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SBJ/August 6 - 12, 2001/Coast To Coast
COAST TO COAST
Published August 6, 2001
Some oppose 2005 PGA tourney
Some club members at the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., are opposed to holding the 2005 PGA Championship at their course. Certain club members told the Boston Herald that the course has just recently recovered from the 1999 Ryder Cup matches, which featured the construction of hospitality tents and bleachers. Some officials at the club are reportedly seeking PGA concessions to minimize any negative effects the tournament would have on the course. The Professional Golfers Association and the club agreed in 1994 to bring the 1999 Ryder Cup and the 2005 PGA Championship to Brookline.
Red Sox lawyers questioned on finances
Attorneys at the law firm Bingham Dana LP, who represent the Boston Red Sox, are meeting with multiple bidders for the team this week to answer questions about Red Sox finances, the Boston Herald reported. Cablevision Systems Corp. chairman Charles Dolan recently visited Boston and reportedly met with Red Sox representatives in preparation for the opening round of bidding that begins on Aug. 15.
Corrigan Sports hires PR firm
Corrigan Sports Enterprises, a sports event planning and management company, recently hired Wave Public Relations to promote two of its events, the Baltimore marathon and the Toyota Pro Beach Volleyball Series. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ripken ball team plans not firm
While Cal Ripken Jr. makes his farewell tour, the organizers of the effort to bring minor league baseball to Ripken's hometown of Aberdeen, Md., continue to spin their wheels. Reports published since Ripken announced his retirement in June suggest that Tufton Sports & Management and the Orioles are close to striking a deal. They can't be too close. Bill Stetka, a spokesman for the Orioles, said the two sides have a "handshake agreement" to place a Class A Orioles affiliate in Aberdeen. Baltimore-based Tufton Sports and the Class A New York-Penn League are considering which existing franchise to relocate to Aberdeen, Stetka said. Tufton officials said in January that they hoped to have a team in place in Aberdeen by April. The new $38 million, 7,500-seat stadium that is part of Ripken's minor league/youth project in Aberdeen is scheduled to be finished by spring 2002, a year later than originally scheduled.
Baysox greet 3 millionth fan
The Bowie Baysox, Class AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, welcomed their 3 millionth fan through the gates of Prince George's Stadium at their game against the Akron Aeros. Robert Jones, 34, of Washington was showered with gifts, including a Baysox jersey with the number "3" and nameplate that reads "MILLION," a pass that admits three people for all games during the 2002 season, use of the stadium for an entire day and three months of basic cable service from Comcast Cable.
WNSA radio to carry Notre Dame football
WNSA 107.7 radio has contracted to carry Notre Dame football games this season. The station, which is the flagship outlet for the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, will broadcast 10 of Notre Dame's 11 regular-season games plus four other games of national interest, as well as the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Day.
Coliseum renovation back on table
Talks about renovating Charlotte Coliseum, the home of the NBA's Hornets, have resumed. The City Council voted July 23 to put the matter before the city's coliseum authority. City leaders want to explore the possibility of adding luxury suites and club seats at the publicly held arena. A referendum on a new facility failed in June. The Hornets and authority officials, citing mid-1990s renovation studies, remain doubtful that revamping the coliseum will work.
TRAC opens new headquarters
Team Racing Auto Circuit, the start-up stock-car racing series, has opened its new 5,000-square-foot headquarters at Huntersville Business Park near Charlotte. President Jon Pritchett said the new league — whose board includes TV executive Robert Wussler, former NBA exec Carl Scheer, racing vet Michael Kranefuss and retired driver Cale Yarborough — will benefit from being in the "home of racing's intellectual capital." The TRAC office is in the same business park that houses NASCAR's Joe Gibbs Racing and industry consultant Don Hawk.
Textron moving HQ to town
Textron Golf, Turf & Specialty Products, maker of E-Z Go golf carts, plans to relocate its headquarters staff to Charlotte from Augusta, Ga. The company will keep its Augusta manufacturing plant, which employs 1,100. In Charlotte, E-Z Go has a 275-employee manufacturing plant and a 40-person headquarters staff. CEO Greg Hyland said the company has leased 14,000 square feet at Whitehall Corporate Center.
WFNZ signs sponsors for football treks
All-sports WFNZ-AM has made attending college football games a profitable venture. Mark Packer, host of the station's PrimeTime show, signed on a slew of sponsors — Old Spice, Pepsi, Wesson Oil, Bubba's Barbecue, Jocks & Jills — for fall football treks to Knoxville, Tenn.; Columbia, S.C.; Tuscaloosa, Ala., and other regional gridirons. The host never buys game tickets; instead, listeners can ride aboard a 35-foot sponsored RV in exchange for providing free tickets to Packer and WFNZ staffers.
