Much as state governments are referred to as the laboratories of dmeocracy, the minor leagues are the laboritories of the sports industry -- the place where numerous good ideas get their start. Today, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY debuts "Down On The Farm" -- the first in a regular series highlighting the creative promotions, front office news and executive moves from the minor leagues. NOT EASY BEING GREEN: The IHL Kalamazoo Wings will continue their annual tradition of dying their home ice green on St. Patrick's Day for their game against the Vipers. In-between period entertainment will include Irish music and dancers. The Wings claim to be the only team that dyes their ice green on March 17 year-in, year-out (Wings). TAKE THAT TO THE BANK: The IHL Minnesota Moose and the AHL Cornwall Aces both offered "Guaranteed Win Nights" last week. The Moose lost, thus allowing fans to receive free tickets of equal value to an upcoming game. The Aces won their game, which was sponsored by McDonald's, allowing fans to redeem ticket stubs for a free order of french fries at an area McDonald's (Minnesota Moose, Cornwall Aces). HANSON BROTHERS SIGHTING: The three Hanson Brothers, stars of the movie "Slapshot," made an appearance at the IHL Las Vegas Thunder game on February 17. On March 5 they will make an appearance at the Moose game which will include a special autograph session (Moose, Las Vegas Thunder). MAKING HISTORY: The AHL Providence Bruins welcomed their one millionth fan in the history of the franchise against the Portland Pirates on February 17. It was only the 110th home game in the history of the teams, making it the fastest a minor league hockey franchise has ever made it to 1,000,000 in total attendance (Providence Bruins). DEFLECTING BAD NEWS BY DAY, SLAP SHOTS BY NIGHT: Kelly Dyer of the West Palm Beach Blaze of the Sunshine League is more than the team's goalie -- she is also the team's Public Relations and Marketing Director. Dyer, a business major in college, took over the position when the team's former director left shortly after the season began. Dyer says the move "fits into her career plans" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/26).
The Jaguars and Ford Motor Company have reached an agreement on a sponsorship package that makes Ford an "Owners Circle Sponsor." The sponsorship deal also settles a lawsuit filed against the team by Jaguar Cars, a subsidiary of Ford, which claimed the team's name and original logo infringed its trademarks. Owners Circle Sponsor rights provides exclusivity in a category -- for Ford, the catoegory is defined as domestic and foreign automobile and truck manufacturer, retail sales and leasing. The agreement, which includes Ford, Lincoln-Mercury and Jaguar, also provides for advertising, stadium signage and designation to the Ford Motor Company as the official automobile partner of the Jaguars (Jaguars).