SBJ/October 8 - 14, 2001/Coast To Coast

COAST TO COAST

BOSTON

 Gillette launches playoff promotion
  Boston-based Gillette Co. will launch a watch-and-win promotion on Fox Major League Baseball playoff games. A series of vignettes depicting the "Gillette Close Play of the Year" will air on Fox postseason MLB telecasts. Consumers purchasing Gillette razors will get a game piece bearing the name of a baseball play. Consumers are urged to watch the third inning of Game 3 of the World Series, and those holding game pieces that correspond to a sign held by a fan that inning can win tickets to the 2002 World Series.

  Red Sox near a sale?
  The Boston Herald's Scott Van Voorhis reported that Red Sox executives "are moving into the final phase in their efforts" to sell the franchise. Red Sox executives stated that the team "had nearly completed the due diligence process in the sale of a majority stake" in the team. Van Voorhis reported that the bid groups would begin meeting with Red Sox CEO John Harrington during the first week of October. Van Voorhis also reported that developer and Red Sox bidder Frank McCourt has hired the high-powered lobbying firm of Cassidy New England in what appears to be an attempt to nail down $100 million or more in public money for road and infrastructure work around the proposed stadium project.

CHARLOTTE

  Knights selling Ripken bobbleheads
 
The Charlotte Knights are helping raise money for relief efforts after last month's terrorist attacks. The Class AAA franchise is offering Cal Ripken Jr. bobblehead dolls for $20 each, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. The team has 100 Ripken dolls to sell.

CINCINNATI

  Cyclones to sell partnership interests
 
The Cincinnati Cyclones, who now play in the East Coast Hockey League, plan to expand and diversify the team's ownership pool by selling partnership interests to "prominent people in Cincinnati business and some nationally recognized African-Americans" for as much as $200,000, according to the lead owner of the minor league franchise.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

  Thomas switching careers
 
Brad Thomas, a 20-year fixture of the Dallas sports marketing scene, is switching careers and moving into commercial real estate. Thomas, who helped create Southern Methodist University's "Mustang Mania" campaign in the 1970s, said he joined Dallas-based Cawley International because he didn't feel the same excitement or challenge from the sports business that he once did. Thomas will retain his board seat on the Southwestern Bell/SMU Athletic Forum and will continue doing spots about sports business on the Dallas sports-talk radio station KTCK-1310 ("The Ticket").

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

  Panthers launch ad campaign
  The Florida Panthers launched a $1 million ad campaign that debuted this month from Zimmerman & Partners Advertising, Fort Lauderdale. The managing partner at the agency, Jordan Zimmerman, is part of the team's new ownership group. The Panthers are showcasing players and new ticket packages in an effort to draw fans closer to the team. The new campaign has the theme "One Goal. Win."

  Citrix tournament changes name
  The formerly titled Citrix Tennis Championships in Delray Beach will now be called the International Tennis Championships, founder and director Mark Baron said. Baron is seeking to secure a new title sponsor for the event because Citrix Systems did not renew its title sponsorship following last year's tournament. The 2002 tournament, which will be played March 4-10 at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, is an ATP International Series event with a 32-player singles draw and prize money that has increased from $350,000 to $400,000.

HOUSTON

  Enron donating sign space to United Way
  Enron Corp. is giving up some of its primary naming-rights signage to the United Way in what officials say is a first for a corporate naming-rights sponsor. The United Way sign was installed Sept. 28 and will be on display through the 2002 season. The United Way logo also will be on display on the PacWest race car sponsored by Enron to be driven in the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston.

  Reliant holds 'topping out' ceremony
 Reliant Stadium held its topping out ceremony Oct. 1, imitating a custom that dates back to Viking times. A tree was placed at the top of the structure to symbolize good luck for future occupants: RodeoHouston and the Houston Texans, who begin playing there in 2002.

INDIANAPOLIS

 Grand Prix attendance dips 25,000
  Attendance for the second annual U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis, the nation's only Formula One race, was approximately 175,000, according to Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials. This year's attendance was down more than 25,000 from the inaugural event, but IMS President Tony George said the crowd is what he expected and he plans to host the event for at least another three years. Since IMS gets no TV contract revenue for hosting the race, it relies heavily on ticket sales, parking and concessions to keep the event operating in the black. Officials for the F1 sanctioning body voiced a commitment to the event, with F1 owner Bernie Ecclestone saying he expects the event to be held in Indianapolis "for the next 25 years."

