Red Wings free up space for amenities Sports Media: Death of a merger A tight and loud arena New territory for marketing Olympians ThePostGame opens up the playing field ESPN has a new awards show U.S. Olympic Museum in fundraising mode Fox Sports defends coverage of U.S. Open Detroit’s new ‘village’ USSA sees big potential for big air
SBJ/July 6-12, 1998/This Weeks News
Coast to Coast
Published July 6, 1998, Page 36
■ City awarded 2007 Final Four
■ School shakes up athletic department
■ Changes planned for soccer team
■ Company buys kayak, canoe makers
■ NBA playoffs propel TNT
■ The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee awarded Atlanta the 2007 NCAA Men’s Final Four. Atlanta already was scheduled to host the Final Four in 2002. The games will be played at the Georgia Dome. Each final Four is expected to have a $30 million impact on metropolitan Atlanta’s economy. In addition to Atlanta, other cities awarded Final Fours were New Orleans (2003), San Antonio (2004), St. Louis (2005) and Indianapolis (2006).
■ The University of Georgia is reorganizing its athletic department. The school hired Damon Evans, formerly assistant commissioner for eligibility and compliance services at the SEC, as associate athletic director. Dick Bestwick, Georgia’s former associate athletic director, was promoted to senior highest ranking administrator under athletic director Vince Dooley. Evans will focus on internal affairs, which will include responsibility for the daily business operation of the athletic program. Associate athletic director Claude Felton will supervise all external affairs, including ticket operations, development, and promotions and marketing.
■ The fourth group of owners in as many years of Atlanta’s A-League soccer team, the Ruckus, is planning to revamp the team, including changing the team’s identity. Attorney John Latham and banking executive Robert Glustrom, who are heading the ownership group, are referring to the team as “A-League Atlanta” until a new nickname is unveiled, probably by the start of next season. Attendance for the team has plummeted from an average of 2,406 fans a game in 1997 to barely 500 people a game in 1998.
■ WaterMark, a newly formed locally based company, acquired kayak and canoe manufacturers Perception Inc. of Easley, S.C., and Harriman, Tenn.-based Dagger Canoe Co. Perception and Dagger will operate as divisions of the new company.
■ The NBA playoffs helped Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s TNT end the second quarter as the most-watched cable network in prime time. TNT outdistanced Nickelodeon, TBS and Lifetime.
■ Soccer team gets new look
■ Ravens plan carnival row
■ Baltimore’s indoor soccer team has new corporate sponsors and a new logo under new owner Edwin Hale, who owned the team in the mid-1980s and bought it once again last spring. Fila Sports, Comcast Cablevision and Injured Worker’s Insurance Fund recently signed on as corporate sponsors of the Blast. The team will play 20 home games at the Baltimore Arena and 20 away games. Five games will be broadcast live on Home Team Sports television network and all games will be broadcast on radio station WJFK-AM.
■ The Baltimore Ravens are developing a one-third mile walk of carnival-type activities in front of the team’s future stadium, which is under construction. The walking path will begin at the edge of the city’s business district and will wind past Oriole Park at Camden Yards to the front of the football stadium. Interactive games, football tosses and other activities will be available to fans walking to the stadium from downtown parking garages beginning with the Ravens’ season opener Sept. 6.
■ Duquette rejects idea of new Fenway
■ Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette told a Boston Chamber of Commerce gathering the team has ruled out the idea of rebuilding Fenway Park for construction of a new stadium. He said the team will unveil its complete plans for a new stadium at a later date.
■ Hasek pledges $1.5 million for rink
■ Fans will get pregame showers
■ Golf park opens for business
■ Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek pledged to donate up to $1.5 million to help finance a new ice rink for youth hockey. The money would be raised through the sale of 5,560 signed prints of Hasek.
■ Erie County plans to construct a shower house at the home of the Buffalo Bills for fans who come to games via recreational vehicles and arrive one or two days prior to the game. The shower house also could be used by athletes who compete in track meets at Erie County Community College adjacent to the stadium.
