SBJ/May 13 - 19, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

BUFFALO

Destroyers plan Bentley show
The Arena Football League Buffalo Destroyers have joined with a local company, Key Video Productions, for the Ray Bentley TV show. Bentley is the team's coach and during the NFL season is a broadcaster for Fox. The coach's show will air Sunday mornings on WNLO Channel 23. The Destroyers have added a second radio outlet for their games. WJTN in Jamestown, N.Y., has begun carrying the arena league team's games in that southwestern New York area.

CINCINNATI

Flying Pig draws 7,230 for relays, marathon
Cincinnati's fourth-annual Flying Pig Marathon on May 5 drew 7,230 people registered for the relays and marathon; that's 1,000 more than in 1999, when the race was born. Including the Papa John's 5-Mile Run and Kids Fun Run, almost 9,000 people participated in the May 4-5 events.

Mighty Ducks extend Anaheim deal
The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks have agreed to terms on a multiyear extension of their affiliation agreement with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

DENVER

Elway Classic set for June
The Sun Microsystems John Elway Celebrity Classic is set for June 29-30 at the Omni Interlocken Resort Golf Club in Broomfield, Colo., just outside Denver. The purse is $275,000. Scheduled to hit the links are Elway, the retired quarterback of the Denver Broncos, and Mario Lemieux, Dan Marino, Ivan Lendl, Jim McMahon and Joe Theismann.

Collen quits new Vanderbilt job
Tom Collen's career as women's basketball coach at Vanderbilt University ended quickly, after less than a day. He quit Colorado State University on May 1 after five years to move to Vanderbilt. But Collen, 48, declined the offer a day later after inaccuracies surfaced on his bio. His bio in the CSU media guide says he has two master's degrees from Miami of Ohio. He actually has one master's degree with a dual major.

HOUSTON

Andre Agassi returns a shot from Russia's Mikhail Youzhny in the men's tournament.

Clay court tourney attendance up 32%
Attendance at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships increased 32 percent over last year as the event sold out nine out of 10 sessions in its second year to be held at Westside Tennis Club. Nearly 48,000 people attended the April 22-28 tournament, which ended with Andy Roddick as champion for the second year in a row. Club owners Jim and Linda McIngvale made room for more fans by adding seats and luxury suites — increasing the facility's capacity from 4,200 to 4,900.

Comets cut price on 1,200 seats
The Houston Comets have reduced the price of 1,200 seats in the Compaq Center from $18.50 to $12 in an attempt to sell more tickets. The team offers more than 4,000 tickets at $12 or less. The Comets' first home game is May 27 against the WNBA champs, the Los Angeles Sparks.

INDIANAPOLIS

Fisher signs deal to drive in Indy 500
Indy Racing League driver Sarah Fisher

Fisher
has signed a contract to drive for the Indianapolis-based Dreyer & Reinbold team. Team owner Dennis Reinbold said he has primary and associate sponsors lined up but would not be more specific. The deal is for the Indy 500 only, but owner and driver are interested in continuing together.

IU merchandise sales up 400% in March
Indiana University's men's basketball team — with its march to the NCAA championship game — helped the school score big this spring in merchandise sales. School officials are still tabulating final sales figures, but athletic director Michael McNeely said conservative estimates show IU racked up $250,000 more in paraphernalia sales in March than during the same period a year earlier. That's an increase of more than 400 percent, McNeely said, with the school's sales of merchandise in March alone topping $310,000.

JACKSONVILLE

Jaguars extend Coughlin's contract
The Jacksonville Jaguars extended coach Tom Coughlin's contract one year. The extension carries Coughlin's contract through 2004. The announcement comes amid fans' growing frustration with the team's two-year losing streak. Coughlin led the team to four playoffs, two AFC Central division titles and two AFC Championship games before struggling through two disappointing seasons. Attendance numbers dwindled throughout the 2001 season, prompting three local television blackouts and a public tongue lashing from Coughlin.

KANSAS CITY

Futures Tour debuts this weekend
The Futures Tour, the developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour, will debut Friday and run through Sunday in Richmond, Mo. The Greater Kansas City Futures Tour Charity Golf Classic will offer a $60,000 purse. The Futures Tour will underwrite the event this year. The 144-player, 54-hole tourney is the first women's professional golf competition in Kansas City since 1980.

MIAMI

Josh Beckett pitches the Marlins' 5-4 loss to the Diamondbacks on "Dog Day Afternoon."

Marlins hold 'Dog Day' at D-backs game
The Florida Marlins held "Dog Day Afternoon" at the April 28 game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D-backs won 5-4 in front of 13,976 fans and 312 dogs. The team charged $10 per human and $5 a pooch — with the $5 going to the local Humane Society.