Hill named assistant Hornets coach
Brian Hill was named an assistant coach of the Charlotte Hornets, joining head coach Paul Silas for the 2001-02 NBA season. Hill brings 14 seasons of NBA experience, seven as a head coach with Orlando and Vancouver. He led the 1995-96 Magic to their best record in franchise history (60-22, .732), and to the NBA Finals in 1995.
Las Vegas Classic moving
The Las Vegas Classic college basketball tournament, run by Cincinnati-based World Wide Sports, has found a new home, responding to pressure from the NCAA. Tournament officials weren't ready to provide the name of the new site. NCAA President Cedric Dempsey had objected to the tournament's first site, the Paris Hotel and Casino, because gambling takes place in the hotel. The University of Cincinnati is scheduled to play in the Dec. 20-22 tournament, along with Purdue, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Richmond, Southwest Missouri State, Illinois-Chicago and Louisiana-Monroe.
Invesco ready to write $1.9M check
Invesco Funds Group is ready to write a big check. The Denver-based mutual fund company will write a check for $1.9 million to cover the first year's installment of naming rights for the new Denver Broncos stadium, now officially known as Invesco Field at Mile High. Invesco earlier this year gave the Metropolitan Football Stadium District, which owns the stadium, a $100,000 advance on the first year's bill.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.
NHL OKs sale of Panthers
The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale of the NHL Panthers to a group led by Andrx CEO Alan Cohen, former NFL QB Bernie Kosar and Precision Response Corp. CEO David Epstein. The approval during the league's meetings in Chicago came after Boca Resorts announced that it has closed on the sale of its entertainment and sports business, the principal component of which is the Florida Panthers. The company said it intends to use proceeds from the sale to make additional investments in its business and for general corporate purposes.
Vipers set to join women's football league
The Indianapolis Vipers, an expansion franchise in the Women's American Football League, held an open tryout July 22 that attracted 22 players. The Women's American Football League is an outdoor tackle league based in Daytona Beach, Fla., that now has 24 teams. "This is a start," said K.C. Carter, Vipers co-owner and head coach. "Now that the media is covering it, we'll have another tryout because people will know we're serious." Carter hopes to field a team that will start play in about two months with a 40-player roster.
Ice sold back to Horn Chen
The Indianapolis Ice minor league hockey team has been sold back to Chicago resident Horn Chen, who sold the team two years ago. Following the 1999 season, after the Chicago Blackhawks ended their affiliation with the Ice, Chen, who founded the Ice in 1988, said he was thinking of folding or moving the team. But a local ownership group led by auto dealer Gary Pedigo stepped up and bought the team. On July 26, Pedigo said the Ice owners decided to sell the team back to Chen after the Central Hockey League announced it would restructure itself and acquire several teams in the western United States. Pedigo said the move would push the team's travel expenses too far and the team's bottom line deep into the red. Pedigo filed a lawsuit against the CHL in an attempt to move the team to the more centrally located United Hockey League but has since withdrawn that lawsuit.
Chamber pawses to boost Jaguars
The Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce took to the streets recently to celebrate the beginning of the 2001-02 Jacksonville Jaguars football season. Each year, council members and volunteers paint large, bright yellow paw prints on the streets from Bay Street to Alltel Stadium, leading fans to the games.
Heartland to host NHRA event
Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kan., again will host a National Hot Rod Association event on Memorial Day weekend. The race, which had taken place in late September or early October, moved this year to avoid conflicting with the Winston Cup/Busch Grand National weekend at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. Tim Sipes, Heartland's GM, said that running a dragster on Memorial Day heightens interest at his track because race fans also are following the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 near Charlotte.
Knights seek local ownership
The Kansas City Knights are trying to secure local ownership. Knights GM Tom Cheatham said two or three groups are looking at buying the ABA team from league commissioner Gary Elbogen, who lives in Arizona.
City gives thumbs up to Le Mans race
Miami city commissioners gave preliminary approval to a deal to host an American Le Mans Series race in downtown Miami starting next year. The deal with Raceworks LLC, which is promoting the event, came despite opposition from the Homestead-Miami Speedway and the financially struggling city of Homestead, which believe a competing race in Miami will damage them, according to a Miami Herald report.
