SBJ/November 26 - December 2, 2001/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

 NBA, Time Warner to get game?

The NBA and AOL Time Warner may team up to establish a basketball cable TV channel. According to reports in The New York Times, talks "are focused on creating a jointly owned network that could show the majority of the league's cable TV games." The league also is in talks with ESPN about a possible programming package.

BOSTON

 Reebok outfits NBDL

Canton, Mass.-based Reebok International Ltd. is the exclusive provider of team uniforms and athletic footwear for the new National Basketball Development League. In connection with the deal, Reebok will introduce the program Reebok On Court, which will provide young people with the opportunity to play in-arena and on-court before and after NBDL games.

CHARLOTTE

 Chamber hires arena consultant

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce has retained arena consultant Rick Horrow to help the city find a solution for the NBA Hornets. Horrow is helping local business leaders devise a plan to privately develop a new arena aimed at keeping the team in Charlotte. The Hornets say they are losing $12 million a year in 13-year-old Charlotte Coliseum.

CINCINNATI

 New ballpark meets minority, women goal

Project managers for the Cincinnati Reds’ new Great American Ball Park reported that 12 percent of the contracts for the project have gone to minority-owned businesses and 3.8 percent have gone to women-owned businesses. Hamilton County, which is using proceeds from the 1996 sales tax increase to fund construction of the ballpark, has a goal of 15 percent participation by minority- and women-owned businesses. Great American Ball Park is scheduled to open in 2003.

COLUMBUS

 Jackets continue sellout streak

The Blue Jackets have begun the season with 10 straight sellouts, pushing their sellout streak at Nationwide Arena (capacity 18,136) to 25 consecutive games. The last non-sellout at Nationwide Arena was Jan. 21 against Tampa Bay (17,652). The current streak began Jan. 26 against Anaheim. The team's 25 consecutive sellouts is the fifth-longest current streak in the NHL.

DENVER

 Gart grows, adds 5 locations

Denver-based Gart Sports continues to grow with the opening of another five locations. The stores opened in Illinois, California, Texas and Minnesota. Gart Sports is the second-largest sporting goods retailer in the United States, with 182 stores in 25 states including the latest five. Gart Sports owns the Gart Sports, Oshman's and Sportmart brands.

 Benton out as Rockies owner

Oren Benton will be out as an owner of the Colorado Rockies. Other owners have voted to buy Benton's 23.7 percent stake from U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Benton, who made his fortune in uranium, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1995. The amount Benton's fellow team owners will pay for his share hasn't been publicly revealed.

 Book details building of stadium

A new book is out detailing the construction of the new Denver Broncos stadium. "Sunday Best: The Making of a Stadium, Invesco Field at Mile High" runs for 224 pages and was written by eight Denver-area high school graduates who earned college credit for the project. The books are $50 each and are available from the Hibbett Group in Denver and at area bookstores.

DETROIT

 118-foot-tall Stackhouse to loom over city

The Southfield Town Center, Michigan’s largest suburban multitenant office complex, will display the largest known basketball adhesive image in the world. The 118-foot-high, 33-foot-wide action shot of Detroit Pistons guard Jerry Stackhouse will adorn the top 12 stories of the 32-floor 3000 Town Center Building. The display will take two days to set in place, according to Northstar Imaging, the creator and installer of the image. It is made utilizing a new technology with a 3M perforated window film.

GREENVILLE, S.C.

   Global Spectrum to manage Palmetto Expo

The city of Greenville has selected Global Spectrum, the Philadelphia-based facility management company, for full management of the 456,000-square-foot Palmetto Expo Center, one of the largest exhibit, convention and conference centers in the Southeast. Global Spectrum, which has added six convention and expo centers to its management roster this year, was selected by a nine-member city panel over three other facility management firms.

INDIANAPOLIS

 IRL development league sets start date

The Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, the new Indy Racing League developmental series, will debut July 7 at Kansas Speedway. This is the first of seven anticipated Infiniti Pro Series events in 2002. Races will take place at the same track and on the same day as Indy Racing Northern Light Series events, with every Infiniti Pro Series race distance set at 100 miles.

KANSAS CITY

 Arena construction to start in spring

Backers of an 8,000-seat minor league arena in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, Kan., expect to begin construction in the spring. A fall 2003 opening is anticipated by Myriad Development Corp. of Topeka, Kan. No teams have been signed. The project designer is Ellerbe Becket of Kansas City. The $85 million project will be supported by tax increment financing, which applies new taxes to help finance construction. Also planned are a 200-room full-service hotel, 35,000-square-foot conference center and 60,000-square-foot office building.

