SBJ/October 15 - 21, 2001/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast


 Hawks coach to speak to Sports Council
  Atlanta Hawks head coach Lon Kruger will headline the Atlanta Sports Council's Tipoff Luncheon on Thursday. Other speakers include Georgia Tech men's basketball coach Paul Hewitt, women's coach Agnus Berenato, Georgia State University men's basketball coach Lefty Driesell, women's coach Lea Henry, UGA men's coach Jim Harrick and Lady Dogs head coach Andy Landers. The luncheon will be held at noon at Philips Arena. Tickets are $25.

  Hawks get secondary logo
  The NBA Hawks unveiled a secondary team logo, a side view of the current Hawk that was created by illustrator Dick Sakahara. "The secondary logo offers our fans, players and organization new and additional opportunities to display their love of the Hawks" said Lee Douglas, the team's executive vice president.


  Nike near new deal with Tar Heels
The University of North Carolina appears to be near a deal that would keep Nike in place as the system's apparel provider. The deal would replace UNC's current five-year, $7.1 million contract with the Beaverton, Ore., footwear and apparel giant — an agreement that will expire June 30. University officials would not comment on the terms of the new deal.


 Race City wants NASCAR cop cars
  The town board of Mooresville, located just north of Charlotte, voted Oct. 1 to ask NASCAR corporate sponsors to donate police cars to the city. The cars would be marked with the sponsor's name and race team number, as well as official police logos and identification. The cruisers cost $30,000 each. Mooresville, home to a fleet of NASCAR teams, already dubs itself "Race City USA."

  Hornets sign 2-year radio deal
  Some good news for the Charlotte Hornets: The NBA team has signed a two-year radio broadcast deal with WBT-AM. Does this mean the team and station are confident the Bugs aren't on the move? "That's right, I said a two-year deal," says Harold Kaufman, team spokesman. The deal begins with the 2001-02 season.

  Panthers give turf another try
  The Carolina Panthers were again replacing sod at Ericsson Stadium last week, this time after an embarrassing home opener Sept. 30 that led to criticism from players, broadcasters and fans. Team officials wouldn't say how much the replacement — which follows a preseason re-sodding — cost. The NFL Players Association last season voted Ericsson the second-best playing surface in the league.

  Wizards games hot sellers
  The Hornets sold out both dates with the Washington Wizards and will remove seating tarps in order to sell an additional 4,000 tickets for each game.

  Checkers get radio deal
  WNMX-FM will broadcast Charlotte Checkers games this season, marking the third consecutive season the station will carry the minor league hockey team's games. This season, the Checkers plan to air 30 of 36 away games on the radio. The team won't air home games this season, a decision described as an experiment by team officials.

  Hornets beef up security
  The Hornets announced increased security that will be used for the 2001-02 NBA season. Among the measures: More security personnel inside and outside the Charlotte Coliseum; inspecting all briefcases and pocketbooks; large bags, coolers and backpacks will be prohibited; fans will not be allowed to re-enter the building; all vehicles without proper identification must be parked at least 100 feet from the building; all media and others with access to restricted areas will be required to produce a photo ID; and all bags and equipment will be subjected to inspection.


  Judge reaffirms Reds ruling
  A Hamilton County judge denied the Cincinnati Reds' request for a new trial regarding a decision ordering the team to pay $6.5 million in back rent to taxpayers for use of Cinergy Field. Judge Robert Kraft blasted the team, Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati for ignoring the lawsuit filed by a Cincinnati man in 1996 to get the team to pay up. The judge ruled in August that the team would have to pay the back rent because it is still playing at Cinergy Field under terms of an old lease.

  Reds take hit at gate
  The Reds had MLB's largest drop in attendance this season, a loss of almost 600,000 fans. The team said it would have to reconsider some personnel decisions based on the lost revenue.


  IceRays name hospital provider
The Corpus Christi IceRays of the Central Hockey League named Bayside Hospital as their official hospital provider for the 2001-2002 season.


  Sport-Haley loses money
Denver-based Sport-Haley Inc., which makes golf apparel, saw its sales drop 6 percent during the fiscal year that ended June 30, to $21.7 million. The company, which earned $1 million last year, lost $766,000 this year. Sport-Haley blamed the drop on several factors, including a slowing economy and tough competition.


