SBJ/February 18 - 24, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast


 Empire adds NASCAR to lineup
Empire Sports Network has again added NASCAR coverage to its programming lineup. The regional sports net will carry "NASCAR Tech," "NASCAR This Morning" and "NASCAR Victory Lane" on Sundays throughout the racing season. Empire is available to more than 5 million households via cable TV in upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania and Direct TV and EchoStar satellite systems.


Tourney information on Family Circle Cup site

  Family Circle Cup Web site redesigned
  The Family Circle Cup Web site has been redesigned. The tournament's official site,, will provide updated information on the Family Circle Cup, tickets, stadium layout, player announcements and local accommodations. The tournament, scheduled for April 13-21 at The Tennis Centre at Daniel Island in Charleston, will feature Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova, Justine Henin and Amelie Mauresmo.


  UC planning a Varsity Village
The University of Cincinnati unveiled an early concept for its Varsity Village, a much-anticipated plan packing $71 million worth of new sports facilities and capital improvements on the Clifton campus. When it is complete, UC officials hope the complex, to be paid for mainly through private contributions, will put UC's athletic facilities on a par with some of the nation's elite colleges like Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. The centerpiece is an 180,000-square-foot athletic center that will be built near Shoemaker Center on land now used for soccer and football practice and the Bearcats' baseball field, Johnny Bench Field. Construction will start in 2003, with a completion goal of 2005.


Red Wings fans will have to pay a lot more to see Luc Robitaille (above) in Cup play.

 Red Wings bump up Cup ticket prices
Detroit Red Wings season-ticket holders now know how much it will cost to watch their heroes play for the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings, favored to win the Cup with a league-leading 40-11-6-2 record as of last Tuesday, will mark tickets up as much as 462 percent for the Stanley Cup Finals if the team gets that far. Tickets in the first seven rows, which cost $80 during the regular season, will cost $140, $150, $225 and $450, respectively, for the four playoff rounds. Other prices for the finals are $350 for the rest of the lower bowl, $200 for the first 12 rows of the upper bowl, and $140 and $90 for the "nosebleeds." Full payment for rounds one and two is due March 12, more than a month before the regular season ends.



  Ex-Enron chief sells stake in Texans
Ken Lay, former chairman of Enron Corp., has sold his minority stake in the Houston Texans to team owner Bob McNair for an undisclosed amount. Lay was one of 11 minority shareholders, who collectively owned 30 percent of the team. The Texans have not revealed each individual's ownership stake or what they paid for it, but the investors reportedly own between 1 percent and 15 percent of the team.


  Jaxx get new logo, uniform design
The Class AA West Tenn Diamond Jaxx minor league baseball team has unveiled its new identity for 2002. Plan B. Branding of San Diego developed the new identity. The company has designed identities for several minor league baseball, Arena Football League and collegiate clients. The primary logo features a diamond miner holding a bat-like pick and diamond. The team will also get a new uniform design.


  Humana brings marathon back to KC
  A marathon will return to Kansas City on Nov. 2 after a one-year absence. The new Humana River Crown Plaza Marathon's sponsor, Humana Inc., is a Kansas City-based health maintenance organization. Terms of Humana's three-year contract weren't disclosed. Kansas City last year was the largest U.S. city without a marathon, according to Runner's World magazine.

  City in running for tournament
  Kansas City is a finalist to host the Mid-Continent Conference basketball tournament next season at Kemper Arena. The league also is looking at Tulsa, Okla. A decision will be made by early April, said Mid-Continent Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher.

  Royals' season-ticket sales lag
  Kansas City Royals season-ticket sales through early February lagged comparable volume last year: about 8,300, compared to about 9,500. Royals owner David Glass said his goal for 2002 is 10,000 season tickets.


  Marlins ticket sales droop
  The Florida Marlins have sold roughly 3,000 season tickets, about half of what the team sold last year, according to a Miami Herald report. The delay in the sale of the team to Montreal Expos managing general partner Jeffrey Loria canned the annual Fan Fest, an interactive event that often sold a lot of both single-game and season tickets.

  Corporate Run gets new sponsors
  South Florida's Corporate Run, which got its start in 1985 as the Manufacturers Hanover Corporate Challenge, has new title and presenting sponsors. On The Ball Sports Marketing in Weston, in partnership with event producers Team FootWorks, said MOS Imaging Systems is the new title sponsor and Humana, one of south Florida's largest health benefits companies, is the run's new presenting sponsor. The gun for the Corporate Run in Miami will go off at its traditional Bay Front Park location May 2, and the Corporate Run in Fort Lauderdale will move from its downtown location to the National Car Rental Center in Sunrise on April 11. Terms of the sponsorships were not announced.


