SBJ/July 8 - 14, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

BUFFALO

Youth soccer tourney's impact estimated
Tourism officials say the Snickers U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Championships, including teams from 13 states including Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and the New England area, generated more than $12 million in economic impact to the Buffalo Niagara region June 29-July 2. Organizers estimate the tournament drew more than 25,000 visitors.

Indecency complaint rejected by FCC
An indecency complaint against WGR radio, which broadcasts a sports-talk format, has again been rejected by the Federal Communications Commission. In May 2000, Michael Palko complained to the FCC about promotional materials distributed by the Entercom-owned station and language by the station's morning hosts that he considered indecent. The FCC reviewed the complaint and in February 2001 dismissed the charge, saying WGR did not broadcast descriptions of sexual or excretory activities or organs in a patently offensive manner. Palko followed that decision with a request to the FCC to review the matter again and take enforcement against WGR. The June 27 ruling by the FCC upholds the earlier decision that the station did not broadcast indecent material.

Bills add 2 to TV preseason team
The Buffalo Bills will have a new broadcast team for TV preseason games. Former special teams standout Steve Tasker, now a broadcaster for CBS, will make his debut as a play-by-play announcer. Former Bills coach Marv Levy will serve as the analyst for two games: Aug. 24 at Indianapolis and Aug. 29 at Detroit. The Bills' broadcasts will be televised in the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse markets.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Texas-Oklahoma game moving?
University of Oklahoma officials apparently aren't biting on an effort by a Norman businessman to move the university's annual football game with the University of Texas to one of the two schools' campuses, rather than playing at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News reported that an individual called "E.Z. Million" has received clearance to address the Oklahoma Board of Regents about the issue. But both the athletic director of Oklahoma, Joe Castiglione, and the Sooners' head coach, Bob Stoops, told the News that they prefer to keep the Red River Shootout in Dallas, where it has been played for years.

SMU coach to do weekly interviews
The new Southern Methodist University football coach, Phil Bennett, will do a 15-minute interview each week during the season with radio personality Norm Hitzges on KTCK-AM, one of three sports-talk stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Bennett, formerly defensive coordinator at Kansas State, agreed to the gig after meeting Hitzges at the Masters golf tournament in April, according to The Dallas Morning News. Bennett took the SMU job in December, replacing Mike Cavan, who was fired in November following a 4-7
campaign.

DENVER

Post reversal: It will be Invesco
The new editor of The Denver Post, Gregory Moore, has reversed a call by his predecessor, Glenn Guzzo. The newspaper under Guzzo's leadership refused to allow the name of the Denver Broncos' new football stadium in print. The Post instead referred to the stadium as "the new Mile High stadium." Moore said the paper will call the stadium by its correct name, Invesco Field at Mile High.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

Marlins' attendance near bottom
Over the first 12 games of the Florida Marlins' most recent 13-game stretch at Pro Player Stadium, the team averaged 8,692 fans a game. Attendance topped the 10,000 twice, but crowds were below 6,000 three times. The season average is 10,587, better only than the Expos' average of 8,427 fans per game, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS

Funding OK'd for racetrack improvements
Grand Prairie Mayor Charles England signed an agreement June 28 with Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie to grant the North Texas racetrack $2.9 million for facility improvements in order to host a future Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Last September, Breeders' Cup Ltd., which annually stages thoroughbred racing's year-end championship event, added Lone Star Park to a conditional rotation schedule for future Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

HOUSTON

$87M renovation for Reliant part of plans
The Houston 2012 Foundation on June 25 announced a planned $87 million renovation to the Reliant Astrodome as part of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. The remodeling would include seating for 70,000 around a state-of-the-art, regulation 400-meter track. Work on the Reliant Astrodome, which was built in 1965, is contingent upon winning the right to host the Summer Olympics.

INDIANAPOLIS

Indianapolis gets all-sports radio station
Indianapolis is getting a new home for ESPN Radio on a new all-sports station this month. WXLW-950 AM is becoming ESPN Radio 950, and will carry the entire family of ESPN programming in addition to a three-hour local sports talk show and local and statewide play-by-play broadcasts.

