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MY360: Continuing The Passion

Thursday, 11.08.2012 / 4:30 PM / Blogs
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MY360: Continuing The Passion
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak to about 100 of SSE’s most loyal and dedicated partners during a lunch event at Timpano Chophouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
 


I gave a presentation about all the exciting initiatives that our company is focused on including the Florida Panthers, world-class entertainment content at the BB&T Center, a series of boxing events beginning with our WBA event on Nov. 30, the upcoming MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, promoting the AHL San Antonio Rampage and more.
 


In addition to the formal presentation, we also took questions and hosted an open dialogue to talk about where we are at as an organization, and where we are going. It is always challenging in this type of setting to find a consensus, to have a common thread that stretched throughout a diverse group of people. But the one thing that really stood out for me was the universal love and affinity for the Florida Panthers.
 


Following last year’s incredible Southeast Division Championship and return to the playoffs, many of us here with SSE felt like a light-switched had turned on. We felt that in only a few short months, fans, partners, media and the entire South Florida community had fallen in love with hockey again.
 


Even though we are not playing hockey right now, that feeling continued to prevail at our event in Fort Lauderdale. People wanted to talk about this exciting team that has been built and led by GM Dale Tallon, Assistant GM Mike Santos, and head coach Kevin Dineen. People wanted to know when a new CBA would be agreed upon and we would be back on the ice.
 


As I’ve said consistently, we remain optimistic a new agreement will get done soon, and obviously we, like all hockey fans, are following these latest negotiations closely. And I have to give an incredible amount of credit to our staff that continues to work hard and turn these challenges in to opportunities. But the most exciting thing for me is that there remains a palpable thirst and anticipation for Panthers hockey.
 


We saw the same thing last night during our first sold out Florida Panthers Broadcast School, when our broadcasters such as Randy Moller, Steve Goldstein and Bill Lindsay hosted 30 children at the BB&T Center. It was clear, that the passion for this franchise runs deep and continues to grow. 
 


I ended my day yesterday with a meeting for the American Heart Association where I am honored to sit on the Executive Cabinet for the Broward Heart Ball. While we talked about our fundraising goals and objectives, I browsed through a flyer on the AHA’s National “Wear Red” day. It immediately brought me back to last April, and the four sold out “red days” we had during our seven-game playoff series against the New Jersey Devils.
 


The passion and the intensity of those games is still fresh in my mind, and in a lot of ways it motivates myself and our staff. What is clear after yesterday, is those feelings are still fresh in the minds of our fans, our partners and all of our supporters. And that is a great thing for this franchise.
 

 
Follow me on Twitter at @PanthersYormark. Thanks for reading and go Panthers.
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ABOUT MICHAEL YORMARK
SSE President

Michael R. Yormark is President of Sunrise Sports & Entertainment and is responsible for overseeing all of the organization’s operating entities including the Florida Panthers hockey club, the BB&T Center arena venue, the Saveology.com Iceplex recreational skating and training facility, SSE Gaming, 360 Premium, and more.


Since joining SSE in Sept. 2003 as Chief Operating Officer, Yormark has guided the organization into an era of growth and success. For his efforts, he was promoted to the position of President on Aug. 13, 2007.


Yormark and his staff have succeeded in building SSE in to a world-renowned and diverse professional sports and entertainment company. Yormark has utilized his unique leadership ability to nurture SSE in to an aggressive, hardcharging and innovative company predicated on his professional mantras and philosophies such as “dream big and dare to fail” and “anything is possible.”


Under Yormark’s watch, the Florida Panthers are the reigning Southeast Division Champions and returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2011-12 for the first time in over a decade. The Panthers also currently boast the top rated group of prospects in the NHL by ESPN and Hockey’s Future. In addition, Yormark has reinvigorated and repositioned the Panthers’ brand in South Florida around the color red signifying passion, intensity and success, making hockey relevant in the market once again. Meanwhile, the BB&T Center is one of the top ranked arena venues of its kind in the world, hosting world-class concerts, shows and events and maintaining industry relationships with promoters such as Live Nation and AEG.


The Saveology.com Iceplex is the only triple ice-sheet facility south of Washington, D.C. and is one of the top facilities of its kind in North American featuring the $10 million state-of-the-art training center for the Panthers. SSE Gaming was formed under Yormark’s watch as a partnership with Las Vegas casino giant Boyd Gaming to develop a casino hotel resort on the property surrounding the BB&T Center. Key to this initiative is the strong government relationships that Yormark and SSE have built and maintained at the city, county, state and national level. 360 Premium is SSE’s premium seating sales and marketing arm, created by Yormark and focused primarily on selling the new all-inclusive Club RED – a brand new arena improvement built with a $7.7 million loan secured by Yormark from Broward County.


Yormark has also helped SSE develop new revenue streams by pioneering the all-inclusive arena club concept (Club RED, etc.), partnering with Boyd Gaming, signing a long-term television rights agreement with FOX Sports, extending and up-selling the naming rights partnership for the BB&T Center (most lucrative in Florida and most valuable in building history), creating dramatic revenue-generating improvements to the arena, and more.


Yormark has also heralded enhanced community involvement from SSE under the revamped Florida Panthers Foundation which donates more than $1 million in kind annually to the fight against pediatric cancer in South Florida. That community commitment continues on a personal level as Yormark sits on the Orange Bowl Committee, the Broward Workshop, Broward Health Foundation board, American Heart Association executive cabinet, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society board, and raised a record amount of money as two-year chair for LLS’ Light The Night Walk.


Yormark and SSE have been consistently recognized as leaders in the industry through awards and media profiles such as: SportsBusiness Journal 40 Under 40 Award, SBJ Stanley Cup Of Business, City Of Sunrise Business Leader Award, South Florida Business Journal Business Of The Year Finalist, Newsweek Magazine, Sports Illustrated, New York Times, American Way, Success magazine, Smart Business magazine, CNBC, South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Mots Influential People, ESPN The Magazine No. 33-ranke pro sports franchise, Pollstar Arena Of The Year finalist, and more. Yormark has also used his incomparable passion for physical fitness and 4 a.m. workouts to support charitable causes, including competing in the 2012 Tough Mudder event benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.


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 BB&T Center.


Yormark and his wife Dana and daughter Sophia reside in Boca Raton.

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01.04.10 - MY360: A Well Deserved Win

 
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