SBJ/September 9 - 15, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

BALTIMORE

Ravens close to deal with Giant Food
The Baltimore Ravens are close to a deal with Giant Food to create sections in each area store where shoppers can buy foods, beverages and other items associated with football tailgate parties, said Dennis Mannion, the Ravens' vice president of business development. This deal is in conjunction with previously reported plans for the Ravens to open kiosks — complete with Ravens jerseys, hats and T-shirts — in area shopping malls. Both strategies, which likely will not go into effect until the 2003 season, are part of the Ravens' new Ravenstown brand, a marketing ploy developed to again link the town's NFL franchise with traditional football rituals.

CHICAGO

Marathon closes registration
The LaSalle Bank Chicago Mar-athon, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has reached

The 2002 race's cap has been reached.
its registration cap of 37,500, matching last year's record total. Registration is now closed for the Oct. 13 race. Marathon organizers established the cap of 37,500 last year to ensure from both an operational and planning standpoint a safe and enjoyable experience for runners and spectators.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA.

ISC's France has bypass surgery
International Speedway Corp. said that Chairman and CEO William C. France had bypass surgery Aug. 28. The procedure is not expected to prevent him from continuing his roles at ISC. France was admitted to a hospital after a fall Aug. 27 that resulted in a broken hip. After initial tests resulting from the fall were performed, doctors recommended the bypass procedure. He had surgery on the hip the following weekend and was said to be resting comfortably last week.

DENVER

City races into replanting effort
The city's hosting of the Shell Grand Prix over Labor Day weekend, Denver's first Grand Prix race in almost a decade, forced a discussion of trees in the area. Trees lining the course were cut down in advance of the event for fear that they would have blocked spectators' view of the track. Race organizers, however, have promised to replant trees in the area, and title sponsor Shell Oil Products US pledged to match as much as $5,000 toward the state's ReForest Colorado effort.

DETROIT

Tigers honor Red Wings at game
The Detroit Tigers honored the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings before the Tigers-Chicago White Sox game at Comerica Park on Sept. 1. The event featured a home run derby. Bobby Higginson, Robert Fick, Randall Simon and Carlos Peña of the Tigers were teamed with Jason Williams, Sean Avery, Manny Legace and Darren McCarty of the Red Wings, respectively. Simon and Legace won, beating Peña and McCarty in the finals. A temporary fence was set up to benefit the Red Wing players, but Legace, the Wings' backup goaltender, hit one of his three homers into the right-field bleachers.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

SportsLine site begins added coverage
CBS SportsLine.com has launched what it's calling "sideline to sideline" coverage of the 2002 NFL season. The coverage features stats, breaking news, exclusive game previews, and team and player information. CBS SportsLine.com, a product of locally based SportsLine.com Inc., was selected to receive NFL content as part of the July 2001 agreement between SportsLine.com, the NFL, CBS and America Online.

FORT MYERS, FLA.

University begins competition play
Florida Gulf Coast University said its intercollegiate athletic program begins competition this fall. The 5-year-old university has an enrollment of 5,000 students, with more than 600 employees. Baseball, and men's and women's basketball and cross-country competition begins this fall.

HARTFORD, CONN.

Cigna, KemperSports to develop course
Cigna Corp. and KemperSports Management are teaming to develop an Arnold Palmer-designed championship golf course as part of Cigna's 600-acre Bloomfield Campus redevelopment project — Gillette Ridge just outside of Hartford. KemperSports will act as development manager and will operate the 18-hole daily-fee course once it opens. Cottage Grove Real Estate Inc., a wholly owned subdivision of Cigna, will develop Gillette Ridge. Construction has begun; the course opening is scheduled for 2004.

HOUSTON

Texans revamp parking plans
The Houston Texans and SMG Reliant Park had to make some significant changes to their parking strategy after the team's Aug. 24 preseason game against Miami, the first game at Reliant Stadium. Traffic was so bad that many fans missed the first quarter entirely. The team added a Metro shuttle service from three park-and-ride locations; added more police officers to direct traffic; and decided to sell out the remaining on-site cash parking spaces to avoid confusion. The changes seemed to help traffic flow for the Aug. 30 game against Tampa Bay.

Reliant leads in retail space
Lending further credence to the belief that everything is bigger in Texas, Reliant Stadium now houses the most retail space of any NFL stadium. The newly opened "Go Texan Store," located at the south end of Reliant Stadium, provides 4,400 square feet of retail space, the most in any NFL stadium. The store, along with four club-level stores, 10 in-line retail stands and 10 portable kiosks, will be used by both the Houston Texans and RodeoHouston. The "Go Texan Store" includes concept shops, such as the RodeoHouston Collection, Reebok NFL Equipment, NFL Kids Corner and Art of the Game Gallery. A contest to name the store was held earlier this year, and eight entries were submitted with the "Go Texan" name. The store is operated as a joint venture with the Texans, RodeoHouston and Aramark.

INDIANAPOLIS

Indians sign extension with Brewers
The Class AAA Indianapolis Indians recently signed a two-year contract extension to be the affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Indians became the Brewers' affiliate at the end of the 1999 season after the Cincinnati Reds dropped the Indians for an affiliate in Louisville, Ky.

Local golf course lands Solheim Cup
Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis, was selected to host the 2005 Solheim Cup. The biennial event features 12-member teams from the United States and Europe in three-day match play competition. The tentative dates for the event at Crooked Stick, to be broadcast on NBC, are Sept. 16-18, 2005.

MIAMI

Dolphins using voiceREACH technology
The Miami Dolphins are using the voiceREACH product of Tinton Falls, N.J.-based Xpedite to distribute personalized voice messages from a Dolphins player to season-ticket holders. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Xpedite is a business unit of Ptek Holdings Inc.

Johnson speaks at business seminar
Magic Johnson was in Miami recently, serving as keynote speaker during The 2002 Business Exchange: Tour for Success, held at the Hyatt Regency in Miami on Aug. 29.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Christian Brothers bought by Platinum
Warroad, Minn.-based Christian Brothers Hockey, manufacturers of hockey sticks since 1964, has been acquired by Platinum Group, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based investment and management company. Terms were not disclosed for the acquisition, which allows two former owners, Hal Bakke and Roger Christian, to retire. One original owner, Bill Christian, remains as vice president of product development and promotion.

Thunder uses strike threat for promotion
Major League Baseball execs were able to avoid a strike, but the Minnesota Thunder of the United Soccer Leagues' A-League were waiting in the wings if the effort had failed. Fans who showed tickets to future Minnesota Twins games received complimentary general admission passes to the Thunder's nationally televised game Aug. 30 against the Milwaukee Rampage. Stubs from 2002 games were given a 50 percent discount. The first 1,000 fans in attendance received Wells Fargo pens as part of Wells Fargo Back-to-School Night with the Thunder. Attendance was 3,642.

NASHVILLE

Sounds open bidding, then yank auction
The Class AAA Nashville Sounds put naming rights to the field at Greer Stadium out for bid on eBay last month, then withdrew the offer after howls of fury from city officials. The deal, which would have allowed the winning bidder to name the playing field — not the stadium itself — would have been for the 2003 and 2004 playing seasons. The naming-rights package had a minimum bid of $100,000, and included the usual goodies: signage, press release and conference, and inclusion on all print materials. What the deal didn't include was the city's blessing, and once officials got wind of the deal they wasted no time informing Sounds chief operating officer Glenn Yaeger of their displeasure. After yanking the auction, Yaeger said the team would continue to "explore creative ways to raise the profile of the team and sell sponsorships. In this case, we have obviously overreached in exploring these opportunities."

Predators hold HockeyFest
Individual game tickets to the first half of the Nashville Predators' 2002-03 regular season, including the home opener on Oct. 12 against the Edmonton Oilers, will go on sale to the public on Saturday as part of the Predators' Fifth Anniversary HockeyFest 2002 at Gaylord Entertainment Center. The fest's events include a garage sale at Gaylord, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Nashville Predators Foundation; a silent auction table featuring autographed items from Predators rookies; free admission to the Predators' rookie scrimmage against the Columbus Blue Jackets; and a player autograph session.

NORWELL, MASS.

New name for eBizJets: Sentient
The company eBizJets, a provider of private jet travel services in the United States, is changing its name to Sentient. The name Sentient was chosen to reflect the growing force of the private jet membership category, officials said. The company's private jet membership now outpaces fractional jet ownership and is the fastest-growing category in the private jet industry.

ORLANDO

Capital One, Tangerine bowl tix on sale
Despite the absence of a sponsor for one of the games, Florida Citrus Sports has begun sales of tickets for its two NCAA football bowl games — the Tangerine Bowl and the Capital One Bowl, formerly the Capital One Citrus Bowl. Scheduled for Dec. 23, the Tangerine Bowl again will feature teams from the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences. Tickets purchased before Oct. 31 are on sale for $35, and the price will increase to $45. The Capital One Bowl will be held Jan. 1 and will feature teams from the Big 10 and Southeastern conferences. Prior to Oct. 31 tickets will cost $55. After that, the price will go up to $65.

PHILADELPHIA

McNabb bobbles for 2 dolls
The Philadelphia Eagles and McDonald's unveiled two Veterans Stadium commemorative

McNabb
Donovan McNabb bobblehead dolls. The dolls feature McNabb standing inside a replica of Veterans Stadium. One features the quarterback throwing a football and wearing an Eagles cap and his green jersey. The other has McNabb in a white jersey holding a football and helmet. Both are being sold at 300 area McDonald's for $5.99 with any food or drink purchase. At the unveiling of the dolls, McDonald's presented McNabb with a $15,000 donation to the Donovan Mc-Nabb Foundation, which raises money to help people who suffer from diabetes.

Ballpark starts steel installation

Structural steel is being installed at the Phillies' new ballpark site.
The Philadelphia Phillies began street-level installation of structural steel at their new $346 million ballpark project site in south Philadelphia. Beginning with the ballpark's scoreboard structure, in the northwest quadrant of the site, and moving in a counter-clockwise direction around the project site, workers will install about 11,800 structural steel pieces for the construction of the ballpark. Some of the largest pieces of steel to be installed will be used to create the signature scoreboard structure, with each piece weighing nearly 22,000 pounds and standing 65 feet tall. The 43,000-seat ballpark is scheduled to open in April 2004.

SACRAMENTO

River Cats lead for 3rd year in row
For the third consecutive year, the Sacramento River Cats led all Minor League Baseball teams in attendance. The Class AAA team's attendance for the 2002 season was 817,317, with an average of 11,512 fans per game. The team has attracted 2,580,339 fans during its three seasons in Sacramento.

SAN DIEGO

Callaway collects 70 patents in year
Carlsbad-based Callaway Golf became the first golf company to receive as many as 70 U.S. patents in one year after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently issued six patents covering drivers, putters and golf ball manufacturing techniques. Eighteen inventors were responsible for the latest six patents.

SAN FRANCISCO

49ers stuck at the 'Stick
The San Francisco 49ers are stepping up pressure on the city of San Francisco to make repairs at decrepit 49ers Stadium at Candlestick Point. The 41-year-old stadium needs $33 million in upgrades including basic maintenance such as patching crumbling concrete. Peter Harris, team president, said there is no intention of breaking the team's lease that expires in 2008, but he wants the city to honor the lease by making needed repairs. The city's budget crunch and the possibility of building a new stadium have caused the city not to make necessary upgrades.

QBs not drawing endorsements
The Bay Area's NFL Pro Bowl quarterbacks Jeff Garcia and Rich Gannon are not reaping huge corporate endorsements. Garcia's image is currently hovering over New York's Times Square in a Reebok promotion, but he earns less than $1 million in endorsements. Gannon gets fewer corporate gigs. Steve Young, the former 49ers quarterback, did much better. Agents say it was Young's Super Bowl success and his personality that led to the commercial touchdown.

SEATTLE

Mariners fan screams, sues team
A Seattle Mariners season-ticket holder has sued the team after the organization threatened to yank his tickets if he didn't stop cheering so loudly. Anthony Ercolano has filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court alleging the Mariners are violating his freedom of speech and possibly breaching his season-ticket contract. In May, the Mariners told Ercolano to "tone it down," and "to look around at the people sitting near him and take note of how they're acting," the suit said. Ercolano has held season tickets in the Diamond Club section since 1999. He claims never to yell obscenities at players, comment on their batting averages or insult a player's family. He only cheers loudly and comments on the game, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit asks that the Mariners be prevented from ejecting Ercolano or from revoking his season tickets, and it seeks unspecified monetary damages. Earlier this year, the Mariners tried to keep fans from wearing T-shirts saying "Yankees Suck." They have since stopped enforcing that policy.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Bucs' center gets tentative zoning OK
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' proposed training center has received preliminary approval from Hillsborough County's zoning master and will go before the county commission for a final vote Sept. 24. The Bucs want to rezone 70 acres near Interstate 75 north of Tampa for the training facility, which will include 300,000 square feet of indoor space and three practice fields. Environmentalists have said the facility may have a negative impact on a nearby wildlife preserve and want the Bucs to build it somewhere else.

TORONTO

Ali to attend Argos game
The Toronto Argonauts' seasonlong campaign to attract fans by promoting non-football sports and entertainment personalities is about to hit a new peak: Muhammad Ali is scheduled to appear at SkyDome during the Argos' Oct. 20 game against Ottawa. Retired Canadian boxer George Chuvalo, who fought Ali in 1966 in Toronto and in 1972 in Vancouver, is rumored to be attending the game as well as part of the Ali appearance.

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