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Morning Buzz

Polamalu, Fitzgerald Will Both Appear On "Madden" Cover
AFL Targets March 2010 Return Under New Business Model
Cowboys Stadium Will Not Have Naming Rights For Opening
Miami City Commission Approves Marlins Ballpark Site Plan

EA SPORTS SELECTS BOTH POLAMALU, FITZGERALD FOR "MADDEN" COVER

Polamalu, Fitzgerald To Be
On Cover Of "Madden"

By Eric Fisher, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

EA Sports has chosen both Steelers S Troy Polamalu and Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald as the cover athletes for “Madden NFL 10,” the first time the 21-year-old videogame franchise has featured two cover athletes. EA is making the formal announcement this morning in N.Y. Fitzgerald is just the second athlete after Shaun Alexander to be featured on the covers of both EA’s NFL and college football titles, as he was the featured athlete for "NCAA Football 05."

The latest iteration of the Madden title, to be released August 14, will feature a new, more photorealistic animation system for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, while at the same time a lighter, slightly more caricatured style for the Wii version. All versions underwent a second major rewrite of the game code in as many years.


AFL FINALIZES NEW BUSINESS PLAN, AIMS FOR LEAGUE RE-LAUNCH IN MARCH 2010

The AFL announced that it has "finalized a 'revitalized business model' that enables the league to return to action" in March of next year. The AFL is expected to meet with owners of all 16 franchises "to determine which teams intend to be part of a relaunch." AFL Exec Committee Chair Jim Renacci said the group that developed the viability plan will meet with owners to "review it and the amendments to the CBA." Renacci: "We hope to see everything ratified in the next 30 days" (MLIVE.com, 4/23).


COWBOYS WILL NOT HAVE NAMING-RIGHTS SPONSOR WHEN NEW STADIUM OPENS

Cowboys officials yesterday conceded that the team will not have a naming-rights sponsor for the new stadium "in time for the June 6 grand opening concert." Cowboys Exec VP & COO Stephen Jones: "There will be a (sponsored) name on it at some point. … But not initially." The Cowboys have decided on a name for the stadium, but "that's being kept secret for now." Execs have said that a non-sponsored name might be "similar to the current working name of Dallas Cowboys New Stadium" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/24).


MIAMI CITY COMMISSION APPROVES SITE PLANS FOR NEW MARLINS BALLPARK

The Miami City Commission has "unanimously accepted the site plans" for a new $634M ballpark and parking complex for the Marlins in the Little Havana neighborhood. The vote came following a "virtual repeat of the presentation the team's architects gave to the city's planning board a few weeks ago." The approval came with one condition: that the four-acre plaza in front of the ballpark "be open as public space during the entire year, including the offseason" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/24).


MLS FIRE BEGIN SELLING TICKETS FOR FIELDSIDE SEATS AT TOYOTA PARK

The MLS Fire today begin selling tickets for seats placed "directly on the field" at Toyota Park. The 40 FieldSide seats are "located adjacent to the visiting team bench" and are priced at $225 per game. A full-season package is available at $150 per game, a 10-game package at $175. The seats include food and beverage with "servers to take orders" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 4/23). 


PAULSON AGREES TO DELAY CITY COUNCIL VOTE ON NEW MINOR LEAGUE BALLPARK

Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Triple-A PCL Portland Beavers Owner Merritt Paulson have agreed to "indefinitely delay a City Council vote on where to put a new minor league baseball park so they can explore the once-discarded option" of Lents Park. The city had been looking at a site near Memorial Coliseum, “but the measurements didn’t add up,” and the idea of razing the Coliseum “created an uproar in the city’s architecture community” (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/24).


HEIGHTENED SECURITY FOR TONY ALLEN IN CHICAGO FOLLOWING DEATH THREATS

Sources indicated that Celtics G Tony Allen was "under intensive watch by an increased force of NBA security officers" at United Center during last night's playoff game against the Bulls after being the "target of a death threat by a Chicago man." NBA security staff had an "additional presence around the Celtics bench" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/23).

Sources said that Allen "had been receiving the threats in Chicago for some time." Yesterday marked the "first time this season Allen made a trip with the Celtics to Chicago." When asked to comment, Celtics President Rich Gotham said, "It's a security matter. It's our policy not to comment on security matters" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/24).


SPEED READS….

There will not be a recommendation from the judge hearing NFL Network's carriage complaint against Comcast "until at least mid-June," according to a schedule released Thursday from Judge Richard Sippel. The last comments are due June 11 (CABLEFAX DAILY, 4/24).

Construction of the USOC's new HQs in downtown Colorado Springs "will be finished in late September, not July 30 as contemplated a year ago" by the USOC, the city and developer LandCo Equity Partners (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 4/24).

Soccer United Marketing announced that the Mexico men's national soccer team will play an int'l friendly against Guatemala at Qualcomm Stadium on June 28 (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/24).

Thunder Launch New Team Web Site
Dodger GM Ned Colletti beginning today will appear each week as a guest on the "McIntyre in the Morning" show on KABC-AM, the team's flagship station. Colletti will appear alongside KABC's Doug McIntyre and Josh Suchon every Friday at 9:20am PT (Dodgers).

Two teenagers were arrested yesterday for "throwing lit road flares on to the field and into the stands" at BMO Field during Wednesday's Chivas USA-Toronto FC match. One flare caught a section of artificial turf on fire, "causing an estimated $2,000 in damage" (NATIONAL POST, 4/24).

The Thunder have officially launched their new team Web site at thunder.nba.com (Thunder).

