 28: Burnie will be giving out free tickets to the team’s home opener on Oct. 29 at AmericanAirlines Arena at various spots around South Florida. You’ll get clues to his location by being a friend on Facebook and checking out details at

Oct. 29: The home opener against the Orlando Magic will include commemorative game programs and 20,000 “I. Was. There.” T-shirts for those in attendance. And the debut of the team’s new player introduction video. The game begins at 8 p.m., but doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the Heat’s encouraging fans to arrive early.

POSTED IN: AmericanAirlines Arena (35), Apparel (55), Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Promotions (120), Tickets (126)

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October 19, 2010

Marlins Stadium Update No. 861,026 (Ballpark contract and HBO edition)

Some Miami-Dade County Commissioners haven’t given up on the idea of trying to re-open the contract to finance the Florida Marlins ballpark, in the wake of leaked financial documents showing the team made a profit in 2008 and 2009.

Commissioners Sally Heyman and Javier Souto have sponsored a resolution directing County Mayor Carlos Alvarez or his designee to “initiate dialogue” with the Marlins and city of Miami to see if the contract can be amended to reduce the public’s contribution to the $515 million ballpark. The county’s and city’s contribution amounts to $361 million. But in order to re-open the contract, the county, city and team all have to agree.

With ballpark construction zooming along at the former site of the Orange Bowl – “on time and on budget,” according to the team – and Alvarez saying in August that negotiations would not be reopened, any amendments seem unlikely.

But last week, the Miami-Dade County Commission’s Budget, Planning and Sustainability Committee voted 4-0, with Commissioners Carlos Gimenez and Katy Sorenson, absent for the resolution directing the conversations to begin.

“I’m going laugh all the way to my second,” said a chuckling Commissioner Joe Martinez of his decision to second the motion to pass the resolution, “because obviously all three have to come to the table, and we can’t force the Marlins. So there’s been a motion there’s been a second. Does anybody wish to be recorded no?”

No one did.

“It’s a funny resolution passing,” Martinez said, “but at least we tried.”

“We can’t say we didn’t ask,” Heyman said. “This body asked. The negotiators didn’t.”

The resolution is not on today’s county commission agenda and has not yet been scheduled for consideration by the full county commission.

There is a date for the airing of an edition of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that includes a feature on the long and controversial road to funding the Marlins’ ballpark. The program is scheduled to be broadcast at 10 p.m. Oct. 26.

I haven’t seen the program yet, but those interviewed include Marlins President David Samson, Major League Baseball President Bob DuPuy and county commissioners Heyman, Gimenez and Rebeca Sosa.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Marlins Stadium Updates (112), Television (35)

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October 18, 2010

Miami Heat wants fans to Fan Up, be in their seats

FanUpDicountCard1.jpgIt’s not exactly a secret that South Florida sports fans are a little lax about arriving for the start of games.

Late-arriving crowds are the norm at Miami Heat games and the team has tried for years to coax fans into their seats in time for tipoff with little success. But the team’s blockbuster free agency spoils this summer has given it new impetus to try again.

The team launches “Fan Up, Miami!” at tonight’s exhibition game against the Charlotte Bobcats at AmericanAirlines Arena. The idea is to remind fans the new-look Heat is the kind of team most cities – despite their griping – would be thrilled to have. Rather than letting television viewers see empty seats, the Heat want fans occupying those chairs.

“We want to understand, especially now, why any fan would want to miss even a second of action that could take place with this team in place,” said Michael McCullough, Heat executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Just like the players are using the target on their backs as motivation, so, too, should fans, McCullough says.

"There are a bunch of media and commentators and fans around the country making comments about Miami not deserving this windfall of players, that if this would have happened in Chicago or New York, that would have been more fitting,” McCullough said. “We took offense at that. We want our fans to take offense as well.”

Tickets to see the Heat play other NBA teams around the country are among the highest priced on the secondary market, so the Heat want its fans to show they are deserving of this team.

“We want our fans to wear this as a badge,” McCullough said. “The organization stepped up and put a team together that every other team wants. Let’s show we’re worthy.”

