SBJ/October 23 - 29, 2000/Coast To Coast

COAST TO COAST

ATLANTA

 Thrashers, Coke treat fans
 
The Atlanta Thrashers offered the first of six planned Coca-Cola Fun Pack Nights last Tuesday for the team's game against New Jersey. The offer provides four $24 tickets, four hot dogs and four Cokes for $59.

BALTIMORE

  Olympics bid gets a boost
 
A survey commissioned by the Washington/Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition found that a majority of the region's residents would attend 2012 Olympics events if the Games were held in the area. The coalition is coordinating the region's bid to host the 2012 Games. The survey, conducted by The Tarrance Group of Alexandria, Va., also found that four out of five residents in the region support efforts to bring the Olympics to the area.

BUFFALO

  Kids' book features Knicks
 
Local writer Randy Schultz has published a children's book, "Great Sports Teams — The New York Knicks Basketball Team," from Enslow Publishing Co. Schultz has written for several local suburban papers and Western New York Hockey Magazine.

CHARLOTTE

  Competing events hurt attendance
  The Oct. 8 competition locally between the Carolina Panthers and a NASCAR Winston Cup race had both events lacking in attendance. The speedway announced attendance of 120,000 — with 47,000 seats empty — for the UAW-GM Quality 500. The Panthers posted attendance of 57,090 for their game later that day against Seattle, down from their per-game average for the season of about 68,000 prior to the game. Attendance at the race in 1999 was 160,000.

  Race team plans new facility
  MacPherson Motorsports purchased four acres of land in nearby Concord, N.C., to build a $3 million, 53,000-square-foot facility that will house the NASCAR Winston Cup team of driver Jeff Fuller next year. Concord is home of Lowe's Motor Speedway. The team currently operates out of nearby Harrisburg, N.C. A need for more space and a modern facility were cited as reasons for the move.

CHICAGO

  NikeTown going mobile
 
NikeTown Chicago last week was poised to launch a mobile unit being billed as a "dressing room on wheels," featuring footwear and equipment for people to sample, according to a Chicago Tribune report. The promotion is in advance of the NikeTown store on Nov. 17 opening a sales floor dedicated to women.

CINCINNATI

  State vows to ease speedway traffic
 
Kentucky Speedway officials received a commitment from state officials to make improvements to Interstate Highway 71 near the track aimed at easing the traffic encountered by fans for races during the facility's first year of operation this year. The track is located in Sparta, Ky., just south of Cincinnati.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

  Cotton Bowl may host rivalry
 
Texas Tech and Oklahoma State were in talks last week about playing an annual football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas during the State Fair of Texas. The game would be played in early to mid-October, after the annual Texas-Oklahoma game at the stadium. The proposed Dallas game could begin as early as 2003.

DENVER

  Rockies ticket prices at plateau
 
The Colorado Rockies won't raise ticket prices for the 2001 season. The team's highest-priced seats, for club-level seats located between the dugouts, will remain at $35 a game. The Rockies do, however, plan on adding 250 premium seats behind home plate that are expected to cost more than the club-level seats but might not be in place by next season.

DETROIT

  Tigers choose ad, marketing agency
 
Locally based Brogan & Partners was picked to handle the marketing and ad account for the Detroit Tigers' 2001 season.

EAST LANSING, MICH.

  MSU considers name sale for field
 
Michigan State University could be adding a grass field and a new name to Spartan Stadium in the coming years, according to a Detroit Free Press report. School officials reportedly are considering a switch from artificial turf to a grass surface for the 2002 football season. Also reportedly being considering is the sale of the naming rights to the stadium's field. Funds from a naming-rights deal could be used to help pay for a new field surface.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.

  Racetrack plans stall
 
NASCAR and New Jersey state officials said a proposal for a $400 million, 100,000-seat auto racetrack at the Meadowlands was close to being called off, according to a Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger report. Reportedly at issue is the state's refusal to subsidize construction of the project.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

  Gates firm buys piece of team
 
Cascade Investment LLC, the in-vestment vehicle of Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, has acquired a 5.04 percent stake in Boca Resorts Inc., which owns the Florida Panthers. Cascade officials said they acquired the stake for investment purposes only.

