SBJ/September 24 - 30, 2001/Coast To Coast

COAST TO COAST

ATLANTA

 Atlanta teams field charity benefit

Atlanta area sports teams are lining up to help with relief efforts following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Atlanta Braves, Hawks and Thrashers — which are all owned by AOL Time Warner — have combined to donate more than $250,000 to relief efforts. The teams will hold a free special event Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. to benefit the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and other relief organizations. It will feature appearances by players and mascots and will give fans the chance to donate canned foods and bottled water. The teams also are giving fans the chance to sign up to give blood, with Red Cross volunteers on hand at each home game to schedule appointments.

 Falcons play for relief donations

The Atlanta Falcons played a flag football game Tuesday at their practice field in Flowery Branch, Ga. Although there was no admission charge, the team did take donations for three relief funds. NFL officials say the league will match the money raised at the game, as well as donations mailed to the Falcons. The Atlanta Silverbacks men's professional soccer team will donate $1 to the American Red Cross from every ticket sold to last Sunday's playoff game against the San Diego Flash.

BOSTON

 Palmer to lead tour of TPC of Boston

Golfing great Arnold Palmer will host a member's tour of the new TPC of Boston in Norton, Mass., today. Palmer, who is the architect of the course, will provide a course overview along with PGA Tour member Brad Faxon. The TPC of Boston is scheduled to open in the summer of 2002.

BUFFALO

 Sabres focus on youth hockey

Faced with an unusually high number of home dates in the month of October, the Buffalo Sabres are launching a promotion targeting youth hockey. The franchise, owned by John Rigas, chairman and founder of Adelphia Communications Corp., is linking its cable TV connections by signing up Nickelodeon Games and Sports as a sponsor. The Sabres will offer "youth tickets" to children 16 and younger for $10 when an adult buys one regularly priced ticket. The Sabres are scheduled to play nine games at HSBC Arena in October, due mostly to the NHL's shutdown during the Winter Olympics in February.

CHARLOTTE

 Sports commission relocating

The Charlotte Regional Sports Commission will relocate from the 21st floor at Two First Union Center to the building's 15th floor. The move takes effect in late September.

 Lineup changes in the works at WFNZ

Local media sources say changes are afoot at all-sports WFNZ-AM, where morning show co-host Dave Jageler plans to leave this month for Boston station WWZN-AM, a Sporting News Radio affiliate run by former WFNZ exec Mike Kellogg. Replacing Jageler on The Morning Sports Page: Jim Celania, a WFNZ vet whose midday show was cut this summer. Morning co-hosts Tom Carey and Gary Williams will stay on.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

 Breeders’ Cup in 2005 at Lone Star

The 2005 edition of the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships will be run at Lone Star Park in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie. Lone Star officials landed the plum after promising to expand seating at the track to 50,000 people. Though estimates on the economic impact of the race weren’t available, it will be the biggest event in the history of the track, which in July ended its fifth season of thoroughbred racing.

 IRL, Craftsman Series events postponed

The Chevy 500 Indy Racing Northern Light Series event has been postponed until Oct. 6, officials from the Indy Racing League and Texas Motor Speedway announced. The season-ending Chevy 500 will start at 3 p.m. CDT Oct. 6 and be televised live on ESPN2. Details will be announced later. “Due to the postponement and cancellation of other events around the country, we have decided that it would be best to delay our race in Texas,” said Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League vice president of operations. “We have consulted closely with Texas Motor Speedway and NASCAR officials over this decision.”

DENVER

 Mile High farewell delayed a week

The Farewell to Mile High Stadium flag football game was postponed one week to last Saturday. Some 30,000 tickets had been sold to the game, which was to feature retired Broncos quarterback John Elway along with other NFL greats, including Joe Montana. The game originally was set for Sept. 15 but pushed back in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

 Kelley fills every seat at Invesco

Steve Kelley did it, but it took him six days. Kelley, the morning host on Denver radio station KOA (850 AM), sat in all 76,125 seats at Invesco Field at Mile High during a fund-raising stunt. Kelley, who took four days to sit in all the seats at the old Mile High Stadium when it opened 21 years ago, raised more than $120,000 for the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

 Sports Authority donates $25,000

The Sports Authority in Fort Lauderdale donated $25,000 to The September 11th Fund in care of The United Way. The fund will support programs assisting families who have been hit hard by the terrorist attacks. The Sports Authority also will initiate a nationwide donation program where customers will be offered the opportunity to donate money in the amounts of $1, $5 and $10. All funds donated will be given to the Red Cross.

