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Orlando arena naming rights are all in the family

H

e's not likely to demonstrate the effectiveness of SA8 laundry detergent or the espring water purifier, but as the

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Orlando Magic

's star player,

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Dwight Howard
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effectively becomes

Amway

's newest pitchman today.

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He is to be on hand as the Magic formally announce a 10-year, $40million deal with Amway.

The All-Star center has already led the Orlando Magic on a championship run in the existing

Amway Arena

, but the naming-rights package for the new Amway Center is structured to generate even more exposure for Michigan-based Amway, which is controlled by the same family that owns the Magic basketball franchise.

Parts of the new building will serve as commercials for Amway products.

Amway's Nutrilite vitamin and dietary-supplement brand, for example, will be featured in an interactive fan zone. And more than 1,100 screens throughout the building will serve as platforms to advertise Amway products.

The agreement hardly represents a thawing of the frozen market for the naming rights of professional sports venues. It's hard to imagine the deal happening without the influence on both sides of Amway co-founder and Orlando Magic owner

Rich DeVos

.

If another company had offered the 83-year-old DeVos the right price, its name would be going up there in Amway's place. But that didn't happen.

DeVos' youngest son, Doug, shares the chief executive duties at Amway with the son of the company's other co-founder, Jay Van Andel.

DeVos' son-in-law

Bob Vander Weide

is president of the Magic.

The

New York Jets

and

New York Giants

are still in the hunt for a company willing to put its name on their new, $1.6 billion stadium. The

Dallas Cowboys

' $1.1 billion football cathedral is also nameless.

The Magic announced earlier this year that

Harris Corp.

was the first of what it hopes will be seven "Champions of the Community" sponsors, in a five-year deal that will show off that company's technology inside the new downtown arena. The other six have yet to be announced.

Howard and teammates may yet take a more direct role in Amway marketing: Last week the

NBA

said it would begin this season to allow teams to sell ads on practice jerseys.

Tourism down, salaries up

Tourism may be down to its lowest levels in years, but the folks over at the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau are far from down and out.

According to tax forms recently turned in to Orange County as part of a CVB contract revised to make the organization more transparent, six staff members at the CVB were paid more than $200,000 last year. And all but two of the 17 staff salaries listed were higher than $100,000.

CVB President Gary Sain was paid $374,592 last year, including $59,352 in bonuses and incentives earned in 2007.

Sain agreed to forgo a bonus in 2008 and has said he will do the same this year, though he did receive a raise.

Last year, salaries comprised 22 percent of the CVB's budget, up from 18 percent in 2007.

Of particular note were the eye-popping bonuses and commissions received by the CVB's advertising sales staff. They were earned in 2007 but paid out in 2008. Sheryl Taylor, an associate vice president who leads the sales group, earned a bonus and commissions totaling $194,877 on top of her $59,142 salary, making her the second-highest compensated staff member.

CVB spokesman Brian Martin said the bureau doesn't disclose how it compensates its sales staff, but said the commission structure is being readjusted and he anticipates lower salaries next year.

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