SBJ/June 10 - 16, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

BALTIMORE

 Utz sponsoring volleyball tour
 
Utz Quality Foods Inc. has signed as a presenting sponsor of the Toyota Pro Beach Volleyball Tour for the 2002 season, according to Baltimore-based Corrigan Sports Enterprises, which organizes the event. Utz, a Hanover, Pa.-based manufacturer of snack foods, is investing $50,000 in cash and product in the volleyball tour. The tour expanded from five to nine events this year and will be held in Ocean City, Md.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Point Pleasant and Belmar, N.J.

BOSTON

 Seats may go atop Green Monster
  Baltimore architect Janet Marie Smith, who oversaw the planning of Oriole Park at Camden Yards and who is now advising the Red Sox on renovating Fenway Park, said the team may put about 500 "fun, specialty" seats on top of the legendary Green Monster to boost capacity, The Boston Globe reported. "It would preserve one of the most visible — and loved and hated — features of Fenway Park," Smith told The Globe.

Campanelli Stadium has sold all its outfield signage for the 2002 season.

  Rox open new stadium
  The Brockton Rox of the Northern League officially opened Campanelli Stadium May 31 with a contest against the Elmira Pioneers. On June 1, the Rox handed out catcher's mitts to the first 1,500 kids 12 and younger. Then on June 2, the Rox held their first Sovereign Bank Family Funday of the year. The team also announced that every standard outfield sign in Campanelli Stadium had been sold for the 2002 season. Among the advertisers taking a standard outfield sign were the U.S. Army, Brockton area newspaper The Enterprise, Jack Conway Realtor, 7-Eleven and Community Bank.

  Puma opens new store in Boston
  Puma North America, headquartered in Westford, Mass., opened a new store in Boston last week. The Boston venue showcases the company's leading products in footwear, accessories and apparel, as well as sport couture items from the Mihara and Platinum collections. Kanner Architects designed the 2,650-square-foot store.

BUFFALO

  Bills offering Amtrak service for upstate
 
The Buffalo Bills' upstate marketing plan will be back on board for a seventh season. The team will offer Amtrak service for three home games during the 2002 season, with stops from Albany/Schenectady ($104), Utica/Syracuse ($93) and Rochester ($87). Prices include round-trip service and a game ticket. Rail service will be available for the home opener against the New York Jets (Sept. 8) as well as games against the Oakland Raiders (Oct. 6) and the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots (Nov. 3). The Amtrak "Bills Express" began in the 1996 season and team officials say 2,000 to 3,000 fans annually travel via train for the limited schedule.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

  HDNet to broadcast 6 AFL games
  HDNet, a high-definition TV network controlled by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, has signed a deal to broadcast six games during the second half of the Arena Football League's season. Terms weren't disclosed. The games will be held between June 1 and July 20, with the Dallas Desperados appearing in three of the contests.

  Tax funds to go toward development
  The Dallas City Council has approved a request from a New York developer to use $43 million in future property taxes for parking lots and other infrastructure on a $600 million development near the newly opened American Airlines Center. Palladium Co. will now try to sign 90 to 120 retailers and restaurants for the 20-acre project.

DETROIT

  Lions fans won't see preseason practices
 
Breaking a tradition that has apparently been in place since the 1950s, the Detroit Lions are not going to allow fans to visit preseason training camp this year. The team is moving preseason camp to its new executive offices/practice facility in suburban Allen Park. For the last five years, while the Lions held preseason training camp at Saginaw Valley State, as many as 120,000 fans attended practices.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

  Sports Authority gets Golf Day trademark
 
The Sports Authority said it acquired the Golf Day trademark, the name of the former specialty retailer known for offering premium golf products. In a release, TSA said it will leverage the Golf Day name by launching branded golf concept shops within select stores throughout the country. The Sports Authority did not say how much it paid for the trademark.

HOUSTON

  Book spotlights Astro, other players
  Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio

“The Hit Men and the Kid Who Batted Ninth”
takes men from Seton Hall to pros.
is the subject of a new book due out this month titled "The Hit Men and the Kid Who Batted Ninth." The book comes from first-time writer David Siroty, the former sports information director at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. That's where, in 1987, Siroty met Biggio and three other talented ballplayers, who all had dreams of making it to the major leagues. The "Hit Men," as they were nicknamed in college, include Biggio; Mo Vaughn, first baseman for the New York Mets; and Marteese Robinson, director of pro scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals. John Valentin, formerly of the Boston Red Sox and a Mets infielder, is called "the kid who batted ninth," because he was a skinny walk-on in college who always batted last, Siroty says.

