SBJ/March 11 - 17, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

BALTIMORE

Baysox seat plan includes 'N Sync ticket
As part of its promotions for the 2002 seasons, the Bowie (Md.) Baysox are offering 20-ticket packages that include a ticket to the April 9 'N Sync concert in Philadelphia and a three-game box seat plan for two fireworks nights and Cal Ripken Jr. Bobblehead Doll night. The Baysox are offering the ticket package for $115. The Baysox, a Class AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, are owned by Philadelphia-based Comcast-Spectacor, the sports and entertainment firm that owns the First Union Center, where 'N Sync will perform.

CHARLOTTE

Club to host Federation Cup
Olde Providence Racquet Club was chosen to host the Federation Cup, the women's version of Davis Cup international tennis competition. The U.S.-Austria matchup is scheduled for April 27-28.

Sting staying, whether Hornets do or not
WNBA Commissioner Val Ackerman said the league plans to keep the Charlotte Sting in town whether the NBA Hornets stay or move. Ackerman cited the investment in the Sting, a charter member of the WNBA when it launched in 1996. The Sting lost an estimated $2 million in 2001, according to industry experts.

CHICAGO

Season Tickets teams with Tickets.com
Season Tickets has been named the exclusive third-party provider of online Ticket Exchange, Ticket Management and Group Ticket Window software and services to Tickets.com. The three-year deal, which began Jan. 18, encompasses all Tickets.com customers, including Major League Baseball teams, and provides new market opportunities for Season Tickets in the United States and around the world. The deal will allow Tickets.com to license, distribute and promote Season Tickets' software and services to MLB teams through Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

School district selling naming rights
A Dallas school district is selling naming rights to dozens of facilities in its schools, including soccer fields, football stadiums and locker rooms, and even non-sports facilities like libraries and teachers lounges. The Highland Park school district told The Dallas Morning News that it will use the money for a $10 million endowment to provide income for the schools. Among the prices are $10 million for the Highlander football stadium, $3 million for the Scotland Yard baseball field and $50,000 for locker rooms.

DENVER

Olympic snowboarding medalist Chris Klug will get to snowboard at Aspen for free.

Klug gets lifetime lift pass at Aspen
Chris Klug, who took a bronze Olympic medal for snowboarding, has been honored by Aspen with a lifetime lift pass. That's quite a change for Aspen, which until last year banned snowboarders from its slope. Pat O'Donnell, president of Aspen Skiing Co., said he would give any local skier or snowboarder a lifetime pass if they bring home an Olympic medal as well.

DETROIT

Tigers announce promotion changes
It didn't take long for the influence of promotional consultant Mike Veeck to result in changes for the upcoming season at Comerica Park. Every weekend is being devoted to families. Friday nights will continue to offer fireworks. Pregame autograph sessions with current and former Tigers have been moved to Saturdays. And in perhaps the biggest change, on Sundays all kids 14 and younger will get free rides on the ballpark's Ferris wheel and merry-go-round.

HOUSTON

Westside to host Davis Cup quarterfinals
The Westside Tennis Club and U.S. Tennis Association announced March 4 that the Houston club will host the Davis Cup quarterfinal match between the United States and Spain April 5-7. Club owner Jim McIngvale will erect temporary seating around its grass courts to accommodate 7,000 fans and media. Houston has not hosted a Davis Cup match since 1936.

INDIANAPOLIS

Colts QB sues memorabilia dealer
Manning
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against a Staten Island, N.Y., sports memorabilia dealer. Manning and his agent, IMG, claim in a suit filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court on Feb. 27 that Michael Bertolini and his Triumph Sports Memorabilia & Promotions Inc. owe $105,000 for 2,500 sports items Manning autographed. According to court documents, Bertolini contracted with Manning in July 2000 to sign 2,500 footballs, helmets and jerseys for $112,500. So far, court papers claim, Manning has received only $7,500. Manning and his agent were not available for comment. Bertolini, meanwhile, said he is aware he owes Manning and intends to pay him the full $105,000 as soon as he is financially able, even if he has to pay "in parts."

McDonald's hopes to profit from hoops hysteria
McDonald's restaurants have launched their first-ever regional marketing campaign in central Indiana using a peg near and dear to the Hoosier heartland: high school hoops. McDonald's Restaurants of Central Indiana partnered with Learfield Communications to create a CD-ROM focusing on Indiana high school basketball. Officials for Learfield, which own the licensing and broadcast rights to Indiana University basketball, said they will make no money off the sale of the CD-ROM, but tied it to an advertising package with McDonald's.