The team is using that criticism to encourage fans to arrive early – you can watch the teams warm up courtside before the game, even if you’re sitting upstairs -- and exit the bars and balconies (they’ll help by putting drinks and snacks in to-go cups and containers) early enough to get to their seats on time.

Among the tenets of Fan Up, Miami: “Fan Up… means being in your seat for tipoff … and staying there until the final buzzer.”

Other admonishments? “Fan Up … means there is nothing fashionable about showing up fashionably late… it’s just late.”

Fans arriving early will be rewarded with discount cards (like the one above) good for merchandise and concessions. Fans in the arena concourses and clubs will notice the sound getting louder as game time approaches.

“We want to get the message across, it’s time for game time,” McCullough said. “Right when that ball goes up, something’s going to happen right away. That’s really the message.”

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

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October 15, 2010

Ronnie Brown, Frank Gore endorsing Rawlings protective apparel

Rawlings Football – yes, football – has signed up two NFL running backs with ties to Miami to endorse its Skeletal Responsive Gear (SRG) protective apparel.

Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown and San Francisco 49ers running back and former Hurricane Frank Gore are Rawlings' new endorsers. Brown is representing the PORON XRD line and Gore, the Zoombang line. The players will appear in print and digital advertising to promote the lines. Check out the video below, where the two players show off the gear.

More than 200 NFL players are wearing Rawlings’ protective gear, the company says.

“Enhanced by PORON® XRDTM and ZoombangTM, Rawlings SRG protective apparel is faster, lighter and stronger than the competition, and we receive weekly validation of its performance capabilities throughout the football season,” Mike Thompson, Rawlings senior vice president of marketing said in a statement. “ We’re excited to add Ronnie and Frank to our Football Advisory Staff as we continue our commitment to develop equipment and apparel that fully meets the protective needs of today’s athlete at all levels.”

Rawlings is most known for its baseball equipment, but has a long history with football, as well, launching a set of football shoulder pads in 1902. The company stopped making football helmets in 1989, but has decided to re-enter the football helmet market.

POSTED IN: Apparel (55), Endorsements (20), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178)

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LeBron James to launch new shoe at Dadeland Mall

New Miami Heat forward LeBron James will launch his new signature Nike shoe, the LeBron 8, at the opening of a new House of Hoops by Foot Locker Store at Miami's Dadeland Mall on Saturday.

James will be speaking to 100 local student athletes about preparing for the upcoming season, his new shoe, and of course, "achieving success on the basketball court," a release on the appearance states. After his talk, James will debut a South Beach edition of the LeBron 8. (Previously referred to as the Pre-Heat LeBron 8, the shoe is decidedly South Beach with aqua and pink).

The appearance is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. at House of Hoops by Foot Locker at Dadeland Mall, 7535 Dadeland Mall. There will be only limited access to the public while the event with James is occurring.

The non-South Beach edition -- that's red and black -- is scheduled to be released at retail on Oct. 26. The shoe costs $160.

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Shoes (15)

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October 14, 2010

LeBron James hits Fortune list of most infuential people in business under 40

Superstar Miami Heat forward LeBron James can add yet another unusual accolade to his resume: Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Most Influential People in Business.

James, 25, is the only athlete to appear on the list – now in its second year – and is ranked 20th. The list is topped by Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, Opsware and other software companies; and includes the likes of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone; and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Fortune describes the list as “youthful movers and shakers. They're innovating, they're expanding, and they're not really thinking about the recession.”

James, who is new to the list this year, was singled out for being able to “stop the pulse of a country,” with his nationally broadcast “Decision” to join the Miami Heat this summer. The magazine says James’ LRMR has brokered business deals with blue chip companies and Sports Illustrated places him fourth among top-grossing athletes with an estimated $42.4 million this year.

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

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Warren Henry snags Chris Bosh as its latest brand ambassador

BoshWarrenHenry.jpgMiami Heat forward Chris Bosh is racking up endorsement deals. He’s become the newest Brand Ambassador for Warren Henry Automobiles, joining Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was added to the company’s roster in August.

Bosh will appear in ads and make appearances on behalf of the company. He is already driving a 2011 Land Rover Range Rover from Warren Henry, which he dubbed “the ultimate in sport-utility luxury.”

