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

Coast to Coast


'Idol' finalist to sing at bowl
R.J. Helton of Cumming, Ga., a top-five finalist on last summer's hit television show "American Idol," will sing the national anthem at the 35th anniversary Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Dec. 31 and at the Russell Athletic Shootout women's basketball doubleheader Dec. 27. Helton was one of thousands of singers who competed for a spot on the Fox summer series.


Attendance hits new low
Attendance at the Dec. 1 Bengals-Baltimore Ravens game was the smallest in the history of Paul Brown Stadium. There were 44,878 tickets distributed for the game, a 27-23 Bengals loss. The stadium holds 65,341. The Bengals have had eight sellouts in three years at the stadium.


Pepsi cans to bear 'moments'
The Columbus Blue Jackets, Pepsi and the Columbus Dispatch have teamed up to introduce the Pepsi "Blue Jackets Memorable Moments" can series to mark 10 of the club's most illustrious moments on cans of Pepsi products. The first four commemorative cans of the 10-player set are available in the Columbus area at participating locations where Pepsi products are sold. New "Memorable Moments" cans will be introduced about every other week throughout the promotion. In addition to collecting the cans, fans have the opportunity to meet several of the "Memorable Moments"-featured players during autograph sessions at select central Ohio Giant Eagle locations.


Pearson's hat company gets AFL deal
A hat company owned by former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson will be the official headwear supplier to the Arena Football League through 2004. Terms of Drew Pearson Marketing's deal with the league weren't disclosed. The Dallas concern was one of five companies chosen to participate in Arena Authentics, the AFL's on-field licensing program, according to The Dallas Morning News. The paper reported that the others were Nike Inc. (footwear and gloves), Riddell Inc. (helmets), Antigua Group Inc. (polo shirts) and Wilson Sporting Goods Co. (football supplies).


Disabilities group sues teams, arena
Members of the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition have sued the owner of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and the Pepsi Center, saying the seats for wheelchair-bound fans aren't very good. They claim that wheelchair-bound fans can only watch the games from "the corners and ends of the arena or from the top level." They said the Americans with Disabilities Act requires the Pepsi Center "to have a range of seating options for patrons in wheelchairs similar to that of all other patrons." The arena and teams are owned by Stan Kroenke's Arena Co. and Sports Enterprises organizations. Attorneys for the coalition say they're not suing for monetary damages, just for better seating availability. Representatives from the Pepsi Center declined to comment.


Girls' games aired statewide
All four games of the 2002 Michigan High School Athletic Association girls' basketball finals, played on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, were televised statewide on Saturday. The Class B, C and D games were shown live. The Class A game was tape-delayed and replayed on Sunday afternoon. Detroit Tigers announcers Dan Dickerson and Mario Impemba alternated the play-by-play duties, with former University of Michigan and NBA player Tim McCormick handling analyst duties.


Global Spectrum to manage Everett Center

The Everett Regional Special Events Center will house a new WHL franchise, the Silvertips.
Global Spectrum, a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor, has been awarded the management contract for the new Everett Regional Special Events Center, scheduled to open in September. The center will house the new Western Hockey League franchise, the Everett Silvertips, and will host concerts, family shows, ice shows, trade shows and special events. The center includes a new meeting and exhibition hall and banquet facility. The $71.5 million multipurpose complex, now under construction, will feature an 8,200-seat arena that will configure up to 10,000 seats for concerts; an adjacent regulation ice rink for hockey leagues, figure skating instructional sessions and public skating; a three-story conference center with meeting rooms; a ballroom; and a full banquet kitchen.


FAU wants to move to Lockhart
Florida Atlantic University wants to play its home football games next year not at Pro Player Stadium but at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, 23 miles closer to FAU's campus. FAU averaged 7,214 fans at its four home games this season, 5,700 fewer than the team averaged in 2001, according to a Sun-Sentinel report. FAU currently pays Pro Player nearly $40,000 for each game and must get out of the final year of a three-year contract at the stadium at the Dade-Broward county line.


