SBJ/November 11 - 17, 2002/Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast


Western Kentucky picks AstroPlay
Western Kentucky University has chosen a synthetic surface from Southwest Recreational Industries Inc. for its primary athletic venues. Southwest recently installed a 106,265-square-foot AstroPlay surface at L.T. Smith Stadium.


Public arts rally around ballpark
Experts expect at least 200 painted or redesigned baseball bats will become part of a public art project in conjunction with the opening of Great American Ball Park in the spring. In 2000, 425 pigs decorated by professional artists lined streets, then were auctioned to raise $825,000 for 300 charities in the region. A call to artists for baseball bats is ready to be mailed. Artists have until Jan. 5 to submit proposals.


Smith set to appear on Wheaties box
After breaking Walter Payton's record for career rushing, Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith will appear on Wheaties boxes. General Mills, which makes the cereal, will roll out the boxes in the middle of this month. Smith broke Payton's career mark for rushing yards in an Oct. 27 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Cuban invests in cable companies

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has invested in at least four publicly held cable companies. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Cuban holds stakes in Cox, Cablevision and Comcast, and owns a 5.3 percent stake in Charter Communications. Cuban owns a high-definition television network, HDNet, but told the Star-Telegram that he invested in cable and in unspecified areas of satellite because stock prices are low.

UPS opens store at AA Center
UPS has opened a store offering complete packaging and delivery services at the American Airlines Center. The center will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and will offer international air and ground delivery, packaging and office supplies, faxing, Internet access, photocopying, postage stamps and greeting cards. UPS is a flagship sponsor of the American Airlines Center, the NHL Dallas Stars and the NBA Dallas Mavericks.


CHL's Bucks make debut
The Laredo Bucks, the newest franchise in the Central Hockey League, debuted in front of a sellout crowd Nov. 1 in a new 8,000-seat entertainment venue in Laredo. Houston-based Arena Ventures was formed in 1999 to build the multiuse facility and bring professional hockey to the border town. The city of Laredo spent $35.5 million to construct the Laredo Entertainment Center, which seats as many as 10,000 for concerts. Arena Ventures paid $1.2 million for land and managed construction of the facility. The company spent another $1.2 million on the hockey franchise, said Glenn Hart, chairman of Arena Ventures. The Houston company has a contract with the city of Laredo to manage the venue, a duty it has contracted out to SMG.

Lee performs in Yao's honor

CoCo Lee performed at Compaq on Nov. 2.
In honor of Yao Ming's first regular-season home game as a Houston Rocket, Asian recording artist CoCo Lee performed a pregame song and the national anthem on Nov. 2 at the Compaq Center. Lee won the "Most Outstanding Female Artist of Asia" award from MTV Chinese Awards 2001 and performed at the 73rd annual Academy Awards ceremony. She also received the "Asian-American of 2000" and "Best Performer of 2000" awards from Yale University and Harvard University. Lee is Yao's favorite recording artist, said Susan Newquest, a team spokeswoman. Lee, whose appearance at the Rockets' office last week attracted quite a few international entertainment reporters, is a big fan of the NBA, Newquest said.

Sampras to return for 2003 tourney
Pete Sampras has committed to return to Houston for the 2003 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships. The Westside Tennis Club announced Wednesday that Sampras has committed to play in the event, which will be held at the Houston club April 21-27, 2003. At the 2002 championships, Sampras defeated Andre Agassi in the semifinals before losing to Andy Roddick in the finals. Tommy Haas and Jan-Michael Gambill also have agreed to participate in next year's event.


IRP to host Infiniti Pro Series
The second season of Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series — the feeder series started by the Indy Racing League — will expand to 11 races at some of the nation's top oval venues, with a 12th event tentatively scheduled for the night before the 87th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. The 100-mile Infiniti Pro Series "sprints" will take place at the same track on the day before Indy Racing League events except for the Miami, Kansas and Michigan races, which will be held the same day as the IRL events.


City needs hotel room commitments
The Jacksonville & the Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau has signed contracts from about 30 hotels, accounting for less than 70 percent of the 11,000 hotel rooms needed to host Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. Only a handful of those contracts have made it to NFL offices for approval. By comparison, Detroit has 98 percent of its hotel commitments for the 2006 Super Bowl. Several hoteliers oppose the NFL's requirement that hotels raise their rates no more than 10 percent above the rack rate for Super Bowl fans.

New partners on board for First Tee
The First Tee recently announced several new partnerships. Pro Golf America will run in-store promotions, including an "Add A Buck" campaign, inviting customers to contribute $1 to their local chapter of The First Tee. MBNA is developing The First Tee Affinity Card, donating a percentage of all purchases to The First Tee. EBay Sports will promote The First Tee on its Web site and facilitate auctions benefiting the organization.The Business Golf Corporation/ USA Corporate Golf Championship pledged $150,000 to The First Tee over the next three years through a series of corporate golf tournaments.


