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January 29, 2012

Photo tour: Field taking shape at Marlins Park; fans impressed

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MIAMI A fan exiting Marlins Park after Saturday’s Select-a-Seat tour as I was heading up the ramp noticed my camera.

“Take a lot of pictures,” he said. “This is the most incredible structure I’ve ever seen.”

Maybe he was David Samson’s uncle. Unlikely -- he was a lot taller. What is clear is the Marlins couldn’t script more effective advertising than simply opening the gate and letting fans see for themselves.

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While fans were buying tickets, I was snapping photos from various vantage points. You can view some of them in this PHOTO GALLERY.

I’ve been on several tours of the park, but this was the first time I’ve had a chance to see fans react to it. Those we weren’t in line to discuss ticket packages were in the stands staring at the field in apparent wonderment.

“We had already purchased our tickets just based on the pictures. Then I walked in here [Saturday] and I was blown away,” said Dave Lareau, of Hollywood, who along with friend Charlie Caravella purchased a 20-game plan in right field. “Awesome. We finally have our own baseball stadium.” (Caravella and Lareau, left to right, in above photo)

It looked more like it than on my previous visits now that the field has been graded and infield dirt placed. They sod will be laid this week. The first exhibition games will be played in just over five weeks.

“It exceeds expectations,” Caravella said, and noted that the open concourse keeps the field in view at all times as you move around the field or in line at a concession stand. “The city view is nice to see from behind home plate looking out to the city.”

At the center of that view is the controversial home run feature in center field that has already been the focus of much ridicule. It is the embodiment of the tacky Floridana schlock shop with flowers, flamingos and palm trees. When a marlin hits a home run, fish will leap, gulls will soar and lights will flash.

It is being called a monstrosity, an eyesore and worse. It is bizarre. I suspect it will become oddly endearing once Mike Stanton and LoMo begin pumping homers into the seats.
Imagine the jolt it will have to the psyche of the opposing pitcher.

“Maybe a little too art deco. But it gives character, I guess,” Caravella said.

Lareau said: “When they first unveiled the new logo, we were like, ‘How ugly can that be? Geez, what the heck do they think Miami is.’ But it’s growing on me. Every time I see it now, more and more I like it.”

He glanced toward the home run feature, and added, “That was a little too wild, though.”
My view: Be a sourpuss, if you want, about the kitschy logo, colors and wacky home run celebration. Grumble about the shady maneuvering to obtain public money to build the ballpark, it’s valid. Be skeptical about traffic flow and parking.

But the Marlins are on the threshold of being fun for the first time in their history, except for those two World Series runs. That is, fun on a nightly basis, no matter how soupy and miserable it is outside the dome.

So cue the flamingos and jumping fish and let it whirl. Marlins fans finally have reason to smile.

Provided, that is, as Lareau, pointed out: “The reality is they can pretty this up as much as they want. Until we get a winning ball team … They did do a really nice job this [offseason]. I’m really happy with some of the moves they’ve made.”

One observation: Five weeks to “Play ball” there is still a lot of work to be done. Perhaps they’ll bring in Robert Irvine from “Restaurant Impossible” to whip it into shape in the final two days.

Photos: Inside Marlins Park at Select-a-Seat tour on Jan. 28. (Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel)

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January 27, 2012

Super Bowl future uncertain for South Florida; so is Broward's role

Broward County was a focal point for the most recent Super Bowl in South Florida, in 2010. It could be a fringe player in the next bid to bring it back.

The Dolphins will join with the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee in the 50th anniversary championship game in 2016. Mike Dee, CEO of the Dolphins and Sun Life Stadium, said this week that it has yet to be determined if the bid will be a regional effort, as in 2010, or a Miami-Dade initiative.

“That doesn’t mean Broward and Palm Beach counties don’t benefit from people who are coming here for the game. But in terms of NFL-sanctioned events and functions and where teams stay and where the epicenter of the event is, should that be Miami-Dade or should it be as it was in 2010. We’ve got to figure that out,” Dee said.

Significant upgrades are needed to keep Sun Life Stadium a viable Super Bowl site. Dee pointed out that Broward's opposition scuttled the Dolphins' latest bid for tourism funds for stadium improvements despite the economic benefit the county received in the last Super Bowl.