“I am very excited to partner with Warren and his family of dealerships,” Bosh said in a statement.

Added owner Warren Henry Zinn, “Adding Chris Bosh to the Warren Henry Automotive team is synonymous with winning. Chris brings an element of prestige, excitement and unbeatable success that can’t be matched.” (See photo of Bosh and Zinn, courtesy of Warren Henry).

Legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula is also an ambassador for the company. Over the years, Warren Henry has partnered with a number of South Florida athletes, including 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), Sponsorship (101)

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Player Appearance: Meet Darryl Strawberry

Former New York Mets and Yankees slugger Darryl Strawberry is scheduled to meet fans and sign autographs ($49 each) on Saturday at Coral Square Mall.

Strawberry, now an analyst for SNY (SportsNet New York), is to appear from noon to 2 p.m. at Celebrity Sports at the mall, 9469 West Atlantic Boulevard, Coral Springs.

Fans can bring their own items to be autographed or purchase items at the store. For more information, call Celebrity Sports: 954-283-8699.

POSTED IN: MLB (110), Promotions (120)

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October 12, 2010

Florida Panthers surpass 10,000 season tickets

Despite a still struggling economy and a decade without a trip to the playoffs, the Florida Panthers announced today they have sold the equivalent of more than 10,000 full season tickets for the 2010-11 season. That marks the first time the team has sold more than 10,000 season tickets since the 2000-01 season.

The team also said fewer than 1,500 tickets remain for its home opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday at BankAtlantic Center.

The team has created a variety of discount season ticket offers – including a name your own price plan and a plan for $23 lower bowl seats and $6 upper level seats in honor of LeBron James’ old and new jersey numbers. The team also has reduced capacity at the arena by nearly 2,500 seats to 17,040 to create a more intimate atmosphere.

“During the offseason we set a goal of reaching the benchmark of 10,000 season ticket holders for the first time in almost a decade,” Panthers President Michael Yormark said in a statement. “Thanks to the hard work of our staff and the support of the South Florida community, we accomplished that goal.”

To purchase tickets for the home opener or upcoming games, call 954-835-PUCK or visit

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

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October 11, 2010

Rapper Birdman, a Miami Dolphins limited partner to be? That’s news to the Dolphins

Rapper Birdman, whose non-stage name is Bryan Williams, says he’s close to getting approval from the NFL to become a limited partner in the Miami Dolphins. That’s what he told Angela Yee's Morning After show on Sirius satellite radio.

But that’s news to the NFL and Dolphins majority owner Steve Ross:

"I have NEVER spoken to him or any representative," Ross said in an email Monday evening. "Not considering or looking for any celebrity limited partners."

Birdman is co-founder of Cash Money Records and has collaborated with Lil Wayne. According to reports, in 2007 he was arrested and charged with marijuana possession.

On Yee’s radio show, Birdman says he wants to join the Dolphins’ array of musical and celebrity limited partners.

“We’re waiting. You have to get the clearance from the NFL,” Birdman is heard saying. “We’re waiting on the clearance. Once we get cleared, we’re good.”

But he also says he’s interested potentially in baseball and basketball teams.


POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sports Team Owners (49)

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October 8, 2010

Miami Dolphins players and dogs launch charity dog calendar -- UPDATED WITH PHOTOS & VIDEO

It wasn’t just Miami Dolphins players walking the red carpet at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood on Monday night.

The players were joined by VIPs – Very Important Pooches – from the Humane Society of Broward County to launch the “That’s My Dog” calendar. The 2011 calendar includes current and former Dolphins and their dogs – or shelter dogs, if they didn’t own a dog.

Players, including Channing Crowder, whose mother Pauline Crowder came up with the idea for the calendar; Chad Henne; Brandon Marshall; Davone Bess; and Karlos Dansby, autographed the calendar, which costs $20 with proceeds benefiting the Humane Society and the Sun Sentinel Children's Fund. Check out a photo gallery here.