  Safari moves facility to Indianapolis
  Officials for Safari Associates, with headquarters in New York and Amsterdam, announced they are moving their production facilities to Indianapolis to work with officials from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the United States Auto Club and other racing properties there. Safari completed a test of its soft-wall technology at the Indianapolis Speedrome, another local track, for about 50 people connected with Indianapolis-based motorsports enterprises.

JACKSONVILLE

 Coach's cap on sale for relief fund
  Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin's FDNY cap is up for grabs on eBay. Coughlin wore the cap throughout the Jaguars' victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 23 to pay tribute to the New York firefighters lost when the World Trade Center towers collapsed following terrorist attacks Sept. 11. Proceeds will benefit the Auction for America relief program. The NFL and NFL Players Association aim to raise $100 million in 100 days to support families and communities affected by the terrorist attacks. Fans can go to jaguars.com and click on the Coughlin icon to make a bid or go to nfl.com and click on the Auctions icon, which links to eBay. Coughlin's son escaped from the World Trade Center just before the towers collapsed. Coughlin was the New York Giants' receivers coach from 1988 to 1990 and helped lead the team to its Super Bowl XXV victory.

  Dalton on board for Super Bowl bid
  Jacksonville's Super Bowl Host Committee is sticking to its original game plan, signing The Dalton Agency as its agency of record. The agency, which also represents the Jacksonville Jaguars and reports $20 million in annual billings, helped create the committee's bid to lure Super Bowl XXXIX to Jacksonville. Dalton developed the nautical theme that will continue throughout the campaign. The agency will handle all public relations activities and develop and sell sponsorship activities. The host committee's original budget estimated $5 million in sponsorship dollars.

KANSAS CITY

 NASCAR inaugural draws sell-out crowd
 
The Protection One 400, the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., sold out before a crowd of about 100,000 on Sept. 30.

LOWELL, MASS.

  Spinners break team attendance mark
 
The Lowell Spinners baseball team may have finished 10 games under .500 and 19 games out of first place, but that did not stop fans from attending LeLacheur Park this summer. The Spinners, a Class A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, set a new attendance record by drawing 185,000 fans, breaking their record of 180,077 fans set in 1999. For the second year in a row, the Spinners sold every ticket possible, including standing-room tickets for every home game this year. (A standing-room capacity sellout is 5,000 fans at LeLacheur Park.) In fact, the Spinners have now sold out 87 consecutive games, a streak that started in August 1999.

MIAMI

 Ballpark proposal hits another roadblock
  The terrorist attacks are having an economic impact on south Florida tourism and, in turn, a key element in the financing plan for a new Florida Marlins stadium in Miami. The team said it is best to delay negotiations for a new ballpark, according to a Sun-Sentinel report. Miami city manager Carlos Gimenez said a key piece of the stadium funding plan relies heavily on hotel taxes.

  Heat decides yellow seats must go
  The Miami Heat has decided to change the color scheme of the bright yellow seats in the lower bowl at AmericanAirlines Arena. The team has been criticized because the color accentuates sparse crowds to the TV audience. The team said last year that it was in a dispute with chair manufacturers over the stain coatings and that it would consider the change in color for that reason, and not because of the criticism.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

  3 partners sponsor hockey equipment grants
  The Minnesota Wild, Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. and Minnesota Hockey will again sponsor the Equipment Grant Program titled Play Our Game. Applications for the grants, which go toward increasing the number of participants playing hockey, are available through local associations of Minnesota Hockey, the governing body of amateur hockey in Minnesota.

  Vikes' workshop puts women in the huddle
  The Minnesota Vikings will hold their Football Workshop for Women event on Saturday. Instructions on the fundamentals of the game will be taught by coaches and players at the Winter Park Fieldhouse in Eden Prairie. Tickets are $35, and one participant will win a leather Vikings jacket from Brooklyn Park-based Wilsons.

MONTREAL

  NLL team's home opener on Sportsnet
 
The Montreal Express begins play in the National Lacrosse League during the upcoming 2001-02 season, set to start in November. The Express will play eight home games at Montreal's Molson Centre. The Express home opener against the Calgary Roughnecks on Nov. 30 will be televised live across Canada on Sportsnet. Sportsnet will carry about 30 NLL games this season, covering the regular season and playoffs. The Express has a Web site in English, expressdemontreal.com, and in French, expressdemontreal.ca.

ORLANDO

  College hubcap company turns patriotic
  Clever Covers Inc. of Orlando, best known for its collegiate hubcaps and merchandise, has introduced a line of patriotic hubcaps. The hubcaps are made of PVC plastic and attach directly to a vehicle's wheels. The company will donate 10 percent of the revenue from sales of the wheel covers to the September 11th Fund, set up after last month's terrorist attacks in New York.