Royals tickets to cost same in '03
Kansas City Royals ticket prices will remain the same in 2003. The team also increased the number of its cheapest tickets, $5 upper-deck seats, by 1,200 to about 4,400. Other individual-game ticket prices range from $10 to $22. Crown seats, behind home plate, cost $140 each and include meal service. They're available only in season-ticket packages.

Knights owner wants ABA back
Kansas City Knights owner Jim Clark will help try to resurrect the ABA in 2003-04 as the league's president and chief operating officer. Clark said he expects to announce plans by January. He had explored aligning the Knights with the CBA or USBL for the 2002-03 season after the ABA announced in October that it would suspend operations this season.


Sports management luncheon set
The 2nd Annual Fall Sports Management Luncheon, co-sponsored by The Graduate Program in Sports Management and Long Beach Sports Council, will be held Nov. 20 at The Pointe in The Pyramid from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The topic of a panel discussion will be "Economics of Sport and Community Development."


Dolphins get 'mental'
The "Mental Equipment" radio show, airing Wednesdays on 790 AM, WAXY, analyzes the mental performance of the Miami Dolphins after every game and outlines the mental improvements needed with the aim of helping the team win a Super Bowl. John F. Murray is co-founder of Corporate Executive Insight, a management consulting firm in south Florida. He is a licensed clinical and sports psychologist.

Heat kicks off spooky season
The Miami Heat began its season on Halloween, and team marketers took advantage of it. The "Trick or Treat With the Heat" Halloween celebration included a costume contest to win 2002-03 season tickets, a Heat Haunted House, lots of candy and surprises, face painting, bounce houses and entertainment from the Heat Dancers, Burnie and the high-flying, acrobatic Xtreme Team.

Marlins won't renew mascot's contract
Florida Marlins officials have indicated they don't plan to renew the contract of John Routh, who is better known as mascot Billy the Marlin, according to a Sun-Sentinel report. The character will return with a less-expensive, "alternate" employee inside the 35-pound costume. Routh was an original Marlins employee who created the character 10 years ago.

Team selects 2003 ad, PR firms
The Florida Marlins appointed RBB Public Relations of Coral Gables as the team's PR firm and HDC of Fort Lauderdale to handle the team's TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising and creative campaign for 2003, estimated to be a $2.5 million account, according to AdAge.

Jack's introduces Green Bay Packers Pizza

The Packers green and gold frozen pizza sells for $3.29.
Jack's Pizza's green-and-gold frozen cheese pizza, called Jack's Packers Colored Pizza, was rolled out in Wisconsin grocery stores Nov. 1. The mozzarella cheese on the pizza has been tinted green or gold using unflavored, food-safe color. Jack's, owned by Kraft Foods' pizza division, has been named the team's official frozen pizza. The pizza packaging includes the Packers' team colors and logo. Suggested retail price is $3.29.


GM joins Petty in promotion
Minneapolis-based General Mills teamed with the Richard Petty racing team for a promotion in which specially marked packages of Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn contain either a replica of the No. 43 John Andretti car or a Richard Petty bobblehead doll. The sponsorship tied in with the Pop Secret 400 race on Nov. 3 in Rockingham, N.C.

Twins hope for boost in 2003 season
The Minnesota Twins hope to draw 2.2 million fans and sell as many as 10,000 season tickets for the 2003 season, according to reports. The team drew 1.9 million fans in 2002 and began the season with 6,300 season tickets. The Twins finished with about 7,000 season tickets sold, and fans have until Nov. 30 to convert their remaining playoff ticket deposits into 2003 season tickets.

Young Wild fans have Halloween fun
Fans 14 and younger who attended the Minnesota Wild game on Halloween had a costume contest and received a free team puck courtesy of Red Baron Frozen Pizza. Trick-or-treating also was available in the arena's lower level for the night game. The best costume in each of two age categories received a Wild jersey and hat along with a Nestlé Crunch Unbelievably Big Bar.


Predators, Florida Citrus Sports join forces
The Arena Football League's Orlando Predators and Florida Citrus Sports have entered a two-year promotional and sponsorship agreement. Under the agreement, the Predators will participate in Florida Citrus Sports events, including the Capital One Bowl, the Tangerine Bowl, the Florida Power Super Holiday Parade and the Rotary Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game. Further, the Predators will begin to market the Florida Citrus Sports organization to the team's fans. The Predators also will provide entertainment for Florida Citrus Sports' pregame "Fanfests," donate 25 game tickets to Florida Citrus Sports Foundation's Dream Ticket Clearinghouse and participate in other cross-marketing opportunities, such as ticket promotions.


