SBJ/June 25 - July 1, 2001/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast


 ACC tourney valued at $31M
The 2001 Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball tournament had an economic impact on Georgia of more than $31.1 million, according to the Atlanta Sports Council. "The ACC tournament could not have been a bigger success for Atlanta," said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Sports Council president. "Our unparalleled facilities, hotels and transportation allow us to host major events with the number of fans that create the incredible impact on our state and local economies." The estimated economic impact is greater than the $26.7 million from the 2000 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl but less than the $49.6 million from the 2000 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.


  Golf courses sign up tee-time service
SunBelt Golf Corp., which operates Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, reached an agreement with tee-time reservation service provider EZLinks Golf Inc. to begin installation of the EZLinks software and networking services at The Trail. The agreement calls for EZLinks to install and maintain a centralized reservation system for the collection of 23 golf courses.


  Red Sox centennial in the cards
Fleer Trading Cards is honoring the Boston Red Sox with a 100th Anniversary Collection of cards to be released Friday. The basic set consists of 100 cards, including 74 regular cards, three Team History cards, 15 Beantown's Best cards and eight Fenway Through the Years cards. The set features two exclusive inserts named Yawkey's Heroes and Splendid Splinters. Both inserts recognize some of the best Red Sox of all time.


  City lands 5-day hockey tourney
  The Niagara Regional Sports Foundation won the right to host the Division I U.S. Hockey Association Championships in April 2003. The five-day event will be played in the Amherst Pepsi Center, bringing more than 1,500 players, coaches, administrators and spectators to the area. The foundation comprises several local business groups including the Buffalo Sabres, Delaware North Cos., Pepsi-Cola Bottling and the Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau. The amateur hockey championship, consisting of players ages 12 to 14, will be held one week after Buffalo's HSBC Arena hosts the NCAA Frozen Four Men's Hockey Championship.

  Grocer teams in NASCAR ticket sales
  Tops Friendly Markets, based in Williamsville, N.Y., near Buffalo, is teaming with Watkins Glen on a ticket promotion for this summer's NASCAR Global Crossing @ The Glen race. Tops shoppers will be able to buy tickets at a discounted rate by using their Bonus Card. The grocery chain will also have a mini-store at the track during the Aug. 9-12 race weekend.


  SMI's Smith gives $5M to school
Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith donated $5 million to Charlotte Country Day School for a new athletic complex at the school. Smith's children all attended the school in previous years. It is the biggest single donation the school has received.


  Coffee brand takes title to Busch race
Hills Bros Coffee will be title sponsor of the inaugural NASCAR Busch Grand National race at Chicagoland Speedway. The deal guarantees the Busch Grand National races at the speedway will be called the Hills Bros Coffee 300 each of the first three years. This year's event begins with Hills Bros Coffee Pole Day July 13, with the Hills Bros Coffee 300 on July 14.


 Busch race sets attendance record
  The Kentucky Speedway's NAS-CAR Busch Outback Steakhouse 300 at the Kentucky Speedway in nearby Sparta, Ky., set a Cincinnati-area attendance record on June 16 with 70,338 fans.

  Firstar Center sold to Detroit firm
  Firstar Center was purchased through a Bankruptcy Court auction on June 15 for $22 million. Detroit-based Nederlander LLC, which owned a stake in the riverfront arena until 1999, also purchased the Cincinnati Cyclones minor league hockey team, formerly of the International Hockey League, as a part of the sale. The future of that team, however, remains in question.


  New arena sells out platinum seating
The American Airlines Center has sold out its 1,938 platinum seats, which provide access to games of the Dallas Stars and Mavericks. The new arena, set to open this summer, charged between $7,000 and $18,000 for each seat. About 70 percent of purchasers were companies, according to The Dallas Morning News.


  Speedway's impact $400M a year
Racing and gaming at Dover Downs International Speedway contributes $403 million a year to Delaware's economy, according to a new study. The report, prepared by iMapData of McLean, Va., said events at the track, including slot machine wagering, generate $252 million in direct spending and $151 million in indirect spending. The study found the six NASCAR races at Dover Downs contribute $94 million to the state's economy, while horse racing kicks in another $16 million.


