SBJ/November 4 - 10, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

BOCA RATON, FLA.

Met-Rx launches products, renews deals
Met-Rx has launched two recovery products for the Met-Rx Collegiate Series line and has signed or renewed partnerships with 13 universities. The Met-Rx Collegiate Series, a line of products in keeping with NCAA guidelines, has added a new Ready-to-Drink shake and Protein Complete energy bar. Renewals with the athletic departments at Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, Syracuse, USC, UCLA and Virginia Tech are among Met-Rx's latest deals. The universities' logos will be featured in select company advertising and promotional pieces.

CINCINNATI

Mighty Ducks top million mark
The Cincinnati Mighty Ducks of the American Hockey League passed the 1 million mark in all-time attendance last week. The millionth fan was to receive a Ducks jersey, team-autographed stick, a pair of season tickets and a trip to Anaheim to watch the NHL Mighty Ducks play.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Pro Bowl voting at RadioShacks
Fan voting for the 2003 edition of the NFL's Pro Bowl is being sponsored by Fort Worth-based RadioShack Corp. and Motorola Inc. Fans can vote at RadioShack's 7,200 consumer-electronics stores nationwide.

DENVER

No president at Vail Resorts
Vail Resorts Inc. will go without a president. The company said Andrew Daly was to leave that job at the end of October; the job will be left vacant. Vail said the company was streamlining its cost structure so that it could operate as leanly as possible. Daly was paid a salary of $428,000 and given a bonus of $280,000. In addition to its namesake mountain, Vail operates ski resorts in Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado.

Lacrosse back in Mammoth style
Denver's new National Lacrosse League team will be called the Colorado Mammoth. Kroenke Sports Enterprises, owner of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche, bought the former Washington Power team and brought it to Colorado. The company introduced the name and logo last week. The team will play its eight home games in Denver at Pepsi Center. It plans to announce its first major sponsor in the next few weeks.

DETROIT

Scramble under way for Harwell job
The retirement of Ernie Harwell has thrown all of the Detroit Tigers' radio and TV jobs into transition. TV (WKBD) play-by-play announcer Frank Beckmann is said to be the favorite to replace Harwell as the primary radio voice on WXYT-AM. Cable TV (Fox Sports Detroit) play-by-play announcer Mario Impemba is a candidate to replace Harwell or team with Beckmann. Dan Dickerson, who did the middle three innings on radio, is being considered for a continued role on radio or a move to TV. Several national and local announcers have acknowledged applying for the jobs, with local WXYT sports talk radio host Eli Zaret and ESPN's Bob Stevens mentioned most frequently. Among the former Tigers said to be applying for jobs as analysts are Milt Wilcox, Steve Kemp, Cecil Fielder, Darnell Coles and Jon Warden.

Pistons fans get to see renovations

An artist’s rendering shows the new, relocated box office at The Palace.
Fans attending the Detroit Pistons' home opener last Wednesday against the New York Knicks were the first to experience the results of the $6 million renovation of The Palace. The building's most significant changes include a relocated box office and a revamped Palace Locker Room store in the West Atrium lobby. The Palace's suite corridors and lobbies were renovated. New concessions items are available as well, including quesadillas, fish and chips, cheesecake on a stick, and specialty coffees.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

Motorola, ESPN have Nextel games
Motorola and ESPN announced the availability of ESPN's 2-Minute Drill trivia game and The BottomLine sports information application for Motorola's iDEN phones for Nextel wireless customers. In a release from Motorola's Plantation, Fla., facility, the company said Nextel subscribers who use Motorola's handsets with Java technology can wirelessly download the ESPN applications. Motorola had 2001 sales of $30 billion.

INDIANAPOLIS

Broadcasters head off new rules
The Indiana High School Athletic Association backed off a requirement that all broadcasters carrying an IHSAA tournament game must carry the state finals in that sport even if the team the station covers fails to make the finals. IHSAA officials said broadcasters can carry the state finals and have all rights fees waived or they can decline to carry the finals and pay the rights fees that were in place for the previous season. Officials of the Indiana Broadcasters Association hailed the decision, but IHSAA officials warned that the issue will be revisited and have called for a study committee to be set up with the IBA.

JACKSONVILLE

First Tee draws record participation
The annual meeting of The First Tee at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine attracted record numbers. More than 480 chapter representatives, suppliers, corporate partners and other industry professionals from as far as South Africa and Singapore attended the three-day event. The First Tee surpassed its 2002 goals in youth participation figures and affiliate partnerships. Officials aimed to recruit 60,000 children and ended up with 100,000. Officials established 107 affiliate relations this year, a 40 percent increase over its 75-affiliate goal. The First Tee is on course to hit its goal of 250 golf-learning facilities in development by December 2005.