GREEN BAY

  State will tag Packers fans
 
The state of Wisconsin next year will begin issuing designer automobile license plates featuring the Green Bay Packers' logo. Proceeds from the sale of the plates will be earmarked to help defray the public's cost for maintenance and operation of the team's Lambeau Field home, which is undergoing a renovation. Motorists will pay an additional $25 fee for the plates. Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials anticipate 14,000 plates will be sold in their first year of availability.

HOUSTON

  Rockets repeat Spanish radio deal

  Astros pitching to school teachers

  The Houston Rockets signed a three-year deal with KRTX-AM for Spanish-language coverage of the team's regular-season games. This year will be the 12th year the Rockets have provided Spanish-language coverage.

  The Houston Astros were scheduled to host a three-hour seminar at Enron Field this past Saturday for 50 area teachers on how to incorporate baseball into their curriculum. Each of the teachers paid $50 for the Diamonds in the Rough session, which included a tour of Enron Field. Another 20 to 30 teachers are expected to take the class this coming Saturday.

INDIANAPOLIS

  AFL team seeks league OK to move
 
Officials with Pacers Sports and Entertainment and Albany (N.Y.) Firebirds owner Glenn Mazula made a proposal to the Arena Football League board of directors to move the team to Conseco Fieldhouse for next year. Pacers Sports and Entertainment operates the arena, which is home to the Indiana Pacers. The board had not voted on the proposed move as of last week.

JACKSONVILLE

 Fore Casters opens second store
 
Fore Casters, a fly-fishing equipment and apparel retail store, opened a second local location in The Shops at World Golf Village. The store, a full-line Orvis dealer, will offer fly-fishing clinics taught by David Lambert, a nationally recognized Orvis fly-fishing instructor. Orvis statistics show that 60 percent of people who fly fish also golf.

KANSAS CITY

  Attack makes deal with WHB, KCTE
 
The Kansas City Attack of the National Professional Soccer League reached a radio broadcast deal with all-sports station WHB-AM and its sister station, KCTE-AM. Attack games previously were broadcast by KKGM-AM.

LAKE PLACID, N.Y.

  Winter Senior Games gets site
 
The National Senior Games Association picked Lake Placid to host the 2002 Winter National Senior Games — The Senior Olympics on Jan. 4-11, 2002. Some 2,000 athletes are expected to participate in seven winter sports.

MILWAUKEE

  Civil trial begins in Miller Park deaths
  A civil trial began last week to determine liability for the July 14, 1999, construction accident that killed three ironworkers at the Milwaukee Brewers' new Miller Park. The families of the workers have sued the subcontractor for the stadium's retractable roof, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America of Newport Beach, Calif., and the manufacturers of the crane that collapsed in the accident, Lampson International Ltd. and Neil F. Lampson Inc., both of Kennewick, Wash.

  2 exhibition games to open park
  The Brewers will open Miller Park with two exhibition games before the start of the 2001 MLB regular season. The Brewers will host the Chicago White Sox on March 30 and Boston on March 31. Milwaukee's regular-season home opener at its new stadium is scheduled for April 6 against Cincinnati.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

  Twins fund gives $90,000 in grants
  The Minnesota Twins Community Fund, in partnership with Minnetonka, Minn.-based Cargill Inc. and the Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation, approved more than $90,000 in grants in 22 communities as part of the Molitor Fields for Kids program. The program's namesake is former MLB star Paul Molitor, who's from Minnesota.

  Mankato campus opens new Taylor Center
  Minnesota State University, Mankato, officially opened its new Taylor Center. The facility includes the school's 4,800-seat Bresnan Arena for its basketball, wrestling and volleyball teams. It also includes expanded sports information offices and an alumni hospitality suite. Mankato is 80 miles southwest of the Twin Cities.