  Citrix drops ATP event sponsorship
Locally based software company Citrix is pulling its title sponsorship of the ATP Tour event at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, according to a Sun-Sentinel report. According to tournament officials, Citrix pulled out to pursue a new marketing strategy. While elected officials said they would press the company to maintain the deal, the tournament is looking for a new title sponsor to fund the annual February event and its $400,000 in prize money. Citrix officials could not be reached for comment.


 Packers invite families back to scrimmage
The Green Bay Packers are scheduled to conduct their third annual Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field on Aug. 4. More than 50,000 fans attended last year's event. The event features an intrasquad scrimmage and several promotional activities involving the fans. Tickets, priced at $6, went on sale June 2. The event is intended for families who otherwise could not attend Packers games, which have been sold out for many years.


  ESPN's Harris publishes book on WNBA
Former Houston Comet and ESPN broadcaster Fran Harris released a new book this month called "Summer Madness: Inside the Wild, Wacky, Wonderful World of the WNBA." Described as part autobiography and part commentary, the book looks at the lives of WNBA players, male coaches in the WNBA, homophobia from sports-talk radio hosts, salary discrepancies in professional sports and gender inequities.


 City lands HQ of black coaches group
Officials of the Black Coaches Association and Indiana Sports Corp., along with Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, announced recently that the BCA will move its national headquarters to Indianapolis this summer. The BCA will occupy offices in Pan American Plaza. In addition to the relocation of the national headquarters for the 1,000-member organization, BCA officials are in discussions about the possibility of conducting their national convention on a regular basis in Indianapolis, as well as a preseason college basketball event. The BCA offices were previously located in Somerset, N.J.


  First Tee scores with industry giants
  Several golf-related businesses made an unprecedented donation to The First Tee, a World Golf Foundation initiative that introduces the game to youth who otherwise wouldn't have access to golf courses. Titleist Acushnet Co., TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Co., Spalding Sports Worldwide and Callaway Golf, along with the Bush Protective Division (the security detail for former President George Bush), recently provided The First Tee with branded junior golf club sets, range balls and playing balls for First Tee facilities that are open and operating. Bush is honorary chairman of The First Tee, which has 250 facilities throughout the nation. The World Golf Foundation operates from the World Golf Village in nearby St. Augustine, Fla.

  City team joins women's football league
  The Jacksonville Dixie Blues recently signed with the Women's American Football League for the fall season. The team will play in the South Atlantic Division of the WAFL Atlantic Conference, which includes the Orlando-Daytona Beach Barracudas, Tampa Bay Force, South Florida Stingrays, North Florida-Alabama Slammers and New Orleans Voodoo Dolls. The WAFL recently merged with several regional women's football leagues, forming a national league. The league also named its official Webcaster.


  Kemper says no to Central Hockey League
Kansas City won't lease Kemper Arena to a Central Hockey League team for the 2001-02 season. Bill LaMette, director of the city's Convention and Entertainment Centers, told the two bidders for a CHL franchise in Kansas City that he wants to take time to explore all options for replacing the Kansas City Blades of the now-defunct International Hockey League. Don Kincaid, who leads one of the bidding groups, plans to consider relocating an existing American Hockey League team to Kansas City for 2002-03. The other group, led by Paul McGannon, will continue to pursue the CHL.


  Predators tee off for charity
  The Governors Club will host the 2001 Nashville Predators' "Slap Shots and Tee Shots" golf tournament on Sept. 17. Each foursome will have a Predators player, coach or key member of management as the fifth player. In addition to the tournament, the team will host a lunch on Sept. 14 at Centennial Sportsplex during training camp practice. Tournament entrants will bid on the player of their choice to add to their foursome. In addition, a silent auction will be held on Predators memorabilia. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Nashville Predators Foundation, which has donated more than $650,000 in the past three years to community service and charitable organizations.

  Bowl game pairs Big Ten, SEC
  The Music City Bowl has finalized an agreement that, beginning in 2002, will see teams from the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten play against each other in the annual event. Currently, a Big East Conference school meets an SEC team in the bowl. The contract with the Big Ten runs for four years, through the 2005 game, while the existing SEC contract has been extended through the same period. ESPN is contracted to broadcast the game through 2003.


