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Dolphins kill lottery deal with Bucs, Jags
Published October 12, 2009
While many NFL teams have been signing state lottery sponsorship deals, the Miami Dolphins scuttled a potential three-team Florida sponsorship with the other NFL clubs in the Sunshine State before the start of the season because the Dolphins felt they deserved more than the other two clubs in the deal, said numerous NFL sources.
The decision to kill the three-team lottery play was made by new Dolphins President Mike Dee, the sources said. Dee signed one of the first scratch-and-win sponsorships in professional sports when he was with the Boston Red Sox. The Dolphins declined comment.
Whether this development could provide further fodder for discontent between low- and high-revenue clubs is unclear. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remarked last month that revenue sharing should go away in a new labor deal, comments which elicited a fine by the NFL.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have both struggled to sell out games and have encountered financial problems. The Jaguars, who have said they will not sell out any games this year, are a top recipient of revenue sharing, and the Bucs have spent nearly $30 million below the salary cap this year.
The Miami Dolphins, on the other hand, under deep-pocketed new owner Stephen Ross, have spent heavily to rebrand the team as one of glitz and glamour.
The league opened the lottery category for the first time earlier this year, but the issue of how teams in the same state would handle that opportunity was left to the local clubs.
That’s resulted in different deals depending on the territory. In Texas, both the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have deals with their home state lottery, while in the New York metro area, the Giants have deals with the New Jersey and Connecticut state lotteries, with New York taking a wait and see attitude. The Jets have a deal with the New Jersey lottery.
In California the three teams — the San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders — are talking jointly with the state lottery about a scratch-and-win card for 2010, said Andy Dolich, the 49ers’ chief operating officer. Whether that card would have all three team logos, or whether each team would get its own card, is still being discussed, he said.
Prizes for the various lotteries include cash, “experiences” such as pregame sideline passes, team memorabilia and, at the top end, tickets.
“As far as a new category, it has worked out pretty well for us,” said Giants CMO Mike Stevens. “One of the biggest concerns was the public’s perception of this kind of affiliation, and we haven’t gotten a single complaint from consumers.”
According to the NFL, 18 of its 32 clubs signed lottery deals after the league eased restrictions earlier this year, allowing direct association of team logos with state lotteries. Just two teams, the New England Patriots and New York Giants, have deals with more than one state lottery, while three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have struck deals with multiple NFL teams.
The Florida Lottery commission did not return calls seeking comment.