■ The Tee to Green Golf Park opened on an 18.5-acre parcel formerly designated as a “brownfield.” The park developer, Tee to Green, has nearly 400 investors who put up a total of $5 million in financial backing for the venture and are eyeing similar facilities on industrial sites in Rochester and Albany, N.Y.; Cleveland; Cincinnati; and Cherry Hill, N.J.
■ Tournament attendance lags 1997 totals
■ Renovated Hawthorne reopens
■ Attendance at this year’s Motorola Western Open at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club fell by 12,000 fans from last year’s total to 188,000 fans. The decline was attributed in part to scorching temperatures and in part to a relatively poor showing by Tiger Woods, who won the tournament last year but finished in ninth place this year.
■ Hawthorne Race Course opened Wednesday with a new look that includes 25 outdoor luxury boxes. The horse racing track underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation designed to boost attendance for the thoroughbred meet that runs to Nov. 28. The track will dominate Chicago’s horse racing scene until rival Sportsman’s Park reopens next year after construction of a car racing track is completed.
■ Checkers attracting buyout offers
■ Johnson puts house up for sale
■ The Charlotte Checkers of the East Coast Hockey League are being courted by prospective buyers. Owner Tim Braswell said he isn’t seeking a deal, but added that he is open to offers. Braswell bought the team from Felix Sabates and Car Scheer for about $4 million in September 1996. The Checkers have suffered a 35 percent attendance drop over their five seasons of play.
■ New York Knicks forward Larry Johnson is selling his home outside Charlotte at a listed price of $3.5 million. Johnson was drafted by the Hornets in 1991.
■ Companies push for Reds museum
■ Businessman pledges $1 million for gym
■ Cycling championship scores for city
■ Skyline Chili is trying to encourage local companies to raise $3 million next year to help fund a Cincinnati Reds museum that would be built inside a new stadium for the team.
■ Local businessman and philanthropist Richard E. Lindner pledged $1 million to kick off a fund-raising drive for a planned $6 million gymnasium facility at Withrow High School. The school traditionally produces some of the best athletes in the city, including Tyrone Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks, but teams have been practicing in a dilapidated facility for decades. Withrow hasn’t held a boys’ basketball home game on campus since 1971.
■ The USA Cycling Elite National Championship road races through the streets of downtown Cincinnati over the June 27-28 weekend were intended to help local promoters of Cincinnati’s 2012 Olympics bid. Organizers hailed the first-ever event, which drew about 1,000 spectators in 92-degree heat, as an organizational success. Negotiations are under way to bring the event back for at least next year.
■ Milstein strengthens Browns group
■ Indoor sports complex planned
■ New York banker and real estate developer Howard Milstein lined up five local corporate heavyweights to join his group bidding to own the new Cleveland Browns franchise. Joining the group are A. Malachi Mixon, chairman and CEO of Invacare Corp.; Joseph T. Gorman, chairman and CEO of TRW Inc.; Patrick F. McCartan, managing partner of the Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue law firm; Michael J. Horvitz, also a partner of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue and vice president of Horvitz Newspapers Inc.; and Bill R. Sanford, chairman and CEO of Steris Corp. The five would collectively own between 20 and 25 percent of the team. The group also includes hall of famers and former Browns Calvin Hill and Paul Warfield.
■ Kia of the Cleveland Crunch and local businessman Stuart Lichter want to open a 58,000-square-foot indoor sports complex. The Euclid (Ohio) Planning and Zoning Commission is considering their proposal to convert a portion of a former General Motors Corp. plant to offer an indoor soccer field, basketball courts, batting cages, small retail shops and several general-purpose rooms.
■ Nationwide mulls arena development
■ Nationwide Realty Investors reportedly is heading an investor group considering a development valued at between $30 million and $40 million that would be located next to the planned Nationwide Arena being built for the National Hockey League expansion Blue Jackets.
