The idea of teams in market working together has been a foreign idea for a long time. Most major market teams would rather act in a vacuum than share data, sponsors or branding opportunities, and often times attempts at shared events…especially on the community side…often ended up with arguments about top billing or conflicts of interest and ended creating more harm than good. However in recent years we have seen teams in market start to work together…the Blackhawks and the White Sox, the Indians and the Blue Jackets…to co-promote, co-market and co-brand. It is a smart thing to do…share expenses, approach brands as one, give added value to fans and partners and keep brand top of mind in the offseason. Now the South Florida sports community has taken that approach one step further, as Sarah Talalay reported in the Sun Sentinel this week. A number of teams and events are banding together to offer discounts, merchandise and special events to fans in the area, ranging from the Dolphins to golf and tennis events, a year-round, comprehensive offer for the fan. It helps move distressed inventory, creates a platform from which the teams and organizations can share data and gives each of the brands a little more shelf life when they are not in season. Could these lead to all the brands working together to find some common sponsors in categories and giving brands some added valu. Could they tie in media and social networking platforms for off-season get-together. Could there be an outreach to travelers and other communities offering packages to multiple events for visitors to South Florid. How about even including arts programs and other areas where competition for the dollar is at a premiu. Even better, maybe there could be education or community tie-ins across all the brands, or links out of market to other teams looking to run special promotions…maybe there is an Amtrak tie which connects teams in New York, Boston, Washington and Phill. It all makes great sense in these challenged times, and for even the most elite brands to worry about “damage by association” is just silly and shortsighted. Yes in good times maybe teams scale back offers, but by no means should partnerships be eliminated. This partnership and others around the country like it, is long overdue, and it is great to see the South Florida sports community leading the way with an idea that has applications in every level of sport where discretionary dollars are needed.