  Magic points to new season
 After spending all summer beefing up its roster, the Orlando Magic now is prepping for the season. The Magic organization held a press conference before the team headed to the University of South Florida in Tampa for training camp. Tickets, ranging in price from $10 to $50, went on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. The sale is part of a leaguewide initiative dubbed "NBA On-Sale," which is designed to give fans first crack at purchasing individual-game tickets. The Magic's first preseason game will be against the Miami Heat in Orlando at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

PHILADELPHIA

  Trading cards to mark Sixers highlights
  The Philadelphia 76ers have formed a partnership with Fleer Trading Cards of Mount Laurel, N.J., to create a special limited set of seven trading cards commemorating "special moments" from the team's 2000-01 season. A total of 10,000 individually numbered sets will be distributed by the team to season-ticket holders, employees and sponsors.

  Private golf club hosts Twin Towers benefit
  The famed, private Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Valley, N.J., will open its doors to non-members two days this month as part of a fund-raising effort for the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York City. The first 140 people who returned entry forms, along with a check for $1,000 made out to the Twin Towers Fund, will get to golf at Pine Valley on Oct. 15. Because of the overwhelming response to the offer, Pine Valley added a second day for another 124 golfers on Oct. 22.

  Bowa bobblehead draws huge walk-up crowd
  The Philadelphia Phillies had to give some fans vouchers when the demand for Larry Bowa bobblehead dolls exceeded demand. A total of 38,602 fans, including 16,119 walk-ups, attended the team's Sept. 27 game against the Reds. The walk-up crowd was the largest at Veterans Stadium in 19 years. The Phillies had 36,000 Bowa bobblehead dolls on hand to give to fans in the promotion sponsored by SuperPretzel, a product of J&J Snack Foods Corp. of Pennsauken, N.J.

  Pitcher's T-shirts aid victims of attacks
  Majestic, a sports apparel company, has agreed to distribute two T-shirts designed by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Nelson Figueroa to raise money for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

PITTSBURGH

  Oakmont lands U.S. Open tournament
 
Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh will be the site of the 2007 U.S. Open. The event, scheduled for June 2007, will be the second major golf championship to be played at Oakmont during a four-year period. The United States Golf Association earlier this year announced the U.S. Men's Amateur Championship will be played at Oakmont in 2003.

SACRAMENTO

 City weighs running baseball team
 
The City Council of nearby Marysville is entertaining the idea of running a baseball team, though the city was clear it would hire professional management and not participate in the team's operations. There was no vote, just an indication that the city would entertain the proposal by Jim Goldsmith, owner of the Arizona franchise The Valley Vipers of the Western Baseball League, an independent professional league, to move the team to Yuba County to play at Bryant Field for the 2002 season. The city is still paying $86,000 annually for installing bleachers at Bryant Field for the Feather River Mudcats of the Western Baseball League. The Mudcats suspended operations, leaving the city with an improved park and no team. Neither the Mudcats nor the Valley Vipers played this season, but both are still licensed franchises. The city and Goldsmith are continuing negotiations over how much Goldsmith would have to pay to lease the stadium.

SAN DIEGO

  Speed Festival canceled, returning in 2002
  What was to be the fifth annual Chrysler-Jeep Classic Speed Festival on the runways of Naval Air Station-North Island on Coronado has been canceled. The racing event for vintage cars, annually part of the Culligan Holiday Bowl events lineup, was scheduled for Oct. 20-21. Increased security at the naval base since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks forced the cancellation. Planning has begun for the 2002 event.

  Fujikura's golf-shaft plant closing
  The Fujikura Composites America plant in suburban Vista will close Nov. 6, putting 114 employees who make graphite golf shafts out of work. The company blamed the shutdown on low-cost competition from factories in China. Poway-based Aldila Inc. closed two of its golf-shaft factories in Tijuana earlier this year after it built and opened a shaft plant in mainland China. Fujikura produced golf shafts for TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, Cleveland Golf, Orlimar Golf and others at its Vista location.

SAN FRANCISCO

  WBC super featherweight coming to town
  San Francisco has been named host to the WBC world super featherweight title fight scheduled for Nov. 10, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Floyd Mayweather is scheduled to defend his title against No. 1 WBC contender Jesus Chavez at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It is the first title fight of any kind to come to San Francisco since 1968, when Sonny Liston knocked out Henry Clark at the Cow Palace in nearby Daly City, the Chronicle said. On the undercard, IBF super bantamweight champion Manny Pacquiao will face WBO champ Agapito Sanchez.

