SBJ/July 15 - 21, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast


2 local PR firms crafting Olympic bid
Washington may have top billing over Baltimore in the cities' joint bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, but two Baltimore public relations firms are crafting a key piece of the bid itself. Warschawski Public Relations will write the final executive summary of the region's official bid — the only document that will be given to the full U.S. Olympic Committee. Spur Design, another Baltimore firm, is handling graphic design for the summary. Most of the public relations work for the Olympic bid has been handled by the coalition's marketing committee or Washington-based firm Burson-Marsteller, which has donated more than a half-million dollars in services to the bid.


Billy Casper to manage district golf
The Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Ill., owner of 10 golf courses and two driving ranges in the Chicago area, has entered into a multiyear agreement with Billy Casper Golf of Vienna, Va., to manage its entire portfolio of golf facilities. The Forest Preserve District represents one of the largest municipal golf-course portfolios in the nation. Billy Casper Golf will provide turnkey-management services to the district, including agronomy, staffing and training, clubhouse operations, golf instruction, marketing and public relations, special events, financial management, food and beverage, and merchandising. The company will work with the Forest Preserve District on a transition plan and will assume complete management of the facilities after the 2002 golf season.


Ohio High School Athletic Association will hold its hockey tourney at Nationwide Arena.

Nationwide to host hockey tourney
Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets, will be the new home of the Ohio High School Athletic Association's state ice hockey tournament. The OHSAA Board of Control unanimously approved moving the tournament to the downtown Columbus arena in 2003, with a mutual option for 2004.


D Magazine, Hicks square off
For the second month in a row, D Magazine has become embroiled in a public spitting

match with the owner of a Dallas pro sports team. Tom Hicks, who runs the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, sent a letter to D's publisher protesting a five-page story that detailed financial issues at his teams and at his investment firm, Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Inc. Hicks also didn't like the cover image, which depicted him with his pockets turned out and his hands stretched out like a pauper. D says it stands by the story, which Hicks called a "hatchet job." In May, D ran a transcript of a recorded interview with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who threatened to organize an advertising boycott because the magazine was doing a piece on Cuban's fiancée, Tiffany Stewart.

Lone Star lines up financing
Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie has lined up a financing package of nearly $8 million for facility upgrades that the horse-racing track hopes will cement its ability to play host to a future Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship. About $2.9 million of that will be city money provided through the Grand Prairie Sports Facility Development Corp. The track, in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, will match the city's contribution and is also receiving a rebate on state taxes worth between $1.8 million and $2 million. The money will be used to enlarge the track's capacity by 10,000, enabling it to accommodate about 50,000 people. Work could begin in the fall.


Rapids have largest crowd ever
The Colorado Rapids played to their largest crowd ever

Rapids midfielder Mark Chung (left) loses control to Chicago Fire's Jesse Marsch (No. 15) in the July 4 game.
July 4. The Major League Soccer team drew 61,213 fans to Invesco Field at Mile High, where the Rapids beat the Chicago Fire 3-2. That's the largest crowd ever to watch an MLS soccer game in Denver. Interest in soccer that spilled over from the World Cup as well as the July 4 fireworks show were credited for the record attendance.

Lacrosse team moving to town
Denver is the new home of the former Washington Power franchise. The yet-to-be-named National Lacrosse League team will play its home games at Pepsi Center, home of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and the NBA's Denver Nuggets. The team will play eight home dates as part of the 2002-03 season, set to begin the weekend of Dec. 27. The team is now owned and operated by Kroenke Sports Enterprises, which also owns and operates the Avalanche, Nuggets and Pepsi Center.


McIngvale bringing Masters Cup to town
Gallery Furniture owner Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale is bringing the year-end singles and doubles tennis championship to Houston for 2003 and 2004. The eight best players of the year will compete for $3.7 million in prize money at the Westside Tennis Club in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup. The tournament has not been played in the United States since 1989, or in Houston since 1976. McIngvale and his wife, Linda McIngvale, own Westside Tennis Club, which will add a new 8,500-seat stadium around a hard court surface to accommodate the November event.

