SBJ/April 22 - 28, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

Thrashers, State Farm team for camps
State Farm Insurance Cos. is teaming with the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers for the second straight summer to co-sponsor youth hockey schools and an adult training camp. The Youth Goaltending School for ages 6-16 will be held at the IceForum in Duluth, Ga., July 29-Aug. 2. A youth program for ages 6-14 will be held at the IceForum Town Center in Kennesaw, Ga., July 22-26 and again in Duluth Aug. 5-9.

Team gives away Avalanche, house
Atlanta Thrashers fan Patsy Daniels of Stone Mountain, Ga., won a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, and Waseem Pall of Roswell, Ga., won a dream home from Colony Homes, as part of the Thrashers "Fan Appreciation Day" during the final home game of the season April 14.

BALTIMORE

National team to play at Ripken Stadium
The 2002 USA Baseball national team will open its 31st annual USA-Japan collegiate all-star series at the new Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Md., on June 28, USA Baseball announced. The new 6,000-seat baseball facility will house the Aberdeen Ironbirds of the New York-Penn League, which begins play June 18.

BUFFALO

Sabres ticket prices going up
The Buffalo Sabres will increase the price of tickets for the 2002-03 season by about 4 percent despite failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 1996. The Sabres, however, have given season-ticket holders the option of renewing for next season by May 15 with no increase in cost. The Sabres sold 9,300 season tickets this past season.

CINCINNATI

Convergys plans vs. Bengals' lease
A proposal for a new Convergys Corp. headquarters near Paul Brown Stadium could preserve more than 1,500 city jobs and kick off The Banks riverfront development with downtown's first million-square-foot office deal. It also could violate Hamilton County's lease with the Cincinnati Bengals. Sources involved in negotiations to retain Convergys, one of downtown's largest employers, said the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority is seeking a $40 million commitment from Hamilton County to build parking garages on up to four blocks adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium. Atop the garages, a new Convergys headquarters complex would fill between 500,000 and 1 million square feet of office space. The deal could put the county in violation of its lease with the Bengals, who are guaranteed 5,000 riverfront parking spaces near the stadium on game day. Surface lots now used by Bengals fans would be unusable during construction of the new Convergys headquarters. The Bengals' lease also limits the height of buildings near the stadium. At least one conceptual sketch of the Convergys complex shows a building up to three floors taller than the seven-story limit that's part of the Bengals' lease.

COLUMBUS

Jackets fan wins a new house
Alison James of Columbus won a new Dominion home at the Columbus Blue Jackets' final home game of the season against the Atlanta Thrashers at Nationwide Arena. James won a Bartlett design, Celebration series Dominion home in the Galloway Ridge community in Columbus.

Team stretches sellout streak to 56
The Blue Jackets sold out every home game this season, pushing the consecutive sellout streak at Nationwide Arena, capacity 18,136, to 56 games. Beginning with the Dec. 8, 2000, game against the Boston Bruins, the Blue Jackets sold out 21 of their last 24 games to end 2000-01 and finished that campaign with a sellout streak of 15 consecutive games.


DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Fast Bass mixes fishing, NASCAR

From left, the Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick and Bobby Labonte Fast Fish.
Aiming for what it sees as a crossover between enthusiasts for NASCAR and bass fishing, a company is selling plastic fish, called Fast Bass, that are painted like particular drivers’ cars. Logo Legends Management Inc., based in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, has the rights to Winston Cup cars driven by Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Rusty Wallace.

DETROIT

Shock uniforms match Pistons'

Deanna Nolan (left) and Piston Jerry Stackhouse unveil the Shock's new uniforms.
The Detroit Shock unveiled the team’s new red, white and blue color scheme at halftime of the Detroit Pistons-Sacramento Kings game. The new Shock uniforms and logo now match the Pistons, who changed back to their original red, white and blue at the beginning of the 2001-02 season. The color changes affect all Shock team uniforms, practice attire, retail merchandise, the playing surface at The Palace and printed materials for the club. The new Shock uniforms feature an updated Shock logo on the front of both the home and away jerseys.

Wings, Pistons, Tigers ratings all up
Detroit Red Wings ratings on Fox Sports Net Detroit averaged 7.4, a 76 percent increase from last year. With two games to go, the Pistons’ ratings averaged a 2.7, a 50 percent increase over last season. And even the Tigers, with baseball’s worst record, are showing a 55 percent increase with a 5.1 rating for the first eight games.

HOUSTON

Sears, Oshman's selling Astros tickets
Thirteen area Sears Hardware stores began selling Houston Astros tickets April 8, becoming the first retailer to sign on as a ticket outlet after the Astros' recent switch from Ticketmaster to Tickets.com. The eight Oshman's Sporting Goods stores in the Houston area will start selling Astros tickets by the end of April. John Sorrentino, the team's vice president of ticket sales and services, said the goal is to have 40 to 50 ticket outlets within the region. Tickets are available at astros.com and at Astros Field, but they are no longer on sale at any Ticketmaster outlets.