For more information, or to purchase a calendar, visit

Watch a video from the launch below:

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Promotions (120)

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Player Appearance: Meet Tony Perez

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Florida Marlins Special Assistant to the President Tony Perez will sign autographs and pose for photos at BrandsMart in Miami on Saturday.

Perez will be appearing on behalf of Sharp Electronics and will only be able to sign signature cards provided by Sharp. He’ll be appearing from 2 to 4 p.m. at BrandsMart, 4320 NW 167th St., Miami.

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

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October 6, 2010

LeBron 8 to be at retail Oct. 26

LeBronshoe1.jpgNew team, new season, new shoe.

The Nike Air Max LEBRON 8 – Miami Heat forward LeBron James’ newest signature shoe is scheduled to be in stores Oct. 26.

It’s built on a basketball specific Max Air 360 unit, but “is classically crafted and modeled after the shell of a dress shoe,” so says a release describing the shoe.

The black, white and red shoe features a multi-directional herringbone pattern and the lion’s face on the tongue “represents LeBron’s ravenous nature – like that of a hunter on the basketball court. And the numbers 828 are for the 82 regular season NBA games and 28 playoff games.

The shoes cost $160.

The shoe’s design is expected to be adjusted during the season, according to LEBRON 8 designer Jason Petrie. Watch a video of Petrie describing the shoe below. Not sure I’ve ever heard a shoe described so lusciously:

POSTED IN: Miami Heat (174), NBA (139), Shoes (15)

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October 5, 2010

Danica Patrick to be featured in comic book


IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick finished up the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series with a dramatic second-place finish in the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and a 10th place finish for the season.

Now, as she returns her focus to finishing out her first season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Patrick’s also going to be the star of a new comic book from Bluewater Productions.

Fame: Danica Patrick is said to capture Patrick’s rise through the ranks in auto racing and the public’s interest in her. As you can see from the photo, it doesn’t ignore her sex appeal, which she has played to in magazine photo shoots, including appearing in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, and her partnership with sponsor Go Daddy.

“We’ve all seen the pictures and heard the gossip about her,” comic book writer CW Cooke says in a statement. “But digging into her story and learning about her really focused me on the fact that she’s a real person and not just a pin-up model or a one-note person."

The Patrick comic book is the second of Bluewater Productions' to feature a sports figure. Soccer star David Beckham is the subject of a Bluewater comic book scheduled to be released on Oct. 13.

The 32-page Patrick comic book -- $3.99 at retail -- is scheduled to be released at comic book shops and on in December.


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October 4, 2010

Sun Life Stadium tranformed from baseball to football for tonight’s game

They always say the grounds crew at Sun Life Stadium is the masterful – and it’s certainly the busiest as one of only two pro stadiums left in the country to host baseball and football on natural grass. The other is Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, home to the Oakland A’s and Raiders. Sun Life also hosts UM football, the Orange Bowl and the Super Bowl.

The feat the crew pulled off between yesterday afternoon’s final Florida Marlins game of the 2010 season and tonight’s Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots – including covering the infield dirt with sod for the second time in 10 days – was captured by WeatherBug’s InstaCam here. Hit rerun and adjust the speed to your preference.

POSTED IN: Florida Marlins (193), MLB (110), Miami Dolphins (186), NFL (178), Sun Life Stadium (24)

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NFL goes pink for breast cancer awareness -- with mouthguards, too

mouthguard2.jpgIt would have been hard to miss the NFL fields and players awash in pink yesterday for the start of the league’s celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Players donned pink cleats, wristbands, chin straps, helmet decals and the quarterbacks had pink towels. The game balls featured pink ribbon decals. Game-worn pink merchandise will be autographed and auctioned at All NFL Auction proceeds collected this month will go to the American Cancer Society and team charities. The league and its teams are also selling special pink merchandise.

Meanwhile, a Minneapolis company called Shock Doctor has donated pink versions of its Gel Max mouthguards to all NFL teams. No word yet whether any Miami Dolphins players will be wearing them for tonight’s game.

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

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October 3, 2010

Wrapup from IndyCar Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Less than a month after announcing the IndyCar Series wouldn’t be coming back to Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2011, series CEO Randy Bernard didn’t mince words.

