SBJ/July 1 - 7, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

AMARILLO, TEXAS

CHL launches latest: Gorillas
The Central Hockey League franchise recently unveiled a new team name, the Amarillo Gorillas, and new logo. The ceremony was also an opportunity for season-ticket holders to renew their seats for the 2002-03 campaign. The name Gorillas was chosen from more than 1,000 names sent in by hockey fans across north Texas. A team Web site currently is in development and is expected to feature e-commerce options so fans can buy merchandise online. Fans also can get Gorillas merchandise at all Walgreens stores in Amarillo. The CHL team formerly was called the Rattlers.

ATLANTA

Turner Sports taking bigger golf role
Locally based Turner Sports and the PGA of America agreed to pair up in a new 10-year alliance. Turner Sports Interactive will now manage operations for pga.com, the organization's official Web site, as well as the Ryder Cup Web site and other sport-specific sites. The deal also includes six more years of Turner Network Television coverage of the PGA Championship and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. The new contract will expire in 2011.

BALTIMORE

Olympic committee visits region
Members of the U.S. Olympic Committee were scheduled to visit the Baltimore-Washington region last weekend as part of the group's site visits to each of the four finalists to be country's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. New York, San Francisco and Houston are the other finalists. The committee, which is examining each region's current facilities and meeting with regional planners, is expected to trim the field of finalists to two cities by September.

CHICAGO

Cubs sign up with Season Tickets
Chicago-based Season Tickets Inc., in conjunction with Tickets.com, has added the Chicago Cubs to its roster. Season Tickets will resell unused tickets of Cubs' season-ticket holders through its online Ticket Exchange product. The Ticket Exchange is accessible via the Cubs' Web site, chicago.cubs.mlb.com, and at the league's mlb.com site.

CINCINNATI

County may owe Bengals' tax bill
Hamilton County taxpayers likely will be forced to return $14 million that the Cincinnati Bengals contributed toward construction of Paul Brown Stadium. The Internal Revenue Service told the Bengals that the team owes $14 million in taxes, interest and penalties regarding the team's sale of personal seat licenses. The Bengals' lease provision with the county, however, states that the county must pick up the tax bill.

COLLEGE PARK, MD.

Terrapins take cheer seriously
The expression "Fear the Turtle" soon

CBS' Jim Nantz holds a diamondback terrapin that traveled with the team this year.
will mean more than a way for fans to cheer on the University of Maryland Terrapins athletic teams. The university plans to begin dedicating part of the proceeds from the sale of merchandise bearing the "Fear The Turtle" slogan toward research and field programs of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to protect the diamondback terrapin and its habitat. The terrapin is the official state reptile of Maryland and official mascot of the state's flagship university. The diamondback terrapin lives along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Stars move ticket holders around
The Dallas Stars are shifting about 1,000 season-ticket holders in the American Airlines Center. This group had received temporarily low prices this past season, the team's first at the facility, because the Stars couldn't find comparable seats to what those fans had at the team's previous home, Reunion Arena. Having received responses to season-ticket renewals, the Stars now are looking for new spots for those fans who don't like where they sat last year, according to The Dallas Morning News.

DENVER

AFL team selling tickets
Tickets for an Arena Football League team partially owned by Denver Broncos legend John Elway went on sale late last month. Elway, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and Kroenke Sports, owner of the NBA Nuggets and NHL Avalanche, are owners of the team, which will play their games in the Pepsi Center beginning next year. Elway will serve as president and chief executive of the team, which so far is unnamed. Tickets range in price from $7 to $125 per game, or from $80 to $1,000 for season tickets for eight home games.

Broncos sue 40 for seat money
The Denver Broncos have sued 40 people in various courts trying to get them to pay the money the team says they owe for club-level seats. The Broncos say they are owed money for 120 club seats at their new Invesco Field at Mile High.

HOUSTON

HP leaving Compaq name on center
Hewlett-Packard Co. officials decided it was more trouble than it was worth to remove the Compaq name from the Compaq Center in Houston, so the name will stay the same until November 2003, when the naming-rights contract ends. Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP bought Houston-based Compaq Computer Corp. in May. Almost immediately after the acquisition was completed, HP announced it would change the Compaq Center name in San Jose to HP Pavilion because the firm has more than 10 years left on that contract. The cost to change signs in Houston, however, was deemed too high for such a short period.