Texans book covers team debut
Houston Texans fans who want to relive the glory of the team's first regular-season game in Reliant Stadium now have more to rely on than just their memories. The Houston Texans have produced a 144-page hardcover book on the historic season-opening win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8. "Opening Night" covers the team's debut from every conceivable angle, including behind-the-scenes facts about the players, coaches and staff. "Opening Night," which costs $30, is on sale at the Go Texan Store at Reliant Stadium, Academy Sports & Outdoors locations and at the team's Web site at

Wyndham to host boxing event
The Wyndham Hotel-Greenspoint in Houston has been selected as the site for the George Foreman All-Star Boxing Gala VI, scheduled for tonight. Headlining boxers include Guadalupe Martinez, Clifton Rubin and Adrian Lopez. The event, designed to showcase up-and-coming fighters from the Greater Houston area, is being promoted by Foreman Promotions in association with Joe Dumas Productions.


Local firm tabbed to build Cards' stadium
An Indianapolis construction firm that has built eight of the last 11 Major League Baseball ballparks is in line to build the St. Louis Cardinals' proposed new stadium. Hunt Construction Group Inc. was selected Nov. 27 over three other contractors, said John Loyd, who has been hired by the Cardinals to oversee the stadium's construction. Hunt is currently building the Philadelphia Phillies' new stadium set to open in 2004. Hunt Construction also built stadiums in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit and San Francisco. The Cardinals hope to have their stadium open for the 2006 season.

Indianapolis Indians shop for ad agency
After 18 years, Indianapolis' Class AAA minor league baseball team is considering changing its advertising agency. Incumbent Pearson McMahon Fletcher England is among a handful of advertising agencies pitching themselves to the Indianapolis Indians this week. The baseball club expects to wrap up the review by the middle of December, Indians advertising director Chris Herndon said, and work on a branding campaign should begin almost immediately.


City bidding for Army-Navy game
Jacksonville is bidding against 13 cities to host the December 2004 Army-Navy game in Alltel Stadium. Officials from the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission's Sports & Entertainment Board and the Gator Bowl Association were to attend Saturday's game at the Meadowlands in New Jersey to get a glimpse of operations and procedures. Northeast Florida could score a $10 million economic impact from the game, said Michael Sullivan, the commission's director of sports and entertainment. Other host cities boast $15 million impacts, including 40,000 visitors and 15,000 hotel room nights. The impact comes with a hefty investment, however. The minimum bid is $3.2 million and the host city picks up the tab for transporting nearly 8,000 students from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.


Wizards goal: Double tix sales
Kansas City Wizards owner Lamar Hunt will lead a campaign to nearly double the MLS team's season-ticket sales for next season. Hunt wants to boost sales of 3,724 to 7,316. That number would match last season's league high sold by the Columbus Crew, which Hunt also owns.


Trek teams with beverage maker
Trek Bicycle Corp., based in Waterloo, Wis., has signed a long-term licensing agreement with Leading Brands Inc., an independent premium beverage company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, to jointly market and promote Trek bikes and the beverage-maker's Trek brand of sports drinks. Leading Brands launched its Trek Optimized Performance Beverage line in July and is marketing the product across the United States and Canada. Trek Bicycle is a manufacturer of premium bicycles and owns subsidiaries in Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Packer Hall Of Fame to move
The Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame has entered its final month of business at its current location at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Complex in Green Bay. The Packer Hall of Fame will move into the atrium at Lambeau Field and open in time for the 2003 season. The existing hall of fame opened in 1975 in a 17,000-square-foot building and was dedicated on July 12, 1976, by President Gerald Ford, who once had a tryout with the Packers. The Packers are offering half-price admission to the hall of fame during December. Once the hall is closed, the process of moving the museum to Lambeau will begin.


Carneal back for another season
The "Voice of the Twins," Herb Carneal, will return to the broadcast booth for at least one more season. Carneal, a hall-of-fame broadcaster who has been with the team for 41 years, will work just home games again in 2003. Carneal will team with former Twins outfielder Dan Gladden and John Gordon, who is returning for his 17th season alongside Carneal.

Curry named publisher of new mag
Former Minnesota Lynx player Andrea Lloyd Curry will be publisher of Women's Business Minnesota, a new magazine that will debut in March. The magazine will be published by Decker Publications. Print Craft, owned by Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, is the parent of Decker Publications.


Grey Cup title a hit in ratings

The Montreal Alouettes' Grey Cup win over Edmonton set a single-program viewing record for the French TV rights holder for the game, Le Reseau des Sports.
The Montreal Alouettes' first Grey Cup title in 25 years was a TV success as well. The CFL's French TV rights holder, Le Reseau des Sports, posted a single-program audience record, with 1,019,000 viewers tuning in to watch the Als' 25-16 win over Edmonton. The sports cable network's previous high was 950,000 for a 1997 Formula One race. An estimated 200,000 Montrealers lined downtown streets for the Als' Grey Cup victory parade, the team's first since 1977.