  Expansion set for Klotsche Center
  The Klotsche Center, home to the NCAA Division I University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers, will undergo a $42.1 million renovation and addition in a plan approved by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. The 24-year-old building will get a second gymnasium, more classroom and training space and an underground parking structure. The Klotsche Center now includes a 5,000-seat basketball arena, an indoor track and a swimming pool, but it is woefully small for the school's Division I Horizon League athletic program.


  Al McGuire statue planned
  Former players and friends of late Marquette University basketball coach Al McGuire are planning a fund-raiser to finance a statue of McGuire to be erected on the Marquette campus in downtown Milwaukee. McGuire, who led his Marquette team to the NCAA title in 1977 and later was a college basketball television analyst, died Jan. 26, 2001, at age 72. To raise funds for the statue, organizers have created Al's Golf Classic & Celebration, set for Aug. 1-2 in Milwaukee.


  Twins' campaign: Let's Play Ball
  The Minnesota Twins have launched a new advertising campaign called "Let's Play Ball." Minneapolis-based Hunt Adkins produced the spots, which are designed to help fans move from the past few months of uncertainty to the approaching 2002 season. The "Let's Play Ball" spots, which will air on radio and television, will be followed by the return of last year's popular "Get to Know 'Em" campaign.


  Sounds to stay in Greer Stadium
The Nashville Sounds have reached an agreement with the city that will keep them in Greer Stadium, the city-owned facility, for the near future. The team had been in negotiations with local officials for more than a year, and at one point had threatened to leave if a new facility was not built for the Pittsburgh Pirates' Class AAA affiliate. The Sounds withheld rent, while the city refused to consider stadium improvements until a financial settlement was reached. Under the terms of the deal, the Sounds will pay the city $491,915 in back rent by July 31, leaving less than $58,000 owed on a $1 million lease signed in 1998. For its part, the city will spend $250,000 annually for maintenance and upgrades to the complex. The Sounds have announced plans to play at Greer through the 2004 season.


Knicks forward Kurt Thomas (center) helped launch the stock market challenge at the market site in Times Square.

  Thomas launches Nasdaq challenge
  New York Knicks forward Kurt Thomas on Feb. 6 launched a stock market challenge for New York students at the Nasdaq market site in Times Square along with Nasdaq chief executive Wick Simmons. "The Kurt Thomas Investment Challenge," presented by Merrill Lynch, supports teams at New York City high schools as they participate in the Stock Market Game, the largest stock market simulation program in the nation.

  USA Men's 8K is back after 9 years
  After an absence of nine years, the USA Men's 8K (4.97 miles) Championships will be revived as a feature of the New York Road Runners 8000 along with the annual police/fire race in Central Park on April 6. A field of about 20 top American road racers will be assembled to compete for a total purse of $20,000.


 Richardson wins Reebok endorsement
Golden State Warriors rookie guard Jason Richardson scored an endorsement deal for Rbk — Reebok's new footwear and apparel for young men and women — and two awards during the NBA's All-Star weekend Feb. 8-10. Financial terms of the Reebok deal weren't disclosed. Richardson wore the XBeam Franchise, a new shoe set for an April 5 release, as he won the NBA's slam-dunk title and MVP award during the rookie game.


  All-Star events bring $50M-plus to region
City officials estimate the 2002 NBA All-Star Game and surrounding events generated more than $50 million in sales tax and other revenues for the Philadelphia region. Attendance for the game at the First Union Center was 19,581. The four-day event also featured the NBA Jam Session at the Pennsylvania Convention Center along with dozens of private and public parties throughout the city.


 Globetrotters setting new records
The Harlem Globetrotters' "Unforgettable" 2002 World Tour is off to a record start in attendance and revenue. Through the first 40 games of their 200-city North American tour, attendance has increased 22 percent over last year, profits are up 24 percent and merchandise sales are up 57 percent. The team is on pace to play before the most fans ever in its 76-year history. According to foreign promoters, over half of the dates on the Globetrotters' upcoming spring international tour have already sold out.


Curley “Boo” Johnson (front) and Paul Gaffney play defense.