HOUSTON

 Prize money becomes relief donation

BMC Software Inc. canceled the Sept. 16 BMC Software Grand Prix of the Pro Cycling Tour because it was unsure if all of the teams could make it to Houston after terrorist attacks disrupted travel schedules. The prize money that would have been awarded at the annual event is being donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

INDIANAPOLIS

 MorSports in financial danger

MorSports Inc., owner of the Indiana Blast men's professional soccer team and the Indiana Blaze women's soccer team, is in jeopardy of going out of business, company officials said Sept. 17. Although attendance has increased slightly during the last three years, ancillary business operations associated with the soccer team have not produced enough cash to support the teams, said MorSports President Kim Morris. Morris and her partners are still formulating a plan to try to save the teams for next season. MorSports officials said they have lost more than $1 million since buying the team in 1998.

JACKSONVILLE

 Coach’s son in tower, safe

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin spent several nerve-wracking minutes waiting to hear from his son, Tim, who works for Morgan Stanley, formerly located on the 60th floor of the second World Trade Center tower hit by a hijacked plane. “My son Brian was able to reach Tim on his cell phone as he was on the 29th floor going down the stairway to leave the building when both buildings were being evacuated,” Coughlin said in a statement. “At that time, Tim did not know that the second plane had crashed into the building in which he worked. I spoke with Tim when he got to street level, and again later in the day. He got out safely, and my family and I thank God for that.”

MIAMI

 Telluride picks ad agency

Crispin Porter & Bogusky, one of Miami’s largest advertising agencies, was chosen by Colorado-based Telluride Ski & Golf Co. to handle its ad account, which was previously handled by Thomas & Perkins, Denver. Telluride Ski & Golf Co. is owned by Morita Investments International. Billings were estimated at $2.5 million, according to The New York Times.

 Perez impersonation angers Marlins

Florida Marlins executives were angered by a recent prank on Marlins radio partner WQAM-AM’s morning show in which the station repeatedly aired tape of an interview featuring someone impersonating manager Tony Perez, according to The Miami Herald.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

 Twins seek heightened security

The Minnesota Twins and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission will apply security measures for the Metrodome over and above those set out by Major League Baseball. The league has banned backpacks, large bags and coolers from all major league parks. In addition, the team will do a security sweep of the stadium before the gates open for each game. Additional security guards will be stationed at turnstiles and at gates. Fans will have to open anything they are carrying and will be asked to open bulky jackets even in cold weather. Officials said they do not expect the new measures to delay games.

 ‘Skate with Stars’ program a benefit

A “Skate with the Stars” program was planned for last Friday in which new skaters could skate with players from the Minnesota Wild and from the University of Minnesota men’s and women’s hockey teams. A portion of the registration fees raised during the week were to be donated to New York inner-city hockey programs and to charities in honor of Garnet Bailey and Mark Bavis, two Los Angeles Kings scouts who died during the terrorist attacks.

NASHVILLE

 Preds raise $10K-plus for Red Cross

The Nashville Predators’ intrasquad scrimmage on Sept. 15 raised $10,245 for the American Red Cross’ relief efforts in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania. The scrimmage was free and open to the public, but collection bins were stationed throughout Gaylord Entertainment Center. The American Red Cross also had a remote unit at the event.

NEW YORK

 First and Ten popular in poll

Sportvision Inc. reported that 95 percent of die-hard and avid NFL and college football fans like N.Y.-based Sportvision’s “yellow line,” according to a Harris Interactive survey. First & Ten, the virtual first-down marker, will appear on more than 200 games during the 2001 football season. Using a complex series of cameras and computers, First & Ten displays a bright yellow line that lets TV viewers see an on-field display of the distance needed to reach a first down.

ORLANDO

 Bowl group picks new executive director

Florida Citrus Sports, the Orlando organization that puts on the annual Florida Citrus Bowl, has found its next leader. Tom Mickle, associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, was named the group’s executive director. He’ll replace the group’s longtime head, Chuck Rohe, after this year’s bowl game. Rohe is retiring from the organization. The group liked Mickle’s experience organizing the Bowl Coalition, the predecessor to the current Bowl Championship Series. He plans to position the Citrus Bowl, which has the highest payout of any bowl outside the BCS, to become one of the bowls involved when the current Bowl Championship Series deal ends in 2005.

PHILADELPHIA

 Phillies give out flags at Braves game

The Philadelphia Phillies gave out miniature American flags after playing the Atlanta Braves Sept. 17, the first night Major League Baseball resumed play following the terrorist attacks. The team held a pregame tribute honoring the victims and the people involved in the rescue. The Phillies also announced tighter security measures at Veterans Stadium, including a ban on all coolers, backpacks and large bags.

 76ers hire Woodson as assistant

The Philadelphia 76ers hired Mike Woodson as an assistant coach. Woodson spent the last two seasons on the coaching staff of the Cleveland Cavaliers after playing 11 seasons in the NBA with seven teams.

