SBJ/March 4 - 10, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

ATLANTA

 Peachtree tennis center running with Adidas
  The Development Authority of Peachtree City, which runs the tennis center there, has signed a five-year deal with Adidas. Adidas representative Sophie Goldschmidt said the new deal is "a natural fit, the best sports brand in the world teaming up with what is certainly one of the best tennis facilities in the country." Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  ANC Sports opens Lithia Springs office
  ANC Sports Enterprises has opened an office in Lithia Springs near Atlanta to serve as home base for its growing operations team. Brian Van Noy will oversee the office as vice president of operations. Based in Purchase, N.Y., ANC Sports Enterprises LLC is one of the world's leading providers of rotational and LED sign systems for sports and entertainment facilities.

BALTIMORE

  Baysox seal partnership with water company
 
The Bowie (Md.) Baysox, a Class AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, recently signed a deal with Snow Valley Water to be the club's exclusive water provider for the next three seasons. As part of the deal, the Baysox home field, Prince Georges Stadium, will display the Snow Valley logo on cup holders and in the team's game-day publication. Upper Marlboro, Md.-based Snow Valley will receive four full-season ticket packages, three skybox nights and an opportunity to host one meeting per season at the stadium. The deal expires Sept. 30, 2004.

CHARLOTTE

  WRKB to air Intimidators again
  WRKB-AM agreed to return as home of Kannapolis Intimidators baseball, carrying 118 games in 2002. Terms weren't disclosed. The Intimidators play in the Class A South Atlantic League.

  Arena plan won't be altered
  City Manager Pam Syfert told City Council a clause requiring new ownership in a recently approved arena plan won't be removed. The NBA criticized the clause, but Syfert told council in a Feb. 20 memo that Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik told her removing the proviso isn't worth the trouble.

CHICAGO

  Buy.com Tour coming to town
 
The PGA Tour announced that the Buy.com Tour will be coming to Chicago for the first time Aug. 5-11 for the LaSalle Bank Open, at Kemper Lakes Golf Course in Long Grove, Ill. The Buy.com Tour is in its 13th year of operation and is owned and operated by the PGA Tour. The LaSalle Bank Open will be the Buy.com Tour's first-ever stop in Illinois. It will replace the long-standing LaSalle Bank Chicago Open, a non-tour event, in the city's summer golf schedule. The 72-hole event will feature 156 players competing for a purse of $425,000, with $76,500 going to the winner.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

  Boxing showcase in the works
 
Squires Sports Group, a Dallas consultancy, is developing a marketing push for a boxing showcase called Celebrity Fight Night, which will benefit research on Parkinson's disease and will feature Muhammad Ali, who suffers from the disease. According to The Dallas Morning News, Squires is signing corporate and media sponsors such as Sports Illustrated and is generating publicity for the event, to be held March 16 in Phoenix.

DETROIT

  Tigers hire Veeck as consultant
  New Tigers President Dave Dombrowski's latest move is to hire Mike Veeck, considered one of baseball's most creative promoters, as a promotional consultant. In the past, the Tigers have been known as a promotionally conservative team, but Dombrowski is looking to Veeck to provide the "controlled craziness" that has become his trademark with the Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the several minor league teams he co-owns and/or consults with. Veeck is the son of legendary baseball promoter and team owner Bill Veeck.

Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell says he will retire at the end of the 2002 season.

  Broadcaster Harwell says he will retire
  The Detroit Tigers' Hall of Fame radio play-by-play announcer, Ernie Harwell, announced that the 2002 season will be his last after a 55-year career broadcasting major league baseball, the last 42 with the Tigers. Harwell, 82, said, "It's just time." He does plan to broadcast the complete 162-game schedule this season on WXYT-AM with partners Jim Price and Dan Dickerson.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

  WXSP to air 4 games in March
 
The Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League have made a deal for WXSP-TV to televise four Saturday games live in March, along with 13 weeks of the league's long-running television magazine, "AHL Rinkside." WXSP is in its second year as the Griffins' flagship television station.

HOUSTON

  Shell Houston Open moving to Redstone
 
The Shell Houston Open has signed a 10-year partnership with the Redstone Cos. to move the annual golf tournament to the newly built Redstone Golf Club beginning in 2003. For the last 17 years, the tournament has been held at the Tournament Players Course at The Woodlands, which will host its last Shell Houston Open March 25-31. The Shell Houston Open ranks No. 2 on the PGA Tour in generating dollars for charity.

JACKSONVILLE

  Winn-Dixie, Pepsi boost Dixie Blues
  Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie and PepsiCo recently surprised the Jacksonville Dixie Blues women's professional football team with a $30,000 donation to cover costs to the Women's World Bowl I in San Diego on Feb. 24, against the California Quake, losing 30-14. The team is a member of the Women's American Football League's Atlantic Conference. The Women's World Bowl is the league's equivalent to the Super Bowl.