■ Hicks adds to sports/media holdings
■ City Council Oks land use
■ Red hawks take charge at stadium
■ Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks purchased a majority stake in Host Communications Inc. of Lexington, Ky., and Universal Sports America Inc. of Dallas. The two sports marketing firms control broadcast rights to athletic events at 50 universities. Hicks, who also is chairman of Chancellor Broadcasting Inc., the nation’s largest chain of radio stations, previously has expressed interest in taking his sports/media empire public.
■ The Dallas City Council voted to condemn property near the city’s planned new sports arena for parking and road use.
■ A family of red hawks is causing a flap at Texas Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are under orders to remove a cigarette billboard featuring the Marlboro Man as part of the state’s $15.3 billion settlement with tobacco companies. But the hawks are considered an endangered species and their nest, which includes two chicks, is protected by federal law. Under a resulting compromise, workers are using air horns to ward off the parent hawks while whitewashing the Marlboro ad. Once the work is done, the parent hawks will be allowed to return to the nest and remain undisturbed for about 30 days. Then the workers will return with their air horns to paint a new billboard in Marlboro’s stead.
■ Skiers spend $1.7 billion
■ Black Rock trading suspended
■ Resort improvements put on hold
■ Attorney displays baseball collection
■ Two honored for high school work
■ Trade group hires ad agency
■ Skiers in Colorado spent a total of about $1.7 billion during the 1997-98 season, according to the trade group Colorado Ski Country USA. The association reported skiers spent an average of $189 per visit, up from $146 the previous season. Ski resorts generated 22,000 jobs during the season. Another 41,000 people found work at related businesses such as hotels. Colorado Ski Country represents 25 ski resorts, which reported a record of more than 12 million skier visits for the season.
■ The Boston Stock Exchange suspended trading of Englewood, Colo.-based Black Rock Golf Corp. June 20 and filed for delisting of the financially struggling company. Black Rock was dropped from the Nasdaq SmallCap Market June 24. The company failed to meet minimum requirements needed for listing on the exchanges. Black Rock, the maker of “Killer Bee” drivers and woods and “Stinger” irons, intends to pursue merger or buyout discussions with other companies. The company recently cut 14 jobs. Another three employees, including the chief operating officer and the controller, resigned.
■ Improvements to the Copper Mountain ski resort are on hold pending an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service. Under investigation is a snowmaking pipeline that might have damaged wetlands at the resort.
*Denver attorney Marshall Fogel has put his baseball memorabilia collection on display for the crowds swarming to town for baseball’s All-Star Game. The items, including a Babe Ruth bat and Jackie Robinson baseball card, are on display through Tuesday at Denver’s City Hall.
*Two Coloradans have been enshrined in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. Bill Fanning, 76, spent 35 years coaching baseball at Grand Junction High School. Sharon Wilch, 61, spent 27 years with the Colorado High School Activities Association and helped promote girls’ athletic programs in the state.
■ Colorado Ski Country USA picked Englewood, Colo.-based Karsh & Hagen as its new advertising agency.
■ Hurricanes promotion offers suite use
■ The Carolina Hurricanes launched a promotional contest that gives winning fans one-game use of a 12-person luxury suite for a 1998-99 home game. The NHL franchise, which moves to Raleigh, N.C., in 1999, begins its second season in Greensboro, N.C., this fall. Entry forms will be packaged with schedules and team posters in newspaper inserts across the state.
■ Outrigger crew hits New York
■ Six of Hawaii’s favorite outrigger canoe paddlers found themselves in unfamiliar territory during the last weekend in June – Upper Bay, between Jersey City, N.J., and Manhattan, N.Y. As part of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau’s “Aloha, New York!” campaign, Team Hawaii was promoting the Islands as a year-round sports destination while participating in events surrounding the Liberty World Challenge, a 15-mile outrigger canoe race involving about 40 teams. The stop also tied in the inauguration of Continental Airlines’ direct flights to Honolulu out of Newark, N.J., which began June 11. So far, the bureau and its industry partners have invested $460,000 to promote Hawaii with advertising and consumer events in New York.
