SBJ/September 23 - 29, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

Thrashers score ad deal
The NHL's Atlanta Thrashers have signed a deal with Dallas-based Upswing Inc. for that company's AdverTickets. Derek Schiller, the Thrashers' vice president of sales and marketing, described the AdverTicket as an expanded valet parking ticket with an ad on it. About 500,000 valet tickets, customized for the team, will be made available to 87 metro Atlanta businesses in November, including the Buckhead Life Group, ESPN Zone, Fontaine's Oyster House, Gordon Biersch, Horseradish Grill, Lenox Square mall and the Mall of Georgia.

Atlanta nets girls' volleyball games
The city of Atlanta will play host to the 2003 Girls Junior Olympic Volleyball championships. The games are expected to draw up to 45,000 visitors and will be played from June 21 to July 2 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

BUFFALO

Sorrento to sponsor radio game
Buffalo's public high schools have a national sponsor for the football league's radio game of the week. Sorrento Cheese, with $800 million a year in sales, has signed on to help underwrite the 13-game package carried on WJJL Radio.

CINCINNATI

Cinergy Field will be torn down soon after the last Reds game to make room for the new Great American Ball Park, which looms over Cinergy's outfield above.

Last game at Cinergy a sellout
Fans were paying up to $500 a seat for the Reds' last game at Cinergy Field, scheduled for last Sunday. The weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies sold out. Cinergy Field will be demolished to make way for the completion of Great American Ball Park, which is scheduled to be ready for Opening Day 2003.

COLUMBIA, S.C.

Floor poured at Carolina Center
Trucks were to have poured 17,000 square feet of concrete for the event floor in the new Carolina Center last week. The concrete was poured over more than 9 miles of one-inch polyethylene pipe, which will serve as the refrigeration system for ice events in the new arena. The University of South Carolina's Athletic Department is the primary operator of the new Carolina Center. Global Spectrum, a division of Comcast-Spectacor, has been selected by USC Athletics to manage the Carolina Center.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Carters selling share of Sidekicks
Don and Linda Carter are selling their 50 percent stake in the Sidekicks indoor soccer team to their co-owners, Sonny and Gretchen Williams. Terms weren't disclosed. Carter, who is responsible for the city having the Mavericks basketball team, wants to spend more time with his family and on recreation.

DETROIT

Super Bowl staff moves in
Executive Director Susan Sherer and the staff of the Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee have moved to their new Ford Field offices, which they will occupy through the event in 2006. The new address is: Ford Field, 2000 Brush St., 2nd Floor, Executive Offices, Detroit, MI 48226.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

Exhibition matches for south Florida
The men's national volleyball teams from the United States and Italy were scheduled for three exhibition matches in south Florida. They were scheduled for the Omni Center on the Broward Community College campus in Pompano Beach and the FAU Gym, Florida Atlantic University, in Boca Raton. The 2002 Men's Volleyball World Championships will be held in Argentina from Sept. 28-Oct. 13.

Cardinals to buy Rangers' team
The St. Louis Cardinals reached an agreement with the Texas Rangers under which the Cardinals will purchase the Rangers' Class A Florida State League team. The Cardinals intend to move the franchise from Port Charlotte to Palm Beach County, where the team would play at the major league club's spring training complex in Jupiter. The Cardinals will petition the FSL to relocate the minor league club immediately following the closing of the sale.

GREENSBORO, N.C.

ACC unveils 2003 tourney logo
The Atlantic Coast Conference unveiled the 2003 men's and women's basketball tournament logo. The ACC Women's Basketball Tournament is set for March 7-10, and the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament for March 13-16. Both tournaments will be held at the Greensboro Coliseum, the first time in league history that both will be in the same facility in the same year. The 2003 tournament logo was developed and designed by Concentric Marketing, an advertising agency in Charlotte.

HOUSTON

Track has drop in attendance, purses
Sam Houston Race Park experienced drops in attendance, live handle and purses paid during the 2002 quarter horse meeting as compared to last year. The horse track saw its numbers dip because there were four fewer planned live race days in this year's meeting, which ended Sept. 7. A power outage due to bad weather knocked a fifth live racing day out of the schedule. Attendance on live race days totaled 176,287 in 2002, as compared to 199,004 last year. Live handle was $6,181,600 in 2002, down from $7,452,061 in 2001. Host handle was $23,461,647 this year vs. $26,878,844 last year. And total purses paid was $3,555,670 this year, down from $3,843,828 a year ago.

INDIANAPOLIS

Victory Field to get $1.2 million scoreboard
The Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board approved buying and installing a $1.2 million scoreboard for Victory Field, home of the AAA baseball Indianapolis Indians. The installation will be completed by April. Team officials said the new scoreboard will be easier to read and have more enhanced capabilities than the current scoreboard.

