SBJ/May 27 - June 2, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

Turner names Johnson host of 'College Night'
Turner Sports has named Ernie Johnson Jr. host of the college football portion of TBS Superstation's "College Night." Craig Sager will stalk the sidelines as the program's reporter. The new Turner Sports package, set to start this fall, will include a college football game followed by a college-themed movie. The games will air live at 7 p.m. Eastern on Saturdays.

BALTIMORE

Ravens renew training camp deal
The Baltimore Ravens have signed a three-year deal that will keep the team's training camp at Western Maryland College, soon to be renamed McDaniel College, through 2004. The team's seventh annual training camp will be July 26-Aug. 22.

BUFFALO

$1 million gift for athletic center
The task of renovating Canisius College's Koessler Athletic Center has gotten a little easier with a $1 million donation. The gift comes from Chester Stranczek, a businessman and mayor of Crestwood, Ill. Stranczek, who received an honorary degree from Canisius last year, made the presentation with his wife, Diane. The Koessler Center is undergoing $1.2 million in repairs that will improve lighting, upgrade electrical and ventilation systems and increase seating capacity to 2,100 from 1,200.

CINCINNATI

Ballpark safety saves county $5.5M
Great American Ball Park,

Construction continues on upper-level seating at Great American Ball Park.
which the Reds will open play in next April,
has been cited as a national example of a safe place to work. That safety record has paid off for taxpayers. Hamilton County has saved $5.5 million in worker’s compensation claims and liability costs on about $330 million worth of construction.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

SportsLine cutting 25 from staff
SportsLine.com has trimmed its Fort Lauderdale staff by 25 employees. It is the third time in the last 13 months the Internet company has cut jobs. The company said it now employs about 310 people, down from about 450 employees at the start of last year. The cuts are part of a cost-cutting process Sportsline.com began last year to further streamline its cost structure. It's not reflective of its business outlook, execs told The Miami Herald.

Kosar says Panthers used him
Former NFL quarterback and Florida Panthers co-owner Bernie Kosar told The Miami Herald that the Panthers' new ownership group used his name and high profile to win approval for the sale from the NHL and acceptance from local fans, but that majority owner Alan Cohen then told him "to pretty much go away." Cohen has only said he asked Kosar to "step back" because the club can only have one voice, the paper said.

Student Sports, Recruit link up
Student Sports, a Torrance, Calif.-based subsidiary of Silverstar Holdings in Boca Raton, said it has a strategic partnership with Recruit Inc. (www.recruitzone.com), which connects student athletes with college coaches and recruiters so they can land college scholarships. The partnership comes after more than a year of market research and discussion between the companies and includes a new product joint venture and exclusive co-marketing arrangements, according to a release. Financial terms were not disclosed. Recruit is a national athletic scouting and recruiting service in Bakersfield, Calif.

HOUSTON

Travelers can send golf clubs door-to-door
Imagine never having to deal with luggage at the airport again. A new service created by Houston-based Sports Express lifts the burden of lugging heavy bags – at least for those with a little extra cash. This month, the year-old company, which got its start shipping golf clubs, signed a deal with America West Airlines to offer a new door-to-door service for baggage and sports equipment. For around $55 a suitcase, $45 for a set of skis or $70 for a bicycle, America West passengers can have their items delivered to and from their destinations. Sports Express works with Federal Express and other shippers to provide guaranteed deliveries to and from hotels, resorts, private residences or vacation properties.

INDIANAPOLIS

IU beats Maryland on the bottom line
Indiana University collected $887,000 from the Big Ten Conference, its share of the NCAA basketball fund given to each conference participating in the tournament. The basketball fund is distributed to conferences each April based on their tournament performance over the last six years. IU got $47,000 more than the University of Maryland received from the Atlantic Coast Conference. IU received $100,000 more than other Big 10 teams that made the tournament this year for making it to the Final Four. IU eventually lost in the title game to Maryland.

New logo unveiled at IU
Indiana University unveiled its new logo May 13, changing from the traditional red logo on a white background to a white reversed logo on a block red background. The red in the new logo is slightly deeper. The goal of the redesign is to get one unified logo used by all university sports teams and get the teams wearing the traditional cream and crimson school colors.

JACKSONVILLE

Sports Awards win awards of their own
The Florida Public Relations Association honored the Florida Sports Awards with an Image Award and a Judges Award. The organization's media relations campaign boosted local and state print media coverage by 329 percent over the previous year. The organization also received its first national news coverage and local television ratings for the awards show jumped 29 percent. The awards show is slated for June 8 .