■ NFL group comes to town
■ UH poised for radio deals
■ NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue led a delegation visiting Houston to discuss the city’s chances for landing a new team. Tagliabue, Carolina Panthers owner and chairman of the league stadium committee Jerry Richardson, and NFL senior vice president Roger Goddell met with local businessman Robert McNair despite there being no agreement in place for financing a new stadium for a team. Along with McNair, the NFL contingent met with Houston Mayor Lee Brown, Harris County Judge Robert Eckels and Harris County-Houston Sports Authority Chairman Jack Rains.
■ The University of Houston was expected to announce a deal with AM radio stations KTRH and KBME to broadcast UH athletic events in 1998-99. The stations, both owned by Chancellor Media Corp., are two of the strongest AM signals in Houston. The planned deal calls for broadcast of afternoon football games on KBME and night games on both stations. Basketball games would be on KTRH.
■ Simon selling Florida estate
■ ABC affiliate can show race live
■ Pacers co-owner Melvin Simon is selling his five-acre estate in Manalapan, Fla., at a listed price of $35 million.
■ ABC will allow local affiliate WRTV-TV to broadcast the Brickyard 400 live for the first time ever in honor of the station’s 50th anniversary with the network. The race is scheduled for Aug. 1. Races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway normally are blacked out locally so as not to affect ticket sales.
■ Bowl renews Toyota partnership
■ The Gator Bowl signed a four-year title sponsorship extension with Toyota.
■ Royals postpone ownership deadline
■ Cubs bring fans to ballpark
■ The Kansas City Royals have changed their deadline for selecting a new owner from today until the end of the season. Royals President Mike Herman said none of the prospective bidders to date meet all of the team’s criteria, such as a minimum $75 million bid or a pledge to keep the team in Kansas City. Herman said the team still hopes to select an owner in time to get approval from baseball owners during the owners’ September meeting. There are currently three publicized bidders for the Royals: a joint bid between Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and utility company Western Resources; a group led by Royals hall of famer George Brett and his brother, Bobby; and a group led by New York attorney E. Miles Prentice.
■ The Royals posted a total attendance of 112,590 fans for their recent weekend series with the Chicago Cubs. That’s the team’s best attendance for a three-game series in the 1990s.
LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
■ City lands ECHL franchise
■ The East Coast Hockey League is expanding to Little Rock for the 1999-2000 season. The Little Rock team will be the league’s 29th entry and will play at the 16,377 Alltell Arena now under construction.
■ Rep wants dance club ads moved
■ Former players protest pension rules
■ Fox hires management firm
■ Sparks pass season-ticket mark
■ Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich plans to introduce a motion in the next few weeks requesting that the county board send letters urging area newspapers to move sexually suggestive advertising from the sports pages to the classified advertising section. Both the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News run ads for nude dance clubs in their sports sections, said Cam Currier, Antonovich’s press deputy. Antonovich objects to the placement of the advertisements in the sports section because “it is a very strong magnet for young people,” Currier said.
■ Two former baseball players marched on Dodger Stadium before a recent game to protest Major League Baseball’s pension rules. Both Pete Coscarart, 85, who played for Brooklyn and Pittsburgh, and Sam Jethroe, the 1950 National League rookie of the year, said they have been denied retirement benefits.
*Los Angeles Lakers forward Rick Fox hired International Creative Management for representation in his off-court ventures.
■ The Los Angeles Sparks sold 4,900 season tickets by the start of their season this year. Last year, the WNBA club sold 4,200 season tickets for their inaugural season.
■ Muhleman encourages NBA push
■ Sports consultant Max Muhleman recommended to the Memphis (Tenn.) and Shelby County Sports Authority that they “proceed with caution” in seeking to bring an NBA team to The Pyramid arena. Muhleman is president of Muhleman Marketing Inc. in Charlotte.
■ $9 million pegged for arena workers
■ KSL will renovate Doral resort
■ NASCAR coming to Homestead?
■ Office Depot benefits from races
■ Marlins fan starts ticket program
■ Broward County commissioners voted to freeze $9 million to cover back wages owed to construction workers on the arena being built for the NHL Panthers. The arena, originally projected at $184.5 million, now seems likely to cost closer to $200 million. Discussions have started about seeking a bank loan to cover expenses after the allotted county funds dry up.