IMS signs multiyear deal with caterers
Indianapolis Motor Speedway cut the number of caterers it allows to work at the track from six to three, and for the first time entered a multiyear deal with the firms chosen. Crystal Catering, Jug's Catering and Ritz Charles Inc. have been designated as the approved caterers for all of the speedway's special events — including the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and U.S. Grand Prix — through the 2004 season. Though terms of the deal were not disclosed, IMS officials said the three firms selected will pay a flat fee plus a commission on sales for the right to serve suiteholders, sponsors, teams, IMS staff and other corporate entertainers at the famed Brickyard.

JACKSONVILLE

Landry & Kling picked for management
The Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee named Landry & Kling the exclusive management company for dockside ship housing for Super Bowl XXXIX in February 2005. Landry & Kling, specialists in cruise ship event management, will contract and coordinate arrangements between cruise lines and corporate sponsors to provide more than 8,000 additional "floating hotel rooms" to the city — unprecedented for a sporting event.

MIAMI

Cingular in 'The Zones' at Genuity
Cingular Wireless, a large national wireless carrier, created wireless "Courtesy Call Zones" at the Genuity Championship golf tournament in Miami. Cingular debuted and sponsored three "Courtesy Call Zones" at the tournament, held at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. The zones were designated areas where attendees were encouraged to receive and place their wireless phone calls.

MILWAUKEE

Brewers fight season-ticket decline at Miller
With Opening Day drawing near, the Milwaukee Brewers are running 25 to 30 percent below the record-breaking 14,367 season tickets sold for Miller Park's inaugural season. Dean Rennicke, the Brewers' vice president of ticket sales, said the last eight Major League Baseball clubs that opened new ballparks suffered a decrease in season tickets during the second year. Milwaukee drew slightly more than 2.8 million in 2001.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Twins bobbleheads getting smaller
In a new twist on the two-year-long bobblehead doll craze, the Minnesota Twins will unveil mini-bobblehead statues for the first time this year. The dolls will stand slightly more than half the size of the traditional souvenir. This year the team will honor Torii Hunter, Eric Milton, Joe Mays and Corey Koskie with the mini-statues.

NASHVILLE

The first 5,000 women attending the Predators’ match against Phoenix will receive a “Men of Steel” poster.

Kroger sponsors Ladies Night
Kroger is sponsoring Predators Ladies Night on Friday. The first 5,000 women attending the Predators game against the Phoenix Coyotes will receive a "Men of Steel" poster featuring Predators captain Tom Fitzgerald, Vladimir Orszagh, Cale Hulse, Petr Tenkrat, Kimmo Timonen and Bill Houlder. In addition, when fans show their Kroger Plus Card to purchase a ticket for the Ladies Night game, $10 from every lower-level ticket ($55 and $65) and $5 from every upper-level ticket ($16, $27 and $33) will be donated to the Greater Nashville Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

ORLANDO

Gruden staying with Predators
Predators fans and officials are breathing a sigh of relief. The team's former head coach and now quarterback Jay Gruden announced that he would remain in Orlando to play for the Predators for the 2002 Arena Football League season. An offer from his brother, new Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, to coach his team's quarterbacks had many holding their breath. Gruden coached the Predators for four years, leading the team to four playoff appearances, three trips to the ArenaBowl championship game and two ArenaBowl titles.

PHILADELPHIA

Sculpture of Chamberlain planned
The Philadelphia 76ers unveiled a replica of a commemorative

The Philadelphia 76ers plan to build a statue honoring Wilt Chamberlain. A replica is shown above.
statue honoring the late Wilt Chamberlain before the team's March 1 game against the New Jersey Nets. The actual 18-foot bronze sculpture, being created by artists Omri Amrany and cast by A.R.T. Research Enterprises Inc. of Lancaster, Pa., will be installed at the First Union Center later this year. The unveiling was part of a tribute to Chamberlain on the 40th anniversary of his 100-point game against the New York Knicks at Hershey Sports Arena. Before the game, the Sixers announced the creation of the Wilt Chamberlain Memorial Fund, which was initiated by former Sixers' player and coach Billy Cunningham. The fund will provide scholarships to athletically and academically talented students throughout the Philadelphia area. Donors who make a contribution of $25,000 or more will receive a reproduction of the sculpture.

PORTLAND, MAINE

Pirates land AHL All-Star Classic
The Portland Pirates and the city of Portland have been awarded the 2003 AHL All-Star Classic. The date of the event is to be determined. Portland and the Cumberland County Civic Center have been home to four Calder Cup championship teams, most recently the 1993-94 Pirates. For the ninth year in a row, the AHL All-Star Classic will be televised across North America. The 2002 event, held last month in St. John's, Newfoundland, was carried by ESPN2 in the United States and Rogers Sportsnet in Canada, reaching nearly 90 million households.

SACRAMENTO

Volleyball tournament coming in 2007
Sacramento has been picked to host the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship at Arco Arena. California State University Sacramento and the Sacramento Sports Commission are hosts of the event, slated for Dec. 13 and 15.