NFL goes back to court vs. Raiders
NFL lawyers will go into California appellate court seeking to reinstate a jury's finding that the league did not force the Raiders out of Los Angeles and it owes the Raiders nothing. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard Hubbell threw out the jury's verdict because of juror misconduct.


Golf programs get grants
The Tiger Woods Foundation awarded $15,000 grants to four Philadelphia youth golf programs that participated in the 2002 Coca-Cola/Tiger Woods Foundation Junior Golf Clinic in June. Fifteen junior golfers from the Philadelphia region participated in the three-day clinic at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The Philadelphia golf organizations receiving grants are the Philadelphia Department of Recreation Golf Program, the Police Athletic League/Fairmount Park Commission Junior Golf Program, the Philadelphia Variety Club Golf Buddy Program and PGM Golf Clinics.

New sod was installed at Lincoln Financial Field, the new football stadium scheduled to open in 2003.
New sod installed at Lincoln
About 109,000 square feet of sod was recently installed at Lincoln Financial Field, the Philadelphia Eagles' new $512 million football stadium scheduled to open next year. The grass was delivered just before Thanksgiving on 10 flatbed trucks. Tuckahoe Turf Farm of Hammonton, N.J., grew the Kentucky bluegrass that was installed at the stadium.


Senior Games coming to town in '05
Pittsburgh will host the 2005 National Senior Games, an event that will attract 12,000 athletes from around the country. The event, in June 2005, includes a variety of games including horseshoes, table tennis and softball and lasts 15 days. It has the potential to generate $36 million in revenue for the city.


Photo series to mark 10th
The AHL's Portland Pirates, for their 10th anniversary, will include a Labatt Blue Pirates' Commemorative Player Photo series inside "Pieces of Eight," the Pirates' game-day program insert. Sixteen former Pirates will be featured on 81¼2-by-11-inch action color photo cards that will feature the player's biography on the back. The first card features center Norm Batherson and will be available on Saturday when the Pirates host the St. John's Maple Leafs.


Tower additions draw protests
A change in the original plans for the downtown ballpark district that adds three condominium towers beyond the outfield fences has drawn the wrath of residents already living in the area and some city officials. The high-rise buildings, each more than 20 stories tall, would effectively wall off the ballpark from the surrounding community, residents fear. Officials with JMI Realty, the Padres' development arm, say the changes are needed to offset the effects of a soft economy and adverse market conditions. The approval process for the project began Nov. 21 with a community workshop, and the San Diego City Council is expected to address the issue in the coming months.


Fans flee Stanford's tough season
One bad year and Stanford's fan base has shriveled. The Cardinal drew an average of less than 40,000 for the first time. The team was coming off a 9-3 season but under new coach Buddy Teevens won just two games this year, and arch-rival Cal pounded Stanford in the finale.


Sharks form group for alums
The 12-year-old San Jose Sharks have created an alumni association for the estimated 170 players who have worn the Sharks jersey. Greg Jamison, Sharks president and chief executive officer, said the Sharks will tap members for fan development including such things as hockey clinics, fantasy camps and charity events. Rob Zettler, an original Sharks player from the 1991-92 season, is helping organizing the group.

Donovan on EA game's cover
The Earthquakes' Landon Donovan is the cover boy for the EA Sports FIFA 2003 soccer video game. The box, just released in time for Christmas shopping, is on store shelves throughout the nation, Earthquakes officials said.


Meijer to name Busch race
Kentucky Speedway has announced a five-year marketing and sponsorship agreement with Meijer, a grocery and general merchandise retailer. Meijer supercenters will become the title sponsor of the Meijer 300, a NASCAR Busch Series event scheduled for June 14 at the speedway. The retailer also will be "The Official Supercenter of Kentucky Speedway." Both agreements are through 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed. Meijer stores will receive VIP corporate suites, venue signage, advertising, grandstand tickets, event-specific merchandise, hospitality and other promotional considerations under the agreement. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich., Meijer is a family-owned and -operated grocery and general merchandise retailer operating 156 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.


Canucks' early ratings up 29%
At the quarter pole of the NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks' TV ratings are up. Regional cable audiences on SportsNet Pacific are 29 percent over last season's comparable averages. Through the team's first 20 games, the telecasts are averaging 233,000 viewers a game, a marked increase over last fall's 180,000-per-game average.

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