 Greenwood Racing backs disaster relief

Greenwood Racing, owner of the Philadelphia Park racetrack in Bensalem, Pa., donated $100,000 to charities involved in the disaster relief efforts in New York City. Bob Green, chairman of Greenwood Racing, said the contribution will be split evenly among four disaster relief funds.

PORTLAND, MAINE

 Pirates launch Peg Leg Ale

The Portland Pirates and Casco Bay Brewing Co. rolled out a new craft beer, Salty Pete’s Peg Leg Ale. The beer will be featured at Pirates’ home games and be available in local stores and restaurants. Ten percent of the profits from sales will go to the United Way of Greater Portland.

READING, PA.

 Royals unveil new jersey

The Reading Royals Professional Hockey Club unveiled its team jersey Sept. 17. The home game jersey is predominantly white and the away game jersey is predominantly black. The jerseys have gray and purple trim and the Reading Royals logos.

SACRAMENTO

 Knights postpone games, event

In recognition of the nation’s Sept. 11 tragedy, the Sacramento Knights indoor professional soccer team postponed its Sept. 14 meet-the-players event and the Sept. 15 and 16 games at Arco Arena. The Saturday game against the St. Louis Steamers was moved to Nov. 25 while the Sunday game against the San Diego Sockers was rescheduled for Nov. 1. The “Meet the Knights” event still must be rescheduled. The team was to return to play last Saturday against the Dallas Sidekicks in Dallas.

SAN DIEGO

 Powerboat race held on schedule

The Bayfair World Series of Powerboat Racing was held as scheduled Sept. 14-16 on Mission Bay, one of the few events on the national sports calendar that was not postponed. As many as 75,000 people attended the final day of Unlimited Hydroplane and Formula One powerboat racing, 10,000 more than in 2000. With the large turnout, a booth run by San Diego firefighters was able to raise more than $12,000 that is earmarked for their colleagues in New York. Budweiser pledged another $25,000.

  Padres juggle for Gwynn finale

With Tony Gwynn now set to play his final game for the Padres at home on Oct. 7, the team decided to keep its “Thanks Tony Weekend” during last weekend’s Giants series, the final home stand on the original schedule. The only change among the premiums handed out (Gwynn rookie-year T-shirts, commemorative silver bats) was that commemorative tickets marking Gwynn’s final major league game will now be issued Oct. 7. Fans who bought tickets for Sunday’s game solely because they thought it would be Gwynn’s last home game were given a window of opportunity last week to exchange those tickets for Oct. 7, subject to availability. Sale to the general public began only after that window closed at 5 p.m. Friday. Fans who hold tickets to the Rockies game originally scheduled for Sept. 16 can use them Oct. 7, the new date for that game, with no exchange needed.

SAN FRANCISCO

 Oakland naming-rights team gets creative

Attempts to sell the naming rights to the Oakland Arena may rely on creative ideas such as displaying a corporate name in “invisible” 40-foot letters on the arena’s windows or placing the name on the roof, said Mike Riley, chief operating officer of Public Enterprise Group of Huntington Beach, Calif. Public Enterprise Group was hired by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority in early July to find a company willing to dole out millions of dollars to put its name on the 19,200-seat home of Golden State Warriors basketball games and other events. “There are new values that can be brought to the deal,” Riley told the San Francisco Business Times, noting the city of Oakland’s willingness to promote the arena — and thus its corporate sponsor — on kiosks downtown and at the zoo. A type of film, placed on the arena’s windows and virtually invisible from the interior at night, would give a naming-rights sponsor unfettered signage along Interstate 880, Riley said, while putting the name on top of the arena would take advantage of the structure’s proximity to Oakland International Airport.

 Giants expect longer lines

The San Francisco Giants issued a special notice asking fans to arrive at Pacific Bell Park in time to be in their seats by 7 p.m. for games due to increased security. Longer lines were expected, team officials told the San Francisco Chronicle, but the Giants have not hired extra security personnel.

 49ers give blood for terrorism victims

The San Francisco 49ers, including owner John York, President Peter Harris and general manager Terry Donahue, gave 69 pints of blood at the Peninsula/South Bay branch of the Blood Centers of the Pacific in Burlingame, Calif., following Sept. 11’s terrorist attacks. “What can I do, as a right tackle in the NFL, for this country? I don’t know,” 49er Scott Gragg told the San Francisco Chronicle. “But if it’s giving blood or prayers or whatever we can do to be supportive, that’s what we’ll try to do.”