SAN DIEGO

Bowl put estimated $20.5M into economy
Culligan Holiday Bowl officials estimate that the Dec. 28 game between Texas and Washington pumped $20.5 million into the local economy, including direct visitor spending of $10.8 million. A study by Marketing Information Masters of San Diego showed that the average visitor to the game at Qualcomm Stadium spent $415 while in San Diego, including an average hotel stay of 3.4 nights. Visitors booked an estimated 21,500 hotel room nights, up 7 percent from December 2000, when Texas faced Oregon.

SAN FRANCISCO

Levi backs SF 2012 bid
Levi Strauss & Co. is the latest high-profile backer of San Francisco's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. San Francisco-based Levi will donate $50,000 this year and another $50,000 next year — with the second installment assuming the Sacramento-to-Monterey bid is picked by the U.S. Olympic Committee in November as the U.S. candidate city. The Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee, the local bid group, is trying to raise $2 million this year and bring big-name, local corporate support on board.

SEATTLE

Cougars kick off in Seattle
The Washington State University Cougars will open their 2002 football season in the new Seattle Seahawks stadium this August. The university announced that the Cougars will play the University of Nevada in the new stadium on Aug. 31.

Husky football moving to KJR?
A Seattle sports radio station may be about to become the new radio home of University of Washington football. Fisher Broadcasting and Seattle-based KOMO, which have broadcast Husky football games for 21 of the past 24 years, has pulled out of negotiations to broadcast the games, leaving Seattle-based KJR-AM as the apparent winner. Portland-based Action Sports Media, a Paul Allen company, owns the broadcast rights to UW football. It was announced recently that Fisher was no longer in the running to broadcast Husky football. KJR and Fisher had been seen as the front-runners to land Husky broadcasts.

ST. LOUIS

A-B distributor dies in crash
One of the country's leading Anheuser-Busch distributors was killed March 1 when his car crashed during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jeff Clinton, 38, was president and chief operating officer of Grey Eagle Distributing and a Grand Am series driver. Grey Eagle is the exclusive Anheuser-Busch beer distributor in St. Louis County and one of the largest beer distributorships in the region. Clinton and his brother, Brian, shared ownership of Grey Eagle with their father, Jerry.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Red Wing Darren McCarty (left) and Lightning defender Cory Sarich separate after colliding. The game set a new attendance record for the Lightning.

Lightning sets attendance record
The Tampa Bay Lightning posted a new attendance record at the Ice Palace with 20,914 turning out to watch its Feb. 26 game against the Detroit Red Wings. Lightning executives hope the over-capacity crowd will help the team build ticket sales momentum through March, during which the team has 10 home games. The Lightning's largest crowd ever in its 10-year history was 28,183 for an NHL playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 23, 1996.

Quaid, Morris open spring training
Actor Dennis Quaid and pitcher Jim Morris simultaneously threw the ceremonial first pitch at the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' spring training opener against the Atlanta Braves on March 2 at Florida Power Park in St. Petersburg. Quaid spent the weekend in the Tampa Bay area promoting the new Walt Disney Pictures film "The Rookie," in which he plays Morris, the oldest rookie in 40 years to play for a Major League Baseball team. Morris signed with the Rays in June 1999 at age 35 and appeared in 21 games in 1999 and 2000.

TORONTO

Blue Jays back on Fan network
The Toronto Blue Jays will be back on the Fan sports radio network this season after rival network The Team exercised an option to walk away from the two remaining years of the Blue Jays' contract. The Team, owned by CHUM Ltd., dropped the Blue Jays after fulfilling only one season of its three-year agreement. The Blue Jays were to be the marquee property of The Team's summer schedule, but it's believed the club's poor performance and ratings last season and high rights fees contributed to The Team's decision.

Leaf relative dies at ceremony
The nephew of late Maple Leafs great Harvey "Busher" Jackson passed away on the Toronto Maple Leafs' bench during a March 2 pregame ceremony honoring the 25 greatest Maple Leafs of all time. Art Jackson, 78, collapsed as he was being introduced to the crowd at Air Canada Centre. It's believed Jackson was pronounced dead on the bench and later taken to the Leafs' medical room, after which a subdued ceremony continued.

UNCASVILLE, CONN.

Arena to host NLL's All-Star Game
The National Lacrosse League will hold its 2002 All-Star Game at the Mohegan Sun Arena on April 21. The 2 p.m. game will be carried live on the CNN/Sports Illustrated network. The league currently is selling tickets and sponsorships for the event. The NLL All-Star Game joins a growing list of sporting events held at the new Mohegan Sun Arena, which hosted an NBA exhibition game between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards in October.

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