■ Four years after rescuing the Doral Golf Resort & Spa from the debt and tax burdens of its former owners, KSL Recreation Corp. is about to invest up to $20 million to improve the facility. Plans call for adding a new golf course called “The Great White” to be designed by Greg Norman; an upgrade of the “Silver” golf course; construction of an 8,000-square-foot private membership clubhouse; and a complete redesign of the swimming pool to include water slides and massage cabanas. The changes are intended to make Doral a year-round destination resort. California-based KSL is an affiliate of leveraged buyout specialist Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts.
■ NASCAR insiders predict the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex will get a Winston Cup race next year. Observers point to the fact that NASCAR President Bill France Jr. is part owner of the Homestead, Fla., track.
*Office Depot of Delray Beach reported a $1.9 million marketing value from its staging of five “corporate runs,” which are five-kilometer foot runs, in Florida. The value comes from tracking media coverage of the races and determining how much it would have cost to buy similar ad placement. The total also includes ads paid for outright or in trade. The events were worth $1.5 million last year.
■ Frustrated by the negativity surrounding the Florida Marlins this year, fan Jan Bohan set up the “Fans for Kids” program to distribute unused Marlins tickets to children.
■ Bucks increase ticket prices
■ Crowd expected for meeting
■ Hutchins looks to Cochran
■ The Milwaukee Bucks will increase season-ticket prices next season. The per-game increase are from $46 to $54; $41 to $47; $31 to $36; $28 to $32; and $1 increases for the $22, $19, $14 and $11 seats. The team will lower ticket prices in four sections of the Bradley Center to $36 from $41. The Bucks have not increased ticket prices since the 1995-96 season.
■ A crowd of about 20,000 new owners is expected to show up at Lambeau Field on July 8 when the Green Bay Packers convene their first shareholder meeting since selling stock last winter.
■ Aaron Hutchins, a former guard at Marquette University, hired Johnnie Cochran’s law firm to try to get him on an NBA team after he was passed over in the league’s draft. The 5-foot 10-inch, 175-pound Hutchins received a personal workout invitation only from the Milwaukee Bucks.
■ WNBA team sets ticket prices
■ Wild arena might have Hall exhibit
■ Homer Hankies make comeback
■ Minnesota’s expansion WNBA team will offer lower-level tickets during its inaugural season in 1999 at prices of $81, $39, $27, $16, $13, $8 and $6 each. Upper-level tickets will be priced at $13, $8 and $6 each. The team plans to donate $1 for every paid ticket in 1999 to breast cancer research in Minnesota.
■ Minnesota Wild representatives met with representatives of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame about adding a satellite hall of fame exhibit to the NHL expansion Wild’s planned new arena in St. Paul.
■ United Business Properties, a company hired to produce Homer Hankies for the Minneapolis Star Tribune during the 1987 playoffs and World Series, last month found 10,000 of the little white rags in a warehouse. The Twins obtained the supply and greeted the arrival of the St. Louis Cardinals, the opponents in that Series, for a three-game series at the Metrodome by distributing the hankies to the first 10,000 fans at the teams’ June 26 game.
■ Naming rights pegged at $200 million
■ USTA program rewards card users
■ Yankees-Mets attracts big crowds
■ Siena basketball team gets title sponsor
■ Islanders bring back 1980s jerseys
■ New York University professor Mitchell Moss predicted during a community forum on financing for baseball stadiums in New York that the Yankees and Mets could get up to $200 million each for naming rights on a new stadium. The current high-water mark for stadium naming rights is the roughly $100 million Staples Inc. is paying for naming rights on a new arena in Los Angeles. The forum was hosted by the New York City Council to discuss its proposal to place a referendum on the city election ballot in November that would block a move by the Yankees out of the Bronx.
■ The United States Tennis Association added a rewards program to its USTA Visa Card, which is issued jointly with First USA. Through MatchPoint rewards, card members can earn points for merchandise and travel rewards for every dollar spent. First USA is a unit of Banc One Corp.