On his inaugural – and perhaps last for the foreseeable future -- trip to Homestead, Bernard said he liked the track, but he was clearly dismayed the stands were far from full.

“It’s beautiful. It’s fun to see it,” Bernard said Saturday just before the start of the IZOD IndyCar Series finale -- the Cafes do Brasil Indy 300. “They’ve got to promote it. I went downtown [Miami] last night and not very many people knew about it.”

Bernard makes a distinction, though, between Miami and Homestead. “I think there’s other cities in this country that will play well to having a championship,” he said referring to the series finale. “I’m not convinced it’s here.”

Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer didn’t mince words either in speaking about the series departure. He’s disappointed personally and for the fans and drivers – more than 10 of whom make their homes in South Florida – but he said hosting the series doesn’t make financial sense. And once IndyCar chose to raise the sanctioning fee to host the series by 30 percent, the track couldn’t justify the expense.

“The reality is we need to make sound business decisions,” Becherer said Saturday.
“And in this kind of economic time to try to go up 30 percent. All we’re asking for is the deal we have, we’re not asking for a break. We’re just asking for the deal we have, and they stuck to their guns and wouldn’t waver so at least for the next year we’re out.”

Becherer said it costs the track to host the IndyCar Series, but he likened hosting open wheel racing to a car dealer carrying high-end, low-demand models.

“If you look at the car business, certain models of cars don’t make money for the manufacturer, but they add prestige and cachet and bring people in the doors,” Becherer said. “But they ultimately buy the four-door or the mini-van.”

Becherer also blamed Bernard for hamstringing the finale at Homestead by announcing in July the series wouldn’t be back.

“How anybody expects a promoter to be successful … when they essentially torched the event, three months out,” Becherer said. “Can you imagine the chairman of the Orange Bowl Committee lamenting the matchup for that year? Can you imagine [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell talking about what a miserable host city they had to go to that year?”

Neither Bernard nor Becherer has closed the door on the IndyCar Series returning to South Florida one day. Bernard said he’s already spoken with promoters about a potential street race in Miami. He said the series could return to Homestead, if the promotion was in place.

“We want them back, the drivers want to come back, the fans want them back, the community wants them back, but they’ve got a business model they presented us we can’t make work,” Becherer said. “My hope is people will settle down, over the next six or seven months, and maybe we can talk about ‘12, worst case ‘13. It could be longer, but the opportunity is there if we want to get together and try to work it out.”


Becherer wanted to make sure the IndyCar Series went out in style. The decision to have drivers Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan put their twist on the grand marshall duties – they said, “Gentlemen, start OUR engines” – was a nod two locals with an important relationship to the track.


Driver Graham Rahal, who struggled this season without a full-time sponsor, will drive full-time in the IndyCar Series next year thanks to a two-year sponsorship commitment – announced at Homestead on Saturday -- from Juno Beach-based TBC Retail Group, which includes automotive brands Service Central, Tire Kingdom, NTB-National Tire and Battery.

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42)

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October 1, 2010

Danica Patrick talks IndyCar and NASCAR

A longer version of my Q&A interview with IndyCar and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick than what appeared in the paper today:

IndyCar driver Danica Patrick makes two stops at Homestead-Miami Speedway this fall – in Saturday’s Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 and Nov. 20 for NASCAR Nationwide Series’ Ford 300. It’s just the third time this year a track has hosted Patrick, who made her NASCAR debut this year, in both series. A $70 “Double the Danica” ticket is good for both races.

At Boost Mobile in Pembroke Pines on Thursday to donate $2,500 to Adopt-A-Classroom and sign autographs, Patrick talked about her year in both series:

Q. You debuted at Homestead in 2005 – what do you think of the track?

A. I think it’s a really challenging track … it’s long straightaways with relatively tight corners, and it makes for a lot of passing. Last year there was a lot of lap traffic just because of the difference in speed between first and last. so there’s a Lot of action to be seen for the fans, for the second year now, it’s the season closer, so it’s like extra extra exciting for everybody to see who’s going to win. Another close down to the wire championship.