  Tomjanovich to plug Rheem Team
 Rheem Team, a network of heating, ventilating and air conditioning service contractors, has tapped Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich as its celebrity spokesman in a multiyear contract. Houston-based Comfort Supply, the Rheem Team distributor for most of Texas, is partnering with Rheem Team on a statewide advertising campaign that includes print, radio and TV spots.

INDIANAPOLIS

  Pook threatens to run CART race next May
  Championship Auto Racing Teams CEO Chris Pook indicated recently that he might not clear next season's schedule in May to allow CART teams to participate in the Indy Racing League-sanctioned Indianapolis 500. "It's a big hole in the schedule," Pook said, adding that CART is between a rock and a hard place when considering what to do next May. Most of CART's top teams competed at Indianapolis this year. Pook said CART teams' participation in the Indianapolis 500 is a big boost to the race and the IRL, and that the current scheduling gives IRL the limelight for the entire month of May.

  Indianapolis 500 draws record Web traffic
  The 86th running of the Indianapolis 500 drove record traffic to Internet sites run by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League. Hits on indyracing.com and indy500.com totaled 32.4 million for race day on May 26, a 76 percent increase over last year's 18.4 million. Total hits for the month as of May 27 were 239 million, compared to 191 million during May 2001, a 25 percent increase.

JACKSONVILLE

  Station awaits change to sports format
  Jacksonville will have to wait awhile for its newest all-sports talk radio station. WZNZ (1460 AM), now a business talk concept, likely will change to sports talk July 1. Officials are waiting for competing station WBWL (600 AM) to drop its ESPN format.

  Night game could add to economic boost
  City and tourism officials expect an economic boost from the Nov. 2 Florida-Georgia game's expected nighttime kickoff. Last year's afternoon game generated an estimated $20.4 million economic impact. The figure could jump $5 million because out-of-towners will stay longer, spending more money in northeast Florida, said Mike Sullivan, director of the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission's Sports & Entertainment Board. It's not a done deal yet, but if ESPN picks the Florida-Georgia game, the network plans a 7:45 p.m. kickoff — the first prime-time television appearance in the game's 70-year history.

MIAMI

  Marlins have bus service deal
  The Florida Marlins have a strategic partnership with Miami Dade Transit to provide baseball fans with park-and-ride bus service for Saturday and Sunday home games. Metrobuses will depart from three Miami-Dade County locations: Hialeah Metrorail Station, Dadeland North Metrorail and Tamiami Park on Coral Way. The service officially launched June 1 for the Marlins-New York Mets series. Fare is $7 round-trip from any of the locations.

  NBA Finals to air on Spanish radio
  The NBA signed a deal with Miami-based Latino Broadcasting Co. to distribute the Finals to more than 100 Spanish-language radio stations in the United States, according to Daily Variety.

MILWAUKEE

  Extra airport cabs OK'd for All-Star Game
 
Officials at General Mitchell International Airport say they have addressed the concerns of Major League Baseball and the Milwaukee Brewers about the availability of airport cabs for All-Star Game visitors. The Brewers say cabs will be needed to transport 5,000 to 10,000 people from the airport, yet only 56 cabs are licensed by Milwaukee County to pick up passengers there. The county, which owns the airport, recently approved a system that will allow additional cabs to serve the airport in temporary peak demand times such as All-Star week. The midsummer classic will be held at Miller Park on July 9.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Donald Fehr (left) and Bud Selig gave Saints fans a pair of choice seats.

 Free cushions have famous faces
 
The St. Paul Saints ... um, honored the achievements of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Donald Fehr, the head of the league's players union, by putting their faces on souvenir seat cushions. The first 2,500 fans attending the Saints' home game last Friday received a cushion with Selig on one side and Fehr on the other. The giveaway served "to emphasize the importance of being able to turn the other cheek in the interests of a larger objective," Tom Whaley, Saints executive VP, said in a statement.

NEW YORK

  Women's mini marathon nears landmark
 
The number of runners in the history of the New York Women's Mini Marathon, the original women's-only road race in the world, was set to pass the 150,000 mark with nearly 3,000 runners registered for the 30th anniversary race in Central Park last Saturday. The 10K race started in 1972 with just 78 women runners and has attracted more than 3,000 runners every year since 1978. To commemorate the 30th anniversary edition, race organizer New York Road Runners invited back to run this year two of the pioneers of women's long-distance running and founders of the race, Kathrine Switzer and Nina Kuscsik.

PHILADELPHIA

  Boathouse Sports supplies lacrosse team
  Boathouse Sports, a Philadelphia manufacturer of custom outerwear for athletic teams around the world, is the outerwear supplier for the 2002 U.S. Men's Lacrosse team. The deal calls for Boathouse Sports to be the team's supplier through the 2004 season.