BISYS to sell insurance to soccer teams
Miami-based Latin America Futbol Corp. has sold exclusive rights to New York-based BISYS Group to sell disability, accidental death and dismemberment coverage to soccer teams playing in this summer's World Cup. Latin America Futbol, which is involved in player representation and stadium construction in South America, will offer as much as $200 million in life and disability insurance. It won't cover some forms of terrorism.

MILWAUKEE

Miller Park roof stays shut
In weather conditions that pass for near-summer-like in Milwaukee — sunny and in the 60s — the mechanically troubled Miller Park roof remained closed during the Milwaukee Brewers' 6-4 win over the Florida Marlins on May 4 before 25,569 fans. Brewers vice president of stadium operations Scott Jenkins said the shuttered roof had nothing to do with mechanical problems and was caused by the 61-degree temperature outside at game time, which would have been fine for fans seated in the sun but shiver-inducing for fans in the shade. The Brewers and the Miller Park district board are opening the roof sparingly as they seek solutions to noise from the mechanism that moves the retractable roof panels, water leaks in the roof during rain showers and rust on the roof deck. Negotiations are under way with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America, which designed and built the roof.

Golf courses optimistic despite chill
After suffering a disastrous, weather-beaten 2001, southeastern Wisconsin golf courses have been hit with continued poor weather conditions this spring. The Wisconsin State Golf Association estimates attendance at Milwaukee-area courses fell 8 percent in 2001 mainly due to bad weather and the recession. Golf course managers remain optimistic about the new season, as long as the weather cooperates. The industry also has been pinched by the opening of 50 new courses in Wisconsin during the past five years.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Timberwolves' home attendance grows
The Minnesota Timberwolves saw average home attendance rise for the fifth straight season. The team averaged 17,846 fans a game. Season-ticket renewals are ahead of last year's pace as well. Last year, 93 percent of fans renewed their packages.

Twins hold 'Fishing Weasel' night
The Minnesota Twins and outdoor retailer Cabela's sponsored Eric Milton "Fishing Weasel" giveaway night at the Metrodome on May 4. The first 7,500 fans 18 or older got the lure, which was manufactured by Minnesota-based Northland Fishing Tackle.

Scoring-play 'Bingo' awards game tickets
The Minnesota Twins initiated a bingo contest during the May 2 game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Bingo cards had random baseball scoring plays in each square. As plays occured, fans circled them on their cards. The first five fans to achieve bingo won tickets to a future 2002 game.

Twins tell Legislature Watkins isn't the guy
The Minnesota Twins gave the Minnesota Legislature a letter indicating that the team does not believe Alabama businessman Donald Watkins has the financial wherewithal to buy the team.

OAKLAND

A's new stadium lease delayed
Oakland City Council members are raising questions about a new lease for the Oakland A's at Network Associates Coliseum, and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors has yet to approve the plan. The county board balked at the plan April 30, voting to ask the coliseum authority to continue negotiations. The lease calls for the A's to pay the city and county $450,000 a year from 2003 through 2007.

ORLANDO

RDV teams with Infowave
In an attempt to make life easier for its coaches and executives, RDV Sports, the parent company of the NBA's Orlando Magic, has teamed up with Infowave Software. The Magic has implemented Infowave's wireless business engine, which will allow the team's coaches and executives to stay connected via wireless access to e-mail and Web-based applications both online and off-line.

Disney World to host Woods' golf clinic
The Walt Disney World Resort again will be the site of the Coca-Cola/Tiger Woods Foundation Junior Golf Clinic. Set for Disney's Palm and Magnolia golf courses, this will be the first time the three-day clinic has been held at Disney World since 1997 and is the 25th clinic held by the Tiger Woods Foundation since 1996. Junior golfers from inner-city programs representing five U.S. cities — Buffalo; Fort Worth, Texas; Newark, N.J.; Orlando and Philadelphia — were chosen to participate in the event through a formal bidding process.

PHILADELPHIA

Charge's Fair, Mitts will be bobbleheads
A crowd of 6,629 turned out at Villanova Stadium

The Philadelphia Charge will give away Lorrie Fair, Heather Mitts bobbleheads.
for the WUSA's Philadelphia Charge's home opener, which featured the region's first bobblehead giveaway involving a professional female athlete. The first 2,000 kids 14 and younger received a limited-edition Lorrie Fair bobblehead doll. The Charge plans to give away Heather Mitts bobbleheads on June 8. The dolls are being produced by Aliance Marketing Partners, the same company that produced the Donovan McNabb bobblehead dolls for McDonald's. The Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association is sponsoring both Charge giveaways. The Charge won its home opener against the Boston Breakers 4-2.