■ The recent weekend series at Shea Stadium between the Yankees and Mets set a three-game attendance record for the Mets with a total of 160,740 fans. The Sunday night finale drew 53,749 fans, the largest Mets crowd since 1975. Next year, according to a preliminary schedule, the teams will meet in two three-game series, one at each team’s home ballpark.
■ New York-based Troy-Bilt signed a three-year deal to become the title sponsor of Siena College basketball. Troy-Bilt distributes tractors, snow throwers and mowing equipment.
■ The New York Islanders will have new jerseys next season that are modeled after the jerseys worn by the team in the 1980s. One adjustment, however, is the addition of four stripes on the right sleeve of the jersey, marking the team’s four Stanley Cup championships in the 1980s.
■ City gets 2000 NBA All-Star Game
■ Coliseum pushes back A’s deadline
■ Raiders fans get new ticket plan
■ The Golden State Warriors will host the 50th NBA All-Star Game in February 2000. The game will be played at Oakland Arena. Hosting the event is expected to have an economic impact of between $150 million and $250 million locally.
■ Oakland Coliseum officials agreed to give the Oakland A’s until July 31 to file an intent to break their lease to play at the stadium in hopes of resolving an ongoing dispute with the team. The deadline had been last Wednesday. The A’s previously filed a $48 million lawsuit over renovations made to the stadium to accommodate the return of the Raiders to Oakland. A’s management claims the renovations led to a loss in ticket sales for their team.
■ Oakland Raiders fans can now purchase a personal seat license with a 25 percent down payment and pay the balance over three years under a plan introduced by the Oakland Football Marketing Association. The cost of PSLs for the Raiders begins at $225 per seat.
■ Players Grill opens its doors
■ RDV Sports nearing WNBA goal
■ The Players Grill opened last week with a party featuring several past and present NFL players. The 350-seat restaurant is owned by Orlando-based Millennium Entertainment Group, which owns several bars in the Orlando area. The group secured a license from the NFL Players Association to open 12 restaurants across the country. The next restaurants will be in New York and Los Angeles.
■ RDV Sports is only 1,000 season-ticket deposits away from securing a WNBA team for Orlando. The company, which owns the NBA’s Orlando Magic and the International Hockey League’s Solar Bears, received its 4,000th season-ticket deposit when Magic senior executive vice president Pat Williams received a ticket deposit as a Father’s Day gift from his 19 children. Williams is heading up the season-ticket drive for RDV Sports. The company must take 5,000 season-ticket deposits of $50 each by Sept. 1 to receive a franchise.
■ State will get new golf centers
■ Klein resigns from auto companies
■ Customer Sports Inc. of San Diego is poised to acquire the operating rights to the Double Eagle Driving Range in Temecula, Calif., and use the property as a model for golf centers in Arizona. Customer Sports is the parent company of First Tee Golf Centers, which acquires operating rights for driving ranges and improves their image and performance. Plans call for converting the Temecula range to a teaching and fulfillment center for First Tee’s Back Nine Golf Club membership program.
■ Thomas G. Klein, vice chairman of Automotive Performance Group in Phoenix and president and CEO of Klein Engines and Competition Components, is resigning from both companies. James E. Dunn, chief operating officer of APG, has been named president and CEO of Klein Engines. Klein will remain a consultant to APG for the next two years.
■ Sixers unveil All-Star logo
■ Iverson joins draft-night spotlight
■ WB affiliate won’t renew with Flyers
■ More fans see Phillies on TV
■ Llewellyn drops planned Vikings bid
■ Bridgeport Speedway for sale
■ The Philadelphia 76ers unveiled the logo for the 1999 NBA All-Star Weekend, scheduled to be held in Philadelphia Feb. 11-14. The logo was created by the NBA with help from the Sixers marketing department and team president, Pat Croce. The NBA plans to create a secondary logo, featuring a likeness of Benjamin Franklin, for marketing and merchandising efforts.