  Hill gets behind Olympic bid
Grant Hill has joined Florida's Olympic team. The Orlando Magic forward became one of several Florida athletes to pledge their support to bringing the 2012 Summer Olympics to central Florida. Florida 2012, the group officially working on the local Olympic bid, was mum about how it plans to use Hill, but did say Hill would be involved in the site visit by the U.S. Olympic Committee in August. Also at the press conference was U.S. Olympic softball player Dot Richardson, who lives in the Orlando area. She has rejoined the Florida Olympic movement.


 Croce takes it to the top — again
  Philadelphia 76ers President Pat Croce reached new heights, literally, in his efforts to generate support for the team. A couple of weeks ago, Croce climbed the 235-foot Georgia-Pacific Tower next to one of Philadelphia's busiest highways in order to unfurl a banner. Before Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Croce climbed to the top of the Walt Whitman Bridge — 397 feet above water — to hang a 5-by-70-foot banner that read "Go Sixers, Beat LA."

  Flyers stay the course on ticket prices
  The Philadelphia Flyers will not increase ticket prices for the 2001-02 season. The range for season-ticket prices will remain at $23 per game for upper mezzanine seats to $70 per game for lower level seating. The Flyers also are planning a new benefit for season-ticket holders: a special Flyers VIP MasterCard that fans can use to buy season tickets interest-free with no finance charges — provided the tickets are purchased before
Aug. 17 and the card's balance is paid off by
Nov. 15.

  5 events, 5 sellouts at First Union Center
  Comcast-Spectacor reported 101,386 spectators at five sold-out events in six days the week of June 10-15 as NBA Finals Games 3, 4 and 5, featuring the 76ers and the Lakers, and two U2 concerts filled the First Union Center. "It was truly one of the most spectacular weeks in the five-year history of the First Union Center," said Peter Luukko, president of Comcast-Spectacor Ventures, which owns the First Union Center.


 Steelers, vendors seek 1,000 workers
  Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a name for their new stadium — Heinz Field — the team has begun hiring people to staff it. The Steelers, along with Contemporary Services Corp., a security firm, and food service vendor Aramark, held a job fair recently to fill 1,000 openings at the venue. Positions include ticket takers and sellers, ushers and concession workers. Heinz Field seats 65,000, about 5,000 more than Three Rivers Stadium, which means more people are needed to staff the stadium. People who worked at Three Rivers Stadium are invited to re-apply for their old jobs.

  Grand Prix bags grocery sponsor
  The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix has a new sponsor Shop 'n Save, a Pittsburgh-area grocery store chain. Sponsorship became available when Buick, the event's longtime sponsor, opted to back the Marconi Pennsylvania Classic, a PGA tour event, instead.


 PGE concert benefits sports groups
The Portland Oregon Sports Authority Foundation, SOLV and Special Olympics Oregon will be the beneficiaries of Party at PGE Park, the inaugural concert at PGE Park featuring The Four Tops and The Spinners on July 13. All proceeds go to the beneficiaries. The Sports Authority Foundation hopes to raise funds to provide opportunities for underprivileged youth to participate in sports.


  Dunkin' Donuts puts name on facility
Dunkin' Donuts has signed a 10-year naming-rights deal with the Providence Civic Center Authority. The center will be called Dunkin' Donuts Center. The center and company declined to divulge the deal's cost. The agreement includes the name change, product rights, signage and marketing opportunities. As part of the deal, patrons will be able to buy Dunkin' Donuts products at the center at several concession stands on the concourse. The deal also provides for Dunkin' Donuts to co-promote at least two events each season. The center is home to the Providence Bruins minor league hockey team and Providence College men's basketball team.


  Lawsuit filed over stadium security
The city of West Sacramento filed suit earlier this month against Art Savage, owner of the Class AAA Sacramento River Cats, to recoup security costs from the team's inaugural season last year. The city claims Savage owes it $197,000 for security services provided during games. Savage has refused to pay, claiming that the city charged outrageous fees for police and security services. The suit was filed June 5 in Yolo County Superior Court. The city of West Sacramento provides police and parking services for the team's games at Raley Field.