NASHVILLE

  Chevrolet sponsors seating section
 
Chevrolet agreed to sponsor a section of seats dedicated to kids and families at Gaylord Entertainment Center for Nashville Predators games this year. The sponsorship calls for 10 seats in the designated Chevy Family Fun Zone to be donated each game throughout the season to one of five groups: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wilson County, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services, Reconciliation and Youth Villages.

OTTAWA

  New lacrosse team: Rebel
 
The city's National Lacrosse League franchise was introduced as the Ottawa Rebel. The team will play in Corel Centre, home of the Ottawa Senators.

PHILADELPHIA

  County rejects plans for 2 golf courses
 
The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners voted not to endorse a proposal to build two PGA-caliber golf courses at Norristown Farm Park in suburban Philadelphia. The park is owned by the state and leased by the county. The PGA of America's Philadelphia section last month proposed building the two courses at the park and relocating its headquarters to the area. Plans called for the county to issue bonds to cover the $30 million cost of building the courses, then create a nonprofit organization to operate the courses. Area residents objected to the project because of the loss of open space and the associated additional infrastructure costs.

PHOENIX

  Sports station changes spot on dial
 
Sports station KGME-AM has moved on the radio dial from 550 to 910. The station's former frequency has been assumed by news/talk station KFYI-AM, which, like KGME, is owned by Clear Channel Communications.

PITTSBURGH

  Ticket prices going up at PNC Park
  Attending Pittsburgh Pirates games at new PNC Park next year will cost fans more than watching the team at Three Rivers Stadium this year. The team has increased ticket prices 15 percent to 160 percent depending on seating section compared to this year's prices. About 25 percent of next year's seats, however, are priced at $12 or less, and 16 percent are priced at $9. Average ticket price for next year is $19.24.

PORTLAND

  Trail Blazers put end to PPV
 
The Portland Trail Blazers ended the team's tradition of pay-per-view television broadcasts. The Blazers were the last NBA team to employ a PPV system, which they called BlazerVision. The team will instead put 25 games of its schedule on basic cable, the same number of games that previously aired on BlazerVision.

SACRAMENTO

 Maloof Sports aids fund-raising efforts
 
Maloof Sports and Entertainment, the ownership group of the Sacramento Kings, created a fund-raising program in which organizations can staff concession stands during Kings games and other Arco Arena events in return for a percentage of a stand's revenue. Organizations will be asked to provide up to 30 volunteers per event and commit to at least 10 events over 12 months. Groups will get a percentage of the revenue from the stands they staff for the evening. Maloof Sports hopes that in some cases, organizations will earn more than $20,000 over the course of a year.

SAN ANTONIO

  Financing delay stalls Spurs arena
 
A delay by the San Antonio Spurs in securing their $28.5 million share of the financing package for the planned new SBC Center has put the sale of $146.5 million in Bexar County bonds for the $175 million project on hold, according to a San Antonio Express-News report. Team officials reportedly were unsure when they would be able to conclude their financial negotiations.

SAN DIEGO

  Bowl game selects video promoter
 
Culligan Holiday Bowl officials picked Vuetopia Inc.'s network of digital display screens located in area shopping centers for video promotions of the bowl's events. The game is scheduled for Dec. 29.

SEATTLE

  Online sporting goods dealers merge
  Locally based online sporting goods discounter Gear.com plans to merge with Salt Lake City-based Overstock.com, which sells discounted retail goods online. Terms of the stock deal were not disclosed. A month ago, Gear.com laid off one-third of its staff, but its 45 remaining employees will remain under the new ownership. Overstock.com buys inventory from failed online companies and merchants, and sells it to consumers at deep discounts.

  Mariners offer benefit calendar
  The Seattle Mariners are selling a 2001 calendar that features the team's players and assorted pets. The $10 calendar is expected to raise $200,000 for the Canine Companions for Independence.