Vikings, Twins have hopes for new stadiums
The hopes of two Minnesota sports teams for getting new stadiums were boosted on July 27 when legislative leaders agreed to form a task force to study stadium financing. The group will convene by September to study the needs of the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins, and will make recommendations to the 2002 Legislature. Many details, including who will serve on the panel, have yet to be determined. At this year's session, the Twins sought funding for about half of a $300 million ballpark, while the Vikings hoped to establish a task force to explore ways of financing a stadium costing $450 million to $500 million.
Veeck leads another promotions seminar
St. Paul Saints President Mike Veeck will host his second annual Veeck Promotional Seminar in Orlando in November. A dozen professional sports promoters and marketers will gather for the three-day event to help sports organizations and officials to be responsive and innovative in their promotions efforts.
Frozen Four already a sellout
The return of the NCAA Men's Frozen Four to Minnesota has resulted in another sellout for the men's hockey championship. Scheduled for April 4 and 6 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the 55th annual event sold out in advance for the fifth time in the last six years and for the third straight year at such an early date. A total of 6,092 tickets were sold to individuals on the priority list. The NCAA received more than 11,000 other requests and nearly 3,900 were filled from the remaining general public allotment.
Lacrosse taking on The Street
Major League Lacrosse was to have celebrated its inaugural LacrosseStar Game last week in Bridgeport, Conn., by taking over Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Major League Lacrosse planned to celebrate by closing down the street in front of the Exchange. Festivities were to include an MLL Fan Zone, players attending and signing autographs, and Jake Steinfeld ringing the closing bell with Paul Fireman, CEO of Reebok International, MLL players Casey Powell of the Long Island Lizards, Roy Colsey of the Bridgeport Barrage, Jesse Hubbard of the New Jersey Pride and other MLL players.
Grand jury calls for coliseum CEO
Calling the Oakland-Alameda County Stadium Authority "dysfunctional," a civil grand jury said the agency needs a chief executive to set short- and long-range plans. The grand jury, whose recommendations are not binding, said in a July 23 report that the Oakland Arena and Network Associates Coliseum are under-used, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The authority's tenants — the Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors — have fought major battles with the agency. The grand jury said "political agendas cloud the decision-making process" of the authority, taking the focus away from the tenants. Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele, a member of the authority, told the newspaper that the authority is in the process of hiring a chief executive, who should be on board by fall.
Oakland to join WAFL
The Women's American Football League has added an Oakland franchise for the 2001 season. The Oakland Banshees, owned by former Women's Professional Football League player Kisha Frady, will wear silver-and-black uniforms, according to the Oakland Tribune. But the team's home field was undetermined. The team will begin play Nov. 3.
Magic schedules 17 TV dates
The Orlando Magic is getting another shot at national television exposure. The NBA's television schedules were announced and the Magic plans on being on television 17 times. Seven of those games will be on NBC. Last season, the team was supposed to be on television 21 times, but most of the games scheduled for NBC were yanked after forward Grant Hill could not play and the team had a lackluster start. This year, six games will be on TNT and four on TBS.
New ticket packages offered
The Magic announced three types of season tickets available to fans. This year, fans will be able to buy traditional packages to every game, tickets to half of the season and tickets to 10 games. For the 10-game package, fans can choose either weekday or weekend games or a combination of both. Those packages start at $190. The half-season package starts at $418.
Reebok sings Iverson's praises
Reebok International Ltd. credited Philadelphia 76ers all-star guard Allen Iverson with helping boost product sales by 20 percent during the first half of the year. "Iverson has become a mega-star in the NBA and his signature products are enjoying incredible sell-throughs at retail," Paul Fireman, Reebok's CEO, said in a statement. The Canton, Mass.-based maker of sports, fitness and casual footwear, apparel and equipment beat Wall Street estimates with second-quarter earnings of $14.1 million, or 24 cents a share, up from $10.7 million, or 19 cents, in the year-earlier period. The consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts, according to Thomson Financial/First Call, was 21 cents a share.
Lemieux to meet with governor
Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux will meet with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge after Labor Day to discuss how the state can help the team finance a new arena. The Penguins play in Mellon Arena, which, at 40, is the oldest venue in the National Hockey League. Earlier this year, the team said a new arena was necessary for its long-term future. The state controls $60 million in funds for a new stadium. It's expected that a new arena for the Pens would cost as much as $226 million.
NCSU finds buyer for land near arena
North Carolina State University has found a buyer interested in developing a large tract of land in the vicinity of Raleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arena. Colonial Properties Trust, a real estate investment trust based in Birmingham, Ala., will pay $14.5 million for nearly 160 acres near the arena, also the home of the NHL Carolina Hurricanes. Colonial says it is considering offices, shops and restaurants for the site. The company may court a luxury hotel developer to build there — something arena boosters and tourism officials have wanted. Apartments or condominiums may be added to the mix.
