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Miami Marlins’ Impressive Start Attracts High-Profile Sponsors

An exclusive interview with Marlins president Caroline O’Connor: “We welcomed Norwegian Cruise Lines and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to our Marlins family this year.” 

On the field, it’s undeniable that the Marlins are off to their hottest start in more than 25 years.  Almost halfway through the season, the Marlins have the third-best record in the National League, and they’re in second place in the NL East, poised for a playoff run. 

Second baseman Luis Arraez, likely for the NL All-Star team, is not only leading the lead in batting but his average has been floating around .400, which would be one for the history books. Attendance at LoanDepot park is up this year for the second season in a row. But off the field, the programming—from $1 kids tickets to Senior Days, Taco Tuesdays, Beerfest, Bark at the Park and more—is especially robust. We caught up with Marlins president Caroline O’Connor to hear about the joy—and business—of sports.   

The Marlins are hot. No. 1 hitter in baseball, second place in their division, and a big June so far. How do you feel about the season so far?   

The Marlins are quickly captivating the national audience. People are taking notice of our outstanding pitching along with timely hitting and remarkable home runs—noticing that we are a true playoff contender. The team is really coming together under first-year manager Skip Schumaker, who is already getting some buzz for the Manager of the Year Award. This market has been waiting for their hometown baseball team to produce consistently, and we’re ready to show South Florida a great time at LoanDepot park as they rally around their hometown town.   

With the Heat and Panthers in the offseason, and the Dolphins not starting till the end of summer, you’re the hottest show in town. Are you seeing more interest than usual?   

First—congratulations to the Heat and the Panthers. This is an epic time for South Florida sports. We love having all eyes on the Marlins now. Attendance is up for the second straight season, and we are seeing our highest TV ratings in nearly two years, even dating back to when the Panthers and the Heat were still playing in the finals. We love seeing so much support for the Marlins at the ballpark and throughout the community.    

What have been some of your biggest wins off the field in terms of initiatives? Bark in the Park looks really fun. 

I’m not sure who has more fun at our Bark at the Park—the pups or the people. We have some other really fun options for South Florida this summer at Marlins.com/offers. I would say one of our most popular activities is Beerfest where guests can enjoy a sampling of domestic, international, and local craft brews with friends at the ballgame at select games. We also see a great turnout at each Tuesday home game for our Taco Tuesday special: two tickets and two tacos for just $25. Our most exclusive premium area—the PNC Club—is sold out this year. The seats up front are closer to home plate than the pitcher is, and the contemporary club atmosphere provides a uniquely refined South Florida vibe complete with an all-inclusive elevated casual concept along with a variety of food and drink options, experiences, and surprises. Plus, you can see right into the Marlins’ batting cages—an experience you can only find at loanDepot park.   

What are some of the first things that come to mind when you think of the actual experience of attending a game?   

At LoanDepot park, we are all about providing excitement and entertainment you can’t find anywhere else in South Florida. Plus, you can beat the heat (and the rain) in our air-conditioned retractable roof ballpark. We have special offers for just about everyone, depending on what you are looking for. We’re excited to watch this team continue to excel on the field as we watch our young stars continue to shine. It will be interesting to watch our second baseman Luis Arraez chase history and try to maintain a .400 batting average as one of the top hitters in baseball.   

Let’s talk food and beverage: a three-foot Cubano Gigante?    

South Florida’s most unique dining experience can be found at LoanDepot park. Not only do we boast the largest Cuban sandwich in South Florida—which has proven quite popular—but we have great culinary selections all around the ballpark. We provide flavors and options from all around South Florida, including barbecue, traditional Cuban fare, empanadas, cheesesteaks, quesadillas, and much more. We also added another local favorite this season, Naked Taco, to our lineup of community restaurant partners in Pincho Burger, Novecento, Suviche, Islas Canarias and Miami’s Best Pizza. And be sure to check out the Change Up in right field to experience the rotating menu with new items each homestand. You won’t leave hungry.   

The Marlins recently signed a deal with ADT. Any other big sponsorships that have come through?   

We’re very proud to wear the instantly recognizable ADT logo on our sleeve as our first jersey-patch partner and a local South Florida business based in Boca Raton. We also welcomed Norwegian Cruise Lines and Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to our Marlins family this year. As we continue to share our story and show we are committed to sustained success, local, national, and international brands continue to see the value in investing with the Marlins. With the new rules, quicker pace of play, and extremely diverse fan base, Marlins baseball offers a great way to connect with clients and prospective business partners across the spectrum.    

Everyone knows Arraez, Soler, Jazz and Alcantara. Who else should we be keeping an eye out for?   

Another name people should know is Jesus Luzardo, one of our young pitchers who hails from right here in South Florida. Jesus has an incredible arm and poise on the mound and loves to give back to our community by volunteering at the Miracle League baseball leagues with kids with special needs. Our players are here for South Florida on and off the field and we think that’s very special.   

OK, let’s talk Lionel Messi. As the president of a professional sports team, you understand what a big moment this is for Miami. What did you think when you heard he was signing with Inter Miami?   

We are excited for Inter Miami and for South Florida. Like all of us know, South Florida is an amazing place to live and work and I believe we will continue to see an influx of people and talent here. We saw firsthand the excitement from sports fans around the globe when we hosted the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. People from across the world are ready and willing to travel to South Florida to support our teams and special events.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.