  Storm unveils logo
The New Jersey Storm of the National Lacrosse League unveiled its logo. The Storm, owned by former New Jersey Nets player Jayson Williams, begin play in November as an expansion team in the thirteen-team NLL. The Storm open at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford on Nov. 30 against the New York Saints. The game will be carried live on the CNN/Sports Illustrated Network. The name Storm is a tribute to Williams' alma mater, the Saint John's Red Storm.


  Speedway gets new races
California Speedway President Bill Miller and Indy Racing League CEO Tony George said the speedway will host an Indy Racing League 400-mile event on March 24. The race will be televised live on ESPN2. Miller and Grand American Road Racing Association President Roger Edmondson also announced that the inaugural event on the speedway's new road course will be a 400-mile sports car race on March 23 in conjunction with the new Indy Racing League event.


  Golf group publishes book of vignettes
  The PGA of America has produced a 288-page book called "A Spirit of Golf: Stories from Those Who Love the Game." The book features vignettes authored by many of the game's best known players, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, JoAnne Carner and Paul Runyan. Stories range from a PGA member giving lessons to a reputed mobster at midnight to the ingenious construction of the "special club" designed for Alan Shepard's famous moon shot.

  TEKgroup issues Winter Games product
  TEKgroup International released the Winter Games edition of its Games Manager entertainment package. Available games within the Winter Games edition are the Winter Trivia Game, Race to Salt Lake City Game, Medal Challenge Game and Memory Match Game. TEKgroup is an Internet software and services company focused on creating integrated browser-based solutions that help meet business needs for the sports, media, and entertainment industries.


 Grand Prix attendance falls
Ticket sales for the Texaco/Havoline Grand Prix of Houston dropped by 9 percent – from 103,000 in 2000 to 93,700 this year. Organizers say the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks affected ticket sales, and America's counterattack lowered attendance on the race's final day, Oct. 7. A spokesman also blamed downtown road construction and the uncertainty as to whether the Houston Astros would make the MLB playoffs.


  F1 ratings please IMS' George
  Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George said he was pleased with the 1.1 Nielson overnight rating garnered by the 2nd annual U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Though the broadcast carried by ABC rivaled ratings this year from most CART and Indy Racing League events, it was far off NASCAR, which routinely has telecast races with ratings in the 5.0 range. George said he is hopeful his influence with ABC and ESPN will cause the networks to pick up the Formula One series full time.

  ABA and local franchise set for season
  Officials for the Indianapolis-based ABA professional basketball league will kick off their second season in December. The league concluded last year with abbreviated playoffs amid financial difficulties.


  Gator Bowl-ers visit Pitt
  The Gator Bowl Association traveled to the University of Pittsburgh's Oct. 13 game against Syracuse for a look at Pittsburgh's new $281 million stadium, which the team shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh officials honored the Gator Bowl Association for its support of the Big East Conference and college football.

  Golf Management gets work
  Golf Management Inc. was tapped to make major renovations to the 36-hole Polo Club at Boca Raton and to design new properties for Old Hickory Golf Club in Prince William County, Va., and Lighthouse Links in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island. Golf course architect Tim Freeland founded the company after 10 years as the lead architect at Gary Player Design.

  Benefit tennis tourney on tap
  The SeniorRITA Tennis Tournament to benefit breast cancer research is slated for next weekend at Sawgrass Country Club in Ponte Vedra. The event includes a tennis tournament open to women 40 and older and a silent auction. Auction items include trips to Wimbledon and the Australian Open. Last year's event raised $26,000 for the RITA (Research Is The Answer) Foundation, split between Baptist Medical Center Beaches and the Mayo Clinic.

  Golf tournament moved
  The 2001 Senior Slam, originally scheduled for Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort on Grand Bahama Island, instead will tee off at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine. Senior PGA Tour spokesman Jeff Adams cited "factors related to Sept. 11" among reasons for the move, but wouldn't give specifics.


  Missouri gets $25M donation
The University of Missouri signed an agreement with anonymous donors pledging $25 million to build a proposed $75 million basketball arena. Missouri wants the 16,000-seat arena to open for the 2004-05 season. The donation is contingent on the state of Missouri's selling of $35 million in bonds this year. The remaining $15 million would come from other university funds and donations.


