SBJ/20021223/Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

Court boots suit against speedway
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has lost a federal lawsuit against Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR and Fox. The company sued the speedway and parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. in August 2001, complaining its name was mentioned only four times during the March 2001 Fox broadcast of the NASCAR race it sponsored. Cracker Barrel officials said the company received about 60 mentions during the two prior years, when the race aired on ABC. A judge in the U.S. Middle District of Tennessee dismissed the claims Nov. 25. Cracker Barrel let its sponsorship of the race lapse after the 2001 running.

BUFFALO

Sabres open ticket kiosk at mall
The Buffalo Sabres announced the opening of a kiosk at Boulevard Mall in the suburb of Amherst. The kiosk will be used to sell tickets. Boulevard Mall provided the retail space to the Sabres.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Rangers launch 'Welcome Home' campaign
Faced with declining attendance after three consecutive last-place finishes, the Texas Rangers launched a new marketing campaign that aims to sell the experience of watching games at The Ballpark in Arlington. Under the banner of "Welcome Home," the push includes television and radio commercials, an unspecified increase in the club's ad budget, a doubling of the marketing staff to 40 people and sales pitches via phone and e-mail to fans, according to the Dallas Morning News.

DENVER

Folsom expansion 'tops out'
The $46 million Folsom Field expansion project at the University of Colorado, set to be completed in August, reached a milestone Dec. 16 with a "topping out" ceremony. A 30-foot piece of steel signed by this year's football team marked the last major structural member of steel on the north side of the project. The 144,000-square-foot project on the stadium's east side will build 41 suites and 1,903 club-level seats that will "provide additional opportunity for revenue enhancement," Colorado officials said.

DETROIT

Red Wings sell Cup calendar
The Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings are selling a calendar that offers fans an inside look at the team's private time with the Stanley Cup. Photos include Steve Yzerman at his summer cottage in Canada, Darren McCarty with the Cup on his motorcycle and Luc Robitaille in Los Angeles. The calendar sells for $15 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-WINGS-25.

Annual Tigerfest set for January
The Detroit Tigers' annual "fan-focused" winter event, Tigerfest, will be held Jan. 18 at Joe Louis Arena. It will feature a variety of activities involving Tigers players and coaches, including autograph sessions, seminars and instructional clinics.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

Newspapers challenge Earnhardt law
The Orlando Sentinel and Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel filed a brief in the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach challenging the constitutionality of the Family Protection Act, passed after Dale Earnhardt's death. The newspapers are saying that the law works against the state's open records laws, is too broad and will restrict the use of autopsy photos for teaching purposes, according to The Associated Press. The law was championed by Earnhardt's widow, Teresa.

Women big buyers at Sports Authority
Female shoppers actually drive most of the business at Fort Lauderdale-based The Sports Authority, according to a report in Forbes. The sporting goods retailer used blind online surveys and studied credit card purchases to find that women ages 25-45 contribute 70 cents of every dollar spent at TSA. Women's apparel and equipment is being boosted to 40 percent of store offerings, up 33 percent.

HOUSTON

Aeros promote Friday the 13th
The Houston Aeros turned superstition into a super promotion for their Friday the 13th home game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Compaq Center. In honor of the "Friday the 13th" horror movies featuring Jason, the villain who wore a hockey mask, anyone whose first, middle or last name was Jason got into the game for free. Between 70 and 100 people were treated to a free hockey game by the primary affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.

INDIANAPOLIS

Alliance forms to garner team support
The Colts Business Alliance was formed this month to help gather corporate support to keep the Indianapolis Colts in town. Colts owner Jim Irsay recently entered negotiations with city officials to discuss boosting the team's revenue and possibly building a new stadium. Mayor Bart Peterson and Colts officials helped organize the business group with help from the Indianapolis Convention and Visitor's Association. "An important part of keeping the Colts here is having a business community that is supportive," said Bob Bedell, head of the ICVA and one of the co-chairs for the new alliance.