SAN FRANCISCO

  Athletes urge support for Olympic bid
  NFL hall of famer Ronnie Lott, WNBA star Jennifer Azzi and U.S. soccer star Brandi Chastain — each with ties to the area — are being featured in local television spots urging viewers to join the region's efforts to win the 2012 Olympic Games. The spots, which started airing during this year's Olympics, will run until the end of the year. The ads were produced by Tam Communications of San Jose.

  Web firm helps equip women
  Web venture GearGoddess.com launched with the plan of helping women select appropriate sports equipment. The company offers gear suggestions for women based on their level of experience and size. Founder Lori Bamberger said the privately held company expects to make its money through sponsorships and partnerships.

ST. LOUIS

  Broadcasters rally fans for Cardinals
  Fox Sports Net Midwest and local Fox affiliate KTVI-TV hosted public rallies in advance of Games 1 and 2 of the National League Championship Series in St. Louis between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. Each rally drew about 7,000 people. The rallies were sponsored by KLOU-FM.

  Trivia Challenge benefits kids' sports
  The St. Louis Rams, The Sporting News and the St. Louis Sports Commission are scheduled to host the second annual Ultimate Sports Trivia Challenge Nov. 3 at Rams Park, the team's training facility. Rams broadcaster Jack Snow will emcee the event as teams of sports fans compete in 10 rounds of trivia questioning. Teams pay $300 each to enter the challenge. Proceeds benefit the sports commission's Sports for Kids program.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

  Preseason game gauges NBA support
  An NBA preseason game between Orlando and Detroit drew an announced crowd of 17,206 to the Ice Palace. Palace Sports and Entertainment, which manages the Tampa arena as owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, also owns the Pistons and arranged the game. PSE officials hope they can make the game an annual event, wanting to use it as a gauge for the potential success of an NBA expansion team in Tampa. The ABA 2000 Tampa Bay ThunderDawgs begin play at Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg in December.

  Jerseys set aside for season-ticket holders
  The Tampa Bay Mutiny is offering fans who purchase a season ticket for next year and who pay in full by Dec. 31 a chance to win game jerseys worn by Mutiny players during the 2000 season. Fans who pay in full automatically receive a free team replica jersey.

TORONTO

  Team Canada 1972 gets a monument
  The Hockey Hall of Fame plans to honor Team Canada 1972 with a monument outside the Hall's downtown Toronto home. Canada's players won a historic eight-game series over the Soviet Union that year, marking the unofficial beginning of the Canadian-Soviet hockey rivalry. The monument will be unveiled as part of the Hall's 2000 induction ceremonies Nov. 10.

  Seats from Garden up for sale
  Toronto Maple Leafs fans can purchase for about $400 an original, restored stadium seat from the team's former home, Maple Leaf Gardens. The arena hosted its last NHL game in early 1999 and is undergoing renovations that will reduce its seating capacity. The Leafs plan to hold a drawing to determine who can purchase the available seats in case there are more requests than seats.

WASHINGTON

  D.C. United pockets ticket sales award
  D.C. United's ticket sales staff received the Team Ticketing Award from Major League Soccer. It marks the second consecutive year the team's staff has won the award. United Senior Vice President Stephen Zack was named the league's Marketing Executive of the Year. D.C. United averaged a club record of more than 18,000 fans per match during the 2000 season.

  Capitals land radio broadcast deal
  The Washington Capitals reached a broadcast deal with WNAV-AM in Annapolis, Md., for the start of the season. The station is scheduled to broadcast 65 games.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.

  Hanes, SportsLine team up on campaign
 
The Hanes brand of Sara Lee Corp. launched a national marketing campaign with SportsLine.com titled "Sports on the Go." The campaign features an 18-wheeler offering sports memorabilia and interactive games and exhibits that's scheduled to travel to more than 30 cities. The Hanes brand is manufactured and marketed by the Winston-Salem-based Sara Lee Underwear division of Sara Lee Corp.

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