SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

COAST TO COAST

ATLANTA

 NASCAR driving to Smithsonian
 
The Atlanta History Center is teaming with NASCAR and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to develop an exhibit called "Speed and Spirit: NASCAR in America." The exhibit, expected to open in 2003, will highlight NASCAR drivers, owners, crews and families within the broader context of the sport's Southern roots. It would open locally before traveling to the Smithsonian and other museums nationwide.

BALTIMORE

  Top court upholds claim on Ravens logo
 
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict in favor of Baltimore security guard Frederick Bouchat, who claims a logo once used by the Baltimore Ravens was copied from a sketch he drew. Bouchat is seeking about $10 million from the Ravens and the NFL for copyright infringement regarding the logo the Ravens used from 1996 to 1998. A trial is set for May in a Baltimore district court to determine the amount of damages Bouchat will receive.

BUFFALO

  Bills start construction on retail outlet
 
The Buffalo Bills began construction of a 2,000-square-foot retail venture dubbed The Bills Store, located adjacent to the team's new administration complex at its Ralph Wilson Stadium home. The cost of the project is estimated at $400,000. The store is expected to be open in time for the start of the NFL preseason in August.

CHARLOTTE

  Ground broken for NASCAR training site
  NASCAR and Universal Technical Institute Co. executives broke ground on a $12 million, 140,000-square-foot vocational school in nearby Mooresville, N.C., late last month. The planned NASCAR Technical Institute is scheduled to open next summer and would host 135 teachers and 1,800 students on its 19-acre campus. The school is intended to train students for work in the automotive industry as well as possible stints on NASCAR crews. Industry executives point to an aging population of cars and a 13 percent decline in service centers since 1980 as evidence that more auto technicians are needed.

COLUMBIA, S.C.

  Global Spectrum hired to manage arena
 
The University of South Carolina hired Global Spectrum to manage its planned 18,000-seat arena, scheduled to open in October 2002 for the school's basketball teams. The Philadelphia-based company also will operate the school's existing 12,400-seat Carolina Coliseum and handle special event bookings for 80,000-seat Williams-Brice Stadium.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

  Burn sponsorship sales may set record
 
Dallas Burn officials said they are on pace for a record sponsorship sales year. Details were not available from the Major League Soccer team other than that the sales to date are 10 percent ahead of the team's previous record, set in 1997. Increased marketing efforts to Hispanics and youth soccer leagues were cited as reasons for the increase.

DENVER

  Broncos to sell half-price seats
  The Denver Broncos are finalizing plans for the distribution of 2,000 half-price tickets for each home game yet keeping those tickets from falling into the hands of scalpers. Games at the team's former Mile High Stadium home have been sold out since 1970, but a law passed in 1996 requires that the Broncos make the half-price tickets available should a taxpayer-supported stadium be built for the team. The team, in accordance with the law, is preparing for the opening of its new Invesco Field at Mile High this fall. Separately, the stadium's logo was unveiled recently. The image features team mascot Bucky the Bronco surrounded by six pillars, representing the six counties in the Denver area that are raising the tax money to pay for the facility.

  McDyess, his agents part ways
  Denver Nuggets forward Antonio McDyess severed his ties with agents Tony Dutt and James Bryant and plans to handle his future contract talks through his manager, Kegis Smith.

DETROIT

  Teams' broadcaster boosting signal
 
WXYT-AM, broadcast home of the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, reportedly has applied to the Federal Communications Commission to increase its dusk-to-dawn signal to 48,000 watts from its current 5,000 watts. According to a Detroit Free Press report, officials with the station — in the midst of a six-year deal with the teams — have told team representatives that the signal will be improved considerably in the coming years.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

  Retailer will honor youth coach
 
The Sports Authority Inc. launched a nationwide program to honor a national youth Coach of the Year as nominated by his or her players. This coach will be chosen by a panel of judges that includes U.S. Olympians Summer Sanders and Jackie Joyner-Kersee as well as famed track and field coach Bob Kersee and Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden. Nominations, in the form of 100-word essays, can be submitted through June 30 at each of the locally based retailer's 198 stores nationwide.

HOUSTON

  Tourney logo powers up sponsor
 
Organizers of the PGA Tour's Tour Championship event unveiled a new logo that prominently displays locally based Dynegy Inc. as the tournament's new presenting sponsor. The tournament is scheduled for Nov. 1-4 at the Champions Golf Club in Houston.