MIAMI

 Griggs' estate gets $10 million settlement

A week before a trial on damages and after a lengthy mediation, construction contractor Gilbert Southern and the Florida Department of Transportation settled with former Miami Dolphins star David Griggs' estate for more than $10 million. In a liability trial in June, a jury found that Griggs' death was primarily caused by improper road construction and faulty maintenance, which caused drainage problems resulting in the huge hole that Griggs hit. Griggs died on June 19, 1995, when he lost control of his car while exiting the Florida Turnpike and proceeding onto ramps adjacent to Interstate 595 in Davie. Griggs was 28.

MILWAUKEE

 Low-power station to carry basketball

Milwaukee-area fans of Marquette University and University of Wisconsin men's basketball may want to get out the old rabbit-ear antennas as they prepare to watch televised games this season. That's because low-power station W41CI (Channel 41) is tentatively scheduled to carry as many as seven Marquette and 14 Wisconsin games. Channel 41 is not available on cable to the vast majority of Milwaukee-area viewers.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

 Men sue MasterCard over commercials

The Associated Press reported that two Twins fans have sued MasterCard International alleging the company stole ideas from the men's documentary for its commercials about two guys traveling from ballpark to ballpark in a Volkswagen van. According to the suit, MasterCard's commercials used a van with the same coloring as the VW van the two fans, David Hoch and Joe Marble, used in their documentary, and the commercials use similar music and video shots. The suit seeks unspecified damages and a ban on further use of the commercials. The documentary, titled "Twins — Now and Forever," has been shown at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., the suit says. The suit alleges MasterCard and its ad agency, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, violated the copyright on the documentary. A spokeswoman for the ad agency said last week she hadn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment. Representatives of MasterCard couldn't be reached for comment.

 Fans rally to keep Twins

About 4,000 people attended a rally Nov. 18 outside the Metrodome staged by Paul Ridgeway, leader of Keep the Twins at Home. The organization, which is a group of Twin Cities citizens trying to convince Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig not to eliminate the Twins' franchise, has accumulated nearly 85,000 signatures on petitions. When not rallying to save the Twins, Ridgeway is chairman of Ridgeway International, a Twin Cities special events company.

 Stringer may have taken stimulant

Korey Stringer was seen taking a now-banned dietary supplement on the morning of his final practice, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Though a toxicology report appears to indicate the absence of any banned substance in his system at the time of his death, two players told team officials they think he took Ripped Fuel, an over-the-counter supplement that contains the stimulant ephedrine, on the morning of July 31. Ephedrine was banned by the NFL on Sept. 27 along with other stimulants that can increase heart rate, boost blood pressure and contribute to dehydration, according to CNNSI.com. Kelci Stringer, wife of the late Vikings lineman, told CNNSI.com that the paper's story is "hogwash" and "bogus," and said it is an effort by the team to discredit her husband. The team retired Stringer's number during its Nov. 19 game against the New York Giants.

NASHVILLE

 Titans players own franchise

Several members of the Tennessee Titans are exclusive franchise owners for Athlete's Foot outlets in Tennessee, and they have now opened the second of 20 planned locations slated for underserved areas of the state. Jason Fisk, Chris Sanders, Eddie Robinson and Henry Ford were on hand at the Harding Mall store's opening in Nashville last Friday. Fisk, Robinson and Ford, along with retired Titan Mike Jones, are the franchise owners. All are a part of the Athletes Building Better Communities program, of which the store openings are a part.

NEW YORK

 New race for Road Runners

The New York Road Runners announced the creation of a new race, the United We Run 4-Miler, to be run Sunday at 10 a.m. in Central Park. All runners are encouraged to come out wearing something red, white and blue for the loop-course race and to make whatever donation possible to the Twin Towers Fund and the September 11th Fund. Before the race, NYRR officials will present two checks totaling $250,000, raised by NYRR members, NYC Marathon participants and the NYRR, to the Twin Towers Fund and September 11th Fund.

OAKLAND

 Golden State owes county for arena

The Golden State Warriors owe Alameda County more than $19 million in association with the $100 million renovation of the New Arena, according to an attorney for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. Warriors representatives say the team does not dispute the charges but it wants a debt payment schedule in place before it will turn over any money.