KANSAS CITY

Metro to show KU games on tape delay
Metro Sports will carry at least 20 University of Kansas basketball games this season on a tape-delayed basis. The Kansas City cable station also will carry at least 12 University of Missouri games live, as well as 12 University of Missouri-Kansas City games and 12 Kansas State University games live.

MIAMI

Marlins ticket prices to drop
Average ticket prices for the Florida Marlins will decrease in 2003, the fourth time in the last five years that prices will not increase. The team will offer three new season-ticket packages and a season-ticket holder rewards program for next season. The Marlins will celebrate the season as their 10th anniversary, and the team introduced an anniversary logo for the occasion — although it is actually the team's 11th year in existence.

MILWAUKEE

Packers sign radio rights agreement
The Green Bay Packers and WTMJ-AM in Milwaukee signed a long-term extension of their radio broadcast rights agreement. The extension means that WTMJ, which is owned by Journal Broadcast Group in Milwaukee, will continue as the flagship station of the Green Bay Packer Radio Network, with exclusive rights to broadcasts of the games and related programming. The extension of the broadcast agreement takes effect immediately. Terms and length of the agreement were not disclosed. Play-by-play duties will continue to be handled by Wayne Larrivee and retired Packers center Larry McCarren.

Brewers officials host fan forum
The Milwaukee Brewers' new president and new general manager fielded questions from an estimated 4,200 fans of the long-struggling franchise Oct. 22 at Miller Park. The forum was emceed by Daron Sutton, the team's television voice, who posed the questions submitted by fans in person and online. Fielding the questions were team President Ulice Payne and senior vice president and general manager Doug Melvin. Ticket prices were a hot topic, and Payne pledged not to raise prices for 2003.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

10 hurt when Target Center railing snaps
About 10 people were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis after a railing at the Target Center gave way during a rap performance Oct. 26. The railing, which was about 12 feet long and 5 feet off the arena floor, snapped in three places, according to media reports. Repairs were to be made and other railings inspected before the Minnesota Timberwolves' home opener last Wednesday.

Twins' ratings on Fox up from last year

The Twins’ Sept. 6 game against the Oakland A’s scored an 8.4 household rating. (Twin Jacque Jones was called safe, above.)
Fox Sports Net North averaged a 5.5 household rating for Minnesota Twins regular-season games in 2002, up from a 4.9 rating in 2001. That's a 12 percent increase compared with 2001 and a 190 percent increase since 2000, when the team averaged a 1.9 rating. The 5.5 rating is the highest average the team has achieved on its licensed regional sports network. The team's Sept. 6 game against the Oakland A's drew an 8.4 household rating, the highest the team has ever drawn on cable television. One ratings point equals 15,947 households in the Twin Cities designated market area.

NEW ORLEANS

City to host swimming competition
The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the University of New Orleans recently were awarded the 2004 United Airlines Open Synchronized Swimming Championships to be held July 18-24. The United Airlines Open attracts more than 350 elite domestic and international athletes of all ages vying for solo, duet, trio and team titles. This will be the first time for New Orleans to host a national-level synchronized swimming competition. All events will take place at Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena Aquatic Center.

ORLANDO

Magic, WKMG premiere new show
The Orlando Magic and WKMG-Local 6 have created a new weekly television show called "Midnight Magic." The show offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Magic on and off the court. Host Kevin Holden takes viewers through each episode, with feature stories, game highlights and analysis. The half-hour show is airing on Sunday nights.

Softball Olympian to head up center
Dr. Dot Richardson, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in softball, was named director of the USA Triathlon National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. She replaces John Moore, who was promoted to administrator of support services, and she will report to Moore. Richardson, who also is vice chairwoman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, has been medical director of the center for the past year and will continue in that role. She will no longer practice medicine at this time, however. As director, Richardson will oversee all operational and managerial aspects of the training center, including directing current programs, developing new activities and promoting the center.

PHILADELPHIA

Thunder touts affiliation with Yankees
The Class AA Trenton (N.J.) Thunder is wasting no time touting its new affiliation with the New York Yankees. Although its next season doesn't start for another six months, the Thunder already has put together a promotional schedule for 2003 that includes Yankees Hat Day, Yankees Batting Helmet Night, Thunder/Yankees Bat Night and Yankees T-Shirt Day. The Thunder also plans to include five Yankees bobblehead doll giveaways as part of Bobblehead Wednesdays. The Thunder's eight-season affiliation with Boston ended after the 2002 season when the Sox dropped Trenton in favor of the Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs.

Eagles have appreciation luncheon
The Philadelphia Eagles hosted an appreciation luncheon recently for 1,200 construction workers building the team's new $512 million, 66,000-seat stadium. Two workers won club-level seats for the first regular-season game at the stadium, scheduled to open in 2003. Jon A. Boscia, chairman and CEO of Lincoln Financial Group, attended. Earlier this year, Lincoln Financial agreed to a $139 million naming-rights deal for the facility, which will be known as Lincoln Financial Field.