Ryan is director at investment bank
Nolan Ryan, the retired Houston

Astros star and former banker, has joined a different sort of bank. The Hall of Fame pitcher is on the roster of Sanders Morris Harris Group Inc., the largest investment bank based in Houston. As the investment bank's newest director, Ryan again is throwing in with Don Sanders, the largest shareholder among insiders at the firm that bears his name. Ryan and Sanders are principal owners of the Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Astros. Known as "The Express" in his playing days, Ryan was the primary owner and chairman of Express Bank, which he sold to First Community Bank in Houston in January.


NCAA picks Dome over Fieldhouse
The NCAA announced July 2 that the 2005 women's basketball Final Four will be held in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The decision to hold the event in Indianapolis was announced almost a year ago, but NCAA officials have been debating whether to hold the games in the dome or Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever. NCAA officials said they decided on the dome because it can accommodate up to 43,000 for basketball. Conseco Fieldhouse can hold 18,345.

Governor sacks Hoosier State Games
The Hoosier State Games, a sporting institution in Indiana since being founded in 1983, will end after this year as a result of recent state budget cuts. Gov. Frank O'Bannon eliminated a $225,000 grant for the games this year as part of the state's response to a projected $1 billion deficit. The Hoosier State Games offers 14 sports for all ages.

ABA 2000's Indiana Legends fold
The Indiana Legends, a charter member of the professional basketball league ABA 2000, announced it has folded. The team's majority owner, Joe Newman, said he has lost about $1 million over the last two seasons. Newman, former part-owner of the Indiana Pacers, also is the ABA 2000's co-founder. Newman said the team has failed because it "wasn't marketed properly."


Speedway expansion sought
Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger wants to expand for the 2003 season. Boerger plans to ask directors of International Speedway Corp., which owns the year-old speedway, to add 5,000 to 8,000 seats and install lights for night racing. The board will met in September at ISC headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Women's regional set for Municipal
Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City will be a regional site for the 2005 NCAA women's basketball tournament. Co-hosts for the event will be the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation. The championship will be the first hosted by UMKC. Other regional sites in 2005 will be Philadelphia, Seattle and Chattanooga, Tenn.


Workers pour the event floor at the London Entertainment & Sports Centre.

Sports center gearing up
London Entertainment & Sports Centre is preparing for an October opening. The Global Spectrum-managed facility will be the home of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.


Homestead to host IRL opener
Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the season opener for the 2003 Indy Racing League schedule with the 21st running of the Grand Prix of Miami on March 2. The race, to be nationally televised on ABC, will feature the same cars and drivers that compete annually at the Indianapolis 500. Homestead-Miami Speedway also plays host to the season finales for the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck Series at the first-ever NASCAR Championship Weekend, Nov. 14-17.


UW targets Milwaukee for luxury box sales
The University of Wisconsin-Madison athletic department is pushing to convince Milwaukee-area businesses and residents to invest in high-end tickets for the Camp Randall Stadium expansion after a slowdown in sales in the Madison market. UW officials are marketing to Milwaukee-area corporations and seeking donations from Badgers boosters in Milwaukee. UW announced in March an indefinite delay to the $100 million renovation and expansion of Camp Randall because of a lack of funding. Before the project gets back on track, the university would like to sell most of the remaining 56 luxury suites — 37 have been sold — and raise several more million dollars in donations.


Twins Fund OKs youth grants
The Minnesota Twins Community Fund has approved $60,000 in grants that will be allocated to more than 20 parks through the team's Twins Fields for Kids Program. Formerly known as Molitor Fields for Kids, the program has spent $560,000 to help refurbish 180 youth softball and baseball fields since its inception in 1999.


Culpepper heading to court
Nike Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Minnesota Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper in U.S. District Court alleging breach of contract. The suit follows the former University of Central Florida quarterback's signing of a multiyear contract with Nike's rival, Reebok International Ltd. According to Nike, Culpepper signed a contact in July 2000 giving it first refusal to match any endorsement offer made by a competitor. Culpepper's new contract with Reebok is estimated to be worth four or five times his Nike contract, and it includes national marketing and promotional packages as well as a television campaign. While Nike claims Culpepper provided a verbal re-signing agreement to its match of Reebok's offer, Culpepper and his agent, Mason Ashe, dispute this, contending there was no agreement because Nike did not agree to match the marketing and promotional aspect of Reebok's deal.