Ex-Flyer wins $1.37M in lawsuit
Former Philadelphia Flyer Dave Babych, who filed a lawsuit claiming he was coerced into playing on a broken foot, was awarded $1.37 million by an Atlantic City, N.J., jury after a trial that lasted about two weeks. Babych filed his suit, which sought $2.3 million in damages, against Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Flyers, and Dr. Arthur Bartolozzi, the team's former orthopedist. Comcast-Spectacor was dropped from the suit after a judge ruled there was no credible evidence of fraud or misrepresentation by the team.

TV show's cast tapes team intro
Cast and crew members from the NBC drama "American Dreams" taped a special introduction for the 76ers' home opener Oct. 30, which marked the start of the Sixers' 40th season of basketball in Philadelphia. The spot was shown on Comcast SportsNet, which carried the game, and in the First Union Center. In the piece, the characters Jack Pryor, played by Philadelphia-area native Tom Verica, and his son J.J., played by Will Estes, discussed the Sixers' season-opening victory at Detroit on Oct. 16, 1963. They talked about former Sixers Hal Greer, John Kerr, Lee Shaffer and Dolph Schayes and the prospects of the 76ers' first season in Philadelphia. The spot ended with Pryor and Estes wishing the 76ers well in the 2002-03 season. "American Dreams" is set in Philadelphia in 1963, the same year that the Sixers began playing basketball there.


XTRA Sports moves to L.A.
San Diego will lose Southern California's largest all-sports radio station when XTRA-AM moves its operations north before the end of the year in a merger with sister station KXTA-AM in Los Angeles. Programming will be simulcast on both Clear Channel Communications stations, with almost all operations based in Los Angeles. The name and on-air lineup for the new station have not been announced, though Lee Hamilton is expected to remain in San Diego, where his afternoon drive time show will air from 3 to 7 p.m. San Diego listeners also will hear Jim Rome's syndicated show live from 9 a.m. to noon rather than on four-hour tape delay.

Super Bowl ticket prices set
The NFL has established ticket prices for Super Bowl XXXVII, to be played Jan. 26 at Qualcomm Stadium. Seats in the club level will go for a record $500, while the other 60,000 or so available tickets in the 70,000-seat stadium will sell for $400, the same price charged for seats to last season's game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Tickets to the previous two Super Bowls held in San Diego were priced at $100 (Super Bowl XXII in January 1988) and $275 (Super Bowl XXXII in January 1998).


Sabean returns, but Baker won't
The San Francisco Giants' architect, general manager Brian Sabean, is coming back for the 2003 season, but the Giants announced that manager Dusty Baker won't be doing likewise. Baker's two-year contract expired Thursday. Sabean has little to work with financially, as the team owners have committed $60 million to the 12 players now signed.


Santa Clara seeking 2006 regionals
Santa Clara University, in conjunction with the HP Pavilion in San Jose, has applied to play host to the NCAA men's 2006 West Regionals. The pair, with help from the San Jose Sports Authority, hosted the 2002 event, also at the arena. That event sold out all games.

Hall to induct 5 this week
The eighth annual San Jose Sports Hall of Fame is to induct Santa Clara University basketball standout Dennis Awtrey, Olympian Ed Burke, golfer Betty Hicks, former Oakland Athletic Carney Lansford and former Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos quarterback Craig Morton at a dinner Wednesday night.


City to host figure skating

Sarah Hughes took the gold in the 2002 Winter Games.
St. Louis has won its bid to host the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 2006, an event that will serve as the qualifying round for that year's Winter Olympics. The skating championship will take place at Savvis Center and the America's Center convention complex and is expected to bring 100,000 people to St. Louis over a 12-day period with an estimated economic impact of $18 million for the city.


City may get another Super Bowl
Tampa may get a chance to host the Super Bowl again this decade. NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue indicated that the 2007 game will go to a warm-weather site that has hosted the Super Bowl before, which could be either Tampa or Miami. The Tampa Sports Authority has not been contacted formally about hosting another Super Bowl, though local officials expressed interest in doing it again just after Super Bowl XXXV in 2001. Tampa has hosted two other Super Bowls, in 1984 and 1991. Miami has been the site of eight Super Bowls, the latest in 1999.


Raptors set attendance mark
The Toronto Raptors set a franchise-best regular-season attendance mark when 20,165 crammed into Air Canada Centre for the home opener against Michael Jordan and the Washington Wizards on Oct. 30. The Raptors beat the Wizards 74-68.

3 in running for CFL commissioner
Three candidates remain in the running for the Canadian Football League's vacant commissioner post. Montreal team President Skip Prince, chairman of the league's search committee, said an appointment is expected by the Grey Cup, Nov. 24 in Edmonton. Prince said all three candidates are from Canada and have experience in the Canadian sports and business industries.

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