Though economic impact estimates of hosting the Super Bowl is hotly debated, it was documented that the 2010 game generated more direct spending in Broward than in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties combined.

It was the first of the 10 Super Bowls in South Florida that Broward was host for the NFL headquarters and Super Bowl media center. One of the team hotels was in a Fort Lauderdale, as were several media hotels.

Despite South Florida hosting more Super Bowls than any other region (New Orleans will host its 10th in 2013), there is much uncertainty about when the game will return. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear that improvements are needed to ensure Sun Life Stadium remains a viable site.

Last year the Dolphins sought hotel tax revenue from Broward and Miami-Dade via state legislation to help fund about $200 million in stadium renovations. Broward County Commissioners, who would have had to grant approval, expressed vehement opposition, using terms like “vile” and “shameful.” The measure failed.

The 2016 game also coincides with the Dolphins’ 50th anniversary, which gives the Dolphins extra motivation for hosting it.

“This is not your ordinary Super Bowl. It’s going to be a commemorative edition with a lot of special events and nostalgia,” Dee said. “We have a reputation. We have the history and tradition and know-how to put on big-time events. What we have to make sure is we don’t have a facility that falls below the minimum standard that is required to continue to host them.”

The Dolphins are revising their master plan of needs for upgrading the stadium, not only to keep it in the rotation for Super Bowls and BCS Championship games but to meet the needs of the Dolphins for the next generation. They are not currently seeking public money for renovations, but it will come.

Dee said that the team is at the debt limit allowed by the NFL due to stadium improvements in 2007.

“Super Bowls are awarded to communities, not to teams or franchises,” Dee said. “We’ll make the decision as a community as to whether or not we believe that Super Bowls and BCS Championships are important.

“If the community decides it’s important, we would love to partner with the community to make sure we have a best-in-class facility that enables us to compete over the long haul to get those events. If the community decides it’s not important, we’ll do our best with what we have to continue to get them.”

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Miami Dolphins can rebuild image by winning, team CEO Dee says

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The Dolphins built an iconic reputation on the 1972 Perfect Season and names like Shula, Csonka and Marino.

In recent years they’ve become more often associated with failure on the field and mocked for accumulating celebrity minority owners in lieu of playoff victories.

Asked this week about the franchise’s tarnished image, Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said that success on the field would restore the luster.

“Somebody said to me once, ‘Winning makes everything you do much bolder and brighter, and losing pretty much means everything you do is wrong,’” Dee said. “I think there are a lot of great things this franchise has done in the community over a long period of time. We’ve tried to ratchet that up significantly over the last three years since I arrived and Steve [Ross] bought the team.”

The Dolphins are aggressive in an array of charitable initiatives. The annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge raised more than $1 million for cancer research last fall. The team’s charitable foundation partnered with Rebuilding Together Broward to renovate a home in Hollywood for a Navy veteran and her family. Several Dolphins players worked on the project, which was completed this week.

“I’m confident that when the worm turns and we start having some success on the field that some of those things will be recognized, and that we’ll be able to know we were doing them when times weren’t so good as well,” Dee said. “I’m confident that what we’re doing in the community is the right thing, and we’re touching a lot of people in all three counties and Southwest Florida, and we’re going to continue to do that.”

Dee noted that the diversity of South Florida creates a marketing challenge in striving to appeal to a broad fan base. Hardcore football fans have ridiculed emphasis extraneous stadium entertainment such as the celebrity orange carpet and Club LIV while the main attraction on the field has been second rate.

Staging a tribute to the Florida Gators turned into a public relations debacle as University of Miami fans expressed outrage about a rival team being honored on the Hurricanes’ home field.

“We’ve got to continue to push the envelope of marketing to get new fans while not upsetting the traditional fan who is wearing the Nick Buoniconti jersey he got in 1975 who still comes to every game,” Dee said.

“They may not like the orange carpet and some of the entertainment they see. For them it’s all about football. But we know there is a core base of new fans that come for all the other things in addition to football. How we walk that fine line is what we do on a daily basis. Some days we’re better at it than other times.”

