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MY360

MY360: Celebrating Our Incredible Fans

Monday, 04.12.2010 / 4:30 PM / Blogs
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MY360: Celebrating Our Incredible Fans
With the Florida Panthers season officially coming to a close yesterday, I want to take a moment to thank our fans for bringing their passion and energy to the BankAtlantic Center all season long.
 
From the moment we opened the doors yesterday afternoon, it was all about the fans. From myself, other executives and staff greeting guests at the main entrance, to the in-game features, to the “Shirts Off Our Backs Auction,” to the confetti-filled, t-shirt tossing, autograph signing, postgame celebration, everything we did was geared toward thanking our fans for the loyalty, dedication and support they showed us all season long. Unfortunately, we did not accomplish one of our main on-ice goals of reaching the postseason, but we couldn’t let that prevent us from showing our fans how much we truly appreciate them. Yesterday’s game was about celebrating our incredible fans.
 
Now, today, less than 24 hours after completing the regular season, we are already looking forward to a crucial offseason for this franchise. Tomorrow night, GM Randy Sexton will be in Toronto for the NHL Draft Drawing, in which your Cats have the third-best chance of winning the Draft Lottery and earning the first overall pick come June.
 
With a 14.2-percent chance, the Panthers trail only Edmonton and Boston (from Toronto) for the opportunity to potentially draft consensus top picks such as Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin. Regardless, having spoken to Randy, it’s clear that this year’s draft will yield a number of young, exciting prospects that could help our team and excite our fans sooner, rather than later. That said, I would urge all of our fans to continue to log on to FloridaPanthers.com and NHL.com for loads of coverage leading up to the Draft in June, and also tune in to VERSUS tomorrow night for the live drawing.
 
As we have said since the trade deadline, we are undergoing a multi-step process to reshape this team, and that continues with tomorrow’s lottery, then the NHL Entry Draft on June 25, the start of free agency on July 1, and through the competition in training camp in September. Clearly, we fell short of our goals, but this offseason gives us a valuable chance to reposition this franchise for success.
 
While we shift our hockey focus to the offseason, on the business side and the entertainment side we continue to push things forward with Bon Jovi headed to the BankAtlantic Center on Sunday, and a number of big summer shows on tap including Jeff Dunham, Carole King & James Taylor, Justin Bieber and more.
 
In addition, today we announced what will be a highly anticipated performance from Roger Waters, co-founder and principal songwriter of Pink Floyd, who will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the original release of The Wall with a monumental tour that will make an exclusive South Florida stop at the BankAtlantic Center in November.
 
On the business side, Pillar Partner JetBlue kicked off their Hispanic Concert Series with Tito Puente, Jr.’s postgame performance in early April, with more events to come from now through the 2011 season. Also, we’ll be making a big announcement this week involving longtime sponsor Lexus, and recently the South Florida Business Journal named SSE as one of three finalists for their Business of the Year Award.
 
Though the ice will come out this week, we’ll continue working hard and pushing forward as one of the top sports and entertainment companies in the industry. Thanks for reading and go Panthers.
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ABOUT MICHAEL YORMARK
SSE President & CEO

Since joining Sunrise Sports & Entertainment in September of 2003, Michael R. Yormark has guided the organization into a new era of growth and success.  For his efforts, devotion and dedication to SSE, the Florida Panthers and the BankAtlantic Center, he was promoted to the position of President on Aug. 13, 2007.
 
Yormark and his staff have worked diligently to build and re-brand Florida Panthers L.L.L.P. into Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, a first-class sports and entertainment company, and to ensure that the BankAtlantic Center lives up to its reputation as the “Center of it All” in South Florida. SSE serves as an umbrella for a diverse portfolio of operating entities that includes the BankAtlantic Center, the Florida Panthers, incredible ICE, the SSE Media Network and the Oz real estate development project.
 
Yormark has built SSE into a comprehensive company with its values rooted in innovative marketing and public relations strategies, first-rate customer and client services, aggressive sales and diverse revenue pursuits. Under his leadership, the organization has retained his mantras of “dream big, dare to fail” and “anything is possible.”
 
In addition, Yormark has overseen dramatic improvements to the BankAtlantic Center in the last few years including two Las Vegas-style outdoor marquees’ and two huge Lobby Vision LED boards inside the arena’s lobby. He has also spearheaded an innovative sponsorship activation strategy that included the unprecedented venue naming rights partnership with BankAtlantic in 2005, the creation of his Brand Activation Team and the development of the Publix Kids Korner, IT’s Sugar Sweet Spot, groundbreaking Learning Experience Club House For Kids, and various other branded destinations that are the first of their kind in the professional sports industry.
 
Yormark has been consistently recognized for his tireless work ethic, creative philosophies and renowned leadership through national awards and exposure such as the SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty Under 40 Award, the Stanley Cup of Business, the City of Sunrise Business Leader Award, the South Florida Business Journal’s Business of the Year Award Nomination, profiles in Newsweek magazine, Sports Illustrated, American Way Magazine and on CNBC, one of the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Most Influential People, a top 12 worldwide ranking for the BankAtlantic Center in Pollstar Magazine for 2009, an Arena of the Year Nomination from Pollstar and more.
 
Yormark has also dedicated considerable time to the South Florida community including acting as President of the City of Sunrise Foundation, sitting on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Broward County and being a member of the Young President’s Organization.
 
That said, Yormark continues to expand the business and build the SSE brand through projects such as the expansion of incredible ICE and the development of the area surrounding the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise through Oz.
 
Before joining SSE, Yormark spent four seasons with Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Tampa Bay Lightning, most recently as Executive Vice President, where he was a Tampa Bay Business Journal Forty Under 40 Award Winner and brokered the naming rights partnership that saw the Ice Palace become the St. Pete Times Forum. He has also served as Vice President of Integrated Sales and Broadcasting for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He began his professional career in corporate sponsorship sales with the New York Yankees and eventually joined the media rep firm Katz Communications in New York City, where he oversaw sports sponsorship sales for their affiliated television stations. From there, Yormark joined Front Row Communications, the marketing and broadcasting arm of Wayne Huizenga's sports holdings. In four years as Vice President of Sales for Front Row, he helped rebuild Sportschannel Florida and assisted in the opening of the BankAtlantic Center.
 
Yormark and his wife Dana and daughter Sophia reside in Boca Raton.
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