Symphony to play for PGA event
Montreux Golf and Country Club in Reno/Tahoe is hosting the third annual Reno-Tahoe Open, and the night before, Aug. 19, will host a Symphony on the Green for members and select guests. The Reno Philharmonic will perform, with wine- and cigar-tasting at the event, which will take place on Montreux's driving range.
Kings to play on TV 21 times this season
The Sacramento Kings will be featured on national TV 21 times in the 2001-02 season, including six appearances on NBC and 15 on Turner Sports Network. The 21 scheduled national appearances are the third most in the NBA, trailing the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers. The maximum number of national appearances allowed for a single team is 26. This season the Kings also will change the starting time for home games from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Racing Board brokers advertising deal
In the first such arrangement of its kind in the country, the California Horse Racing Board in Sacramento has brokered an agreement with horse owners, jockeys and associations that would allow advertising on jockey attire, owners' silks and track saddlecloths. The board regulates tracks at about 10 state fairs as well as Bay Meadows, Santa Anita, Del Mar, Golden Gate, Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos.
GolfFest heads for Del Mar
San Diego golfers and pro golf fans will get their fill next February. GolfFest, an annual golf exposition that this year attracted 125 vendors, will be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Feb. 1-3, just before the PGA Tour's Buick Invitational arrives at nearby Torrey Pines and the Accenture Match Play Championship — the first event in the 2002 World Golf Championships events — returns to La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad.
Sockers sign broadcast deal
The World Indoor Soccer League's San Diego Sockers have signed a broadcast deal with KSDO Radio 1130 and Radio Unica 1040. Both stations will broadcast every game live in its entirety, with Radio Unica 1040 handling the Spanish broadcast.
McCaw looking for sponsors
Seattle billionaire Craig McCaw, looking for sponsors to help fund his quest to win the 2003 America's Cup, may not have to look much farther than Seattle. McCaw's OneWorld Challenge syndicate is said to have captured the interest of fellow Seattle billionaire Paul Allen. Allen, who owns the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, is said to be interested in investing $10 million in OneWorld Challenge. A spokesperson for OneWorld Challenge, a 2-year-old campaign that is being run by the Seattle Yacht Club, confirmed that the group is searching for additional sponsors, but would not identify either corporations or individuals that may be interested. McCaw had originally budgeted $80 million to fund OneWorld Challenge, but the recent downturn in the stock market — particularly technology and telecommunications stocks — has required McCaw to search for additional sponsors.
Sears Point sets drag records
Sears Point Raceway attracted its largest crowd in the 12-year history of the Recycle Used Oil Wednesday Night Drags program. The July 25 season-ender drew an estimated 1,500 fans and 475 participating cars, also a record number. The Wednesday Night Drags attract an average of 300 cars per week. The program ended early this year because the raceway is repaving the drag strip.
State Games opening at Busch Stadium
The 2001 State Games of America will be held Friday through Sunday in and around St. Louis with opening ceremonies for the Olympic-style event at Busch Stadium. State Games is a nationwide event that includes athletes of all ages competing in 15 sports at various venues. The venues stretch from St. Peters, Mo., about 40 miles west of downtown St. Louis, to Belleville, Ill., 20 miles to the east. Participants earn an invitation to compete in St. Louis by winning medals in state competitions held all over the country. Corporate sponsors are MasterCard International, Maritz, Nike, the state of Illinois, Xerox, Gatorade and Bank of America.
Olympic bid includes unmade deal
Florida 2012's bid to host the Olympics includes a $65 million bill to the University of South Florida, which would presumably use the Olympic stadium for football after the games are over. The Tampa-based organization told the U.S. Olympic Committee that the proposed 100,300-seat stadium would cost about $270 million to build, with USF chipping in a share of that amount. But the university has not committed to play at the stadium, let alone help pay for it.
USF season basketball tickets on sale
University of South Florida basketball season tickets have gone on sale, touting home games vs. Florida, Florida State and California. The 14-game home schedule includes eight games against big-name Conference USA opponents such as Cincinnati, Charlotte and Memphis. Ticket package prices start at $155.
Davis wants kids to learn U.S. history
Toronto Raptors forward Antonio Davis said he will hire a teacher to work at his children's Toronto school to make sure they learn about American history. Davis, a free agent who re-signed with the Raptors this summer, said in May he was worried about his 5-year-old twins, Antonio Jr. and Kaela, learning the Canadian national anthem and the metric system instead of American history and culture.