SBJ/December 17 - 23, 2001/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast


 CU accepts bid on stadium expansion

Shaw Construction, Turner Construction and Sink Combs Dethlefs won the bid to expand Folsom Field at the University of Colorado at $35.8 million. The expansion, to begin in April, will add 1,961 club seats and 29 suites, with 18 seats per box, and will not reduce existing seating. The project will result in an overall capacity of 53,425 for the stadium. Work is expected to be completed in time for the September 2003 home opener.


  Developmental tour coming to resort

Peek'n Peak Resort in Chautauqua County will be home to the Tour in June. The Lake Erie Charity Classic is scheduled for June 17-23 at the resort in the foothills of southwestern New York state. The Tour is run by the PGA Tour. The purse for the Peek'n Peak event will be $425,000, with the winner receiving $76,500.

 Bills play before sparse crowd

The Buffalo Bills' attendance of 44,549 at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Dec. 9 game with the Carolina Panthers was the lowest non-strike gathering since Dec. 7, 1986, when the Bills hosted the Cleveland Browns.


 Compass/Levy to service racetracks

Speedway Motorsports Inc. has signed a long-term agreement with Levy Restaurants and Compass Group to provide on-site food and beverage service at the company's six racetracks. The deal includes Compass/Levy's purchase of SMI subsidiary Finish Line Events Inc., a 135-employee concessions service based in Charlotte. All of the employees will be retained by Compass/Levy, according to an SMI release. The deal will close early next year.

 Panthers bolster security at stadium

The Carolina Panthers have installed 100 concrete planters around the perimeter of Ericsson Stadium, hoping to prevent any attempts at a car attack on the stadium. The planters are spaced in three-foot intervals and provide additional security, team officials say.


 Cowboys settle lawsuit over faxes

The Dallas Cowboys agreed to pay $1.73 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that charged the team had damaged consumers and businesses by sending unwanted faxes. Plaintiffs can receive up to $500 for each unsolicited document they received. The matter arose after the team hired a Dallas company, American Blastfax Inc., to send faxes to 125,000 people and companies in December 1999 to market the team's playoff tickets. Several lawsuits, including one by Dallas-based Omnibus International, were filed, and those cases were later combined to form the class-action litigation. The Cowboys told The Associated Press that they would have no comment.


 Broncos reimbursed for legal costs

The Denver Broncos will receive $177,000 to cover out-of-pocket costs stemming from a two-year court battle over ticket prices. Some season-ticket holders had sued, claiming the Broncos were overcharging fans. But the judge dismissed the case earlier this year and recently awarded the Broncos the $177,000.


 Tigers' VP Vitto dies at age 59

Gary Vitto, 59, the Detroit Tigers' vice president of business operations, died of cancer Dec. 9. Vitto spent 25 years as an executive with several Mike Ilitch-owned professional sports entities, including the Red Wings and the Detroit Drive arena football team. Michael Dietz has assumed most of Vitto's responsibilities on an interim basis.


 Local track picked to host inaugural meet

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association selected Sam Houston Race Park to host the inaugural NTRA Great State Challenge in December 2002. Thoroughbred champions from eight states will compete in six races with purses totaling $1.5 million in the event, which is modeled after the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.


 Penske joins IRL full time

Racing team owner Roger Penske announced Dec. 6 that he was leaving CART to join the Indy Racing League full time in 2002. It's a move Penske said is fully supported by his sponsor, Marlboro. "It would be hard to come up with any better news than this," said Brian Barnhart, IRL director of racing. Dan Luginbuhl, Penske Corp. vice president, said the move was a business decision not arrived at easily.


 Gator Bowl takes on patriotic theme

The city of Jacksonville and the Gator Bowl Association are working out a game plan for a patriotic joint celebration. One detail is confirmed — artist Lee Greenwood will be at the New Year's Day game singing the national anthem and his hit "God Bless the USA," said Mandy LeMay, a spokesman with Greenwood's management company. Gator Bowl officials have yet to settle other specifics, Gator Bowl President Rick Catlett said. On the drawing board is a television broadcast of the New Year's Day game on a U.S. Navy ship anchored in the Indian Ocean. Officials also aim to donate a block of tickets to veterans and current military personnel and their families.


 Lawmaker pushes plan for stadium renovation

Missouri state Sen. Harry Wiggins filed legislation that would give Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums in Kansas City an extra $14 million a year in state money for renovations. Wiggins' bill would authorize an annual appropriation to the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority of as much as $7 million per year for each stadium. This money would come on top of $3 million the stadiums now receive in annual state support. The proposal, to be considered after the Missouri General Assembly reconvenes in January, follows a $300 million renovation plan for the stadiums presented by Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes.