Q. This is the last Indy Race at Homestead – will you miss Homestead?

A. I’ve always enjoyed coming to Homestead, and I’ve always thought the racing’s good. And I think it’s a great place but if it was up to me, I would have kept this one and a heck of a lot of other ones on the schedule that aren’t on it. Shoot, I’d probably make a whole Indy 500 Series. I’d just base in Indianapolis and do like a series there. At the Indianpolis Motor Speedway, but that’s not my decision.

Q. Does racing both series at Homestead make racing easier?

A. I don’t think it makes it easier or harder. There’s just more of me in that market. I think it’s fun for IndyCar fans to be able to see me in NASCAR. And I think it’s fun also the NASCAR fans that may have not gone to an Indy race maybe they’re interested, maybe they plan to come on out to see the Indy cars there … It’s a completely different from perspective from a stock car than an Indy Car. They seem like two different tracks.

Q. How hard is it to race in both series at the same time?

A. It’s challenging, because it’s challenging. The IndyCar Series is really hard, there’s a lot of really good drivers. In NASCAR, I’m a fish out of water. I’m just trying to figure it out, just trying to finish a race, so that’s all different, too. Everything from how the qualifying works, to when to get into your car, to where to go out of. I’m used to starting and stopping from pit lane, not the garages.

Q. What are the major differences, besides speed - and the cars?

A. The heat. Like the other day when I did a race at Dover, I did two races that weekend. I think my air conditioning unit was pumping heat as opposed to air conditioning, and there wasn’t good insulation so it was getting extremely hot and I thought I was literally going to pass out when I got out of the car. I’ve done Bikram yoga and I can do heat, and it’s not an issue, and it’s never affected me, but that was something else. The people are different, the language is completely different. Everything is very opposite with the way it works in NASCAR with everything from what you do in the car to how you speak about the car out of the car … It’s a big learning curve.

Q. You’ve been introduced as a NASCAR driver not an IndyCar driver on TV (including at the ESPYs)

A. I know, a couple of times. That has nothing to do with me or anyone from Danica Racing. It’s unfortunate they do that, I think it sounds better to say I’m an IndyCar driver and a NASCAR driver, than just one or the other. I think it sounds way cooler, but I think it just shows the league has a long way to go, before where we are where we need to be, where we are so mainstream that it would matter to be mentioned. That’s sad. I think it’s big enough, I think it seems relevant enough, but then again there are great racecar drivers that have won championships, and they get introduced for the Indy 500 they won. So they’re both very difficult, but a championship is very hard, that shows you’ve been good all year. The Indy 500 is just one race, but it is the biggest one. It’s just what the general public is aware of, and what they pay attention to and what sticks.

Q. Has the exposure of being in both made a difference in terms of companies wanting you to endorse their products?

A. Yes it has. Being involved in NASCAR has made people more interested in me and there’s a greater reach there. As we spoke about earlier, about being an introduced as a NASCAR driver, I think that’s an example of what I’m talking about. It’s just something resonates with people and they’re familiar with and they understand. A couple of times I’ve heard people call racing NASCAR, like ‘oh you race NASCAR.’ I’m like ‘No I race IndyCar.’ They’re like ‘Yeh, that’s what I mean. Yeh.’ I’m like, it’s not all called NASCAR. It’s like the company called Kleenex was brilliant because it’s always called a Kleenex. I’ve had people think that racing is called NASCAR. It has a really large platform with a lot of people paying attention.

Q. You won in Japan in Indy, and you’ve struggled in NASCAR. If you don’t win again soon in Indy or if you don’t win in NASCAR are you concerned about the criticism?

A. No. I do everything I can do. I think I more care about going out there and winning and performing, well for myself than anybody else. I want to perform more than people could want me to. So no, It’s more for myself. I’m harder on myself than other people are. I’m very frustrated with the way that it has gone in NASCAR, there have been some good things, but it has been hard and it’s been really humbling. And I thought it was going to be a little bit easier than this. And people then correct me and say you’ve done a great job, you really have, I don’t know why you keep saying you aren’t.’ I’m harder on myself than anybody else could be probably.

POSTED IN: Auto Racing (42), Promotions (120), Sponsorship (101), Tickets (126)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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