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Volume 21 No. 1
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Red seats produce some green

Sunrise Sports & Entertainment has signed a three-year deal with Zimmerman Advertising to put its name on 8,689 new red seats in BankAtlantic Center’s lower bowl.

The deal’s value is in the mid-six figures annually, according to Sunrise Sports, parent company of the Florida Panthers.

The parent of the Florida Panthers sold ad space on seats at  BankAtlantic Center.
Zimmerman, a Fort Lauderdale firm, is the NHL team’s longtime agency of record and represents Papa John’s Pizza, HHGregg and Office Depot, three team sponsors. The deal to stitch Zimmerman Advertising’s name on the new seats is a separate agreement, said Zev Auerbach, a partner with Zimmerman and the agency’s executive creative director.

Should Zimmerman exit the deal after three years, its name will remain on the seats beyond that period due to its previous relationship with the team, Sunrise Sports officials said.

The red seats play a key role for the Panthers’ comprehensive rebranding effort, “We See Red,” a theme stretching from the team’s new red uniforms and the shirts worn by ushers, ticket takers and concession workers to the vending machines turning red inside the arena.

The new seats replace the original green chairs in the lower bowl that had been in place since the facility opened as National Car Rental Center in 1998. The number of Zimmerman-branded red seats will top 9,000 for concerts where folding chairs are set up on the floor.

Sunrise Sports had been pitching the seat sponsorship deal to three companies before Zimmerman officials stepped in and expressed interest, said Michael Yormark, Sunrise Sports’ president and chief operating officer.

The deal, a first for Zimmerman, was attractive to the agency because of the large number of high-end clientele sitting in the lower bowl, “upscale businesspeople — the right kind of folks we want to be associated with,” Auerbach said.

The seat installation was to start today and be completed by Sept. 19, the date of the Panthers’ second annual preseason doubleheader, Yormark said. The team plays the Nashville Predators at 3 and 7:30 p.m.

Covertech produced the new seats at a cost of about $500,000, Yormark said.

The blue seats in the upper bowl, in place since the arena opened 13 years ago, remain intact. Blue is the Panthers’ secondary color.