  Gwynn signs to endorse supplement
  Locally based Imagenetix, which makes natural food supplements, signed San Diego Padres star Tony Gwynn to a two-year endorsement contract. The 41-year-old outfielder will appear in TV, radio and print ads for the company's Celedrin brand, an over-the-counter natural supplement designed to ease joint pain. "Tony's had six knee operations and has used our product and found it really helped his knees," said Imagenetix President Bill Spencer.

  Torrey Pines getting $3M facelift
  San Diego City Council unanimously approved a plan proposed by the Century Club, which organizes and runs the Buick Invitational, for a facelift of the Torrey Pines South Course. The municipal layout on the bluffs of La Jolla, along with its sister North Course, have been home to the PGA Tour's annual San Diego stop since 1968. The Century Club will pay $3 million for the course's renovation, and the city will reimburse the organization $950,000 at its own discretion. The Century Club is bankrolling the project in order to have work completed by next February's PGA Tour stop. Golf course architect Rees Jones will oversee the changes, which include the rebuilding of all 18 greens and additional bunkering, as well as new tee boxes to make several holes longer.


  Schools hold the line on single-game tix
Area Pac-10 schools Stanford University and the University of California are keeping prices of individual-game 2001 football tickets at last season's levels. Cal's price for general season tickets, however, is increasing from $148 to $202, with the addition of two home games. The seven-game package also includes a ticket to the annual "Big Game" at Stanford. Stanford's general season-ticket price for a six-game home schedule tops out at $185.


  Men's soccer, women's gym on the bubble
San Jose State University is considering dropping its men's soccer team, which was briefly ranked No. 1 in 2000, and its women's gymnastics program for budgetary reasons, the San Jose Mercury News reported. San Jose State dropped its men's tennis and men's gymnastic programs in 1997, also for budget cuts. It now has the minimum six men's sports programs necessary to remain in Division I-A. If it dropped men's soccer, it would need to replace it with a less expensive program or lose its I-A status. SJSU has eight women's sports programs.


  Westcott lands marketing of bowl game
Westcott Marketing Inc. of nearby Bellevue, Wash., was chosen to help with marketing of the Seattle Bowl, owned by Aloha Sports Inc. Westcott hopes to sell 200 business memberships for the Pacific Northwest Football Club, a booster club of sorts for the bowl, formerly the Oahu Bowl. Members of the club will receive privileges such as guaranteed ticket packages, recognition in the bowl's marketing materials and inside the stadium on game day, and invitations to private bowl events throughout the year. The game will feature the fourth pick from the Pac-10 Conference and the fourth pick from either the Atlantic Coast Conference or the Big East Conference. The game this year will be played at Safeco Field, but in subsequent years will be played at the Seattle Seahawks' new stadium.


 Track, CHiPs, NASCAR issue cards
Sears Point Raceway, the California Highway Patrol and NASCAR were scheduled to join forces to produce a series of collectible trading cards for this past weekend's Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Winston Cup race. Complete sets of cards with a "Do Not Drink and Drive" message and the CHP inscription on the back were to be distributed by the CHP during the race weekend at the local track. NASCAR Winston Cup stars who allowed their images to be used free of charge are Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett. The set also was to feature a card with an overhead picture of Sears Point.


  Promise was no bribe, Olympic bidders say
Organizers of Toronto's 2008 Olympic bid denied that their promise to boost athletic programs in Africa amounts to a bribe of International Olympic Committee members. At an IOC meeting in Kenya, bid officials said that if Toronto is selected to host the Games, it would take part in a coaching exchange with poorer countries, help pay for all countries to take part in pre-Olympic test events and help poor countries develop their national sport federations. Officials said the offer was a redeployment of existing government aid. Earlier, a Ugandan IOC member had said that Africa's IOC voting members would vote as a bloc for whatever bid offers the most for promoting and developing sport in the continent. The IOC will select the winning city July 13 in Moscow. The two other front-tier candidates for the 2008 Games are Beijing and Paris.

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