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MY360

MY360: Panthers Are Back

Monday, 01.07.2013 / 8:30 AM / Blogs
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MY360: Panthers Are Back
The Florida Panthers are back. It’s been almost eight months since the last time we saw our Cats on the ice, but after a long break and this challenging work stoppage, Cats fans everywhere can look forward to a special Opening Night after the NHL and NHLPA tentatively agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement pending ratification.
 
Not only will we be welcoming our Cats back to the BB&T Center, but we will also be unveiling our Southeast Division Championship banner, and conjuring memories of the incredible season we had in 2011-12.
 
A first division title in franchise history, four sold out playoff games with an electric atmosphere, the raining down of victory rats, and a gut-wrenching epic playoff series with the Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Devils.
 
Last year, this town fell in love with the Florida Panthers once again. Inspired by our great GM Dale Tallon, our fiery head coach Kevin Dineen, and our core of skilled and character-laden players like Ed Jovanovski, Brian Campbell and Stephen Weiss, this town became the hockey town we knew it could be.
 
All over South Florida, we saw people that truly “Believe RED.” We saw Panthers hats, and jerseys, and t-shirts and bumper stickers, and maybe most important of all, we saw the rats.
 
And as if our fans needed yet another challenge to their passion and loyalty, they were then faced with this difficult work stoppage. For that we must apologize. We must also reward your faith and fandom with a special season both on and off the ice.
 
We have already taken a step toward that goal, by dedicating the season to our fans and all of our partners as part of the “7th Man” initiative. All season long we will be honoring Cats fans with special features, spotlights, exposure and incredible experiential opportunities.
 
Beyond that, we will never miss an opportunity to say thank you, or to go that extra step to make sure your fan experience is as special and as memorable as we can make it. Our fans are the lifeblood of any sports organization, but that is especially true here with the Florida Panthers. Quite frankly, RED cannot Rise without our wonderful supporters.  
 
So as we begin to build off that magical season, and take the next step in our journey, we pause to recognize how truly lucky we are to have the best fans in the NHL. To have supporters that showed last Spring, how special a hockey town South Florida can be. Fans that, no doubt, will make yet another statement come Opening Night with a sold out BB&T Center to welcome home our Cats.
 
A statement that is loud, and passionate, and ardent, and RED.
 
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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