  New name: Saddle Up America
The Horse Industry Alliance board of directors announced "Saddle Up America" as the new name for the association. "The crux of our mission is to raise public awareness of the opportunities and benefits of being involved with horses," said Chairman John Nicholson. The organization serves as the marketing arm for the horse industry. The national organization's more than 100 members represent all segments of the horse world, from breed associations and businesses to educational institutions and individual supporters. Saddle Up America actually was the name of a national initiative introduced in May 2000 to educate, entertain and enlighten the public about horses and the overall industry.


  Henry says Marlins will be back
  Marlins owner John Henry guaranteed the Florida Marlins will come back next season, despite a paid crowd of just over 8,000 at the final home game of the season. The Marlins held a staff meeting with their employees last week to assure them that all would have jobs next year, according to the Miami Herald.

  Speedway has big impact
  Homestead-Miami Speedway provided a $174 million economic impact to South Florida last year, according to a report compiled by Sport Management Research Institute of Weston, Fla. The total economic impact includes both major events at the speedway — the NASCAR Winston Cup Pennzoil 400 and the Grand Prix of Miami — as well as minor events staged throughout the year such as time-trials, racing schools and testing sessions.

  Dolphins work with schools
  The Miami Dolphins and Pro Player Stadium have partnered with both Broward and Miami-Dade public schools on several extensive programs. The most visible component of the school program is the "Pro Player Stadium/Miami Dolphins Student of the Week" presentation during the first quarter break of all regular season home games. One student each from various schools in Broward and Miami- Dade is honored and recognized for their achievements.


  Twins donated tix to last series
  The Minnesota Twins, in conjunction with Fox Sports Net, donated more than 1,200 tickets to volunteers from the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and Memorial Blood Centers of Minnesota for the team's last weekend series of the season against the Chicago White Sox. The Twins finished their best season since 1992 by winning two out of three from the Chicago White Sox. The team drew 46,643 fans for the three games, bringing the season total to 1,782,926 for 80 home games (including a doubleheader). That's the highest season attendance since 1993.

  Wild form foundation
  The Minnesota Wild announced formation of the 10,000 Rinks Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money for youth hockey and other community groups. The 10,000 Rinks Foundation primarily focuses on partnering with key amateur hockey organizations and supporting youth oriented groups throughout Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Through leadership, inspiration and education, the foundation works to teach children life lessons so they may become better teammates, both on and off the ice. In cash and in-kind donations, the 10,000 Rinks Foundation has contributed more than $900,000 since its inception last year. Children's Hospital and Clinics is the featured partner of the foundation. Children's Hospitals and Clinics champions the special health needs of children and their families and is committed to improving children's health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services.


  Predators host field trip
The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone/ Firestone hosted the community's second annual "Cool School Field Trip" on Sept. 25 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Highlighted by a Predators preseason game against the Atlanta Thrashers, about 15,000 fifth- through eighth-grade students from Metro Nashville public schools, Rutherford County and Williamson County attended the event. Bridgestone/Firestone has also partnered with the Predators to host attendance, art and essay contests for students.

  Team offers new ticket plans
  The Nashville Predators created a 10-game season-ticket package for the 2001-02 season. The team's new "Family Fun Pack" offers 10 games, including many weekend dates, in the $27 and $33 price range. There are two 10-game plans to choose from.


 Company gives away flag patches
Boathouse Sports, a manufacturer of custom athletic outerwear for high schools and colleges, is helping athletic teams that want to show their patriotic support following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. CEO John Strotbeck said the company is providing schools with up to 100 2-inch-by-3-inch American flag patches free of charge. "This is our small way of helping schools across the nation display their support for victims, their families and our country," Strotbeck said.


  City readies Torch celebration
The Olympic Torch will come through Sac-ramento on Jan. 19 on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olym-pics. Sacramento-area organizations and agencies are coordinating a celebration with food, music and other entertainment.


  Buick tourney gives $852,000
  The Buick Invitational will distribute a tournament-record $852,000 to more than 90 organizations and high schools from proceeds from the 2001 event. The figure represents the single largest amount of funds earmarked for local charities in the 49-year history of the tournament.