INDIANAPOLIS

Colts try to draw Hispanics into huddle
The Indianapolis Colts are set to launch a campaign to draw local Hispanics into the team's fan base. The program will be modeled after the team's Women's Football 101 program that began five years ago. It was so popular that, two years ago, it spawned Women's Football 201, and both programs together drew more than 1,000 female fans to the half-day sessions. The program to court Hispanics will be held at the Colts' training complex, educating Hispanics on the nuances of NFL-style football and operations of the Colts, featuring sessions led by players, coaches and front-office staff.

MIAMI

Marlins to hire consultant
The Florida Marlins will hire a consultant to help generate more revenue, according to a Miami Herald report. A consultant was part of the deal MLB made with the Marlins' new owner Jeffrey Loria when the league agreed to buy his Montreal Expos and to lend him an additional $38.5 million to purchase the Marlins. The consultant will be in place within six months and will only assist the team in revenue creation, not in development of a new ballpark, Marlins President David Samson told the Herald.

Shalala: Sponsors should look at Masters
Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and current University of Miami President Donna Shalala spoke to USA Today about the lack of female members at Augusta National, the site of the Masters Championship. She said she doesn't believe any of the current sponsors would sponsor the Masters if Augusta still discriminated against blacks. "So why do they have a double standard against women?" she asked.

MILWAUKEE

CKPR gets All-Star nod
Major League Baseball selected the Milwaukee office of CKPR to manage the media and public relations programs for the 2002 John Hancock All-Star FanFest. CKPR is a division of Cramer-Krasselt, the largest advertising and public relations agency in Wisconsin. CKPR will work with baseball and the corporate sponsor, John Hancock Financial Services Inc., to create public awareness for the FanFest that will be held at the Midwest Express Center July 5-9.

Indoor soccer team losing money
The Milwaukee Wave finished first in the Major Indoor Soccer League's regular season, but the 18-year-old franchise will not make money in 2002. Attendance at the Bradley Center was down, and revenue from corporate sponsorships has declined.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Regular fans join opening festivities
Regular guy Jerry Nielsen, a Mankato, Minn., resident, threw out the first pitch at the Minnesota Twins' home opening game April 12 against the Detroit Tigers. Nielsen was selected as part of a weeklong contest sponsored by the Twins and the team's radio broadcast partner, WCCO-AM. The team dedicated Opening Day festivities to fans, such as Nielsen, for the strong support they gave the team during a turbulent off-season.

NASHVILLE


Predators fan wins Avalanche

Chevy representative Eric Pollard (left), Gnash and winner Ron Wade
Nashville Predators ticket holder Ron Wade of Hermitage, Tenn., won a 2002 Chevy Avalanche and camper during the Nashville Predators’ final regular-season home game, the fourth annual FANGtastic FANale. Wade won the Avalanche and camper courtesy of Camper’s Corner RV Supercenter.

NEW ORLEANS

Conference USA strikes bowl deal
Conference USA signed a multiyear agreement with the New Orleans Bowl to send a mutually agreed-upon team to its annual game. The New Orleans Bowl, to be played Dec. 17 at the Louisiana Superdome, will now match a Conference USA team against the champion of the Sun Belt Conference.

NEW YORK

Brooklyn Cyclones ticket sales boom
With just over two months remaining until the Brooklyn Cyclones' home opener, the Class A short-season team has sold about 212,000 tickets, more than 70 percent of the 285,000 season capacity, through season and mini-plan ticket packages alone. Last year at this time, the team had sold about 100,000 tickets, less than 40 percent of capacity. At the rate tickets have been selling, the Cyclones may sell out the season by Opening Day in June. With fans all around the country, they became the No. 1 merchandiser in all of minor league baseball last summer. The Cyclones are the affiliate of the New York Mets. Last year the Cyclones averaged 7,821 fans per game at KeySpan Park, the 7,500-seat stadium in Coney Island.

ORLANDO

Magic playoff plans are hot ticket
With its 108-97 victory over the New York Knicks April 9, the Orlando Magic sealed its playoff berth. Now, fans in O-town are scrambling for tickets. In fact, by noon on April 10, the Magic had received 180 calls about purchasing playoff tickets, notes Chris D'Orso, the team's director of ticket sales and marketing. On average, the Magic's ticket office gets about 60 calls daily. Playoff tickets went on sale April 12 by lottery, but fans who attended the Magic's game against the New Jersey Nets on April 11 had early access to playoff tickets.

PHILADELPHIA

Edelstein pleads to fraud charges
Fred Edelstein, the editor and publisher of "Fred Edelstein's Pro Football Insider" newsletter, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of bank fraud stemming from what federal prosecutors described as various investment scams. Among those who lost money with Edelstein was former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Bill Bergey, who lost $5,250. Prosecutors said seven other investors lost a total of about $600,000. Edelstein, who will be sentenced July 11, could face 18 to 24 months in prison.