Photo: Tyrone Culver, left, and Nate Garner were among several Dolphins players who helped with renovation on the Hollywood home of Navy veteran Leslye Lea and her family. (Courtesy Miami Dolphins)

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January 25, 2012

Nike pushes for dramatic change in NFL uniforms; Dolphins not altering look in 2012

The NFL will have a different tailor next season. It remains to be seen whether players will look radically different in their new Nike threads.

There has been speculation, since Nike wrestled the role of uniform provider away from Reebok more than a year ago, that NFL teams will resemble something out of a bizarre video game. Or the other-world look of the Oregon Ducks.

Nike brand president Charlie Denson fueled that expectation in an interview with CNBC soon after the five-year deal with the NFL was announced in late 2010, saying, “We plan on changing the NFL jersey dramatically just like we’ve done with the college programs.”

An NFL spokesman downplayed that notion this week and pointed out that teams and the league determine their logos and distinctive markings, not Nike.

“We anticipate new uniform technology (i.e., performance-driven, lighter materials). That’s what Nike’s [Charlie] Denson was referring to in his interview in 2010 regarding changes,” Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s director of communications, told NBC’s ProFootballTalk on Monday.

Reached on Tuesday, McCarthy declined comment on whether the league will have a significantly different appearance in Nike uniforms or reveal notable changes in the works.

The Dolphins are not planning changes to their logo or uniforms for 2012, team President Mike Dee said. He said teams have been instructed to not disclose specifics of the Nike gear until after the Super Bowl, the last NFL game in Reebok attire.

Nike continues to stoke anticipation with a promotional video, “Nike Football Epic Transformation” narrated by Michael Irvin, who says dramatically, “Friday nights and Saturday afternoons don’t lie, change is good. And we’re bringing all the change we’ve got to Sundays.”

The NFL’s Nike jerseys will be unveiled in April. The draft could be the coming out party for Nike’s new line.

The conservative nature of the NFL suggests the change will not be revolutionary. Nike clearly wants to put its stamp on the look of the league, as it has on college football in recent years.
"We're going to be aggressive," Denson said in another CNBC interview last summer. "Some teams are willing to go further than others."

Iconic teams such as the Packers, Steelers, Giants, Raiders and Cowboys would seem unwilling to budge from traditional looks.

However, there may be teams ready for a major brand overhaul as the Broncos underwent in 1997 with their logo, color scheme and uniform styling that still sets them apart from the rest of the league – Nike was the league’s uniform vendor at that time. The Broncos have already received approval to switch their home jerseys from dark blue to burnt orange for 2012.

The Seahawks were the first team to hold discussions with Nike. Team president Peter McLoughlin said last summer that the Seahawks will be making innovative uniform changes for 2012.

There has also been speculation that players will be more inclined to change numbers for 2012 once they no longer have to reimburse Reebok for unsold jersey inventory. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said on Twitter that he would like to switch from No. 28 to 21 or 23.

McCarthy said wholesale number changes are unlikely, and that players still will have to petition to do so.

Reggie Bush, who wore 25 in New Orleans, took 22 when he came to the Dolphins. Soon after he tweeted, “I'm gonna keep 22. I think it represents change! Change can be a good thing!”
After having his best season as a pro, there would seem to be little reason to change back.

Still, any impending change these days brings wild speculation on the Web, as evidenced by the Marlins’ recent redesign. Soon after Nike won the NFL contract, a set of supposed “leaked” NFL uniforms for 2012 began circulating. It turned out to be one fan’s creative vision, not authentic.

The fan’s Nike fakes can be viewed in the following YouTube video.


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January 24, 2012

Heat help NBA celebrate Chinese Year of the Dragon

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It’s New Year’s all over again for the Heat in Tuesday’s game against the Cavaliers.

The Heat, who already played on Christmas and Jan. 1 this season, will take part in a league-wide observance of Chinese New Year’s. The game will be televised in China.

To help usher in the Year of the Dragon, fans arriving at AmericanAirlines Arena will be greeted by a Chinese New Year message, and courtside advertising will be in Mandarin for several sponsors, including Chinese companies Peak and Tsingtao beer, the latter a new Heat partner. Heat Dancers will incorporate Chinese dance into their routines.

Heat forward Shane Battier will tape a greeting that will air on Chinese television. Battier, who played with Yao Ming in Houston, has done promotional tours in China on behalf of Peak and other companies.