Texans move offices into new stadium
Reliant Stadium is close enough to being finished that the front office staff of the Houston Texans was able to move recently into its new offices inside the facility. The team's new address and phone numbers became effective June 24. Construction will not be complete until August, however, so people who call the Texans can hear construction noises in the background.

Comets plan first charity luncheon

Comets coach Van Chancellor announces the "Hoops for Hope" charity with the team.
The Houston Comets and Clutch City Foundation are planning a "Hoops for Hope" charity luncheon to raise funds for nonprofit organizations in the Houston area. "Hoops for Hope" will be held at the Inter-Continental Hotel on Aug. 1 with proceeds from the inaugural event going toward the renovation of a gymnasium floor used in the Therapeutic Recreation Program at Depelchin Children's Center. Depelchin Children's Center works with children who have been removed from their homes because of neglect, abuse or family crises. The Clutch City Foundation was established in 1995 by Rockets owner Leslie Alexander.

INDIANAPOLIS

IU, Notre Dame cited on funding
The National Women's Law Center reported recently that Notre Dame and Indiana universities are among 30 schools failing to meet federal law in providing enough scholarship funds for their female athletes. NWLC officials said the findings came from an in-depth study. At IU, 46.3 percent of the athletes were female in 2000-01, but only 39.7 percent of the scholarship money went to women. At Notre Dame, 44.6 percent of the athletes were female in 2000-01, but they received just 37.6 percent of the scholarship money. Jeff Fanter, IU athletic department spokesman, called what the group did a "rush to judgment," but he added, "We are totally in support of what this group is trying to accomplish." By law, schools must reward athletic aid to each gender on a proportional basis, with a 1 percent variance allowed.

Colts catch heat for survey plans
The Indianapolis Colts announced June 17 they would hold a press conference to reveal the findings of a recent fan survey. Among the topics addressed in the survey is whether central Indiana residents and businesses supported the idea of building the team a new playing venue, possibly using tax money to support the project. On June 18, however, Colts officials canceled the press conference and said the survey's findings would be kept confidential. Pete Ward, Colts senior executive vice president, said team officials saw no reason to reveal the results, but the change in plans sparked a local firestorm of controversy over what team officials perhaps were hiding or didn't like about the survey results.

MIAMI

Univision draws viewers for match
Univision Communications Inc., one of the largest Spanish-language media companies in the United States, said the Univision Network delivered 4.2 million viewers when it aired the World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and Mexico. It was the highest viewership ever for any Spanish-language sports telecast among men, women and adults 18-34 and 18-49.

Streak high, attendance low
Despite Luis Castillo's hitting streak that extended to 35 games, the Florida Marlins continued to draw crowds of no more than 9,000. The streak has become a national story, according to a Miami Herald report, but part of the story is how low the attendance at Pro Player Stadium has been.

MILWAUKEE

Brewers announce promotions
The Milwaukee Brewers, struggling in the standings as well as in ticket sales, announced several new promotions at Miller Park for the rest of the 2002 season. Through June 23, attendance at Miller Park has plummeted about 30 percent below the all-time franchise record pace set in the stadium's inaugural year of 2001. Year-end attendance in 2001 was 2.8 million. The new programs include discount tickets for school children in August during series against the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates; monthly "senior stroll" days, when senior citizens can walk around the Miller Park warning track; and live music and celebrity appearances at the Klement's Sausage Haus in the Miller Park parking lot during Friday and Saturday evening home games through the end of the season.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Vikings expect boost when Ventura leaves

Ventura
Minnesota Vikings officials expect the departure of Gov. Jesse Ventura to help their efforts at securing financing for a new football stadium to be shared with the University of Minnesota. While the team made progress with the state Legislature this year, the team never received support from Ventura, said Lester Bagley, lobbyist for the Vikings. Bagley said Ventura's stance was clearly illustrated at the end of this year's session when owner Red McCombs released a statement that said he was exploring a sale or relocation of the team. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty told the team to "hang in there." Democratic candidate Roger Moe said it was appropriate for the state to participate in the joint stadium proposal. "Ventura threatened to sue us," Bagley said.

NASHVILLE

Titans-city battle cranks up
The battle has heated up yet again between the Tennessee Titans and Nashville's Metro government over $2.5 million in interest fees the city says it doesn't owe the team. Team officials are saying they lack confidence in the current administration. The team's move from Houston, as well as the construction of a stadium to house it, was brokered by former Mayor Phil Bredesen, who is running for governor. The team also alleges it is being bullied into negotiations. Metro Law Director Karl Dean says the city is willing to work with the team in good faith, but wants to address other issues regarding the stadium's use. The current breakdown will send the issue back to Davidson County Chancery Court. At the core of the dispute is a 1996 deal in which the city agreed to pay a $20 million NFL relocation fee to move the Titans from Houston to Nashville. The city paid that fee last November but refuses to give the Titans the $2.5 million that the money accrued, interest the team says it is owed. The Titans sued in December.

