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MY360: Realignment And More

Friday, 03.15.2013 / 11:45 AM / Blogs
Florida Panthers

As many of you are undoubtedly aware, the NHL announced yesterday that its realignment plan and revised Stanley Cup Playoffs format. The plan puts our Panthers in an eight-team Eastern Conference Division – one of four total divisions – with the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.
 
Not only does the new format preserve our in-state rivalry with the Lightning, but it gives us the chance to develop strong rivalries with many of the League’s traditional franchises, while giving our fans an opportunity to see each team at least once per season at the BB&T Center.
 
Overall we are thrilled about the League’s realignment plan and believe strongly that realignment, coupled with the new playoff format where teams play out of their division, will only lend more excitement and intensity to the regular season and postseason.  Hopefully our fans feel the same way.
 
That said, I am up in New York today on business and I’ll have the chance to personally congratulate NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on the passing of realignment and the positive impact it will have on our franchise.
 
Obviously, we haven’t had the season we wanted to have, but with a rash of injuries all over our roster, it’s important for us to focus on the positives and right now that is the play of our young prospects.
 
Thanks to those injuries, players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Drew Shore, Jacob Markstrom, Erik Gudbranson and others, are getting the chance to play a significant role that they otherwise would not likely have played.  Clearly there have been some growing pains, but I truly believe these players, and our franchise, will be better for it in the long run.
 
So despite our current record I remain positive, and have the utmost trust in the ability of our GM Dale Tallon, Asst. GM Mike Santos, and their staff to make the right moves in the short term and long term to get us back on track.
 
That said, we will continue to highlight the young core of our team through all of our media outlets, particularly on FOX Sports where we continue to develop an innovative broadcast that gives more insight and behind the scenes access than any other broadcast in the League.
 
As always we welcome your feedback on the broadcast and anything else in regard to our franchise. Our Vice President of Sales & Service Ryan McCoy and I continue to host pregame fan forums for our season seat owners, and we have used that feedback to make some significant changes to how we run our business. So please keep it coming whether you are following me on Twitter at @PanthersYormark or you can e-mail me at YormarkM@FloridaPanthers.com.

Thank you so much for your passion and support 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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