■ The 76ers used guard Allen Iverson to announce to fans gathered at the CoreStates Center for the NBA draft that the team selected Larry Hughes with its first-round pick. This is Iverson’s final year of his initial three-year contract in the NBA.
■ WPHL-TV, the local Warner Bros. affiliate, notified the Philadelphia Flyers it does not intend to renew its contract with the team. The contract expired at the end of the 1997-98 season. The decision is believed to be based on the network’s plan to expand its original programming from four to five nights a week this fall. Last season, WPHL broadcast 25 regular-season games and two playoffs games.
■ Ratings for Philadelphia Phillies broadcasts on WPHL-TV are up 43 percent to an average of 4.3 this season from 3.0 last year. Phillies games on Comcast SportsNet also are up, rising 60 percent from last year’s totals to a 2.3 average.
■ J. Bruce Llewellyn, chairman and CEO of Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., did not make a bid for the Minnesota Vikings as planned, citing health reasons. Llewellyn, 70, became ill on a recent trip to Europe and subsequent medical tests revealed a need for surgery. The exact nature of his illness was not immediately disclosed.
■ The owners of the Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey started a search for a person or group interested in buying the facility. Ed Kelley and his wife, Diane, purchased the track in 1993. Kelley planned to work primarily at the speedway, but those plans changed when he reacquired his previous Philadelphia business, Diamond Tool & Fasteners Inc. Kelley now says he is not able to spend enough time attending to the affairs of the track.
■ Penguins, Fox reach settlement
■ Pirates add broadcasts to Web site
■ Lemieux sues former team over payments
■ The Pittsburgh Penguins and their local broadcast partner, Fox Sports Pittsburgh, agreed to drop the lawsuits each had filed against the other. Fox Sports Pittsburgh will accept binding arbitration if a dispute concerning $616,000 in cable subscriber fees outside the greater Pittsburgh area can’t be resolved. The Penguins also agreed to pay $537,000 to the network for advertising fees still owed. Fox Sports Pittsburgh has the rights to air Penguins games through the 2008-09 season to 2 million subscribers in four states.
■ The Pittsburgh Pirates signed a deal with broadcast.com to provide Pirates Radio Network feeds to fans over the Internet. The cybercasts are available on the team’s Web site at www.pirateball.com and are part of an effort to expand use of the Internet to market the franchise. The Pirates also offer video footage and audio archives on the Web site.
■ Mario Lemieux filed a lawsuit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against the Pittsburgh Penguins and co-owner Roger Marino seeking $33 million he claims he is owed but the team has not paid. Lemieux retired in 1997.
■ Nike opens new products division
■ Nisei baseball exhibits on display
■ Nike Inc. is creating a separate business unit to handle outdoor products. Gordon McFadden, former director of merchandising for Eddie Bauer, will head the new unit.
■ An exhibit that in part features baseball played by Oregonians of Japanese ancestry during their internment in concentration camps during World War II is being shown at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in downtown Portland. “A League of Their Own: Oregon Nisei Baseball, 1930-1949” offers a glimpse of prewar, internment-era and postwar Oregon Nisei players.
■ Developers outline ‘trail of golf’
■ Locally based developer Darren Casey Interests Inc. and Atlanta auto magnate Gil Hodge plan to develop a 1,909-acre master-planned community featuring an 18-hole public golf course that will be the first course in a “trail of golf” being developed by Golf Clubs of Texas LLC, a San Antonio partnership. Hodge is a principal in Golf Clubs of Texas along with Kyle Cole of Satex Investments and Buddy Cook of Buddy Cook Golf Inc. The trail will include five or six public courses throughout Texas designed by different architects.
■ City wants new stadium proposal
■ The San Diego City Council announced that the Padres are asking for too much public funding for their proposed ballpark. San Diego Mayor Susan Golding said the projected $410 million project must be scaled back before work can proceed.
■ Giants want All-Star Game
■ Fans flocking to the ballpark
■ The San Francisco Giants want to host baseball’s All-Star Game in 2004 or 2006 at their new downtown park now under construction. Pacific Bell Park will open in 2000. The team last hosted the game in 1984.