The NBA has been aggressively marketing its brand in China, now the league’s biggest market outside the United States, for a number of years, and NBA China has accelerated that since its launch in 2008. A visit by the Washington Wizards in 1979 gave the league a bridge to the orient.

Last season 1,300 NBA games were broadcast in China on TV, online and via mobile devices. According to NBA estimates, 300 million people in China play basketball – a hoop legion equal to the U.S. population.

"We have a great fan base in China, and some of our China staff came up with the idea as a way to recognize and engage our fans. Our partners were extremely excited about getting involved and they have shown tremendous support," NBA President of International Heidi Ueberroth said. "It is a program that we would certainly like to continue and expand upon in the coming years"

There will be 21 games broadcast in China this week in the league’s first Chinese New Year Celebration, which includes special programming with player greetings and features. The event will culminate with a fan viewing party in Beijing on Saturday (Jan 28), when four games will be broadcast in China including the Heat’s home game against the Knicks.

Photo: Dwyane Wade is one of many NBA stars who have promoted the NBA and various sponsors in China and become well-known to millions of basketball fans there. (Getty Images)

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January 23, 2012

Telecast of London Olympics to feature 200 hours of 3D coverage

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Get ready for the five interlocking Olympic rings to jump out of the television and into your living room.

The London 2012 Olympic Games are going to be broadcast in 3D. NBC and Panasonic have partnered to provide extensive 3D coverage to all U.S. distributors that offer Olympic coverage via cable, satellite and telco.

Olympic Broadcasting Services will produce more than 200 hours of 3D coverage, which will be shown on next-day delay. The 3D focus will be on at least a dozen sports, including gymnastics, track-and-field, diving and swimming, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.

“NBC has a history of utilizing technological innovations to distribute the Olympics in new ways for viewers,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics.

The OBS will provide about 10 hours of 3D footage a day, utilizing Panasonic cameras, recording machines and monitors. In addition to the United States, it will be shown in Great Britain, Korea, China, Australia, France, Hungary, Italy and New Zealand.

“Panasonic’s expertise in 3D technology coupled with NBC’s unrivaled leadership in coverage of the Olympic Games will deliver to home viewers an unprecedented 3D Olympic experience that will make them feel as though they are right there with the world’s finest athletes as they compete,” said Joseph M. Taylor, Chairman & CEO, Panasonic Corporation of North America.

“Full HD 3D is ideal for capturing the true spectacle of Olympic competition and the pageantry of Olympic ceremonies, and we are excited to be able to bring it to fans across the U.S.”

The 3D production will be filmed separately from the regular Olympic telecast, which is produced in high definition.

At the announcement in Berlin of the 3D Olympic plan, OBS chief executive Manolo Romero hailed the 3D Olympic plan as “the most significant step in broadcast technology.”

"Obviously we don't want to do tricks, we want to show sport as it is. But in 3D we can show what is possible. We want to get the viewer as close as possible to the action," Romero said.

The Wimbledon final has been broadcast in 3D by the BBC. Chinese television showed some of the 2010 Asian Games in 3D.

Photo: 3D television was a big attraction at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show this month in Las Vegas. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)

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January 20, 2012

Miami Heat get funky for throwback tribute to ABA's Floridians

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That may look like Lebron under the big shades and ‘fro, but for this weekend he’s Clarence “Shonuff” McGee, who rocks out to Marvin Gaye on the 8-track in his Plymouth Barracuda on the way to games.

The Heat are taking their game back to the days of big hair and disco as part of the NBA’s Hardwood Classics Nights and will masquerade as the 1971-72 Miami Floridians for Saturday’s game against Philadelphia and Sunday against Milwaukee at AmericanAirlines Arena.

To get into the spirit, Heat players adopted persona of ’70s ABA stars for a promotional photo and video shoot.

That’s Rodney “Huggy Bear” Stewart, a big Soul Train fan, with the giant boom box on his shoulder. On the court, his game bears a striking resemblance to Udonis Haslem.

The smile beneath the massive Afro of Bobby “Hoops” McCann is a dead ringer for Dwyane Wade’s. Here is a photo gallery of all the Heat players as Floridians.