  Air Jordan sets Warriors ticket sales aloft
  The Golden State Warriors sold more than 100 new full-season ticket packages and 600 "mini-plans" the week of Sept. 24, when Michael Jordan announced his plan to play again. The Warriors super-sized a seven-game, upper-bowl mini-plan into eight (for $160 total), adding the only Warriors-Wizards tilt in Oakland on March 18. The Warriors' 14-game plan — costing $336 to $1,330 — also includes the Washington game. "It's no different from how we packaged it when it was Michael Jordan and the Bulls," Warriors COO Robert Rowell told the San Francisco Business Times. Overall, sales of Warriors 41-game, full-season tickets are up only 3 percent to 4 percent, Rowell said. While renewals are slow, he said, sales of new season tickets are up 20 percent.

  Stanford tourney nets funds for charity
  Thirty-two teams signed up for "Market Madness," a three-on-three basketball tournament that debuted Sept. 30 at Stanford University's Maples Pavilion to raise money for the Positive Coaching Alliance. Teams for the invitation-only event, according to the San Jose Mercury News, were sponsored by venture capital firms, tech companies, investment banks and consulting firms. Each had to pay $5,000. More than $100,000 went to the Positive Coaching Alliance, Stanford's attempt to tone down the competitive nature of youth sports, with other proceeds to benefit victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

ST. LOUIS

  Online sales for playoff tix
 
The St. Louis Cardinals turned to the Internet for the first time to sell tickets for the division playoff series. Online sales made up a third of the 32,394 tickets sold as of 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1, said Kevin Wade, vice president of ticket sales for the Cardinals. The prices ranged from $20 to $34 a seat. Major League Baseball gave the Cardinals and other teams in the running for the first round of playoffs permission on Sept. 26 to sell tickets. As of Thursday, the team was tied with the Houston Astros for first place in the National League Central Division.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

 USF launches 'bull'board campaign
  The University of South Florida introduced a new billboard campaign in Tampa and St. Petersburg to promote this season's football games at Raymond James Stadium. Space for the Bulls' boards was donated by the outdoor advertising divisions of Clear Channel Communications Inc. and Viacom Inc. to present the image of a football with horns and a nose ring. The billboard design was created by Moore Epstein Moore, a Tampa ad agency that created a smiling football earlier this year to promote Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

  City officials consider accepting freebies
  City officials in Dunedin, the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, are rethinking their policy about accepting freebies from the Major League Baseball franchise. Officials considered banning acceptance of game tickets and other perks from the Jays, until some city commissioners pointed out that using the tickets to attract more fans is a good business practice. Dunedin leaders have accepted at least $34,000 worth of gifts from the Jays and Canada's government during the past decade, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

TORONTO

  Raptors add preseason game
  The Toronto Raptors added a preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Thursday at Air Canada Centre to make up for a canceled game originally scheduled for Saturday in Germany. Upper-bowl tickets will be available $35 and $15 ($22.75 and $9.75 U.S.) and lower-bowl for $80 and $60 ($52 and $39 U.S.). The Raptors said top seats will be available because the game is not part of season-ticket packages. The NBA canceled the Raptors' and Timberwolves' European trip after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

  Retirees launch NHL Alumni group
  About 50 retired NHLers, including Andy Bathgate, Johnny Bower, Marcel Dionne, Ted Lindsay and Henri Richard, staged a launch celebration for the NHL Alumni Association at The Liberty Grand on Exhibition Place grounds. The event introduced and recognized the alumni association's corporate partners and raised money for the Children's Miracle Network charity. The association represents about 3,700 former NHL players.

WASHINGTON

 United, Freedom to play doubleheader
 
D.C. United and the Washington Freedom will participate in a doubleheader with the professional soccer teams from New York at RFK Stadium on Nov. 3 to raise funds for those affected by the Sept. 11 tragedy. The Freedom will first play the New York Power at 5 p.m., followed by D.C. United taking on the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. The Nov. 3 game is part of a series that also will include an Oct. 28 game at Giants Stadium in The Meadowlands, N.J. Tickets are $20, with all proceeds going to the relief and recovery efforts in New York and Washington. Because of the events of Sept. 11, the MLS canceled all remaining regular-season games, including two United games scheduled for RFK Stadium. United tickets originally intended for the Sept. 15 game against Miami will be honored at the gate for the doubleheader Nov. 3.

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