SBD/September 9, 2013/Franchises

Tom Garfinkel Named Dolphins President & CEO, Filling Role Mike Dee Left For Padres

Garfinkel (r) graduated from Michigan's Stephen Ross School Of Business
The Dolphins today named former Padres President & CEO Tom Garfinkel to the same position for the team and Sun Life Stadium. Garfinkel was selected following a search led by RSE Ventures President & CEO Matt Higgins and Turnkey Sports & Entertainment. He will be responsible for all business operations, including budget responsibility. Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland and coach Joe Philbin will continue to oversee all football operations, reporting directly to Owner Stephen Ross. Garfinkel left the Padres in July after four years with the club. He previously worked for the D-Backs and Chip Ganassi Racing (Dolphins). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes former Dolphins CEO Mike Dee last month filled the Padres' vacant CEO position, meaning he and Garfinkel "ended up filling each other's most recent jobs." Garfinkel "figures to be heavily involved" in Ross' efforts to get funding for Sun Life Stadium renovations. He "will not be involved in player selection." The Dolphins considered more than 75 candidates for the job (MIAMI HERALD, 9/9).

ESTABLISHING A THRESHOLD: Dolphins Senior VP & Chief Revenue Officer Jim Rushton yesterday said that the team has "decided again to use the 85 percent blackout threshold, meaning the Dolphins need to sell just 51,000 non-premium tickets to get home games on TV locally." In Miami, Adam Beasley notes the Dolphins, who have not had a game blacked out since '00, "elected to have the same threshold" in '12. Rushton said that the team "has already sold more season tickets than it did in 2012, when the Dolphins had 40,192 season-ticket holders -- the franchise’s lowest figure in 30 years." The Dolphins "drew just 57,375 fans per game last year, their lowest average attendance" since '89 (MIAMI HERALD, 9/9).

MERCH SALES MOVING UP: In Ft. Lauderdale, Doreen Hemlock cited analysts as saying that the Dolphins' "weak performance on the field" last season "contributed to the team's failing to rank among the top 10" for NFL merchandise sales. However, the Dolphins said that sales "are up so far this season." Team execs said that stores at Sun Life Stadium and the team's training camp sold 36% more since the team's new logo was unveiled this season "compared to the same period last year." The execs declined to "specify dollar or unit amounts." Dolphins Senior VP & CMO Claudia Lezcano said that this increase was "fueled by optimism over new players and increased attendance at training camps this year -- not just the new look." Online retailer Fanatics has "seen a major pickup in sales of Dolphins gear this season." The website said that its sales of Dolphins merchandise rose 140% "since the new logo was unveiled, compared to a year earlier." Its sales of Dolphin jerseys "tripled in that time." Its top-selling new Dolphins jerseys are QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Mike Wallace, DE Cameron Wake, former RB Reggie Bush and WR Brian Hartline. Fanatics also declined to specify dollar or unit amounts but said that its "top markets" are the Miami and N.Y. metro areas (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/8).
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