SBJ/February 25 - March 3, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

BUFFALO

 PGA stop gets marketing push
 
The 2002 B.C. Open, the lone PGA Tour stop in upstate New York, will receive a marketing push from the "I Love NY" campaign. The state's economic development arm, Empire State Development, will allocate $600,000 in a sponsorship package. The tournament at En-Joie Golf Course will be televised on The Golf Channel. The state's successful tourism campaign will receive more than 100 TV spots plus have the "I Love NY" logo imprinted on tournament literature. This year's B.C. Open, with a purse of $2 million, is scheduled for July 15-21.

CHARLOTTE

  Knights launch new Web site
 
The Class AAA Charlotte Knights launched a new Web site at charlotteknights.com.

CINCINNATI

  Red-letter day for MLB sales
 
Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds' final season at Cinergy Field sold out in just 26 minutes earlier this month. Fans bought 40,051 tickets, with crowds having camped out overnight in front of the stadium ticket window. Cinergy Field will be torn down at the end of the 2002 MLB season to make way for the completion of the Reds' new Great American Ball Park, scheduled to open in spring 2003.

Bruce Lietzke will be playing with clubs from Adams Golf on the Senior PGA Tour.

DALLAS

  Adams Golf signs Lietzke
 
Bruce Lietzke agreed to a deal to use clubs made by Adams Golf Inc. on the Senior PGA Tour. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Adams is based in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

DENVER

  Local teams contribute to trip
 
The Denver Broncos and Nuggets and Colorado Rockies and Avalanche are among the parties that helped fund a trip that Denver Mayor Wellington Webb is taking to South Africa. The 13-day trade mission, with Webb leading a delegation of 65 people, including his wife, began Feb. 18. The director of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade solicited funds from the teams. The Broncos and the Rockies each gave $15,000, while the Nuggets and Avalanche gave a total of $15,000.

HOUSTON

  Rockets spin bobblehead idea
 
The Houston Rockets have put a twist on the bobblehead-doll craze. In the Rockets' Make Your Own Bobble Head Doll contest, the team has offered fans a chance to create one of the tiny trinkets in their own likeness. Contest entrants had to answer one question — via letter or video: Why should the Houston Rockets make a bobblehead doll of you? Fans voted for their favorite entry online, and the winner was scheduled to be announced last week.

INDIANAPOLIS

  Manning group honors Staubach
  Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's Peyback Foundation named former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach winner of its first Peyback Award. The award honors someone currently or formerly in pro football who exhibits character, integrity and honor and who has given back to the game and society. Staubach, who has long been a volunteer for United Way, the Salvation Army and the Children's Scholarship Fund, is scheduled to receive the award at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on June 23.

  City pins down wrestling event
  Indianapolis was selected to be host of the 2003 World Team Trials of Wrestling. The event, scheduled for the Indiana Convention Center on June 27-29, 2003, provides for the winners to advance to the sport's world championships. The hosting of the event is expected to build local interest for Indianapolis' subsequent hosting of the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials in 2004.

JACKSONVILLE

Coughlin

  Coughlin leads party for kids
 
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin and the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation hosted a Valentine's Day party at Jacksonville's Museum of Science and History for young cancer patients from Wolfson Children's Hospital and Nemours Children's Clinic and their parents. Prior to the party, Coughlin visited Wolfson Children's Hospital, bringing gifts to hospitalized children. Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of Jay McGillis, a former Boston College football player whom Coughlin coached. McGillis died of leukemia in 1992.

KANSAS CITY

Kansas Speedway will again feature NASCAR as part of its racing season this year.

 Track sells out season tickets
  Kansas Speedway has sold out its 2002 season tickets. The 78,000 available tickets provide access to the track for five races, including the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Protection One 400 on Sept. 29. About 90 percent of season-ticket holders from the track's first season in 2001 renewed for this year.

  NAIA scores sponsor for event
  Organizers of the NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championship reached a deal that makes Buffalo Funds title sponsor of the event, scheduled for March 13-19 at Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium. Kansas City-based Jones & Babson Inc. is the distributor for the Buffalo Funds investment vehicle of mutual funds, with Kornitzer Capital Management Inc. operating as manager. Financial terms of the NAIA deal weren't disclosed. The tourney had been without a title sponsor for several years. Last year, the event drew nearly 22,000 people in Tulsa, Okla., where the NAIA was based until last summer, when it moved to Olathe, Kan., in suburban Kansas City.

MIAMI

  Broadcaster hits 1,000 mark
 
José Pañeda, the Spanish-language voice of the Miami Heat on WACC-AM (830), called his 1,000th game for the team recently. Pañeda is an original Heat employee who was a ticket sales representative. His broadcasting career has now spanned 13 NBA seasons with the Heat.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

  Twins rights still in dispute
  The Minnesota Twins are awaiting a court ruling on who owns the team's broadcasting rights for the 2002 season. Fox Sports Net claims it has two years remaining on its contract to show Twins games. The team hopes to get the rights to show its games because it would add immediate strength to Victory Sports, the network the team is trying to establish.

Timberwolves’ Kevin Garnett scored with thirsty fans at Feb. 13 game against Phoenix.

  Garnett picks up the tab
  Minnesota Timberwolf Kevin Garnett bought drinks for the first 10,000 fans who showed up for the Feb. 13 game against the Phoenix Suns. Each of those fans received a coupon good for a soda or beer. The tab came to about $50,000.