Poll: Fans don't back tax-backed stadium
A poll commissioned by WTHR-TV Channel 13 and the Indianapolis Star showed 71 percent of Indianapolis residents don't favor tax support for a new football stadium for the Indianapolis Colts. Channel 13 and Star officials said the scientific poll surveyed 400 city residents 21 or older. Only 24 percent of those surveyed said they backed some kind of public tax support even when told it was necessary to make the Colts a more competitive team. More than half of those polled — 55 percent — said the NBA's Indiana Pacers are the most important sports franchise in Indianapolis. The poll was conducted June 25-26 by Market Shares Corp. and was commissioned after the Colts had conducted their own survey but refused to divulge the results.

JACKSONVILLE

Funk, Mattiace sign with Axcess
Golf pros Fred Funk and Len Mattiace recently signed with Axcess Sports & Entertainment, a representation and marketing firm founded by former Jaguars executive Michael Huyghue. In April, PGA newcomer and 2001 U.S. Amateur Champion Bubba Dickerson announced he would sign with Axcess' growing golf division. Funk and Mattiace are listed among the PGA Tour's top 50 money leaders.

KANSAS CITY

Selig: Royals not in danger
The Kansas City Royals won't be lost to contraction, said Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. But Kauffman Stadium "needs a major renovation," Selig told the Topeka Capital-Journal. "It's got to produce enough revenue to be competitive." Selig was at Kauffman June 25 for the Royals' game with the Detroit Tigers.

MILWAUKEE

The Klotsche Center project includes renovation and a 135,000-square-foot addition.

UW-Milwaukee launches fieldhouse project
The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents gave final approval for the $42.1 million addition and renovation of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Klotsche Center, the home of the UWM Panthers of the Horizon League. Construction is to begin in spring 2003 with completion expected in the summer of 2005. Milwaukee-based Venture Architects is the architect of record for the project. Venture Architects is a permanent joint venture between Kahler Slater Architects and the Zimmerman Design Group. The project includes a 135,000-square-foot addition along with an underground parking structure for more than 600 cars. The Klotsche Center, which opened in 1978, has a basketball capacity of about 5,000. The basketball teams will play at the U.S. Cellular Arena in downtown Milwaukee while work is being done.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Sanneh

Sanneh coming home a hero
World Cup star Tony Sanneh was welcomed back to his hometown during halftime of the United Soccer Leagues Minnesota Thunder's June 29 game against the Rochester (N.Y.) Raging Rhinos. The Minnesota native was enshrined as the second member of the Thunder Hall of Fame at halftime.

ORLANDO

Magic to get earlier start
Although its game schedule won't be released until later this month, the Orlando Magic has announced one major change for the 2002-03 season. The team will start all of its non-nationally televised games at 7 p.m. Eastern instead of 7:30. According to RDV Sports Chief Operating Officer John Weisbrod, the move was made with Magic fans and their families in mind.

PHOENIX

Keilback joining Simmer in TV booth
Phoenix Coyotes President Jim Lites announced that veteran play-by-play announcer Curt Keilback will join color analyst Charlie Simmer in the TV booth next season for all televised Coyotes games. In addition, the Coyotes will explore the possibility of simulcasting their television and radio broadcasts with their media partners (Fox Sports Net, KTVK 3, WB61, KDUS 1060 AM and KDKB 93.3 FM).

SACRAMENTO

Monarchs attendance near top
The Monarchs, despite a losing record, had the third-best attendance record in the WNBA, averaging 10,122 fans per game through July 1, a 31.2 percent gain over their attendance last year at this time. The Washington Mystics lead the WNBA in attendance with an average of 15,289 per game.

SAN ANTONIO

CHL's Iguanas now extinct
The Central Hockey League's San Antonio Iguanas ceased operations as of June 26. After seven seasons and two cold wars, the Iguanas have folded, leaving the CHL without its largest market. Iguanas general manager Rick Carden said the franchise was left with no other choice after an 11th-hour attempt to find local ownership fell short of the mark. Carden said he came close June 25 to securing local ownership. But the deal, he said, fell through because that unidentified group was concerned about the prospect of competing against a new American Hockey League team — the Rampage — that is owned by the NBA San Antonio Spurs and the NHL Florida Panthers and will begin play in SBC Center in October.