  Convention Center to sponsor Jefferson Cup
The Greater Richmond Convention Center will be title sponsor of the 2002 Jefferson Cup tournament. The March tournament, hosted by the Richmond Strikers Soccer Club, is entering its 22nd year in the greater Richmond area. The Jefferson Cup is one of the top youth soccer tournaments in the country and selects 500 teams from more than 850 applications every year. This year's tournament includes teams from 22 states. The event has become a top recruiting venue for college coaches.


Chris Webber will have an off-court role as president of DaDa Footwear.

  Webber gets namesake shoe
Sacramento Kings forward Chris Webber will soon have a basketball shoe with his name on it. Webber was named president of DaDa Footwear's new basketball division. DaDa will have its first C-Webb basketball shoes on the shelves this summer — a "Playground Legends" collection aimed at street ball players. As division head for DaDa, Webber will be expected to do more than play basketball. He is to help design shoes, assist with the creative work of marketing and advertising, and recruit other players to DaDa.



  Cup commemorates Elliott ‘miracles’
Taco Cabana has teamed up with former Spurs star forward Sean Elliott to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of South and Central Texas. The San Antonio-based Tex-Mex restaurant chain is selling limited-edition Miracles and Memories commemorative drinking cups featuring Elliott, who is now a color analyst for Spurs telecasts. "Thinking over Sean's life and career, it's easy to realize why we named this the Miracles and Memories cup," said Brian Maysent, vice president of marketing for Taco Cabana. Elliott's list of miracles includes a successful kidney transplant operation and the Memorial Day Miracle — a late-game 3-pointer in the 1999 playoffs that helped lead the Spurs to a championship. A portion of the proceeds from each 32- and 44-ounce drink sold in the cups in all San Antonio and Austin Taco Cabanas will benefit the foundation.


  49ers to kick up ticket prices
  The San Francisco 49ers will boost ticket prices by $8 for the 2002 season. In a proposal before the San Francisco Recreation & Park Commission, the team said it will raise the cost of general admission tickets to $58. The money will be used to pay the salaries of players, coaches and other team personnel, said Sam Singer, a spokesman for owners Denise DeBartolo York and John York. It is the team's first price increase in four years, Singer said.

  Team will negotiate naming rights
  A new naming-rights deal for the San Francisco 49ers' home at Candlestick Point took one step forward Feb. 7. The finance committee of the city's Recreation & Park Commission voted to hand off the exclusive right to negotiate a stadium name deal to the 49ers. The move essentially is a continuance of an old agreement that expired Jan. 31, but it allows the 49ers to push forward with another naming-rights sponsor. The full commission will consider the issue later this month, a department spokeswoman said. The new deal would run for the remaining six years of the 49ers' lease at Candlestick. 3Com Corp. had the naming rights for the 41-year-old, city-owned stadium, but that deal expired Jan. 31.


  Speakers series linked to games
  If watching a professional basketball game isn't enough to entice you into Key-Arena for a Sonics game, then how about pregame networking with some of the area's top business leaders? That's Howard Schultz's new plan to bring fans to the arena. Starting with the March 5 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Schultz will host the first "Professional Speakers Series" with John Stanton, chief executive officer of Bellevue-based Voice Stream, and Richard Tait, co-founder of Cranium Inc. Stanton and Tait will give a talk on "Growing Your Business In A Declining Economy." Future speakers will include Magic Johnson, Sonics coach Nate McMillan and Bill McKinney, executive vice president of the Sonics. Tickets to the speaker series include admission to the game.


  Businessman pursues AA team
Springfield hotel operator John Q. Hammons is trying to convince the St. Louis Cardinals to relocate its Class AA team now in New Haven, Conn., to southwest Missouri, according to press reports and Springfield officials. Hammons is showing people in the community plans for a $20 million minor league ballpark to be built in downtown Springfield, the reports said. He is said to have met with Cardinals President Mark Lamping and general manager Walt Jocketty about relocating the New Haven team. Lamping was not immediately available for comment. Springfield hasn't had a minor league team since 1950.


  SGMA reschedules Capital Challenge
  The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association has announced a new date and site for the running of the 21st SGMA Capital Challenge, originally scheduled last Sept. 12. On May 1, the battle between the legislative, executive and judicial branches will be waged at Washington's Anacostia Park. The SGMA Capital Challenge is a bipartisan three-mile road race. Competition is limited to teams led by senators, representatives, Cabinet or sub-Cabinet appointees, agency heads, federal judges and television, radio and print media.

  Hyatt to be headquarters hotel for Grand Prix
  National Grand Prix Holdings LLC announced that the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill will be the official headquarters hotel for the July National Grand Prix. The Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill will host numerous events and VIPs leading up to and during the race weekend.

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