76ers help revitalize playgrounds
The Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Department of Recreation are revitalizing 10 area playgrounds. Their first project, completed in late October, involved installing new backboards at the Kingsessing Recreation Center in west Philadelphia.

Comcast-Spectacor dropped from suit
Comcast-Spectacor, the owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, was dismissed as a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by Dave Babych, a former Flyers player who is alleging his career was cut short after the team pressured him into playing in the 1998 playoffs while injured. Babych filed a lawsuit seeking $2.3 million in damages against Comcast-Spectacor and former team orthopedic physician Dr. Arthur Bartolozzi. Judge William Todd of New Jersey's Atlantic County Civil Court granted a motion to excuse Comcast- Spectacor from the suit, stating the lawyers for Babych failed to present credible evidence of fraud or misrepresentation by the team.

Red-colored steel is installed in the scoreboard structure in left field of the new Phillies ballpark. Throughout 2002 and into 2003, the red steel will be installed counterclockwise around the site, where about 11,800 structural steel pieces will be erected.

PITTSBURGH

Chatham starts sports center work
Local women's school Chatham College has begun construction of an $18 million, four-story sports center that will include a 660-seat venue for intercollegiate sports and other events. The center also will include fitness and meeting rooms. Chatham's existing gymnasium is nearly 50 years old.

SACRAMENTO

Squaw Valley ranked in top 5

Squaw Valley USA was ranked fourth among ski resorts in the United States.
The November issue of Skiing magazine ranked Squaw Valley USA one of the top five resorts in North America. In the annual resort survey, which ranks the top 25 resorts, Squaw Valley USA was ranked fourth behind the resorts of Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia; Alta/Snowbird, Utah; and Jackson Hole, Wyo. Site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley USA is located five miles north of Lake Tahoe, about 100 miles northeast of Sacramento.

Marysville in market for new league
The city of Marysville wants to find a new league in which its Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox can play and figure out future ownership of the team. Those will be the tasks of a new ad hoc committee, which will report to the City Council by Dec. 3. The team, which has played in the independent Western Baseball League, ended the season in the red by $221,300. The city, north of Sacramento, inherited the team and debt of $2 million when owners of a previous team, the Feather River Fury, called it quits.

SAN DIEGO

Junior Golf has big name supporters
The San Diego County Junior Golf Association will get help from several noted former members in celebrating its 50th anniversary Wednesday at the annual Golden Golf Ball. Phil Mickelson, Craig Stadler, Scott Simpson and Pat Perez are among the PGA Tour players who developed their game as youngsters with help from the area's strong junior program. Each is expected to be on hand at the event, which will have a live auction featuring such items as Mickelson's Ryder Cup golf bag.

SAN JOSE

Earthquakes adding 2nd family section
The San Jose Earthquakes, citing the success of the team's family section, plan to designate a second section for families. The section will be alcohol-free and offer discounts for multiple-ticket purchases. The 17-ticket season-ticket package includes a Champions Cup quarterfinal match against Mexican League champion Pachuca CF and a U.S. Open Cup match against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

ST. LOUIS

14,000 PPV orders for Nebraska-Mizzou
More than 14,000 households and businesses in Missouri, Nebraska and parts of Kansas paid between $29.95 and $400 to view the University of Nebraska vs. University of Missouri football game on Oct. 12. The pay-per-view broadcast was the first time Fox Sports Net Midwest has offered such a service for a Big 12 football game, with revenue from the broadcast split among the two schools, local cable operators and Fox Sports Net. An FSN spokesperson said the cable channel was pleased with the demand for the service and plans to offer more games in the future. Production cost for the game was about $40,000, the spokesperson said.

Arena hosts NBA exhibition game
Last month's NBA exhibition game between Houston and Portland at the St. Charles Family Arena attracted more than 7,000 people who paid between $10 and $100 to attend the event. The game marked the first time the arena has hosted a major professional sports game, and the first time the NBA has chosen suburban St. Charles as a venue over St. Louis. The 10,000-seat venue is located 20 miles west of St. Louis.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Authority OKs insurance for stadium
The Tampa Sports Authority approved a new insurance policy for Raymond James Stadium even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers argue that it doesn't provide enough coverage in case of a terrorist attack. The new policy is provided by a consortium of insurers and will provide $2.5 million of terrorism coverage. The Bucs' attorneys say the coverage is inadequate for the 65,000-seat stadium, which is valued at $185 million. The authority will pay a premium of nearly $347,000 for coverage with a $25,000 deductible, and agreed to pay the first $1 million of damages out of pocket. The authority's insurance premium was $309,800 under the stadium's current policy, written before Sept. 11, 2001.

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