SAN DIEGO

New station launching next week
The new all-sports radio station that was supposed to debut over San Diego airwaves July 1 will now launch on July 15. Tijuana-based CBC holds the license to ESPN Radio 800, which will send out exclusively ESPN programming with its 1,000-watt signal, with no local presence expected for at least 45 days. Billed as "The New Game in Town," the station joins XTRA-690 AM as the only all-sports radio choices locally.

SAN FRANCISCO

Cal to appeal football probation
The football program at the University of California Berkeley was placed on probation for five years on June 26 and banned from postseason competition for one year by the NCAA. Cal also will lose nine grant-in-aid scholarships over five seasons. The university said it would appeal the ruling. The penalties stem from a university professor's granting of false academic credits retroactively to two former student athletes in spring 1999. New infractions that Cal reported to the NCAA after the school's own investigation involve 34 football players who received extra benefits while staying at hotels before games during a five-year period from 1997 to 2001.

Group donations help 2012 bid
There's strength in numbers — and that strategy is paying dividends for the group shepherding the Bay Area bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. More than 20 Bay Area hotels, hospitality and corporate event companies last month donated more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services to the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee. Consortiums of legal firms and wineries are assembling similar industry donations. Officials said the committee wants to raise $1.5 million this year, on top of $2.5 million cash raised so far. That would see the group through the U.S. Olympic Committee's November selection of a U.S. candidate city.

SALISBURY, MD.

Frank Perdue will be at the Delmarva Shorebirds game signing autographs.

Shorebirds honor Perdue with bobblehead
The Delmarva Shorebirds, the Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, will distribute Frank Perdue bobbleheads at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium on July 28. The stadium is named for Perdue Farms founder Arthur Perdue. Frank Perdue is his son and Perdue's best-known company leader. The baseball club is teaming with the Salisbury Daily Times to distribute the bobbleheads. Perdue is expected to sign autographs at the game on July 28.

SAN JOSE

Indians threaten lawsuit over name
The Cleveland Indians have threatened to sue Indian Motorcycle Co. of Gilroy, claiming its logo is an infringement on the baseball team's scripted label. The motorcycle company, in turn, is seeking a U.S. District Court ruling that its logo doesn't infringe. The two sides have been negotiating a compromise agreement for three years without success. The Indian Motorcycle trademark is the same one used since 1901. The company had been dormant since 1953 before being revived by a group of investors in 1998. The baseball team began using the Indians nickname in 1915.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Lightning wants to sell small part
The owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning are offering more than just season tickets to local investors — they're willing to sell a small piece of the team itself. Palace Sports and Entertainment said it is not trying to sell the entire team but wants to defray part of the financial losses it has incurred since buying the NHL franchise three years ago.

Festival may have boosted attendance
A tall ships festival in downtown St. Petersburg may have helped the Tampa Bay Devil Rays boost their attendance. An announced crowd of 15,874 turned out for the Rays' June 29 interleague game against the Florida Marlins at Tropicana Field, many of whom went straight to the stadium from the Americas' Sail 2002 festival. The Rays offered a $12 combination ticket for admission to both the festival and game.

TORONTO

Castrol Canada to back CFL
Castrol Canada has agreed on a two-year deal to become the "official automotive lubricant and automotive cleaner" of the Canadian Football League. A Castrol promotion beginning this fall will offer fans a chance to win a trip to the 2002 Grey Cup in Edmonton on Nov. 24.

Fight rebroadcasts draw big audience
TSN drew a huge audience for two rebroadcasts of the June 8 fight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. The network pulled in 550,000 viewers for its initial showing June 19 and another 204,000 in a second showing four nights later. The total audience of 759,000 was the network's second-highest audience ever for a boxing event, behind only the Evander Holyfield-Tyson fight in December 1996. That one drew 760,000 viewers over two nights.

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