 Raiders clean up Oakland rec center

Oakland Raiders players pitched in to clean the city’s Manzanita Recreation Center. Receiver Jerry Rice and coach Jon Gruden washed the gym walls, Tyrone Wheatley mopped the floor, and Tim Brown and Rich Gannon painted fences, among other chores by players, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “Guys had been going to Red Cross centers, giving blood and helping the morale of the people standing in line,” said Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen. “But our captains came to us and said they wanted to do something as a team.”

SAN JOSE

 Cancellation cost Earthquakes

The San Jose Earthquakes say they lost what would have been their biggest crowd of the season with the cancellation of the Sept. 16 match against the Los Angeles Galaxy at 26,500-seat Spartan Stadium. Earthquakes officials claim more than 15,000 people were expected to see a match that would have decided the winner of Major League Soccer’s Western Division and home field advantage in the first round of playoffs. Instead, the Earthquakes were to open the playoffs against the Columbus Crew in Columbus on Saturday. The Earthquakes have averaged just under 10,000 a match in 2001, last in the 12-team MLS.

SPOKANE, WASH.

 Spoelstra to speak at seminar

The 2nd Annual Sports Career Seminar and Job Fair will be held in Spokane on Oct. 27. Professional sports teams from around the West will be meeting, interviewing and hiring job candidates at the job fair, and there will be panel discussions and guest speakers on sports management as a career. Joe Spoelstra will be the keynote lunch speaker. Spoelstra, the author of several sports marketing books, is the former president of the New Jersey Nets and former general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers. He is now president of Mandalay Entertainment’s sports division.

ST. LOUIS

 Ticket holders asked to donate

Organizers of the American Express World Championships of Golf are encouraging people who had bought tickets to the event to make contributions to victims of the terrorist bombings in lieu of receiving refunds. The championship was to have been held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis County Sept. 10-16 but was canceled after the attacks.

 Cards keeping fan appreciation day

The St. Louis Cardinals have rescheduled their games canceled Sept. 14-16 with the Houston Astros for Oct. 5-7 at Busch Stadium. As with other Major League Baseball teams, the Cardinals’ schedule was extended a week after the terrorist bombings. The team is keeping its fan appreciation day this Sunday. That would have been the last day of the season, and the Cardinals historically have given all those with paid admissions for that game a pass good for a game ticket the following season.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

 Lightning scrimmage raises $15,540

The Tampa Bay Lightning raised $15,540 for the American Red Cross during a Sept. 16 scrimmage at the Ice Palace. The event replaced two NHL preseason games canceled after the Sept. 11 attack on the United States. About 2,500 fans were asked for a $5 donation at the turnstiles, with proceeds going to the Red Cross’ Tampa Bay chapter.

 McDonald’s deal includes tickets

The Lightning signed a sponsorship deal with McDonald’s restaurants in the bay area that includes a $79 ticket package for all eight Saturday night home games this season. The package includes four upper-level seats (regularly $23 each), four Value Meals and two Lightning T-shirts. The team will be promoted on McDonald’s tray liners in three counties.

TORONTO

 Leafs tied up in air traffic freeze

The Toronto Maple Leafs arrived at their training camp in St. John’s, Newfoundland, five days late. The Leafs couldn’t get out of Toronto due to the freeze on air traffic after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Members of the Leafs’ community staff who had gone to St. John’s ahead of time ended up helping the hundreds of air passengers who were stranded in the city after international U.S.-bound flights were diverted to Canada. The Leafs were forced to cancel school visits, hockey clinics and other community events, but two preseason games in St. John’s against the Montreal Canadiens were scheduled to go ahead as planned.

 Sport Hawk beefing up security

The airline company that operates charter flights for Toronto’s pro sports teams says it is beefing up security beyond new measures mandated by airline regulators. Neil Jamieson, CEO of Mississauga-based Sport Hawk International, told The Toronto Star that there will be changes in how team luggage is handled on road trips, for example. He said many of the travel perks pro athletes enjoy — such as driving their cars up to private terminals that house charter airlines at Toronto’s Pearson airport — will be eliminated. Sport Hawk is used by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays.

 Cayuga Dragway gets new name

Officials at Cayuga Dragway, a drag-racing track about an hour and a half west of Toronto, have renamed the venue Toronto Motorsports Park. The track will undergo a face-lift, including a resurfacing of the quarter-mile strip plus new grandstands and hospitality areas. A new International Hot Rod Association event is scheduled to be held at the track Aug. 9-11, 2002.

TRENTON, N.J.

 Trenton Thunder sets AA record

Class AA Trenton Thunder (Eastern League) finished the season with a total attendance of 411,322, setting a Class AA record by going over the 400,000 attendance mark for the seventh consecutive season. Earlier in the year, the team became the fastest in Class AA history to break the 3 million fan mark.

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