 Hunt: Contraction won't touch Wizards

Kansas City Wizards investor-operator Lamar Hunt said the Major League Soccer team won't be part of a contraction being considered by the league. The MLS owns its franchises and investors operate each team. Teams that have no local investors — Dallas, Tampa Bay and San Jose — are the top candidates for elimination.


 Owner wants to keep MLS team in area

Miami Fusion owner Ken Horowitz wants to keep his MLS team in south Florida and is willing to bleed cash temporarily, according to a Miami Herald report. It cites sources saying that Horowitz doesn't want to subsidize losses incurred by three league-owned teams. Horowitz has lost an estimated $40 million since he paid $20 million for the operating rights to the Fusion in 1997 and $7 million to $10 million to renovate Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.


  Miller Park roof stays open

During its first full Wisconsin winter, the retractable roof at Miller Park will remain open to the elements. The open roof will help the baseball field turf get as much sun as possible, said Scott Jenkins, the Brewers’ vice president of stadium operations. Furthermore, the risk of snow on the closed roof would inhibit regular, scheduled movements of the fan-shaped structure. “If the roof is shut and we get a lot of snow, we cannot open it,” Jenkins said. “We want to get as much sun on the turf even late in the winter and we can’t be stuck shut … waiting for the snow to melt.” The Brewers will move the roof about once a week “just to exercise it and keep it lubricated,” Jenkins said.


 Macalester pulls out of MIAC

St. Paul-based Macalester College will continue to participate in Division III college football but will withdraw from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and play an independent schedule. The school had been studying its options, which included staying in the MIAC or disbanding the program, after several years of dismal on-field results and decreasing participation. President Michael McPherson said the school will remain in the MIAC for all sports except football and will consider rejoining for football in the future.


 Predators sell second-half tix

The Nashville Predators began selling second-half tickets for the 2001-02 season Saturday. The second half of the season begins Jan. 10 with a home game against the Minnesota Wild. The team continues to collect Toys for Tots on game nights, the fourth year of the effort.

 Kids get Scott Walker bobbleheads

The Predators presented 5,000 children 12 and younger with a Scott Walker bobblehead doll on Dec. 8 at the game against the Edmonton Oilers. The dolls were sponsored by Taco Bell. The team plans a second similar promotion in January.


 Midnight Run marks 23rd year

One of the longest-running New York City New Year’s Eve traditions, the Runners World Midnight Run, celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year. Thousands of running revelers once again are expected to gather in Central Park for this New York Road Runners event, which features a four-mile race that starts at the stroke of midnight and includes a nonalcoholic champagne (water) stop midway through the run. The festivities begin about an hour before the start of the race with a Masquerade Parade, music and dancing. Prizes will be awarded to the top three costumes. However, this year the city has banned the traditional fireworks display because of drought conditions.


 Global Spectrum to manage facility at ODU

Global Spectrum, the Philadelphia-based firm that manages public assembly facilities, will manage the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University. The Constant Convocation Center, now under construction, will be the cornerstone of a 75-acre Old Dominion University Village, which will feature a shopping center, office buildings, residential facilities and a variety of retail shops and restaurants. Old Dominion expects the new 8,600-seat, state-of-the-art, multipurpose center to be completed by October. The facility will be the new home of the ODU Monarchs men’s and women’s basketball teams and will host concerts and other sporting events. The center will feature 16 luxury suites and other premium seating, as well as a variety of amenities, including pre-wiring for television production, closed-circuit television throughout the arena, a video wall and a sports Hall of Fame area with hands-on activities and exhibits.


 Speedvision to launch NASCAR-TV

Speedvision and NASCAR are combining efforts for a new NASCAR-TV. Scheduled to premiere Feb. 11 as part of Speedvision’s official change to the Speed Channel, NASCAR-TV will be a channel-within-a-channel dedicated expressly to covering the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch series seasons. NASCAR-TV will air between 3 p.m. and midnight on weekday afternoons and evenings. Programming will include the return of “Inside Winston Cup,” classic and historical races, news and lifestyle programs, talk shows, Fox Sports Net’s “Totally NASCAR,” “NASCAR Victory Lane” and “NASCAR Tech.”