PHILADELPHIA

76ers, Flyers raising prices
Both the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers are increasing ticket prices for the next season in what officials from both teams called "cost of living" adjustments. The Sixers are raising most ticket prices by about 3 percent next season. The only ticket prices that will remain unchanged are the $10 and $15 tickets for basketball games at the First Union Center.

Bobblehead boosts attendance

Rollins
The Philadelphia Phillies attracted their third-largest crowd of the season, 38,158 people, in a game that featured the team's second bobblehead giveaway. Children in attendance received a Jimmy Rollins bobbing head doll in a promotion sponsored by Toyota. The Phillies drew more than 50,000 on Opening Day and 41,000 on Father's Day for a game that included an Aussie bush hat giveaway. Earlier this year, more than 32,400 people came out for the Phillies Phanatic bobbing belly doll giveaway.

RALEIGH-DURHAM

USA Baseball moving to Triangle
USA Baseball will relocate its national offices and training site — currently in Tucson, Ariz. — to North Carolina's Triangle area in early 2003. The relocation will include new USA Baseball facilities in both Cary and Durham, N.C. In Durham, USA Baseball will be based at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Class AAA Durham Bulls. In Cary, USA Baseball will be located in a new multifield complex to be developed by the town of Cary. USA Baseball chose the Triangle area over Palm Beach County, Fla.; Atlanta; Harford County, Md.; and Osceola County, Fla.

SAN DIEGO

Chargers plan to cut Raiders interference
The San Diego Chargers instituted a policy requiring fans who wish to purchase tickets to the Dec. 8 home game against the Raiders to buy seats for additional games on the 2002 schedule. When single-game sales begin in late July, most tickets will be sold only to those who buy an equal number of tickets to two other games. Those who make group purchases of 25 or more tickets to the Raiders game will be asked to buy an equal number of tickets to another game. The policy is aimed at reversing what annually is a pro-Raiders environment at Qualcomm Stadium. A letter sent to season-ticket holders asks them to "hang on to your tickets and bring fellow Chargers fans to that game."

SEATTLE

Seahawks Stadium's new Web site

Stadium launches redone Web site
Seahawks Stadium launched its redesigned Web site, www.seahawksstadium.com, with information on the stadium's grand opening, Seahawks Exhibition Center events, facility rental information, Seahawks tickets and tickets for other events.

ST. LOUIS

Meyers staying in booth
Joel Meyers will remain in the KMOX broadcast booth through the rest of the season. Meyers, who was to broadcast Cardinals road games for the ailing Jack Buck this season, signed on to work all remaining Cardinals games after Buck died June 18. KMOX has yet to determine whether Meyers will return next year as a permanent replacement for Buck, who had broadcast Cardinals games since 1954.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Devil Rays deny financial trouble
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays denied recent reports that the team is in an financial crisis, though they openly admit a willingness to trade top players for cash. Managing general partner Vince Naimoli told reporters he wants to deal productive players in order to put money in the team's treasury to invest in younger, less-expensive players. Any player transactions higher than $1 million would have to be approved by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. The Rays, besides being named as a possible contraction target, have been in the red much of the past four seasons.

TORONTO

Leafs, Raptors boost ticket prices
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced ticket price increases for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors that will boost the company's already sizable coffers even further next season. Both teams increased the price of their seats by about 10 percent across the board.

WASHINGTON

Bobbleheads will honor the Washington Freedom's (from left) Jacqui Little, Siri Mullinix and Skylar Little.

Freedom plans first bobblehead offers
In its second WUSA season, the Washington Freedom plans its first bobblehead promotion. The team will host "Got Milk? Bobblehead Nights" at July 24 and Aug. 4 home games at RFK Stadium. To honor Twin Night on July 24, eligible fans will receive a coupon for one of 1,500 Skylar Little or 1,500 Jacqui Little bobblehead dolls. On Aug. 4 Fan Appreciation Night, eligible fans will receive a coupon for a Siri Mullinix bobblehead doll. No word yet on when a Mia Hamm bobblehead might be offered.

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