MIAMI

H2O plans Miami marathon
H2O Entertainment Group Inc., a Washington D.C.-based special events and sports entertainment company, said it intends to stage a Miami marathon. The company, which owns and operates the Washington D.C. Marathon, is in the permitting process with jurisdictions and governments in the Miami area. The tentative time for the marathon is January 2004.

City bidding to host X Games
The city of Miami is among a handful of cities bidding to host the 2003 and 2004 X Games, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Naming rights in discussion for arena
University of Miami athletic director Paul Dee said negotiations for a naming-rights partner to replace Ryder on the university's on-campus arena are progressing. Talks continue with several companies and an individual, according to the university and The Miami Herald.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Group donates to save Minnesota sports
Save Gopher Sports, a fund-raising group trying to rescue three doomed University of Minnesota sports teams, presented President Mark Yudof with a check for $900,000 on May 16. It's about one-third of what the university has said it will take to get men's gymnastics, and men's and women's golf off the hook for good. The university had decided to eliminate those teams, unless they found private funding, as part of cost-saving measures associated with the school's athletic departments.

NASHVILLE

WTN will continue to broadcast Preds
WTN-FM has renewed its deal with the Nashville Predators to remain the team's flagship station for an additional two years. The team has carried the Predators' broadcasts since the team's inaugural 1998-99 season.

ORLANDO

Black gets 60 months, must pay restitution
Former sports agent William "Tank"

Black
Black was sentenced by a federal judge in Gainesville to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $12 million in restitution to athletes he defrauded. On Jan. 31, a jury found Black guilty of conspiring to commit mail fraud, to commit wire fraud, to obstruct the SEC's parallel investigation and to defraud the U.S. government. The commission's lawsuit alleges that Black and his sports agency business, Professional Management Inc., defrauded nearly two dozen client-athletes of millions of dollars they entrusted to Black for investment purposes, according to the SEC.

PHILADELPHIA
Lewis promotes NFL in Taiwan
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Chad Lewis traveled to Taiwan earlier this month as part of an 11-day trip to promote the National Football League in Southeast Asia. He also will visit Singapore and Thailand. Lewis, who learned to speak Chinese, lived in Taiwan for two years as part of a Mormon mission in the early 1990s.

Iverson forms production company
Philadelphia
Allen Iverson has formed his own production company, ABK Music Group.
76ers guard Allen Iverson has formed his own promotion company called ABK Music Group. Iverson is serving as CEO of ABK, which stands for All Business Konducted. He said he is open to signing acts that play different types of music, including rap, rhythm and blues, rock ’n’ roll and gospel. Iverson recorded his own rap CD two years ago, but it was never released after some lyrics were strongly criticized by organizations representing women and homosexuals.

PITTSBURGH

Designers defend PNC Park seating
The Pittsburgh Pirates said they planned no changes in seating people with disabilities after a woman in a wheelchair was hit in the head by a home run ball at PNC Park. The woman was not seriously hurt, but she required stitches on her head. According to the Pirates, stadium designers not only met but went beyond the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Wild Things have radio, Internet deal
The Washington Wild Things, the new Frontier League baseball team in Washington, Pa., that begins play Wednesday, will have its 84 games carried live by its flagship station, WJPA-FM in Washington and WPTT-AM in Pittsburgh. Internet broadcasts will be carried by NSN Sports Network. Fox Sports Pittsburgh has agreed to carry six of the team's games live.

RALEIGH-DURHAM

Duke center sponsoring Cobras
Duke Sports Medicine Center has signed on as a sponsor and the official medical provider for the Arena Football League's Carolina Cobras. Terms of the single-season agreement were not released. The deal puts the Duke Sports Medicine logo on player uniforms and on the field during Cobras' games at Raleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arena. Duke Sports Medicine will be the presenting sponsor of all Cobras' radio broadcasts and will sponsor the Cobras C.A.R.E. community outreach program and Cobras Youth Football Clinic.

SAN DIEGO

Record number of marathon runners
Organizers of the Suzuki Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon have registered a record number of runners for the June 2 event through the streets of San Diego. Officials at Elite Racing report that more than 21,000 entrants have signed up for the fifth annual run, which features rock bands at every mile marker and an evening concert, this year with Sugar Ray as the headline act. The largest first-time marathon ever when it debuted in 1998, the event drew just more than 20,000 entrants last year. Registrations were down by nearly 30 percent early this year in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

SACRAMENTO

River Cats mark 2 years since return to town
The Sacramento River Cats and the Sacramento Downtown Partnership held a Raley Field birthday rally downtown during the lunch hour on May 16 to commemorate the two-year anniversary of professional baseball's return to Sacramento. Fans met players and coaches and competed for prizes.