  Jasper Celebrity Golf Classic tees off
  The Jasper Celebrity Golf Classic tees off its 12th anniversary today at the Marsh Landing Country Club in Jacksonville. The $2,000-per-foursome tournament includes a celebrity in each foursome, a goody bag, lunch and a post-tournament Jasper Golf Dinner. Scheduled to play are Jacksonville Jaguars players Rich Griffith, Keenan McCardell, Joel Smeenge and Jimmy Smith, retired NFL star Johnny Rembert and retired NHL star Ron Duguay. The organization expects 200 golfers this year. Sponsors are American Airlines, CopyFax, Carey Jacksonville, Glory Days Sports Grille and Marsh Landing Country Club.

MIAMI

  Loria brings in Montreal workers
  New Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria brought nearly 50 employees from Montreal after letting go as many as 60 Marlins employees. Loria offered positions to Expos employees and $5,000 payments as bonuses for those who made the move, according to a story in The Palm Beach Post. In the final hours before the sale of the team closed, the team's entire player development staff was fired, including scouts, administrators and minor league managers and coaches, according to USA Today.

  Dolphins raise ticket prices
  The Miami Dolphins have raised ticket prices for the fourth season in a row. The average ticket price will go up $3 to $45.83. The increase will go to help pay off $7.5 million in "player costs relating to salary cap benefits, such as retirement funds and medical coverage," according to Dolphins COO Bryan Wiedmeier in a Miami Herald report.

MILWAUKEE

NBBJ will do the architectural work on the Al McGuire Center at Marquette.

  Marquette unveils center renderings
  Marquette University unveiled renderings of the soon-to-be-built Al McGuire Center, a $31 million facility for men's basketball practice and a home for women's basketball and volleyball games. The McGuire Center will be built on the Marquette campus and will house centers for academic support, sports medicine, and strength and conditioning for student athletes. It is named after the late Al McGuire, who coached Marquette's men's basketball team to the NCAA championship in 1977. Opus North Corp. is the general contractor responsible for designing and building the McGuire Center. Opus North has contracted with NBBJ to do the architectural work. NBBJ also designed Miller Park in Milwaukee.

  Clear Channel fails in Brewers bid
  The country's largest radio station owner and its Milwaukee news-talk-sports outlet WISN-AM failed in their bid to wrest Milwaukee Brewers broadcasts from rival WTMJ-AM. The Brewers' management informed Clear Channel Communications Inc. that the team would continue its long-running relationship with the Journal Broadcast Group's WTMJ, said Dave Pugh, market manager of Clear Channel's six Milwaukee stations.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

 It's official: Twins are for sale
  Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad has officially put the team up for sale. The team has designated Ralph Strangis, an attorney with Minneapolis-based law firm Kaplan Strangis & Kaplan, to coordinate offers and represent the team through a potential sale. The move follows a tumultuous off-season that saw Major League Baseball threaten to eliminate the team through contraction. A court challenge by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission stopped baseball from making the team disappear. But the team's lease runs out at the end of the 2002 season and, if a new stadium agreement isn't reached, the Twins could face removal again.

  Timberwolves hike ticket prices
  The Minnesota Timberwolves have announced that ticket prices for the 2002-03 season will rise by as much as 33 percent. The team's most expensive seats will go from $280 to $350, while $70 tickets and $34 tickets will cost $85 and $37, respectively, next season. Tickets costing $9 will rise to $12. Only $10 tickets will not increase. The average ticket price will be $44.29, which is below this year's NBA average of $51.50.

NASHVILLE

  Predators ‘Player for a Day’ promotion
  The Nashville Predators and Anheuser-Busch are holding their second annual "Bud Light Be a Player for a Day" contest, in which the winner will become a Nashville Predator for a day. Contestants may register online through Thursday at nashvillepredators.com or at the Bud Light displays at grocery stores. The grand prize includes a $10,000 signing bonus, a personalized Predators jersey, a chance to attend a Predators morning practice, two tickets behind the bench for the March 21 Predators vs. New Jersey Devils game, and the opportunity to ride the Bud Light Zamboni. Six finalists will be selected from all of the entries received. One final contestant of the "Bud Light Be a Player" promotion will be selected at the March 15 game against the Phoenix Coyotes for a puck crawl during intermission.

PHILADELPHIA

  Phillies go 161-1 on TV schedule
  The Philadelphia Phillies announced that 161 of their 162 regular-season games will be televised in 2002. The schedule includes 104 telecasts on Comcast SportsNet, 45 on WPSG-UPN 57, seven nationally on Fox and five on CN8. Additionally, the Phillies have been selected by ESPN for potentially three Sunday night telecasts.

  New golf magazine debuts
  A new magazine, called Philadelphia Golf, is hitting Philadelphia-area newsstands this month. The magazine will be published in cooperation with the Golf Association of Philadelphia and will be mailed to 30,000 members of clubs that belong to the association. The magazine will come out eight months a year, from March through October. Former Montgomery Newspapers executive editor Fred Behringer is editor and publisher of the new magazine, which is based in Kulpsville, Pa.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.

Blue Cross Arena is getting a new scoreboard in time for hockey season next fall.