Schwoerer signs deal with police, fire games
Schwoerer & Associates, an Indianapolis-based sports and entertainment marketing firm, recently completed negotiations with the World Police and Fire Games Federation to become the global television and Internet rights holder to the event often described as the Olympics for police and fire fighters. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

JACKSONVILLE

Ballpark to be torn down
The city of Jacksonville recently auctioned off seats, signs, team equipment and other items of the Jacksonville Suns minor league baseball team, which played its last game in 47-year-old Wolfson Park on Sept. 11. Wolfson Park will be torn down this month. No plans for the site have been announced, though there is speculation that the Jacksonville Jaguars may turn it into practice fields. A $34 million, 10,000-seat baseball stadium is under construction near Wolfson Park.

KANSAS CITY

Brett to chair invitational
George Brett, the Kansas City Royals' vice president/baseball operations, will chair the Senior PGA Tour Bayer Advantage Invitational next year in Kansas City. Tourney organizers hope Brett will help lure talent for a new part of their program, The National Celebrity Classic. Sports stars and other famous people will compete with Kansas City-area civic leaders in the first two rounds of the 54-hole tournament, which will take place May 12-18.

MIAMI

MLB responds to Expos suit
Major League Baseball made its first formal response to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Miami by the Montreal Expos' 14 former limited partners, according to the Washington Times. Among the five motions filed, MLB attorneys asked the court to move the lawsuit out of Miami, dismiss it altogether, release MLB as a defendant and disqualify Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the New York law firm retained by the limited partners. The lawsuit will not delay any consideration of the Montreal Expos' future, and relocation for the 2003 season remains an option, said MLB President and COO Bob DuPuy.


MILWAUKEE

Ballpark hosts UWM homecoming
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee doesn't have a football team, so the school decided to hold part of its homecoming celebration this year at Miller Park last Friday in association with the Milwaukee Brewers' game against the San Francisco Giants. The school scheduled a tailgate party in the stadium parking lot. The first 15,000 fans 18 or older to enter the ballpark were to receive free long-sleeve UWM T-shirts. Retired Brewers pitcher and current UWM baseball coach Jerry Augustine was to throw out the first pitch. UWM competes in NCAA Division I as a member of the Horizon League.


MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Wild fans line up for tix
More than 1,500 Minnesota Wild fans, some of whom arrived the night before, lined up outside Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for the first day of ticket sales Sept. 14. More than 25,000 regular-season, single-game tickets were sold on the first day.

CD giveaway: 'Circle Me Bert'
The Minnesota Twins, Fox Sports Net, Pepsi and Eden Prairie-based Best Buy Co. will team up to provide CDs of the new "Circle Me Bert" song to the first 10,000 fans passing through the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome gates this Friday. The "Circle Me Bert" song was inspired by the thousands of fans who have brought signs to home and away games asking announcer Bert Blyleven to circle them with his telestrator.

Wild store opens at mall
The Minnesota Wild's Hockey Lodge has opened at the Mall of America in Bloomington. The Hockey Lodge is the official team store, selling jerseys, hats and novelty items and exclusive team memorabilia.

NASHVILLE

The "Smashville" campaign will get a boost on a Nashville billboard.

Preds launch 'Smashville' campaign
"Welcome to Smashville" is the Nashville Predators' advertising campaign for 2002-03. The Predators' billboard at the intersection of Broadway and West End in downtown Nashville will be updated to reflect the 2002-03 theme. The Smashville concept will also be featured on Predators tickets and merchandise and in all radio, television and newspaper advertising. Smashville was selected from a list of more than 3,000 slogan ideas collected from fans in April. The Predators make their 2002-03 Gaylord Entertainment Center regular-season debut on Oct. 12 against the Edmonton Oilers.

ORLANDO

Magic to continue giveaways
As the NBA turns its attention to the 2002-03 season, the Orlando Magic is working on ways to increase the number of fans coming through the turnstiles. To that end, the Magic announced 10 collectible giveaway promotions that will take place at home games throughout the season. In addition to bobblehead dolls, which are a crowd favorite, the Magic will offer a Magic Mr. Potato Head, a Tracy McGrady baseball bat and a Magic lunch box.

Clever Covers: Fans for fans
An Orlando entrepreneur has created licensed plastic handheld fans for football games. Clever Fan Waves are made of plastic, have a 2002 football schedule on the handle and retail for less than $5. They are available at www.clevercover.com and at various retailers across the country.

PHILADELPHIA

E-newsletter aims for Eagles fans
RealTime Media Inc., a digital promotions and direct marketing firm based in Wynnewood, Pa., and the Philadelphia Eagles have formed a partnership under which RealTime Media will develop and deliver a weekly electronic newsletter for the team. The newsletter, called "Sunday Game Plan," will be sent electronically to approximately 35,000 Eagles fans who have signed up for the product.