■ The Giants’ 1997 National League West division title is paying dividends at the box office. Through the first 41 home dates of the season, the team posted a total attendance of 829,605, which is 95,000 more than last year.
■ M’s falling short of projections
■ Researchers working on a better bat
■ Minor league team folds
■ The Seattle Mariners are averaging about 5,000 fans a game fewer than last year’s record pace of 39,410 fans a game. At that pace, the team stands to fall $2 million short of projections for ticket revenue. Almost halfway through the season, the Mariners were in last place in the American League West with a 33-47 record.
■ Researchers and developers from Washington State University and TriDiamond Sports in Spokane are trying to create a more durable wooden bat. The researchers have created a manufacturing process for their planned product that has landed a patent, and several other patents are pending. Commercialization of the new bat, which the developers still want to make 25 percent stronger, is expected within two years.
■ The owners of the Western Baseball League’s Grays Harbor Gulls folded the team due to financial difficulties. WBL executive director Tom Kowitz said the league will explore options that would enable the Gulls at least to finish the season.
■ La Russa scores with dog calendar
■ Ferguson named GM of IceCats
■ Rawlings projects fourth-quarter loss
■ St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is going to bat for his Animal Rescue Foundation in a partnership with St. Louis-based Ralston Purina Co. La Russa lined up George and Barbara Bush, Mark McGwire, Wayne Gretzky, Amy Grant and Christy Turlington among others to pose with their pooches for the 1999 Purina dog calendar. Ralston Purina will give $10,000 in the name of each ofthe 12 participating celebrities, plus 50 cents per calendar sold, to La Russa’s Oakland, Calif.-based animal shelter. McGwire, who is allergic to dogs, is posing with Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan’s dog.
■ John Ferguson Jr. was named general manager of the American Hockey League’s Worcester (Mass.) IceCats, a minor league affiliate of the St. Louis Blues. Ferguson joined the Blues last year as assistant general manager. He previously was director of hockey operations for Lawton Sport and Financial, overseeing contract negotiations and player evaluations.
■ Rawlings Sporting Goods anticipates a loss for its fourth quarter ending Aug. 31 because of devaluation of the Japanese yen and lower-than-expected revenues from licensing and its hockey business. A Rawlings athletic footwear licensee in Japan has been hit by currenc y problems, and the company has incurred costs from integrating the Vic hockey business.
■ Raymond James gets naming rights
■ NHL approves Lightning purchase
■ Devil Rays introduce mascot
■ Raymond James Financial, the St. Petersburg-based stock brokerage, will be the name sponsor for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new stadium. The name Raymond James Stadium is to last for 13 years with a five-year option to renew.
■ The NHL board of governors unanimously approved Arthur Williams’ purchase of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
■ The Tampa Bay Devil Rays introduced a team mascot named Raymond, who stands 6-feet, 6-inches tall, and is blue.
■ Howard files lawsuit
■ Stadium, slots are hot topics
■ Mutombo Foundation hosts dinner
■ Juwan Howard filed a $30 million defamation lawsuit against a Connecticut woman who accused him and former Washington Wizards teammate Chris Webber of sexually assaulting her at a party in early April. In the lawsuit, Howard alleges that publicity over the case hurt his contract with the Wizards, his endorsements with such companies as Coca-Cola Co. and Nike Inc., and his involvement in various charities. A Montgomery County, Md., grand jury last month declined to indict Howard or Webber on any charges.
■ A majority of Maryland residents disapprove of the state’s decision to provide almost $300 million in public funding for new stadiums for the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, according to a Washington Post poll. In addition, more than half of Maryland residents would favor installing slot machines at horse racing tracks. Stadiums and slots are two of the hot-button issues in the Maryland gubernatorial race. Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat seeking a second term, pushed through state funding for the Redskins and Raven stadiums in 1996, and is a staunch opponent of allowing slots at racetracks.
■ More than 500 people attended a recent dinner at the JW Marriott Hotel for the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation. The foundation was started last year by the Atlanta Hawks center to direct attention and funds to health-care concerns in his native home in the Congo.