  New video scoreboard unveiled
 
The Rochester Americans Hockey Club, SMG, the city of Rochester and Constellation Brands unveiled the new video scoreboard system at the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial. The scoreboard system is expected to be installed in time for the opening of the 2002-03 American Hockey League season in October. Trans-Lux Fair-Play, located in Logan, Utah, has been selected to provide the video scoreboard. Each side of the scoreboard will have fixed digits to present the score and game clock. Sponsorship panels include bottom advertising panels occupied by Constellation Brands, the financial contributor to the video scoreboard. Four corner sponsorship panels are positioned horizontally on each side of the scoreboard. The video boards will be capable of presenting full-color coverage of the game, instant replays and a variety of graphics.

SACRAMENTO

  Governor: Letting Tyson fight would be mistake
 
Gov. Gray Davis stepped into the Mike Tyson boxing license controversy by coming out against California granting Tyson a license to fight. "If it were up to me, it's a mistake," Davis said in a prepared statement. "I don't think we should grant Mike Tyson a permit, certainly not now. I think he needs to get treatment and get help. And I would be opposed to [granting him a license]." The California Athletic Commission is responsible for granting boxing licenses in the state and is legally an independent agency. There has been talk that a Lennox Lewis-Tyson fight could be arranged at the Los Angeles Staples Center if Tyson can get a California boxing license.

SAN FRANCISCO

  Giants: 2.5 million tickets sold
  The San Francisco Giants have sold 2.5 million tickets for the 2002 season, and renewals and group sales are doing "very well," said Russ Stanley, vice president of ticket services and client relations. Two dozen games already are sold out at 41,341-seat Pacific Bell Park, Stanley said. "If before the first pitch is thrown you create a scarcity of tickets, that sets you up well for the year," said Giants chief operating officer Larry Baer.

  Suzuki, Shinjo sign with Asics
  Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki and San Francisco Giants rightfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo signed with Japan-based athletic shoe maker Asics Corp. as ambassadors and worldwide advisory staff members. Suzuki and Shinjo will help develop and promote Asics' baseball products. Asics did not disclose the value of the deal.

  Giants have power link to Astros
  The San Francisco Giants have something in common with the Houston Astros. While the Astros are trying to escape a long-term contract with Enron for the name of the stadium they play in, the Giants have three separate contracts with Enron. Enron provides electricity to the park, owns a large scoreboard advertisement and employs most of Pacific Bell Park's maintenance and janitorial staff through one of its subsidiaries. Enron is continuing to supply electricity and its other two contracts are being maintained, Giants officials say.

SEATTLE

  Seattle Bowl seeking new conference
 
The Seattle Bowl is searching for new conference affiliations, while the owner of the postseason game is planning to cut its ties with Sports and Events Council of Seattle-King County. Last week the Pac-10 Conference signed a deal with the Las Vegas Bowl to host the conference's fifth-place finisher, instead of the Seattle Bowl. The news may be a major setback for Aloha Sports Inc., which owns the Seattle Bowl and a new bowl game that will be played in San Francisco. The bowls are the former Oahu and Aloha bowls that were previously played in Honolulu. The San Francisco bowl game was not played last season because it did not sign a television contract. Aloha Sports is negotiating with the Big East, Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Big Ten conferences.

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND

Todd Bailey, son of Garnet “Ace” Bailey, drops the puck at the AHL All-Star Game.

  Mile One sells out for All-Star Classic
 
The AHL All-Star Classic was a success. Both the Skills Competition and All-Star Game were played in a sold-out Mile One Stadium in St. John's. The AHL All-Star Game puck-dropping ceremony featured Todd Bailey, son of Garnet "Ace" Bailey, former NHL great and Los Angeles Kings scout who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. A tribute to Ace Bailey was broadcast on ESPN2 before his son was introduced in a pregame ceremony.

ST. LOUIS

  Snow extends radio deal
 
Jack Snow, the radio voice of the St. Louis Rams and a former Rams wide receiver, signed a three-year extension as a sports commentator on all-sports radio Fans 590 AM/100.7 KFNS-FM. Fans Radio broadcasts Snow's program on Tuesdays and Fridays during football season. The only time he is not heard on Fans is when he is handling game-day broadcasts on Clear Channel Communications' KLOU-FM.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Gruden

  Chucky dolls selling out in Tampa area
 
The hiring of Jon Gruden as Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach has led to a run on Chucky dolls in the Tampa Bay area. Gruden's sideline grimaces with the Oakland Raiders inspired comparisons to the evil toy from the "Child's Play" horror movies. Several local novelty shops reported selling out of Chucky dolls the week of Gruden's hiring, and Internet retailers started offering them to fans complete with Bucs red-and-pewter attire.

TORONTO

  Hockey game sets viewing record
 
The CBC's telecast of the Olympic gold-medal hockey game between Canada and the United States resulted in the largest recorded audience in Canadian TV history, the network said. More than 10 million viewers in a country of just over 30 million watched the game on the English and French CBC networks. Reports suggested the actual number of viewers was probably much higher because the figure does not include those who watched in bars and restaurants.

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