“This big hair is not made for my body. But it makes me feel like somebody else. I’m smooth, I’m cool and I’m still handsome,” Wade says on the video before tossing off the wig.

The Heat also played throwback games in 2005-06 as the Floridians, who performed with the ABA’s red, white and blue ball from 1968-72. As part of that promotion, the team arrived at the arena in a ‘70s-style tour bus.

“For this year we really wanted to focus on the personality of the guys and let them show us what they thought it would be like if they were players in the ’70s,” said Michael McCullough, the Heat’s chief marketing officer. “The guys really got into it.”

Fans are encouraged to dress in their funkiest 1970’s fashions to add to the vibe. Player introductions will feature a video of the players rocking their throwback costumes to KC and The Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight,” sung by South Florida native Harry Wayne Casey.

The Heat will play six games as the Floridians. The others are: Feb. 5 vs. Toronto, Feb. 7 vs. Cleveland, March 6 vs. New Jersey and March 7 vs. Atlanta. Floridian player placards will be distributed at each of the games.

Naturally, there is a commercial aspect to the promotion. Limited edition Floridians jerseys will be on sale at the arena as well as the Heat’s store at the Dolphin Mall and at MiamiHoopsGear.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Miami Heat

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January 19, 2012

Miami Marlins' spring training schedule; tickets go on sale Saturday

The Marlins will begin selling tickets for spring training games at Jupiter’s Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Marlins.com.

The spring home schedule opens March 6 with a split-squad game in Jupiter (1:05 p.m.) against Detroit followed by a 7:10 p.m. exhibition at the new retractable-roof park in Miami against the University of Miami.

The Marlins will play in their new Little Havana home the following night against Florida International. The games against UM and FIU are planned as soft openings for the park with about 10,000 and 15,000 tickets, respectively, to be made available. Tickets for those two games will go on sale Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. on Marlins.com.

There are 18 games on the home schedule, culminating with exhibitions against the New York Yankees on April 1 and 2 at the new stadium. Tickets for those games will go on sale in February.

The Marlins open the regular season at home against the World Series champion Cardinals on April 4. Currently, only full season, 41- and 20-game ticket plans are being sold. Individual game tickets have not been made available. All Marlins season-ticket plans include the opportunity to purchase tickets for the opener.

There will be 236 Grapefruit League games (not counting exhibitions with college teams) at 14 locations in Florida this spring, beginning March 3.

In addition to the Marlins beginning play under their new Miami brand, the Boston Red Sox will open JetBlue Park, a $78 million Fenway South complex in Fort Myers. The new ballpark seats more than 10,000 with an additional 1,000 spaces for standing room. There were 7,576 fixed seats at the Red Sox former home, City of Palms Park.

The JetBlue Park playing field dimensions are identical to those in Fenway Park and the Park features a replica Green Monster in left field with a manual scoreboard.

A 2009 economic impact survey conducted by The Bonn Marketing Research Group Inc., showed that spring training has a $753 million annual economic impact to the state.

The complete schedule for spring training, including the Cactus League schedule in Arizona, as well as other information can be found at SpringTrainingOnline.com.

Here is the Marlins’ home spring schedule:

Site Date Opponent Time

Jupiter Tue, Mar 6 Detroit Tigers 1:05 pm
Miami Tue, Mar 6 University of Miami 7:10 pm
Jupiter Wed, Mar 7 New York Mets 1:05 pm
Miami Wed, Mar 7 Florida International 7:10 pm
Jupiter Fri, Mar 9 Washington Nationals 7:05 pm
Jupiter Sat, Mar 10 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05 pm
Jupiter Tue, Mar 13 Atlanta Braves 1:05 pm
Jupiter Thu, Mar 15 New York Mets 1:05 pm
Jupiter Sat, Mar 17 Minnesota Twins 1:05 pm
Jupiter Mon, Mar 19 Houston Astros 1:05 pm
Jupiter Tue, Mar 20 Tampa Bay Rays 1:05 pm
Jupiter Fri, Mar 23 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05 pm
Jupiter Sat, Mar 24 Boston Red Sox 1:05 pm
Jupiter Tue, Mar 27 Washington Nationals 1:05 pm
Jupiter Thu, Mar 29 St. Louis Cardinals 1:05 pm
Jupiter Sat, Mar 31 New York Mets 1:05 pm
Miami Sun, Apr 1 New York Yankees 1:10 pm
Miami Mon, Apr 2 New York Yankees 7:10 pm

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January 18, 2012

Heat to give away 20,000 Back In Black T-shirts at Thursday's game vs. Lakers

Fans attending Thursday’s Heat game against the Lakers will have a chance to join the team in getting back to its Back in Black mode.