 Phillies work on new radio contract

The Philadelphia Phillies are negotiating a new radio contract for the upcoming season. The team’s contract with longtime radio partner WPHT (1210-AM) expired this year. WPHT, which has broadcast Phillies games for the past 20 years, is among the stations vying for a new contract. Phillies officials declined to identify the other stations with whom they are discussing a contract.


 Yamaguchi participates in Olympics festival

Olympic figure skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi visited patients at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento on Dec. 4 as part of the Bank of America Olympic Celebration Festival, a daylong event to celebrate the spirit and patriotism of the Olympics. She also met with community leaders and bank associates. Bank of America is trying to generate excitement for the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The company is the Olympic Games’ official bank sponsor.

 Tennis fund-raiser nets more than $450K

The ninth annual World TeamTennis Smash Hits fund-raiser, which was hosted by Billie Jean King and Elton John and featured Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, drew 6,731 people to Arco Arena in Sacramento. It was the first time the event had been held in Sacramento. The event raised more than $450,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Capital City AIDS Fund.

 Maloofs leaving boxing business

Joe and Gavin Maloof, majority owners of the Sacramento Kings, Monarchs and Arco Arena, are getting out of the boxing business. The Maloofs and partner Guy Riordan of Albuquerque, N.M., founded Maloof Brothers Boxing in June, and later signed Albuquerque boxers Max Heyman and Danny Romero. The Maloofs said they made a mistake in entering into the difficult business because they don’t have the time to commit to it.


 Rivalry prompts heightened security

Fans attending the Chargers-Oakland Raiders game Saturday were subjected to a pat-down search before passing through the Qualcomm Stadium turnstiles, a first at a San Diego sports event. About 1,100 private security guards and local police officers — 400 more than at last season’s meeting when a Raiders fan stabbed a Chargers backer — patrolled the stands for what has always been an intense rivalry. Chargers officials estimated that 25,000 of the 70,000 tickets sold went to Raiders fans in Southern California.


 East-West Shrine Game kicks off marketing

They’ve put on their digging gear for the marketing of this year’s East-West Shrine Game, set for Jan. 12 at Pacific Bell Park. The Shriners team went through the archives of the annual all-star college football contest to come up with the names of former players. The marketing for the project, by Giants Enterprises, includes advertising in Time magazine emphasizing the recognizable names of those who have played in the 77-year-old exhibition game held to benefit Shriners Hospitals. The pitch for the game is “You never know who will show up this year.” Among those on the list are John Elway, Brett Favre, Roger Staubach, Mike Ditka, Walter Payton, Dick Butkus and former President Gerald Ford.


 Fairmount builds simulcast center

Fairmount Park, the Collinsville, Ill., racetrack that has seen its revenue dwindle in the last decade, is building a $1.5 million simulcast center to keep up with the multimillion-dollar television horse racing industry. “People want to bet on more than one race,” said Brian Zander, president of Fairmount Park Inc. “We want to offer a state-of-the-art simulcast center.” The center will have 300 television monitors and 100 betting carrels with televisions. Fairmont’s revenue started shrinking in the early 1990s after the Mississippi River gaming boats Casino Queen and Alton Belle opened. Today, $100 million of the track’s $125 million in revenue comes from simulcast.


 Godfrey talks of subsidy plan for weak dollar

Toronto Blue Jays President Paul Godfrey said he has been talking to other baseball owners about a plan to compensate Toronto and Montreal for the low Canadian dollar. The NHL has such a subsidy plan for the league’s six Canadian franchises. Godfrey has received no commitments but said he will continue to raise the subject. The Blue Jays’ budget for the 2001 season was thrown out of whack by about $4 million thanks to the fluctuating Canadian dollar, and Godfrey said $30 million of the team’s reported $42.5 million operating loss after interest was due to currency differences.


 Redskins’ online sales setting records

On the heels of the Washington Redskins’ recent success on the field, the team’s online store ( is seeing record sales for November and December. Sales for the month of November more than doubled the amount of business in September and October, and increased five-fold over preseason sales. The team expects sales in December to eclipse November sales and to represent 25 percent of all Redskins online merchandise sales for the year.

 Athletes shoot PSAs for Olympics bid

Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green and Olympic gold-medal gymnast Dominique Dawes shot public service announcements last Tuesday at Comcast Studios in Silver Spring, Md., to promote the Washington/Baltimore region’s 2012 Olympic bid. Comcast produced the PSAs, which will run on Comcast local cable networks, WBAL-TV, Clear Channel radio in Washington and WBAL radio in Baltimore.

Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug