SBJ/September 2 - 8, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast


Gladiators armed with name
Gwinnett County's new East Coast Hockey League team is now armed for combat — with a name. The name and logo for the Gwinnett Gladiators were recently unveiled. The Gladiators name was chosen from among more than 2,500 entries submitted in a "Name the Team" contest. The team logo was designed by the Joe Bosack Graphic Design Co. in Pipersville, Pa. The ECHL season will kick off in October 2003. The Gladiators will play their home games at the Gwinnett County Arena, part of the newly renovated Gwinnett County Civic and Cultural Center.


Eric Ogbogu shows off his "Under Armour" performance apparel in a TV commercial.

Under Armour premieres TV ad
Under Armour, the performance apparel company, has made it to the big leagues. On Aug. 31 on ABC during college football's premier season-opening game, the "Kickoff Classic" featuring Maryland vs. Notre Dame, Under Armour debuted its first television commercial. The 30-second spot features Cincinnati Bengal "Under Armour Man" Eric Ogbogu in a series of quick cuts of sprint and lifting workouts, set to a re-mixed and funked-out version of Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." The 7-year-old company dominates the compression performance apparel market at 71 percent — ahead of Nike, Reebok and Adidas.


Bills to stay at St. John Fisher
The Buffalo Bills have renegotiated their original five-year contract to hold training camp at St. John Fisher College in Rochester. The Bills will now train at Fisher through 2011, with this year's now-concluded training camp considered the first year of the new agreement.



Frisco Superdome may be converted
The Frisco Superdome, a top cycling-training arena, may be converted to an extreme sports or skate park. Located in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, the facility was closed in May, partly because of problems with the track that needed fixing, partly because the Superdome had lost money since opening in 1998. Though city officials have met with at least one company that builds skate parks, they are planning to hear a proposal from an area cycling group that wants to take over day-to-day management of the facility, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Group acquires Venue Ticket Exchange
An investment group led by Jim Leslie, former president and chief operating officer of The Staubach Co., has acquired the assets of Venue Ticket Exchange, an electronic online sports ticket exchange that partners with professional and collegiate teams to deliver tickets at game venues via electronic kiosks. Unlike other secondary ticket exchanges, which require a 72-hour cutoff prior to game time, Venue Ticket Exchange allows season-ticket holders to sell or give away tickets up to game time. Ticket buyers can buy secondary tickets online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and pick them up at game venues electronically via touch-screen kiosks powered by IBM and Radiant Systems Inc.


Gart closes Oshman acquisition
Gart Sports Co. scored big in the second quarter because it drafted Oshman's Sporting Goods Inc. to its team. Denver-based Gart, now the second-largest publicly held sporting goods retailer in the country, closed on the Oshman's acquisition in the second quarter and included its former competitor's financials with its own for the period. The deal boosted Gart's sales for the quarter to $261.7 million, a 10 percent increase from $237.9 million in last year's second period. Net income rose about 58 percent to $6.3 million from $4 million. The increase doesn't include roughly $2 million in one-time costs related to the Oshman's deal. Gart now has 180 stores in 25 states.


Super Bowl panel has plans
With brand new Ford Field as a backdrop, the Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee announced its plans for the game, to be played Feb. 5, 2006. The host committee comprises 39 corporate, civic and government leaders led by auto racing giant Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Corp. Other members of the committee include William Clay Ford Jr., chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Co. and owner and chairman of the Detroit Lions; Dave Bing, president of The Bing Group; Denise Ilitch, president of Ilitch Holdings Inc.; Peter Karmanos Jr., chairman and CEO of Compuware Corp.; Tom Lewand, executive vice president and COO of Detroit Lion Properties; Dieter Zetsche, president and CEO of DaimlerChrysler Corp.; and Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick. Organizers say the event will bring 120,000 visitors to the area, pump $372 million into the economy of southeast Michigan and offer the opportunity to "show off our city" to an estimated 800 million television viewers around the world.

Speedway taking deposits for 2003
Due to the overwhelming success of the 2002 race season, Michigan International Speedway will, for the first time in its 34-year history, take deposits in advance for both NASCAR Winston Cup events scheduled for next season. Both events have been sold out every year since 1992, and seat holders have the right to renew for next year. This "deposit system" will provide a mechanism for distributing those tickets that are not renewed. Races will be held June 13-15 and Aug. 15-17, 2003.


Panthers have 'letter of intent'
The Florida Panthers have a "letter of intent" from Delray Beach-based Office Depot for a naming-rights deal on the National Car Rental Center. A federal bankruptcy ruling in Delaware cleared the way for the Panthers to pursue new deals. The team is trying to turn the letter of intent into a more definitive agreement, according to a Sun-Sentinel report. Under the terms of the settlement, ANC Rental will get perks including a suite in the arena for free next season with an option for five more years — the first year for free and the other four at half price. An advertising panel also will be provided on the arena dasherboards. The original 10-year naming-rights deal was signed in 1998 and ANC wanted to keep the rights but, according to the Miami Herald, at a much lower price.

Sports Authority earnings up
Fort Lauderdale sporting goods retailer The Sports Authority said it earned $9.3 million, or 27 cents a share, on sales of $375.8 million in its second quarter ended Aug. 3. For the same period last year, the company reported earnings of $7.6 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $370.8 million.


Texans take over Six Flags lot
Houstonians who prefer the thrill of a roller coaster to that of an NFL matchup will have a little farther to walk, due to a shift in parking. On Sept. 8, Sept. 22 and Oct. 13, visitors to Six Flags AstroWorld will not be able to use the regular parking lot because those slots are designated for Houston Texans home games. Instead of parking west of Reliant Arena near Kirby, they will be required to park east of Reliant Arena near Fannin.


Bill Simpson starts new company
Motorsports safety guru Bill Simpson has opened a new business in the Indianapolis area. Simpson Impact Racing, a company that will manufacture helmets and assorted safety equipment, opened its doors Aug. 23 in a new complex in Brownsburg. Simpson, who is suing NASCAR for defamation over remarks NASCAR officials made in the wake of Dale Earnhardt's death, said the first products from his new company will be available in November. Simpson became upset when NASCAR officials said a belt, manufactured by the previous company Simpson founded, North Carolina-based Simpson Performance Products Inc., broke and was at least partially responsible for Earnhardt's death. Simpson still owns a minority interest in Simpson Performance Products, but a non-compete clause between the company and Simpson ended Aug. 22.


Gator Bowl renews with NBC through 2006
The Gator Bowl Association has renewed its agreement with NBC to televise the annual Toyota Gator Bowl on New Year's Day from 2003 through 2006. The Jan. 1 kickoff of the Gator Bowl Classic will be at 12:30 p.m. NBC began its partnership with the Toyota Gator Bowl on Jan. 1, 1996, as the game returned to the brand-new Alltel Stadium for its 50th anniversary game. Since then, the Bowl Classic has reached a national audience estimated between 9 million and 10 million viewers a year.


Frontier League eyes Olathe
The Frontier League wants to put a team in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe. Bill Lee, the independent baseball league's commissioner, said he hopes the team will start play next year. Lee said he's working with several prospective ownership groups, whose members he wouldn't identify. For the plan to work, a stadium would have to be built. The independent Northern League also is looking at putting a team in Olathe.

Speedway wants The Winston
Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger said he wants to bring The Winston to his track in Kansas City, Kan. Boerger said he'd like to land the Winston Cup all-star race in 2004 or 2005 if the event moves from Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Boerger also hopes to get a second Winston Cup race. The Kansas Speedway's 2003 Winston Cup race will run Oct. 5, a week later than it has been scheduled this year and last.


Jury sides with Marlins, stadium
A jury took nearly eight hours over two days to find in favor of the Florida Marlins' mascot, the team and Pro Player Stadium in a negligence case. In a game two years ago, a fan was injured after being struck by a flying T-shirt fired out of a pressurized gun by mascot Billy the Marlin. The shirt hit Saul Shechter in the left eye, knocked him unconscious and eventually left him with permanent blurry vision and optic nerve damage. Shechter was seeking $250,000, according to The Miami Herald.

Edy's dishes out school flavors
Edy's Grand Ice Cream is honoring three of the nation's top college football programs with ice cream. The company has created flavors in honor of the Florida State Seminoles (Seminole Caramel Scramble), Florida Gators (Reptile Ripple) and Miami Hurricanes (Hurricane Blitz). A portion of the proceeds from each carton sold will help support each respective school's campus programs, according to the company.