Team presents baseball camp for women
The Sacramento River Cats partnered with Sutter Health to present The Diamond is a Girl's Best Friend: Baseball 101 for Women on May 18. The River Cats charged $35 for the all-day camp, which included instruction from players and coaches, lunch, a gift bag and T-shirt.

SAN FRANCISCO

3Com switches to SF Stadium — for now
Until the San Francisco 49ers find a new naming-rights sponsor, the name of the team's home turf will be San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point. The name for the city-owned stadium was approved May 16 by the city's Recreation and Park Department, nearly four months after a seven-year 3Com Corp. deal ended. 3Com paid the city roughly $900,000 a year, while the 49ers took in an undisclosed amount. The 49ers continue to search for a naming-rights partner. The 3Com Park signs remain in place.

Wells, others ponder arena naming rights
Two Bay Area financial institutions — including Wells Fargo & Co. — and a third from New York are vying for naming rights at the Oakland Arena. Along with the name on the 19,200-seat home of the Golden State Warriors, banks also may want management of the city's 401(k) program, merchant banking relationships or ATMs on city property, said Mike Riley, chief operating officer of Public Enterprise Group, the Huntington Beach firm marketing the naming rights.

SAN JOSE

Silicon in talks for lacrosse team
The San Jose Sharks' business arm, Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, has confirmed it has begun preliminary discussions with the National Lacrosse League to bring a team to San Jose. The indoor NLL is reportedly looking to bring at least two teams to the West Coast for 2003 and is looking at Los Angeles and Portland besides San Jose.

ST. LOUIS

University works toward own arena
Saint Louis University has taken a step toward building its own, on-campus arena, one that could house the men's basketball team. The SLU Billikens now play at the Savvis Center. That site is also the home of the St. Louis Blues, where team owner Bill Laurie has been trying to bring an NBA team. SLU has estimated a new building could cost $50 million. The university's board authorized a feasibility study to build a campus events center in early May. The Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the president of SLU, said he expects to complete the work during the summer and submit his report to the board in the fall.

Free admission for Rams' minicamp
Typically, admission to an NFL event at the Edward Jones Dome comes with a pricey ticket. But on June 3 the St. Louis Rams are opening the doors for free. The event is the last day of the team's June minicamp and part of a promotion sponsored by Shop 'n' Save and Coca-Cola.

TORONTO

Maple Leafs car flags are big sellers
Toronto Maple Leafs car flags were selling like hot dogs at a country fair as the city got caught up in the fever of Toronto's extended playoff run. Geoff Boothe, president of Dominion Flag Co., told The Toronto Star he has sold tens of thousands of flags at a little less than $10 each, while other companies and private, small-time operators reported heavy sales as well. The flags come with an attachment that allows them to clip on to car windows; it is impossible to drive a block downtown without seeing several of them.

CBC protests Leafs-Hurricanes game time
Despite enjoying superb ratings through the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs, CBC officials were angry over the league's decision to schedule a May 19 Eastern Conference final game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes for 4 p.m. rather than an evening start. The decision, which potentially cost CBC several hundred thousand viewers, was made to appease ESPN, which already had a baseball game scheduled for that evening. Overall CBC "Hockey Night in Canada" ratings were up 21 percent over last season, buoyed by the presence of three Canadian teams in the second round.

WASHINGTON

DC 2012 to host Youth Sports Day
Washington DC 2012 will host the region’s first Youth Sports Day — a mini-Olympics — June 15 at 19 venues across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Local Olympians, elite athletes and coaches will offer instruction at the free clinics. Up to 3,000 local youth can register for 21 Olympic sports, including canoe/
kayak, equestrian, fencing, judo, team handball, and track and field. The $56,000 price tag for the event is being paid for by lead sponsors Intellsat, Accenture, and 12 others. Should the Olympic bid get the nod from the USOC in November to serve as the U.S. candidate city for the 2012 Olympics, DC 2012 plans to host the event annually.

United enlists leagues to sell tickets
In an effort to keep ticket sales from lagging, D.C. United has found a low-cost, low-manpower solution: local soccer leagues. Six local youth soccer leagues and one adult league have been selected to participate in a program that has the leagues responsible for selling tickets to D.C. United games. The MLS team’s season-ticket sales are down from 7,100 last season to about 6,500 this season.

WEST VALLEY CITY, UTAH

Grizzlies add perks for season-ticket holders
Starting with the 2002-03 season, fans of the American Hockey League's Utah Grizzlies who purchase season tickets will be able to use a buddy pass in the month of October, which will enable them to bring one friend for every season ticket they hold for any game in October. Also, season-ticket holders will be able to exchange unused tickets for any game, including weekend games, and will now have the right to purchase tickets for any publicly ticketed event at the Grizzlies' home rink, The E Center, before the general public does.

 

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