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UPDATE: Brought to You By RRA No More: Scandal Hits Panthers, The Billboard ... The Free Tickets Keep Coming

Rrasignage In case you haven't heard, the Fort Lauderdale law firm RRA isn't having a very good week.

One of its founders is accused of bilking hundreds of millions of dollars from the firm and from clients. He flew to Morocco (apparently to avoid extradition) but returned to Lauderdale yesterday.

So what does this have to do with hockey?

Well, RRA is a huge sponsor of South Florida sports teams including the Dolphins, Heat and of course, the Panthers.

Word is the team is trying to separate itself from the scandal. I'm also hearing the law firm hasn't paid off the team for its signage and sponsorships since it's so early in the season. And now, with the firm's funds down to about $500,000, that's a check that isn't coming.

Don't expect to hear RRA presenting upcoming concerts at The Billboard or anything else tonight.

Tonight's game is the first home game in November, and usually the team honors a top player of the previous month. RRA is supposedly a sponsor of this too.

We'll see if the team does anything with that pregame. Of course, the Panthers only won four of 12 games in October, so is there really anyone to honor? Steven Reinprecht I guess for October MVP. Defenseman of the Month? Dmitry Kulikov?

Anyway...

RracarolinaAs of this morning, RRA's signage is still up at the arena (see above; to the right at Carolina's morning skate).

Have an email in to Michael Yormark asking him to comment not on the scandal but on what the team plans to do regarding the firm's sponsorship of the team.

So far I have not heard back from him.

I would be surprised to see those signs in the arena come game time. As spokesman Justin Copertino told me over the phone, it takes time to do these kind of things.

Of course, in walking around the arena this morning, there were workers replacing a Dillard's billboard by one of the restrooms on the concourse. So there are people working on signage at the arena.

UPDATE: Just got an email from Copertino telling me that Yormark has been in meetings all day and that I will notice a difference in signage and game presentation tonight.

UPDATE2: Inside the rink right now. The RRA sign on the boards is gone as is their sign fronting the 400 level. Still no word from Michael Yormark.

So, I would have to assume that RRA is no longer sponsoring the Panthers. Or, the Panthers are refunding their money (ha!) and pulling the signage to distance themselves. Or, as I speculated before, RRA never fully paid and since the Panthers don't expect them to, they are cutting their losses.

-- Aside from RRA, Scott Rothstein has other business interests that sponsor something inside the arena. The biggest is probably the Ice Dancers.

Rothstein is a partner in the Bova steakhouse that sponsors the dancers. In a press release sent out by the team yesterday, the Ice Dancers were referred to without their corporate name. The team's website still has Bova as the sponsor of the dancers.

We'll see what changes there are tonight.

And if Yormark gets back to me, I'll update this post.

-- Just went on ticketmaster.com to check and see if the free ticket offer for tonight's game against Carolina is still going.

They are. Just found four together.

That's right: Free tickets to an NHL game (Ticketmaster charges a .75 service charge).

I won't give you the password, but I'm sure you can find it online. Somewhere. All you have to do is look.

And the Panthers will complain that I'm broadcasting this, but if they're going to offer, people might as well take advantage. And they've been giving away tickets for every game this year save for the home opener and the Philadelphia game.

UPDATE: Tickets are no longer being offered online, free or otherwise. But if you still want freebies (kinda), head over to the Sawgrass Quarterdeck where they have ticket vouchers. You can get up to four free* tickets to tonights game. You just have to pay the $7 arena/parking fee per ticket.

Sure there will be people in the parking lot who bought extra 75 cent tickets and might be willing to toss them your way for a small profit. I wouldn't offer 85 cents, but a couple bucks might do the trick.

-- Will be asking the Panthers how they account for these tickets. Do they count as sold tickets because of Ticketmaster's surcharge or do they go to the league as giveaways?


 

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