  Callaway sues Dunlop over ball
  Carlsbad, Calif.-based Callaway Golf Co. has sued Dunlop Slazenger Group Americas Inc., claiming infringement on a golf ball patent. In a federal lawsuit filed Oct. 3 in Delaware, Callaway contends that Dunlop infringed on a Callaway ball design that features dimples of varying diameters. Callaway's design patent was issued in April. Officials for Dunlop were not available for immediate comment on the matter, according to a published report.


  Bonds merchandise is hot seller
  The San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball and sports apparel firm Fila are pitching memorabilia for new home run king Barry Bonds. Through Oct. 25, will reward the online store's big spender of the day with a baseball autographed by Bonds. Major League Baseball, through its site, offered assorted Bonds paraphernalia, from a home jersey for $159.95 to a bobblehead doll for $14.95. The Giants offered commemorative home-run record T-shirts showing Bonds swinging his bat in front of a large "71."

  Giants promote stand-by season tix
  Quick to use Barry Bonds' pursuit of the single-season home run record and a down-to-the-wire pennant race, the San Francisco Giants are promoting the team's "On Deck Seatholder" plan. With a $200 per-seat deposit, a buyer's name goes on a waiting list that gives the person the right to buy individual game tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

  Game-maker keeps Jordan rights
  Electronic Arts, the NBA and Michael Jordan's attorneys worked out a deal that allows EA to retain exclusive rights to use Jordan and his image in the marketing of the "NBA Live" and "NBA Street" video games. EA relinquished its exclusive right to Jordan's image in those games, allowing other video-game makers to insert Jordan into their games, said EA spokesman Ben Brinkman. "NBA Live" is due to hit stores the first week of November. "NBA Street" was distributed in June.


  Earthquakes hold art contest
For the third straight year, local children will have the chance to display their artistic flair on San Jose Earthquakes' season tickets. The Earthquakes and Washington Mutual have teamed to create a contest, which runs from today through Nov. 10, for children in grades K-8. The contest encourages young artists to draw a picture of what soccer and/or the San Jose Earthquakes means to them. Fifteen winners will have their drawings replicated on the Earthquakes' 2002 season tickets.


  Mariners prices on the rise
Season-ticket prices for Seattle Mariners games will increase by about $2 a game in 2002, and single-game tickets will increase by as much as $4 for some seats. The cost of a season pass for a box seat will increase from $34 to $36 a game in 2002. A box seat bought for a single game will increase from $36 to $40. Nearly all season-ticket prices have been increased by $2, except for view reserved seats, which will go from $14 to $15 next year. Single-game tickets will increase anywhere from $1 to $4, depending on the section.


  St. Louis wins if Cards win
St. Louis can expect an economic boost of $2.8 million for each Major League Baseball playoff game at Busch Stadium, according to economic estimates compiled by the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association's staff economist, Bryan Bezold. Any home games would be a shot in the arm for the hotel industry, which normally has close to 70 percent occupancy in October but almost ground to a halt after Sept. 11, said Gary Andreas, a hospitality industry analyst with Tellatin, Andreas & Short in Chesterfield, Mo.


  Local teams all play in one day
  The Tampa Bay sports market experienced a rare sports trifecta when all three of its major league teams played home games Oct. 7. The centerpiece was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' late-afternoon game with the Green Bay Packers at Raymond James Stadium, attended by a sellout crowd of 65,510. Before that, the Devil Rays hosted the New York Yankees in a game that had been postponed after the Sept. 11 attacks, with a 24,075 announced attendance at Tropicana Field. For the nightcap, 12,658 fans attended the Tampa Bay Lightning's hockey match against the Florida Panthers at the Ice Palace.

  Ice Palace adds NBA preseason game
  The Ice Palace added a second NBA preseason contest to its October schedule. A game between the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers is scheduled for Sunday. The game originally was scheduled to be played in Mexico City.


  Wizards thank rescue workers with tix
Fans are scrambling to get their hands on tickets to see Michael Jordan play for the Washington Wizards, but one group will have guaranteed seats. Local police, fire, search and rescue, military and medical employees are invited to attend a team scrimmage Tuesday at MCI Center. The event, sponsored by Comcast SportsNet, is being held exclusively for the rescuers in Greater Washington.

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