PHILADELPHIA

 Global Spectrum to manage Windsor Arena

Global Spectrum, a Philadelphia-based facilities management company, signed a pre-opening services agreement with the city of Windsor, Ontario, for its new multipurpose Windsor Arena. Company officials said Global is working on a long-term agreement to manage the 7,000-seat facility and an adjacent ice rink. The Windsor Arena, scheduled to open in the fall of 2003, will be the new home of the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.

 Hearing set on umpires' case

A hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on appeals filed after an arbitrator in May ordered Major League Baseball's owners to rehire nine of 22 umpires who participated in a mass resignation two years ago. The umpires resigned in September 1999 in an effort to improve their bargaining position for a new contract. The plan backfired when the resignations were accepted.

PHOENIX

 Kempton, Williams join broadcast booth

Fox Sports Net Arizona has named former Phoenix Suns player Tim Kempton and former Arizona State University Sun Devil Sam Williams to its ASU men's basketball broadcast lineup. Kempton serves as the new color commentator, joining longtime play-by-play announcer Tom Dillon. Williams is the new sideline reporter and is going to be used for selected Sun Devils home games this year. The duo were to have debuted Saturday when the Sun Devils faced Brigham Young in Provo, Utah.

SAN DIEGO

 Fotoball closing Rawlings operations

San Diego-based Fotoball USA will close its Rawlings Golf operations by the end of the year. Fotoball, which produces imprinted baseballs, footballs and other promotional products, signed a licensing deal in 2000 with Rawlings Sporting Goods of Fenton, Mo., to sell golf clubs and balls under the familiar Rawlings brand name. Fotoball chief executive Michael Favish said in a written statement that Fotoball was unable to penetrate the golf industry at a level near its expectations. Fotoball will exercise its early termination rights under the license agreement in exchange for payment to Rawlings of the minimum royalty for 2002. Fotoball expects to take a 35- to 40-cent-a-share loss from its venture into the golf business.

SAN FRANCISCO

 49ers to play in Japan in 2002

The San Francisco 49ers will play the Washington Redskins on Aug. 3 in the annual American Bowl at Osaka, Japan, as part of the team's 2002 preseason schedule. It is the first time the game will be played in Osaka. The game will be televised in the United States on ESPN. Other teams on the 49ers' preseason schedule are Oakland, San Diego, Kansas City and Denver.

SONOMA, CALIF.

 Sears Point cuts positions

Sears Point Raceway will lay off six employees and do without three positions that general manager Steve Page had hoped to add in 2002. The moves are part of parent Speedway Motorsports Inc.'s $12 million in cost cuts by early 2002. Sears Point currently employs 40 people.

 Raceway adding karting facility

Sears Point expects to unveil its state-of-the-art karting facility as part of its $50 million modernization plan in March. It has been designed to international standards and will be able to host international karting championships. It will be three-quarters of a mile in length, 28 feet wide and feature five different track configurations.

ST. LOUIS

 LPGA still seeking sponsor for 2002 tourney

An LPGA pro tournament could still come to St. Louis in 2002, but the window of opportunity is getting narrower, said Mark Hersch, the president of Gateway Sports Promotions. The LPGA is holding a slot open for a St. Louis tournament from Sept. 26-29, but first Hersch and his staff need to secure a sponsor to fill an $800,000 gap in a $1.6 million budget. They have been searching since September when Anheuser-Busch informed them it would not renew its title sponsorship to what had been known as the LPGA Michelob Light Classic. Currently, St. Louis has no professional golf events scheduled in 2002.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

 Florida 2012 closes up shop

Florida 2012, the Tampa-based group that sought to attract the Olympics to the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas, closed quietly Nov. 16. The group had worked the past four years to bring the Games to Florida, raising $11 million to put together and promote its bid. But Tampa-Orlando did not make the first cut of U.S. Olympic Committee recommendations for finalist cities.

 Blue Jays reach deal on Dunedin

The Toronto Blue Jays have reached an accord with city officials at their spring training site in Dunedin, Fla., near St. Petersburg. City commissioners have agreed to a deal in which the Jays will advance $250,000 in rent to Dunedin, along with a $250,000 loan and naming rights to the baseball stadium. Dunedin will put up $500,000 in return and seek a matching grant of $1 million from the state of Florida. Higher costs of renovating the stadium resulted in extensive negotiations between Dunedin and the Jays, including a threat by the team to leave if it didn’t get up to $2 million from the city.

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