Due to an editorial error, a headline in yesterday’s Closing Bell regarding the Lions’ negotiations around the first pick in the NFL Draft was incorrectly sourced. THE DAILY regrets the mistake.


QUICK HITS….

“It’s mind-boggling that we didn’t play an afternoon game. I’m certainly aware of the financial side of the business, but it doesn’t make sense to me to have any [MLB] team get in at 6 or 7am and play a game that night” – Tigers manager Jim Leyland, on his team playing last night in Anaheim before a game tonight in K.C. (DETROIT NEWS, 4/24).

"It's incomprehensible that you watch a game, and there will be front row seats empty" – MLS Commissioner Don Garber, on unsold seats at Citi Field and new Yankee Stadium (AP, 4/23).

"I like our chances. However, it's fragile, too. All you have to do is look around the league. The bloom is off the rose in some places" – Red Sox Exec VP and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Sam Kennedy, on the team's home sellout streak continuing despite the economic downturn (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 4/24).

“Why do we have to put players in servitude?” – Former Nike, adidas and Reebok exec Sonny Vaccaro, following Jeremy Tyler announcing that he will forego his final year in high school to play professionally overseas, on the NBA age-limit forcing players to play at least one year in college (USA TODAY, 4/24).

“When are kids going to realize that being a kid is an important part of life?” – ESPN’s Dick Vitale, on Tyler’s decision (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/24).

“I just looked around at the beginning of the year when everybody was talking about the economy affecting people, especially the race fans. I said, ‘Well, my life hadn’t changed that much at all’” – NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, on developing a promotion that gives away four tickets to every race this year (ESPN.com, 4/22).


A LIGHTER BUZZ….

The Hawks' live mascot Spirit the Hawk "will no longer be allowed to fly during the player introductions before each game," per a statement released by the team last night. The move follows an incident in Wednesday's home playoff game against the Heat in which Spirit got loose and disrupted play (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/24). 

ESPN's Jim Rome: “I know it’s the playoffs and you want to hype that joint up, but I don't think Chicago is going to let a bull run loose and turn the United Center into Pamplona just to bury the needle on the fan o’meter” (“Jim Rome Is Burning,” ESPN, 4/23).


TODAY'S EVENTS….

Univ. of Central Florida Institute for Diversity & Ethics in Sport Dir Richard Lapchick is scheduled to give the keynote address at 11:00am ET at the fifth annual Symposium on Ethics and Diversity in Education presented by Coastal Carolina Univ.'s Spadoni College of Education.


THE BACK PAGES….

The Morning Buzz offers today’s back page sports covers from some of the nation’s major metropolitan tabloids:

N.Y. Post
N.Y. Daily News
Newsday
Philadelphia Daily News
Boston Herald

FINAL JEOPARDY!

Last night’s “Final Jeopardy!” category was “20th Century Science.”

“The 1970s saw the coining of the term ‘runner’s high’ and the discovery of these opiate proteins that produce it.”


LAUGH TRACK....

THE MONOLOGUES:

CBS’ David Letterman: “Are you interested in news from Hollywood? Get ready and hang on: Lindsay Lohan is apparently now not dating women anymore. Well, welcome to the club. I’ve been married now a month. Thank you, thank you! This morning at breakfast my son said, ‘Mom, you could have done better.’ Now here's what I didn't count on when I got married: Having a brother-in-law. Whooo! Today the guy says to me, ‘Dave, can you give me $1,000 until payday?’ I said, ‘Well, when is payday?’ He said, ‘Well, how the hell should I know? You're the one with the job.’ ... According to a new poll, two out of three New Yorkers would like to have Eliot Spitzer back as their governor. I mean sure, two out of three New Yorkers are hookers. When the guy was actually getting things done, taking care of business. The people of New York liked Governor Spitzer. I mean, the guy had a reputation for being on top of everything. … Anybody ever been waterboarded? … It is a little something Dick Cheney came up with. There's this guy, this Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who claims to have been waterboarded 183 times. Now here's what I know about waterboarding: It simulates drowning. The victim believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that he or she is drowning and will not live. So, they did it to this guy 183 times. At what point do you suppose he caught on?” (“Late Show,” CBS, 4/23).

Last night’s edition of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” was originally scheduled to be a new show, but NBC’s Jay Leno unexpectedly “checked himself into a hospital with a mystery illness.” Tonight’s episode also was cancelled. NBC spokesperson Tracy St. Pierre said Leno "wasn't feeling well." But she was "quick to shoot down Internet chatter that he had had a heart attack" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/24).

LATE NIGHT LAUGHS:

Last night’s edition of CBS’ “Late Show” featured Letterman discussing Wednesday night's Game Four of the Capitals-Rangers playoff series at MSG. Letterman: “Me and the boys went to see the Rangers play last night. What a tremendous game this was! You wouldn't believe the intensity. You go into Madison Square Garden and they’ve got the dang floor covered with ice. They were playing the Capitals and what a tremendous game it was. It was 2-1 Rangers. Now they are up 3-1, and it looks like they will be advancing to play the Bruins, so that will be exciting if they defeat Washington again. People always said there is a difference between regular-season hockey and playoff hockey. Boy, it was apparent last night. Anyway, good luck to the Rangers” (“Late Show,” CBS, 4/23).


FINAL JEOPARDY….

“What are endorphins?”


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know at:
pbounds@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

The Morning Buzz provides an early update of the news and headlines each Monday through Friday at approximately 9:00am ET. If you would like to sign up for an e-mail alert to the Morning Buzz, go to My Account and personalize your e-mail alert options.

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