Fox Sports Net adds Bucks games
Fox Sports Net will carry 38 regular-season Milwaukee Bucks games locally during the upcoming NBA season, two more than during the 2001-02 season. The coverage tips off with the Bucks' home opener on Nov. 2 against Orlando. This marks the fourth consecutive season FSN has increased the number of Bucks games it carries, said Steve Woelfel, vice president and general manager of FSN North.

Brewers extend Indianapolis deal
The Milwaukee Brewers and Indianapolis Indians extended their player development contract through 2004. Indianapolis has been the Brewers' Class AAA affiliate in the International League since 1999. The Indians won the Class AAA World Series in 2000 and set an Indianapolis attendance record that same season of 672,135 at Victory Field.


Gold medalist to teach at UCF
Three-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Nancy Hogshead-Makar has joined faculty of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida. A long-time gender-equity advocate in athletics, Hogshead-Makar will be an adjunct professor teaching sport law. She currently is a professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law. She previously worked at Holland & Knight LLP, where she represented student athletes and universities in Title IX matters.


The Phantoms' Web site features an interactive seating chart and a mascot page.

Phantoms redesign Web site
The Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League unveiled a redesigned team Web site at, featuring more motion and brighter colors. Additions in content include an interactive seating chart and an updated ticket plans page in a tickets section. The history section has also been expanded to include team records and a franchise timeline. Team mascot Phlex has his own section now, with a bio, coloring book, puzzle, wallpaper and booking information.


PETA targets Long's slaughterhouse
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is asking former Pittsburgh Steeler Terry Long to stop his plans to open a chicken slaughterhouse on Pittsburgh's North Side. Long owns a company called Value-Added Foods, which processes chicken parts. He wants to add a chicken-slaughtering facility to his business.


New exhibits debut at museum
The San Diego Hall of Champions sports museum dedicated two new permanent exhibits Aug. 26 chronicling the history of football and baseball in the city. The exhibits also provides interactive, hands-on experiences for youth and adults. Former San Diego Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts and San Diego native and former Padres coach Bob Skinner spoke at the ceremonies.


Sharks sign with Renegades, Cyclones
The San Jose Sharks agreed to secondary affiliations with the Richmond (Va.) Renegades and Cincinnati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League. The Sharks' top farm club is the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League. The Sharks have had a club relationship with the Renegades for the past four years. The partnership with Cincinnati is new for the coming season.

Real Sports owners get event work
The owners of the women's sports magazine Real Sports have been selected to develop marketing strategies and promotional programs for the 2003 State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament that will be played in March at Compaq Center at San Jose.


LaRussa's book goes on sale
St. Louis bookstores have begun selling copies of "Ask the Expert," a compilation of baseball questions answered by Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. The book sells for $10 and benefits Dollar-Help, a nonprofit crisis intervention program that helps low-income residents defray the cost of heating their homes.


No patdowns for all at stadium
The Tampa Sports Authority has decided not to conduct patdowns and pocket searches of everyone entering Raymond James Stadium for Tampa Bay Buccaneers football games. The Sports Authority's board rejected the proposal by a 9-2 vote, expressing the need for more research into issues such as logistics, insurance and fans' civil rights. The Glazer family, owners of the Bucs, requested the patdown procedure as part of enhanced security measures for NFL games this season.


The Powells of Findlay, Ohio, bought the 500,000th ticket to a game at Fifth Third Field.

Mud Hens reward 500,000th fan
The Class AAA Toledo Mud Hens hit another milestone in the history of Fifth Third Field on Aug. 23, drawing their 500,000th fan of the team's inaugural season at the ballpark. The Powell family of Findlay, Ohio, bought ticket number 500,000 and received Mud Hens merchandise, tickets to Opening Day next spring, and a donation of $500 to the charity of their choice. The family chose the Gene Cook Youth Athletic Fund for their donation.


Leafs' preseason games on Leafs TV
Exclusive television broadcasts of the Toronto Maple Leafs' nine preseason games this fall will be seen on the club's own digital channel, Leafs TV. The channel will show the nine games in 14 days, beginning with a Sept. 20 road game against Ottawa and closing with an Oct. 5 home game against Tampa Bay. Leafs TV does not hold any rights to televise regular-season or playoff games.

Skater Stojko joins broadcast team
Three-time world champion figure skater Elvis Stojko has joined CTV-TSN's broadcast team for coverage of the Canadian and world figure skating championships. Stojko joins host Rod Black and analyst Tracy Wilson to call the men's competition at both events.

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