“You can’t win them all,” Lukic said. “I don’t vote. I did my job today.”
The tide turned for the Panthers on Tuesday when Nicki Grossman, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the commission a large Jehovah’s Witness international convention would not come to South Florida in 2014 without updated audio and video capabilities at the arena.
Grossman and the Panthers claim the convention will bring in $96 million in economic impact to the county, but Wexler and others scoffed at that. However, they did agree that the impact would be big enough to move forward with their support.
The convention is expected to be held over four weekends next summer and may possibly return in 2015 and ’16. The commission was told the event will bring 12,000 hotel nights to the county next June.
Also, the NHL would bring its draft weekend to Sunrise within the next three years, according to David Zimmerman, NHL’s general counsel. He promised South Florida was back in the rotation for future All-Star Weekends.
“This is the first time in which the status of their scoreboard crept into my vision,” Grossman said afterward. “If we could have fit the Jehovah’s Witness convention into the convention center, we wouldn’t be here. They needed the larger venue and needed the scoreboard for their communications with other conventions.”
Yormark said the scoreboard would be ordered immediately. The old one would be dismantled and hopefully donated to a local high school.
The new scoreboard would be in place by the Panthers’ first preseason game in mid-September, he said.
“When you look at what we’ve done to our building over the past decade, this is the final piece,” Yormark said. “To have this behind us, to open our 20th anniversary season with a new scoreboard is exciting. The experience is going to be enhanced.”