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Panthers Support Tobacco Free Florida Week Beginning March 21

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. – Sunrise Sports & Entertainment announced today that the Florida Panthers and the BankAtlantic Center will support Tobacco Free Florida Week through in-arena exposure as well as its television partnership with Fox Sports Florida. 

Florida Governor Charlie Crist has proclaimed March 21 through March 28 as Tobacco Free Florida Week to help promote the Florida Quitline, as well as raise awareness for the impact of secondhand smoke among at-risk populations. Floridians will be encouraged to recommend friends and loved ones to contact the Florida Quitline for help in overcoming their addiction.

“Be Free for Me” is the weeklong theme for schools and community-based activities, as well as large-scale sponsorships. Tobacco Free Florida has also partnered with Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports, and will be the focal point of six college and professional teams in Florida, including the Panthers. The Panthers host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 5 pm on March 21 at the BankAtlantic Center.

“We are thrilled and honored to support a worthwhile program such as Tobacco Free Florida Week,” said SSE president & COO Michael Yormark. “At the urging of Governor Crist, the Panthers feel a responsibility to the entire Florida community to raise awareness for the various consequences of smoking addictions.”

The Florida Panthers are supporting Tobacco Free Florida Week through public service announcements recorded by Panthers players and staff, as well as an array of in-arena exposure during Panthers-Lightning game including LED signage, scoreboard enhancements, print advertising and more.

“Last year, our networks were extremely proud to work hand-in-hand with our professional and collegiate team partners across the state encouraging sports fans to live smoke-free during the inaugural Tobacco Free Florida Week,” said Steve Liverani, Sr. VP/GM of FOX Sports Florida & Sun Sports.  “This year, we want to reach out to those fans again, this time with the compelling message ‘Be Free For Me,’ providing them with the motivation and access to resources to help their families and loved ones live tobacco free. We are pleased to offer our media assets, along with those of our team partners, for the 2010 Tobacco Free Florida Week campaign.”

“Tobacco Free Florida Week is a statewide call to action that is essential in spreading the word about the dangers of secondhand smoke,” said Kim Berfield, Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Health. “By targeting collegiate and professional sporting events, the ‘Be Free for Me’ message will be highly visible and will attract those looking to quit or friends and family of loved ones to be referred to the services of the Florida Quitline.”
To refer a friend or family member to the Florida Quitline, call 1.877.U.CAN.NOW or go online to For more information about Tobacco Free Florida visit

Tobacco Free Florida, the statewide youth prevention and adult cessation campaign launched in February 2008, has reached millions of Floridians through its advertising, online social media, grassroots initiatives, educational outreach, and public relations efforts. Funded by the State’s tobacco settlement fund, the campaign engages culturally and economically diverse audiences with its high impact messaging.

Sunrise Sports & Entertainment is the premier company of its kind in South Florida. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Home to more than 200 events annually and the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, the BankAtlantic Center was a finalist for Arena of the Year in annual awards given by trade publication Pollstar. The BankAtlantic Center welcomes more than two million guests each year and is also the home of Sawgrass Live presented by BankAtlantic.
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