INDIANAPOLIS

  Indy 500 snuffs out Marlboro insignia
  Marlboro Team Penske was forced to remove the Marlboro insignias from cars the team entered in this year's Indianapolis 500 in accordance with a ruling from a group of state attorneys general administering a federal tobacco lawsuit settlement. A stipulation in the settlement states that tobacco companies can only participate as advertisers or sponsors in one North American-based auto racing series. Team Penske competes on the CART circuit, and the Indianapolis 500 is sanctioned by the IRL. Team Penske officials thought they were within the guidelines of the agreement because CART sanctioned its members to compete at the race as a non-points race for the CART series. With the change, the team maintained its traditional red-and-white color scheme but without the Marlboro logo.

  Welterweight fight coming to Conseco
  Pacers Sports and Entertainment reached a deal to host a July 21 fight at Conseco Fieldhouse featuring WBC welterweight champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley. The fight would be the second for the arena, the first coming in May 2000 and featuring Roy Jones Jr. Mosley's opponent is still being sought.

LEXINGTON, KY.

  AHL team gets new majority owner
 
The San Jose Sharks agreed to a deal with Kentucky Hockey Associates Inc. to purchase controlling interest of the Kentucky Thoroughblades, the NHL team's top developmental club the past five seasons. The American Hockey League team plays in Rupp Arena. The deal was pending league approval as of last week. The current ownership group would retain a minority stake in the club.

LOUISVILLE, KY.

  Panthers ask to sit out the season
 
The Louisville Panthers requested that the American Hockey League board of governors allow the team to suspend operations for the 2001-02 season while continuing a search for a new home. The board was expected to vote on the request this week. The Panthers have played their home games the past two seasons at Freedom Hall but are seeking a new home venue due to scheduling conflicts for next season at the arena.

MILWAUKEE

  Firstar lifts profile with Bucks
 
Firstar Bank used the Milwaukee Bucks' playoff run to highlight its standing in the city. The company used special purple gels to illuminate the corners of 42-story Firstar Center, the tallest building in the Milwaukee skyline. Firstar acquired US Bancorp, adopted the US Bancorp name and moved its headquarters to Minneapolis earlier this year.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

 Green signs with team's former broadcaster
  Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green signed a two-year deal with WCCO-AM to appear regularly on the station, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune report. The Vikings this season begin a broadcast deal with sports-talk station KFAN-AM. WCCO is the team's former radio partner. Green's deal reportedly prohibits him from making regularly scheduled appearances on other stations, including KFAN.

  Saints lay plans for $20M stadium
  The St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League are working on a plan for a new ballpark that would open in 2003, according to published reports. The team has sold out more than 200 consecutive games at its current Midway Stadium home. Saints officials have met with city of St. Paul representatives regarding the proposed $20 million, 7,500-seat stadium, proposing to pay for 60 percent of the venue's cost.

  Legislature leaves Twins, Vikes on table
  The Minnesota Legislature adjourned without reaching an agreement to fund stadium proposals for either the Minnesota Twins or Vikings.

  Bus line offers free rides to the park
  Metro Transit, which operates most of the local market's public busing services, offered free rides to anyone boarding a bus with a ticket to the Twins' doubleheader against Oakland late last month. The team drew 38,047 fans for the doubleheader, the only twin bill on the MLB schedule for the 2001 season.

  Player helps in release of bald eagle
  Twins first baseman Doug Mient-kiewicz took part in a recent release of a bald eagle at the local Fort Snelling Historic Site. The eagle had spent three months rehabilitating at the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center.

  WNBA Kid Reporter tryouts canceled
  The Minnesota Lynx's Sears Kid Reporter tryouts were canceled last month when Sears pulled out of the arrangement, according to a Lynx spokesman. Children ages 8 to 15 had been invited to audition to win the right to attend two games, visit and interview players, work side-by-side with the sports media, report for the team's Web site and win team merchandise. A Sears spokeswoman said the company's decision came from a change in its focus for its affiliation with the WNBA this year.

MOBILE, ALA.

  Senior Bowl bags presenting sponsor
 
Bruno's Inc., parent company of the Food World grocery chain, reached a deal with the Senior Bowl to become the annual college football all-star game's presenting sponsor, according to a Mobile Register report. Bruno's assumes the sponsorship role from the Delchamps supermarket chain, which has seen many of its local stores acquired by the Food World operation recently.

MONTREAL

  Stadium adding seats for Grey Cup
 
The Montreal Alouettes are adding 9,255 seats to Olympic Stadium for hosting the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup championship game on Nov. 25. The increase — prompted by demand for tickets to the game — pushes the stadium's capacity for the game to 65,255.