The Heat will distribute 20,000 Back in Black T-shirts at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The promotion will sync with the Heat unveiling at special Back in Black uniform that will be worn Thursday and at five other games this season. The all-black uniform with modest white trim is a tribute to the genesis of the team’s nationally recognized color-themed playoff campaigns.

back-black-lebron.jpgThe Heat began in 2004 using color as a unifying symbol among fans, encouraging fans to wear a specific color to the team’s playoff games to enhance home-court advantage and give fans an active role during the playoffs.

Back in Black was the theme that season followed, by “red-dy” That season, Black was introduced in the “Back in Black” playoffs. They used the Red Zone in the 2005 playoffs. They used “White Hot” in the championship and championship-defense seasons of 2005-06 and 2006-07., and again last season in the run to the NBA Finals. Back In Black was revived for the 2009 and 2010 playoff runs.

“The color-themed playoffs have become part of the culture of South Florida and we’re happy to have a uniform that reflects the significance of these playoff campaigns,” said Michael McCullough, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of The HEAT Group. “To that end, we encourage all Heat fans to wear black [Thursday] as well as the other Back In Black games this season.”

Other dates: Jan. 29 vs. Chicago; Feb. 19 vs. Orlando; Feb. 23 vs. New York; March 29 vs. Dallas; and April 10 vs. Boston.

Thursday, the Heat will debut a new player introduction video amid the backdrop of AC/DC’s 1980’s hit “Back In Black,” and will feature a local duo, Sons of MyStro, adding live violins to the track. Sons of MyStro, brothers Malcolm and Umoja McNeish, ages 19 and 17, use their classical violin training and talents to play contemporary music.

Sons of MyStro will perform during the introduction sequence. The Back In Black video will air before each of the Back in Black games.

Tickets for Thursday are still available at Heat.com.

The Back In Black uniform is available for purchase at both Miami Hoops Gear locations at the AmericanAirlines Arena and Dolphin Mall as well as at MiamiHoopsGear.com.

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January 12, 2012

God's hand in Tebow's success? 43 percent in poll say yes

It pays to Tebow, in the view of many Americans.

A sizable portion of those surveyed in a national poll said divine intervention is at least partly responsible for the string of improbable Denver Broncos victories directed by Tim Tebow, including the overtime thriller over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In the scientific survey by Poll Position, 70 percent said they were aware of the success of Tebow, well known for his devout Christian beliefs and habit of dropping to one knee for impromptu prayers on the field. Of those, 43 percent said they believed divine intervention was at least partly responsible. Forty-two percent disagreed, and 14 percent expressed no opinion.

The topic was discussed this week on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show after the conservative commentator attributed Sunday’s Broncos victory on Tebow’s 80-yard touchdown pass to divine intervention.

In Poll Position conducted a telephone survey of 1,076 registered voters nationwide on Tuesday.

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January 10, 2012

Tebow's triumphant TD triggers $250,000 bonus, shatters Twitter record

Tim Tebow had another reason to get down on one knee and give thanks after The Broncos’ wild playoff win over the Steelers on Sunday.

His winning touchdown pass in overtime reportedly triggered a $250,000 bonus. According to ESPN, Tebow’s contract stipulates he receives that amount for each playoff victory, provided he has participated in at least 70 percent of the Broncos’ plays that season.

Tebow took over at quarterback from Kyle Orton in time to take part in 73 percent of the Broncos plays this season.

In addition to the big bonus, Tebow made Twitter history. His 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas generated 9,420 tweets per second. Twitter announced that shattered the record for a sporting event of 7,196 tweets per second during the final minutes of the U.S. Women’s World Cup loss to Japan last summer.

Tebow’s TD also out-twittered many notable events outside of sports: the Japanese earthquake and tsunami (5,530 tweets per second), the royal wedding (3,996), the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden (5,106), the announcement of Beyonce's pregnancy (8,868) and the death of Steve Jobs (6,049).