  ‘Dual’ bobblehead honors Kalas, Ashburn
  To celebrate the induction of Harry Kalas into the Broadcaster's Wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Phillies are planning to give away a "dual" bobbing head doll featuring Kalas and his longtime announcing partner, the late Richie Ashburn. The doll features both men in their typical broadcasting outfits with their respective Hall of Fame dates designated on the sides of the base.

  Johnson to build theater complex
  Former Los Angeles Laker Magic Johnson signed a deal to build a theater complex that will anchor a $48 million entertainment and retail complex in North Philadelphia. The complex, which will include a residential component, is being developed by BradMoore Associates.

PITTSBURGH

  Company appeals OSHA fines
 
The New York company that demolished Three Rivers Stadium in February 2001 will appeal $454,550 in fines levied against it last June by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA claims that Bianchi Trison Corp. of Syracuse exposed employees to too much lead, didn't provide respirators when asked by employees, and ignored employee complaints about lead exposure symptoms.

RALEIGH-DURHAM

  Cary stadium picked for ACC game
 
SAS Stadium in Cary, N.C., near Raleigh, has been selected as the site for the 2002 ACC Men's Soccer Championship in November. In the championship's 15-year history, this will mark the first time the event will be conducted at a neutral site within the state of North Carolina. The new SAS Stadium, with a capacity of 7,000, is home to the Carolina Courage of the WUSA and to the Raleigh CASL Elite, a developmental league.

SACRAMENTO

  Steele to buy Twelve Bridges, nearby lots
  Twelve Bridges Golf Club, home to the Longs Drugs Challenge LPGA tournament, plus 340 surrounding lots in the Placer County community of Lincoln, are scheduled to change hands June 27. Miramar Hotel & Investment Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong is selling the 330 acres to Sacramento developer Chris Steele, who already owns five courses in Northern California.

  Kings fans ticketed to watch on screens
  For the first time ever, Kings fans had to buy tickets to watch a playoff game on Arco Arena's TV screens. Because the Kings owners figured demand would be extremely high for hanging out at Arco for the May 31 game against the Lakers in Los Angeles, the Kings went to a ticketed system. Tickets were $8.

SEATTLE

  Course hopes to land on PGA Tour
 
The Tournament Players Course at Snoqualmie Ridge may be a regular stop on the PGA Tour starting in 2004 if a Beaverton, Ore., company has its way. Peter Jacobsen Productions, the sports marketing and event management arm of PGA Tour player Peter Jacobsen, is lobbying the tour for an event and this month will begin searching for a title sponsor. The company, which manages the PGA Tournament in Reno, Nev., must find a sponsor willing to spend between $6 million and $8 million annually on the event. It must also find an open date in the PGA Tour schedule.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

  Telethon delays, blocks some sports coverage
  A few channel changes were needed for televised sports coverage in the Tampa Bay area June 2. NBC affiliate WFLA hosted the All Children's Telethon over the weekend, tape-delaying the network's French Open tennis coverage until 1 a.m. and dropping the WNBA Miami-New York game altogether. The telethon ended in time for that night's NBA Lakers-Kings conference final. Meanwhile, CBS affiliate WTSP dealt the afternoon CART Miller Lite 250 to independent WMOR so that it could broadcast the baseball game between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Oakland A's.

  Tyner bobblehead giveaway postponed
  The Rays deferred a bobblehead doll giveaway at their June 2 game because the player wasn't there. Office Depot, the sponsor of the planned giveaway, asked the team to postpone handing out the Jason Tyner dolls after Tyner was sent down to the AAA Durham Bulls the previous week. The giveaway will be rescheduled later this season.

TORONTO

  NASCAR logo to appear on back rests
 
Toronto-based Obus Forme Ltd., manufacturers of portable back rests used in cars and office chairs, has signed a two-year licensing agreement with NASCAR that soon will see NASCAR-branded Obus Forme seats on sale in Canada and the United States. Obus Forme paid about $130,000 to be able to use the NASCAR logo. The signature and car number from Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte or Tony Stewart will also appear on the seats. NASCAR receives a royalty of 10 percent to 12 percent on sales.

WASHINGTON

  Baseball groups extend agreement
 
Following its May 30 meeting, the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority failed to vote on a new working agreement with Virginia Baseball Club, but extended the current agreement until the next stadium authority meeting scheduled for Thursday. The current agreement became effective October 1997 and would have expired May 31. According to the current agreement, Virginia Baseball Club, led by William Collins, is the authority's preferred ownership group and holds the exclusive right to negotiate a lease for use of its Major League Baseball stadium.

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