Promotion gives Phanatic a bobbing belly
The Philadelphia Phillies had their first bobble-doll promotion

Phillie Phanatic bobble belly
of the season, giving away Phillie Phanatic "bobbing belly" dolls to all kids 14 and younger before the team's May 5 game against the Colorado Rockies. A crowd of 32,411 — the largest turnout since Opening Day — attended the game, which featured the annual birthday celebration for the team's mascot. Rumors are circulating in Philadelphia that the Phanatics' costume is going to be put on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., later this year.

RALEIGH-DURHAM

Cobras pick Myriad for marketing program
The Carolina Cobras have selected Myriad Media, a Raleigh-based digital media agency, to implement an aggressive interactive marketing program for the 2002 season. Myriad Media is providing strategy, content creation and digital delivery of game highlights, special features on Snake Charmers, fans and an interactive CD to promote the AFL team to area businesses and organizations.

SACRAMENTO

Kings get community support
To support the Sacramento Kings as they continue in the playoffs, downtown Sacramento held a community celebration during the lunch hour May 3 with purple balloons, purple water in the fountain, a Pepsi shoot-out basketball competition, the team's Royal Court Dancers and mascot Slamson, and Kings merchandise for sale. At night, City Hall was decked out in purple lights. The sponsors were the city, Downtown Sacramento Partnership, the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau and Maloof Sports & Entertainment.

SAN ANTONIO
Alamo Bowl to get prime-time spot on ESPN
The 2002 Alamo Bowl will be televised in a prime-time Saturday slot during ESPN's 2002 Bowl Week, the network's most-watched week of programming of the year. This year's Alamo Bowl will be played on Dec. 28 in San Antonio's 65,000-seat Alamodome. This is the third straight year the Alamo Bowl will be played on a Saturday. It will again feature teams from the Big Ten and Big 12 conferences.

SAN DIEGO

Padres owner takes charge at Peregrine
San Diego Padres owner John Moores has taken over as chairman of Peregrine Systems and enlisted the help of a trusted team aide in light of an investigation into accounting irregularities at the Carlsbad, Calif.-based software company. Two of Peregrine's highest-ranking executives resigned May 6 after KPMG, Peregrine's new auditor after a relationship with Arthur Andersen was severed April 2, reported that as much as $100 million may have been improperly booked as revenue over a two-year period. Moores named Padres chief financial officer Fred Gerson as acting CFO of Peregrine. The Padres are in the process of arranging a $140 million bond issue that would provide the last $45.8 million of the club's $153 million investment in the new downtown ballpark. Team President Bob Vizas said Gerson is still the team's chief financial officer and would continue overseeing the bond issue. Steve Fitch, the team's controller, will take over Gerson's day-to-day duties.

SAN JOSE

NHL OKs Sharks' sale to investors
The NHL has formally approved the sale of the San Jose Sharks to a group of Silicon Valley investors, Sharks President Greg Jamison said. George Gund III reportedly sold the club and its business arm, Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, for $80 million cash. The investors also assumed between $40 million and $45 million in debt, and Gund has retained a 15 percent interest in the team. Jamison said a new investor has been added to the two-tiered group of investors but would not say who the investor is. Venture capitalist Kevin Compton and Broacade Communications Systems chief executive Greg Reyes are the lead investors, who also include former San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery.

TORONTO

Darcy Tucker skates against Islanders in heavily viewed Game 7 of the playoffs. bobble belly

'Hockey Night' draws 1.9M viewers
CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" averaged 1.9 million viewers for the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, a 26 percent increase over a year ago. The telecast of the Toronto Maple Leafs-New York Islanders Game 7 on April 30 drew 3.16 million viewers and was the network's highest opening-round audience since 1994.

CFL, NFL expand 'Test to be Best'
The Canadian Football League and the NFL have expanded their joint "Test to be the Best" skills development and evaluation program to eight Canadian cities this spring. Tackle football players 15 and older are given speed, strength, power and agility tests similar to those used at Canadian universities and receive instruction from CFL and NFL coaches.

WASHINGTON

Leonsis brings in new investor
Lincoln Holdings lead investor Ted Leonsis brought in Dr. Jeong Kim as a minority investor and partner in the groups that owns 100 percent of the Washington Capitals and 44 percent of Washington Sports and Entertainment. Kim, a newly appointed professor at the University of Maryland, is the former group president of Lucent Technologies' Optical Networking Group. He joins Leonsis, Dick Patrick, Raul Fernandez, Jack Davies, Richard Kay, George Stamas and Richard Fairbank — all Washington business leaders — at Lincoln Holdings.

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