It more than doubled Twitter chatter about last year's Super Bowl (4,064). It also topped the Dallas Mavericks’ victory over the Heat in the NBA Finals (5,531), the UEFA Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United (6,303) and Major League Baseball’s 2011 home run derby (4,995).

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January 6, 2012

Jim Rome's earnings from radio show exceed premier athletes' annual salaries

It was reported Friday that Jim Rome is ending an eight-year with his “Jim Rome is Burning” show on ESPN and moving it to the new CBS Sports Network.

But the TV show isn’t where Rome’s bread is buttered. The eye-opening tidbit in the report was a note that Rome makes $30 million a year from his syndicated radio show, according to James Andrews Miller, who co-authored a book about ESPN.

Keep that in mind the next time someone gets apoplectic about a star athlete gets a mega contract.

The deal Albert Pujols just signed with the Angels averages $24 million for 10 years. With incentives, it could pay him $268 million over 20 years, but that’s well short of what Rome makes to talk about sports on the radio, not counting whatever he makes for the TV show.

Rome, in fact, rakes in more from “The Jim Rome Show” than any American athlete earns in annual salary. More than LeBron James ($14.5 million) and Dwyane Wade ($14.2 million) combined received from the Heat last season.

James did make an additional $30 million in endorsements, and was third in total earnings among American athletes in 2011 behind Tiger Woods (62.3 million) and Phil Mickelson (61.2 million), according to the annual list compiled by SI.com. Wade ranked 11th on the Fortunate 50 at $28.2 million, including endorsements.

The 2011 list included 19 NBA players, 17 baseball players, eight NFL players, three NASCAR drivers and three golfers. Only the top nine made as much or more than Rome gets for lecturing his “Clones” in “The Jungle.” Tom Brady was ninth with just over $30 million in combined earnings.

Chris Bosh, the other member of the Heat’s Bit Three, just barely made the 2011 list at No. 50 with $14.5 million in salary and $1 million in endorsements.

Here is the complete 2011 Fortunate 50 from SI.com.

Bosh elevates role with Warren Henry

Bosh has had an endorsement deal with Warren Henry Auto Group for more than a year, and the South Florida dealer announced Friday that the Heat’s power forward will be the official celebrity spokesperson in 2012 promoting its Jaguar, Land Rover, Infiniti, Volvo, Lamborghini, Fisker and Subaru dealerships.

He will appear in television, radio and print advertisements and make special events appearances on behalf of the company. Bosh drives a black 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE from Land Rover South Dade. Ah, the perks of stardom.

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January 2, 2012

Miami Dolphins' lackluster 2012 home schedule won't help attendance woes

Considering what a hard sell this past season was for the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium, the initial reaction to their home schedule for 2012 is: lotsa luck.

In addition to the standard home-and-home meetings with division foes New England, Buffalo and the New York Jets, the Dolphins will play host to Jacksonville, Tennessee, St. Louis, Seattle and Oakland.

Not an intriguing match-up to circle on the calendar in the bunch. Only the Patriots made the playoffs this season. Which means the Dolphins may have a chance to pile up some wins at home, but selling tickets could be a much tougher task.

Consider that this season the Dolphins announced ticket buy-ups of thousands of tickets for five home games in order to avert the television blackout. Even giving away those excess tickets to season-ticket holders, sponsors, military personnel and high school football players, there were plenty of empty seats through the season.

Even for Sunday’s finale against the Jets, who were fighting for their playoff lives and have plenty of supporters in South Florida, the announced attendance of 65,811 was well short of capacity.

Next season there is no visit by Tim Tebow to lure Florida Gators fans. No traditional glamor team such as the Packers or Cowboys, and no team with a base of followers that might beef up the crowd with visiting fans, such as the Giants, Eagles or Bears.

The main attraction, though, in any stadium should be the home team. Which means the pressure is on owner Stephen Ross, general manager Jeff Ireland and whoever is brought in as coach to quickly elevate the Dolphins to playoff caliber. Bringing in a franchise-quarterback this offseason to lead a dynamic offense could be the first step in recapturing the interest of a disenfranchised fan base in South Florida.

POSTED IN: Miami Dolphins (186)

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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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