NASHVILLE

  Harrah's bets on inaugural Indy race
 
The inaugural Indy Racing Northern Light Series event at Nashville Superspeedway will be called the Harrah's Indy 200 following the signing of a sponsorship deal with Harrah's Entertainment Inc. The July 21 night race is scheduled to be broadcast by ESPN. The track opened in April.

NEW ORLEANS

 Saints tix go marching out the door
 
The New Orleans Saints, struggling to sell tickets for the 2001 season earlier this spring, reportedly saw a spike in sales in May. According to a New Orleans Times-Picayune report, team officials were nearing 40,000 season tickets sold as of late last month. That puts the defending NFC West champions ahead of last year's sales mark of 35,028.

PHILADELPHIA

  Mayor: Boost parking fees for stadiums
  Philadelphia Mayor John Street proposed allowing Comcast-Spectacor to increase parking fees at the city's sports complex in return for the company's help in closing a $29 million funding gap for the new stadium projects planned for the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles. Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers and 76ers, controls most of the public parking lots around the team's First Union Complex home under a previously negotiated deal with the city. Parking for a Phillies game now costs $7, while parking for an Eagles game costs between $6 and $20. Under Street's proposal, parking for baseball would increase $1 while all parking for football would cost $10. The request for more money from fans drew immediate opposition from City Councilman James Kenney.

  And 1 tourney benefits school students
  Basketball shoe and apparel company And 1 of nearby Paoli, Pa., was scheduled to team with White-Williams Scholars to hold a fund-raising three-on-three basketball tournament this past Saturday at Temple University. And 1 was underwriting the cost of the event. The proceeds were expected to benefit White-Williams Scholars, which provides monthly stipends to local public high school students to make it easier for them to stay in school.

  Drug firm gets behind cycling series
  GlaxoSmithKline signed a deal to become the official pharmaceutical sponsor of the First Union Cycling Series, taking place in the Philadelphia area this week. The British drug company, which has a large presence in the Philadelphia region, also becomes title sponsor of the now-named GlaxoSmithKline Fun Ride, an event open to all bike riders to benefit the American Diabetes Association in advance of the First Union U.S. Pro Championship race on Sunday.

PHOENIX

  Tillman joins field for triathlon
  Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman was scheduled to take part this past Sunday in an Ironman Triathlon World Championship qualifying event in Cambridge, Md. More than 1,500 people were expected to compete in the event, which called for swimming 1.2 miles, cycling 56 miles and running 13.1 miles. Tillman is participating in hopes of finishing in less than seven hours and to raise money for several local charities.

  Coyotes share minor league affiliation
  The Phoenix Coyotes reached a multiyear deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning for a shared affiliation with the Springfield (Mass.) Falcons of the American Hockey League. Both NHL teams will provide 10 players to the Falcons, which has served as the Coyotes' primary minor league affiliate for the past five seasons.

  CMX Group invited to spring training
  CMX Group Inc. was hired as part of the design team for the planned $45 million spring training facility to be built in nearby Surprise, Ariz. The facility will be home to the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. It marks the sixth Cactus League project for the planning, civil engineering and sports consultation firm.

RICHMOND, VA.

 SunTrust to sponsor Richmond race
 
Organizers of the inaugural Indy Racing Northern Light Series race at Richmond International Speedway signed SunTrust Banks Inc. as title sponsor for the event. The June 30 race, to be called the SunTrust Indy Challenge, marks the IRL's first race on a track of less than one mile in length. Richmond International has a three-quarters-mile oval. SunTrust is based in Atlanta but has operations throughout the Southeast, including in Virginia.

SACRAMENTO

  Track construction on hold
 
Construction of Frank Arciero Sr.'s planned $100 million auto racetrack 35 miles north of Sacramento remains on hold as Yuba County officials and motorplex developers sort through options for building a necessary interchange that has drawn cost and environmental concerns. Ground was to be broken on the raceway in April, with an opening next year, but now it's unclear when construction will begin. Arciero and Gerald Forsythe want to build a 1.3-mile racetrack with grandstands for about 45,000 fans next to the 1-year-old Sacramento Valley Amphitheatre.

SAN DIEGO

  No extra bleachers for Spirit
 
San Diego Gas & Electric officials told the San Diego Spirit that the team won't be allowed to add bleachers in the west end of Torero Stadium on the University of San Diego campus, where the WUSA club plays its home games. The Spirit had hoped to add seating for an additional 867 fans with a stand of metal bleachers. SDG&E rejected the plans, citing safety concerns related to 138-kilovolt power lines running overhead and a gas line underneath the west end of the stadium.

