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MY360: Quality Time, Quality Product

Thursday, 02.28.2013 / 4:30 PM / Blogs
Florida Panthers

Quite often, I get asked why I love working in the professional sports and entertainment industry. I think for every person that works in this business the answer is a little bit different. But the unifying factor, in my opinion, is the excitement of working in a world of live events, wins and losses, incredible highs and difficult lows, and new challenges to face.

 

Personally, that is what gets my juices flowing each and every day on the job. And that is particularly true during this current time period when it seems like our Florida Panthers are playing a home game every other day and we are hosting a major concert or event almost every day in between.

 

In the last week alone we hosted Muse last Friday, Panthers-Bruins on Sunday, P!nk on Monday, Panthers-Penguins on Tuesday, Panthers-Sabres tonight, Disney Live! Friday, Bon Jovi Saturday, and Panthers-Hurricanes on Sunday.

 

That’s quite a whirlwind for our players, our staff and most importantly our guests. But its exciting at the same time, and it challenges us to be on our “A” game as much as possible, and continually provide the top notch experience and customer service that our fans have become accustomed to, and rightfully expect.

 

We take customer service very seriously here at the BB&T Center. Every single one of our employees, whether they are in a service department or elsewhere, is expected to provide accessibility, responsiveness and professionalism when engaging with any of our guests, supporters and partners.

 

For that reason, the feedback we get from those constituents is extremely important. In that vein, we host town hall meetings on a regular basis, conduct surveys, and open the lines of communication to any fan or partner that wants to voice an opinion.

 

Most recently, we have instituted a new pregame fan forum program that will bring us face to face with those fans on a more regular basis. Myself and our Vice President of Sales & Service Ryan McCoy instituted this program prior to Tuesday night’s game against Pittsburgh and the feedback we received was absolutely tremendous.

 

From feedback on our renewal campaign to our team to our game presentation to their overall BB&T Center experience, every tidbit of knowledge we received will be put to good use in one way or another.

 

As I often say, sometimes as Panthers staff members, we are so close to the product and the daily experience, that we lose sight of some of the simple things we can do to make the experience better for our fans, and life easier for us.

 

By spending more quality time in the company of our most passionate and loyal fans, we are able to identify key areas for improvement and act on them quickly and efficiently. Whether its adding more ushers in certain areas, providing more concession options, or even changing the volume settings on our music and PA announcements, every little bit helps the fan experience.

 

Of course its always exciting when the little things we do are supplemented by an intense Panthers win like the 6-4 barnburner victory over the Penguins on Tuesday night. I think everyone, save for a few visiting Pens fans, left the BB&T Center happy on Tuesday evening. That continues to be our goal, win or lose, and we won’t settle for anything less.

 

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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