PHOENIX

Smoking banned at Bank One Ballpark
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Bank One Ballpark have banned smoking in the facility. The two previously approved locations inside the ballpark — on the west side of the Infiniti Diamond Level rotunda and in the northwest corner of the upper concourse — will no longer be designated smoking areas. Signs will advise fans of the shortest route to the approved smoking areas outside the facility.

PITTSBURGH

Pirates give refunds for price cuts
The Pittsburgh Pirates have sent refund checks to season-ticket holders who purchased seats in the right-field and left-field grandstands of PNC Park. These fans bought seats before the team announced it would reduce prices by $1 in those sections. The price cut affected 3,200 seats.

SACRAMENTO

Bobbleheads break records
Bobblehead dolls of players from the Sacramento Kings are breaking records. Some 70 Carl's Jr. restaurants within 75 miles of Sacramento's Arco Arena have been selling the 10-inch dolls for $3.99 with the purchase of a combo meal. After the first week, the company had to limit customers to two dolls per visit because of reports of people ordering 10 or 20 combo meals at a time at some restaurants. The promotion started March 25, with 30,000 figures available each week. Some stores have been selling out at lunch on Mondays, the first day the figures are available. The dolls feature Kings players Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, Mike Bibby, Scot Pollard and Doug Christie.

SAN DIEGO

Padres hit schedule snag with Chargers
The Chargers' home opener will result in a change to the Padres' schedule for a second straight season. The recently released 2002 NFL schedule has the Chargers hosting the Houston Texans at Qualcomm Stadium on the afternoon of Sept. 15, the same date the Padres were to conclude a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants. Since more than 24 hours is required to convert the stadium over to the Chargers' full seating configuration, both the Sept. 14 and 15 Padres-Giants games likely will be moved. Doubleheaders on either Sept. 12 or 13 and during the Giants' June 3-5 visit to San Diego could make up the lost dates.

SAN FRANCISCO

Bay area Olympic bid surplus narrows
Ballooning insurance and security costs, the ripple effects of Sept. 11, have cut the expected surplus in San Francisco's amended $2.84 billion bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games by more than half. The new bid forecasts a surplus of $409 million, compared to more than $900 million in paperwork submitted last June, according to the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee, which assembled the bid.

Charles Schwab dumps BBDO
BBDO, the ad agency that created Charles Schwab & Co.'s star-studded commercials, was fired by the San Francisco-based online and discount brokerage. Schwab notified BBDO officials of the decision by letter last week. BBDO's ads for Schwab featured the likes of Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders and, during this year's Super Bowl, Barry Bonds and Henry Aaron.

Bonds' 70th fetches single offer
The deadline for offers for Barry Bonds' 70th home run ball, hit Oct. 4 at Houston's Enron Field, was extended after only one bid emerged. The only bid through April 11 was $52,500 — only $2,500 above the minimum bid, according to the Houston Chronicle. Charles Murphy, the Houston real estate agent who put the ball up for sale on an online auction site, rejected a $100,000 offer from Houston furniture mogul Jim McIngvale last fall.

ST. LOUIS

Blues Stanley Cup streak: 23 years
The St. Louis Blues extended the team's qualifying streak for the Stanley Cup playoffs to 23 years, the longest playoff streak in professional sports. The next closest is the Portland Trail Blazers, who have gone to the NBA playoffs 20 years in a row. And with the Blues' streak comes playoff seat pricing, boosting what had been $95 seats during the regular season to $125 in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks. The playoff seating ranges down in eight other categories, including upper-level seats at $20.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Lightning, Storm on AM for 3 years
Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc. signed a new three-year radio contract with Clear Channel Communications Inc. to carry Tampa Bay Lightning hockey games and Tampa Bay Storm arena football games on WDAE AM 620. Terms weren't disclosed. The agreement gives both teams priority over other sports broadcasts. WDAE has carried Lightning and Storm games for several years. Palace Sports owns the Lightning, handles marketing for the Storm and is the primary leaseholder at the Ice Palace, where both teams play.

TORONTO

Argos head for neutral playing field
The Toronto Argonauts will play a neutral-site preseason game in London, Ontario, June 21 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The game will be held at TD Waterhouse Stadium on the campus of the University of Western Ontario. It will be the Canadian Football League's first neutral-site preseason or regular-season game since 1992 and the Argos' only preseason contest this year.

Winfield gets his own bobblehead

Winfield
The Toronto Blue Jays honored Dave Winfield with his own bobblehead doll on Dave Winfield Day at SkyDome. The hero of the 1992 World Series called that '92 season his best of his 22-year major league career. Winfield's two-out, two-run double in Game 6 against Atlanta gave the Blue Jays their first of two back-to-back World Series titles.

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