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MY360

MY360: For The Fans

Monday, 12.13.2010 / 8:00 AM / Blogs
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MY360: For The Fans
Professional sports is a complicated world filled with ever-changing goals and challenges. From ticket sales to marketing campaigns to in-game entertainment to on-ice or on-field performance, it’s a constantly evolving industry that requires us to adapt to it’s changing dynamics. But the one thing that stays consistent through all of the transformations and modifications, is the fans.

The fans, particularly those of NHL hockey and the Florida Panthers, are the lifeblood of any professional sports organization. They are why, even though we cannot always control wins and losses, we continue to work hard every day to provide the best experience possible for our game night guests at the BankAtlantic Center.

In addition to a great experience, and the excitement of live Panthers hockey, we pride on ourselves on providing Panthers fans with unprecedented access to our franchise, and our plan for future success.

Along those lines, on Wednesday, Dec. 15, General Partner Cliff Viner, General Manager Dale Tallon and myself will host a Coca-Cola Panthers Town Hall Meeting for fans attending the Panthers-Carolina game that evening at the BankAtlantic Center.

It will be an open forum, where myself, Cliff and Dale can speak directly to fans about our organizational philosophies and blueprint for success, and fans will have the opportunity to ask questions and express their thoughts and opinions.

I strongly believe that maintaining an open line of communication with fans is absolutely vital to the success of any organization, let alone a professional sports team. Not only does it give fans a sounding board for their passion and emotion, but it also allows us, as an organization, to identify key areas of our business in which to improve.

Whether it’s our marketing, customer service, ticket plans, etc., interacting directly with our constituents helps us get better across the board. It also gives us an unfiltered avenue to communicate our blueprint, specifically for our team, and how we plan to achieve success moving forward.

Hopefully our fans were able to read Kevin Allen’s article in USA Today last week about how Dale is using the same blueprint he used in Chicago, to help us achieve our goals here in South Florida.

Clearly, we’ve taken some significant steps thus far, particularly in changing the culture and attitude around the franchise, and infusing the organization with young talent and the right infrastructure to help develop those prospects. And as Dale has said, we’re far from done. He and Assistant General Manager Mike Santos are continually looking for ways to improve our team both during the season, and in the 2011 offseason when they look to conduct another successful Draft and free agency signing period.

That said, we also continue to be focused on achieving our goals off the ice, particularly when it comes to supporting the South Florida community. We’ve been extremely active thus far this season, with our sold out Face Off Luncheon, $400,000 donation to the Chris Evert Children’s Hospital and more.

Today, the Florida Panthers Foundation hosts it’s sold out Golf Classic presented by Fore Golf at Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs. I'd like to thank all the fans, sponsors and partners that supported the Golf Classic and we’re looking forward to having a great day.

Then on Wednesday, the Cats are back at the BankAtlantic Center to face the division-rival Carolina Hurricanes in a key matchup. I hope to see a great crowd for the game and our town hall meeting.

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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