Latest promotion: Dual bobblehead
The Philadelphia Phillies held a press conference to "unveil" the

Kalas and Ashburn
team's latest giveaway: a dual bobbing head doll honoring the team's legendary broadcasting team of Harry Kalas and the late Richie Ashburn. The unveiling actually consisted of removing two small towels draped over a couple of samples. Kalas and Ashburn worked together in the broadcast booth for 27 years. Kalas, who will join Ashburn as an inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., later this summer, was asked what he thought Ashburn would say about the team's latest giveaway item. "His Whiteness used to say that we were always joined at the hip, so he's probably a little surprised that we're not joined at the hip," he said. The doll will be given to all fans 15 and older at the team's Aug. 18 game against the St. Louis Cardinals.


Bulls promotion helps youth league
Colony Homes and McDonald's Corp. have teamed up in the Colony Homes "Come on Home" promotion to support the Durham Bulls Youth Athletic League, a nonprofit organization enhancing the lives of inner-city children, and Ronald McDonald House Charities. In a collaborative effort with the Bulls and McDonald's, Colony Homes will donate up to $5,000 to RMHC through the "Come on Home" fourth-inning promotion. During the promotion, Colony Homes will donate a minimum of $50 to the Ronald McDonald House if the Bulls score a fourth-inning run.


Cal basketball switches to KFRC
KFRC radio (610 AM) will broadcast University of California-Berkeley men's basketball games under a one-year deal. It's the second major sports broadcasting victory in the last year for the San Francisco station, which last fall brought the Oakland A's into its lineup. KFRC will broadcast 28 Cal regular-season games, all postseason contests, and 20-minute pregame and postgame shows. Financial terms of the Cal deal weren't disclosed.

Warriors score online
About 15 percent of the Golden State Warriors' roughly 7,000 season-ticket holders have renewed online, said Chief Operating Officer Robert Rowell. The franchise sent traditional full-color brochures to season-ticket holders in May but offered $100 vouchers for Warriors merchandise if they re-upped online. Season-ticket prices — from $397 to $8,820 — are unchanged from last season. The Warriors sold mini-plans online last year, but the team moved all of its Internet marketing in-house this year.


Owners drop Ballpark Village idea
Ballpark Village, the retail and residential district that was to surround the proposed new Cardinals stadium, is no longer being considered by team owners. The village had been one of the conditions for the team to receive state and local funding for the $346 million ballpark. Team owners are still seeking to build a retro-style stadium in downtown St. Louis; if the city fails to win the stadium, a more modern-style ballpark could be built across the Mississippi River in Illinois.


Investment group decides against ACHL team
A Toronto-based investment group with a goal of bringing a minor league hockey team to St. Petersburg's Bayfront Arena scrapped those plans after deciding not to buy an Atlantic Coast Hockey League franchise. Peter Friedmann, a member of the group and co-owner of the Canadian Ice Academy, said the purchase was declined after a review of the start-up league.


Varsity Stadium coming down
The University of Toronto has begun demolition of Varsity Stadium, the historic 92-year-old downtown football and soccer facility that was the site of 30 Grey Cups and the venue for numerous concerts and sporting events. The stadium had been declared unsafe for regular use. The university is continuing discussions on how to replace the athletic facilities and incorporate student housing into the redevelopment. Pele and John Lennon are among dozens of luminaries who appeared at Varsity over the years.

Raptors camp at Waterloo
The Toronto Raptors announced they will hold their 2002 training camp in Waterloo, Ontario, Oct. 1-6, at RIM Park on the University of Waterloo campus. The Raptors have held their camp in Buffalo the last two years.


XArena plans extreme sports arena
XArena Motor Sports officials announced plans to build a $25 million indoor extreme sports arena in Trenton. The 230,000-square-foot facility will feature motorcycle, BMX and in-line skating race tracks along with a 100-foot high wind tunnel for indoor skydiving. Company officials said they plan to begin construction of the arena on an 11-acre site off Route 1 in September.

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