SEATTLE

  Card game teams with electronic reader
  Wizards of the Coast Inc. plans to release a card game in August called NFL Showdown 2002, marking the first sports card game to incorporate an electronic reader called the PlayGrid. The locally based subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. has teamed with Tiger Electronics, another Hasbro division, to create the game. The sports cards involved in the game feature not only player pictures, but also information about each player's ability based on actual season statistics. The PlayGrid is a handheld scanner that reads, decodes and stores information from the cards when they are swiped through the PlayGrid's electronic scanner. It then computes play results from that information.

  Emerald Downs cutting back
  Emerald Downs has dropped plans to add Wednesday events to its thoroughbred race schedule in July and August, and is reducing its non-stakes-race purses by 7 percent. The cutbacks are due to a decline in the number of horses starting each day as well as increased competition from nearby casinos and card rooms, said Ron Crockett, track president. The weekly race schedule will continue to run Thursdays through Sundays.

ST. LOUIS

  Rams start football coaching program
  The St. Louis Rams are teaming with the NFL, National Football Foundation and St. Louis Sports Commission to launch a training clinic program for youth football coaches. The program is part of the Rams' overall commitment to youth football in the St. Louis area. The first clinic for the St. Louis Rams Coaching Academy is June 15-16. Rams coaches Bobby Jackson and Dana LeDuc will speak, as well as area high school coaches. The curriculum includes coaching philosophy, football skills and strategies, player communication and feedback, life skills, and health and nutrition issues.

  Ex-Cardinals president dies
  Former St. Louis Cardinals President and CEO Stuart F. Meyer died May 21 in Palm Coast, Fla., after a long illness. He was 67. Meyer preceded current team President Mark Lamping as president of the Cardinals.

  Park's phase two under way
  Byrne and Jones Construction Co. began work on phase two of the 93-acre O'Fallon Sports Park in nearby O'Fallon, Mo. The $800,000 project calls for new soccer fields, a parking lot and roadways, with completion scheduled for the fall. Phase one was completed by the company in 1998, also providing for soccer fields for local youth competition.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

 Bay area seeks SEC tournament
  The Tampa Bay area is making a push to host the SEC men's basketball tournament in 2006 or 2008, at either the Ice Palace in Tampa or Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. An SEC official recently visited the sites to view hotel space and possible local venues for the conference's annual interactive fan festival. The Ice Palace will host first- and second-round games of the 2003 NCAA men's basketball tournament, and the 2007 ACC tournament. Tropicana Field hosted the 1999 Final Four.

  Z-Tel hires Ditka as spokesman
  Locally based Z-Tel Technologies hired CBS Sports analyst Mike Ditka as its national spokesman. Company officials hope the former Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints coach helps attract new residential phone customers, particularly in Chicago, where Z-Tel is poised to offer bundled local and long-distance service.

  Ice Palace expands seating area
  The leaseholders of the Ice Palace are expanding the popular XO Club corporate seating area to add up to 600 new seats in the facility's club level. Palace Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Tampa Bay Lightning and a minority interest in the Tampa Bay Storm, plans to spend $1.3 million on the expansion, which is expected to be completed by the time NHL season starts this fall. The effort will more than double the size of the club, to 40,000 square feet. A cigar club, aquarium and specialty dining areas are being added as part of the plans. The XO Club, named for title sponsor XO Communications Inc., sold all 421 seats last season at $4,000 a year each on three-year contracts, including food, drink, parking and admission to all 41 Lightning regular-season home games. The new seats will go for $5,000 annually, also for three years, but will include admission to the Storm's Arena Football League games.

TORONTO

 Carter ad thanks Raptors fans
  Vince Carter thanked Toronto basketball fans for their support during the 2000-01 season in an ad that ran recently in local newspapers. The ad, in the form of a letter from "the desk of Vince Carter" and bearing Toronto Raptors letterhead, said Raptors fans have made Toronto a tough place for visiting teams to play.

  Women's Open moves to Angus Glen
  This year's Bank of Montreal Canadian Women's Open will be played at the south course of Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ontario, just north of Toronto. The event had to be moved from the Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ontario, because of construction delays on the clubhouse at that site. The tournament is scheduled for Aug. 16-19.

WASHINGTON

  New facility being built underground
 
National Cathedral School is building a new athletic facility that will be underground of the girls' school's soccer field. The planning stems from limited above-ground space for the school, which sits on the grounds of WashingtonNational Cathedral. The facility is expected to open in February. Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Construction is the contractor for the project, which has a construction budget of $17.5 million.

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