Workers prepare the ice at the First Union Center for the Philadelphia Flyers' first preseason game against the New Jersey Devils.

Creating a hockey rink event floor
Painters prepared the ice at First Union Center for the Philadelphia Flyers' upcoming hockey season with four gallons of paint. The ice-making process began with a thin layer of ice sprayed onto the event floor, followed by a white soluble paint sprayed as background. Then the ice layer was built up to a quarter inch. Lines and logos were stenciled into the ice and sealed with water sprays before the line and logo painting began. After that, the ice was increased to one-inch thickness. The Flyers were to host their first preseason contest last Saturday at the First Union Center against the New Jersey Devils.

PITTSBURGH

Penguins to vary ticket prices
The Pittsburgh Penguins have reserved the option to raise ticket prices by $5 for specific games that will appeal to larger groups of fans. Home games already targeted for the higher prices include Jan. 11 against the New York Rangers, March 15 against the Philadelphia Flyers and March 18 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Allegheny suit comes to an end
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph James ruled in favor of the Sports & Exhibition Authority, which owns PNC Park and Heinz Field, ending a lawsuit by the Allegheny Club. The Allegheny Club's lawsuit sought money damages from the authority because it allegedly was displaced to make way for the demolition of Three Rivers Stadium. The Allegheny Club had been located in the old stadium. James ruled that the Allegheny Club was not entitled to compensation because its lease expired when the stadium was demolished.

Classic to make home at Mystic Rock
The Pennsylvania Classic, the state's only stop on the PGA Tour, which rotated annually between the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas, will have a home in western Pennsylvania for the next four years. Beginning in 2003, the tournament will be played at Mystic Rock at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa. Mystic Rock is a Pete Dye-designed course. It is owned by 84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy.

Track named for designer Wilson
BeaveRun MotorSports Complex, the new multiuse destination for driving and motorsports enthusiasts in Beaver County, Pa., has named its karting track Wilson Circuit after track designer and motorsports veteran Alan Wilson. Wilson designed BeaveRun's 1.6-mile road racing course and is planning a second BeaveRun road course scheduled to open next year. He is known for creating 18 racing circuits around the world, including a Formula One standard track under construction in Beijing, China.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.

PGA tickets selling fast
Officials from the PGA say ticket sales for the 85th championship, to be played at Oak Hill Country Club, have already reached 75 percent of their goal, with tickets selling faster than any previous PGA Championship. The PGA expects daily crowds of 35,000 at Oak Hill during the week of Aug. 11-17, 2003. Corporate hospitality sales have topped the 80 percent mark.

SAN FRANCISCO

Grand Prix bicyclists invade city
The San Francisco Grand Prix bike race drew a larger field, more sponsors and more television exposure in its second year. The event on Sept. 15 was carried on local television station KGO as well as national cable's Outdoor Life Network. Tailwind Sports co-produced the event and also manages the U.S. Postal Service's team featuring Lance Armstrong. The event generated revenue of more than $1 million, a $200,000 increase over 2001, according to Dan Osipow, Tailwind's vice president. There were 150 starters from 23 nations compared to 120 riders last year. The event is important in showing the U.S. Olympic Committee that the region can host a major international Olympic style event. The USOC will choose Nov. 3 between New York and San Francisco for its 2012 Summer Olympics candidate.

49ers under the salary cap
The San Francisco 49ers are reportedly $5 million under the salary cap but will likely need to restructure salaries or cut players to comply with the 2003 cap, according to general manager Terry Donahue. Incentives earned during 2002 will likely eat up the team's salary cap buffer. The team's spartan management, headed by John York, has prescribed parameters on what it will pay for every position. A soft free agent market has helped the team stay within those parameters.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Fan gets letter from Devil Rays
The operator of a Tampa Bay Devil Rays fan Web site has received a cease-and-desist letter from Major League Baseball. Bob Andelman, a free-lance writer in St. Petersburg, established emailtherays.com so that Rays fans could vent their frustrations about the team and conditions at Tropicana Field. Andelman, a former Rays season-ticket holder, specified that the site was not affiliated with the ball club.

Times buys domain name, too
The St. Petersburg Times, after signing a $30 million naming-rights deal at the Ice Palace arena in downtown Tampa, ended up having to buy the rights to an Internet domain as well. The Times agreed to buy stpetetimesforum.com from Kenneth D. Robinson, who registered the domain several weeks before the arena's new name was made public. The Times claimed the terms of the settlement were confidential. It is unclear how Robinson found out about the arena's prospective new name.

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