  Vikes, Lions rack up the miles
  The Vikings, Detroit Lions and Eagan-based Northwest Airlines Corp. teamed up to raise nearly 1.3 million miles for KidCares, a medical travel program providing free travel to sick children and their escorts that is supported by Northwest and U.S. Sprint. Under the promotion, called the Million Mile Mission, the teams generated 25,000 miles for each touchdown scored at Vikings and Lions home games during this past season. Northwest has hubs in Detroit and Minneapolis.

  UM-Vikings stadium plan stalled
  The legislative plan to build the Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota a new stadium on campus was dealt a blow last week when it was defeated by a large margin in its first committee hearing. The House Government Operations Committee voted 15-5 against the measure, based largely on the recommendations of the Stadium Task Force, which found that the state should contribute to the construction of two stadiums — one for the Gophers and Vikings to share and one for the Twins.

OAKLAND

Schott

 Schott pegs A's price at $95M
  Oakland A's owner Steve Schott told the San Francisco Chronicle that he bought the Oakland franchise for $95 million, including $72 million plus $23 million owed in deferred payments, not the $85 million publicized at the time. Schott also said the proposed move to nearby Santa Clara County is a "dead issue." Schott said talks with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority and city of Oakland over a new baseball stadium are progressing.

  Team near extension with Beane
  The Oakland A's are close to signing general manager Billy Beane to a three-year extension through the 2008 season, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Beane, 39, had been mentioned as a candidate for the GM job with the Boston Red Sox. During his tenure, the A's have improved from 65-97 in 1997 to 102-60 last season and have made two consecutive playoff appearances.

PHILADELPHIA

Valentine couples kiss after exchanging or renewing vows at halftime of 76ers game.

  Sixers say romance is not dead
  As part of the Philadelphia 76ers' annual Valentine's Day promotion, 76 couples exchanged or renewed wedding vows during halftime of the team's Feb. 14 game against the Utah Jazz. A postgame reception was held for the couples in the Red Bell Brewery at First Union Center. American Airlines, presenting sponsor of the event, gave airline tickets to five couples. The Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City gave "VIP Escapes" to six other couples.

  Phillies move utilities for new park
  The Philadelphia Phillies reached another milestone in construction of their new ballpark by relocating all the utility lines within the stadium construction site. Working in coordination with ballpark construction team, crews from Peco Energy, Philadelphia Gas Works, the Philadelphia Water and Sewer Department and the City Streets Department moved all of the power, water and sewerage lines buried at the south Philadelphia project site.

  Phantoms develop new radio show
  The American Hockey League Philadelphia Phantoms and radio station WNJC 1360-AM have created a new show, called "Rumble with the Phantoms," that will air every Wednesday between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. The show will be hosted by WNJC radio personality Tom Shaw and will feature player interviews, news about the team and ticket giveaways.

PITTSBURGH

  Speedskating event set for March
 
The Pittsburgh Speedskating Club, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, will host the 2002 National Short Track Speed Skating Championships on March 22-24. The event will be held at the Neville Island Sports Center on Neville Island. More than 200 skaters from around the country are expected to attend.

SAN FRANCISCO

  Hall of Fame revs up campaign
 
The Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame is emphasizing the nearly $1.9 million in donations it has made to youth sports organizations through the years as it rolls out a public relations campaign. Hall of Fame ads appear on 50 billboards and San Francisco bus sides — space donated by Viacom Inc. — and on the radio. The radio spots feature former San Francisco 49ers star Joe Montana and legendary Oakland Raiders coach John Madden, among others. The campaign comes as the hall readies for its annual enshrinement banquet March 14. This year's class consists of Oakland A's pitcher Dennis Eckersley, Stanford University and U.S. Olympic swim team coach George Haines, Olympic and University of California-Berkeley swimmer Mary T. Meagher Plant and football hall of famer Lynn Swann.

TAMPA

  Golf tourney corporate revenue declines
  The Verizon Classic golf tournament drew its usual crowds of at least 100,000 for the Senior PGA Tour stop in Tampa, though corporate revenue was down 15 percent from last year. Advance and walk-up ticket sales were up from 2001, even with overcast skies and sprinkles during the Feb. 16 second round at the Tournament Players Club of Tampa Bay. Doug Tewell won the 15th annual tournament, shooting a 10-under-par 203. Verizon Communications Inc. is under contract to sponsor the tournament through 2003 with an extra-year option.

  FanFest numbers down from 2001
  An estimated 35,000 fans attended this year's Tampa Bay Devil Rays FanFest, about 10,000 fewer than last year. The Feb. 16-17 event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg gave fans an opportunity to get autographs, purchase season and single-game tickets and get a first look at uniform style changes. The Devil Rays introduced an all-inclusive Catchers Club section that gives fans who buy tickets behind home plate such perks as VIP parking and an unlimited food and drink buffet. Catchers Club tickets are $125 each through May and $195 the rest of the season.

TORONTO

  Skating draws huge Canadian audience
  The controversial long-program skate by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier at the Olympics drew a huge Canadian television audience of 3.942 million on CBC, making it the most-watched 30 minutes of sports in Canada since the 1994 Grey Cup.

  Jays sign TV deal with Rogers
  Rogers SportsNet signed a three-year broadcast agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays that will see the cable station air between 90 and 106 Blue Jays games this season and 120 games the next two seasons. SportsNet and the Blue Jays have the same majority owner, Rogers Communications.

  Molson Indy sales slumping
  Ticket sales for the 2002 Molson Indy are off 4 to 5 percent from last year, the Toronto Star reported. Race general manager Bob Singleton said he thinks that promoting the Indy as an entire weekend event rather than a one-day race will ensure its continued success.

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