KANSAS CITY

Tax proposal benefits stadiums
Stadiums housing the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals at the Truman Sports Complex would get $354 million of improvements under a new metropolitan Kansas City bistate tax proposal. Voters could consider the request in August or November 2003. If the tax is approved, the teams would extend their leases until 2029. Otherwise, the current leases would remain in effect until 2015. A vote on a smaller bistate tax that also would have funded a new stadium for the MLS Kansas City Wizards was to have been on the November ballot. But the request was postponed in July because polling indicated it would fail.

Royals make deal with Time Warner
The Kansas City Royals signed a five-year contract with Time Warner Cable to carry games on all 24 of its systems in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Cable system subscribers must carry all games — 102 in 2003, including two exhibition contests. The Royals probably won't broadcast any games on over-the-air stations next season. In future years, team officials hope more cable systems will carry the new Royals Television Network, but it could take several years to match the $5 million the Royals received last year from Fox Sports Net.

MILWAUKEE

Selig to name 21st century panel
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is organizing a "Baseball in the 21st Century" committee to develop a blueprint on how clubs can reach more minority fans at home and new fans in other countries. Selig revealed plans for improving the way that major league clubs market the game at the Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee's Power Breakfast on Dec. 6 in the downtown Hyatt. Selig said the committee will review every facet of how baseball markets itself. Selig is looking for a strategy to reach new audiences in foreign countries at the same time teams are exploring new ways to price their tickets. He said he will announce the members of the committee early in 2003.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

University advances on funding goal
The University of Minnesota raised $654,244 for the "Save Gopher Sports" campaign Dec. 15 on KARE-TV and WCCO-AM. That leaves about $600,000 that Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics still needs to raise in order to meet its goal of $2.7 million by Feb. 1. If the goal is not met, the university might cut men's and women's golf and men's gymnastics as part of budget-trimming measures.

School prefers on-campus stadium
The University of Minnesota still favors an on-campus football stadium and might pursue one by itself and not with the Minnesota Vikings, according to media reports. University President Robert Bruininks told the Board of Regents that the school still prefers the site that had been identified for a joint stadium on campus. The Vikings rejected that site as unworkable. The team now is looking at sites in the northern suburbs and in St. Paul. Bruininks said the university is willing to wait the nine years until its lease at the Metrodome expires.

Timberwolves to host shoot-out
The Minnesota Timberwolves will host the sixth annual Gatorade Timberwolves Shootout at Target Center on Jan. 25. The shoot-out, sponsored by the U.S. Army and Waste Management, will feature five of the state's top basketball programs matching up with prep teams from throughout the nation.

NASHVILLE

2 anti-drunk driving promotions
The Governor's Highway Safety Office kicked off the state's anti-drunk driving campaign,

Law enforcement officers and Predators representatives join with the Highway Safety Office's Art Victorine to kick off the Booze It and Lose It and Tow-To-Go programs.
Booze It and Lose It, at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville. The campaign is backed by the Nashville Predators. Art Victorine, director of the GHSO, said state and local law enforcement officers across the state will be dramatically stepping up enforcement efforts through Jan. 5. For residents of Davidson County, Victorine announced another program, Tow-To-Go, which is being sponsored by the Governor's Highway Safety Office, AAA and Anheuser-Busch. "If you drink in Davidson County and are unable to operate your vehicle, you can call 1-800-AAA-HELP and AAA will dispatch a tow truck, pick you up and tow your car home for free," Victorine said.

OAKLAND

A's pick new lead ad agency
The advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is the Athletics' lead firm for 2003, team officials say, beating out incumbent agency Foote, Cone and Belding of San Francisco. The latter firm developed the highly successful "Generation A's" and "Baseball: A's" campaigns. Past campaigns have garnered notice in Adweek and USA Today Baseball Weekly.

ORLANDO

Bowl a sellout for Penn State
Nittany Lions fans are ready for some football Florida style. The Penn State football team is headed to Orlando to face the Auburn Tigers in this season's Capital One Bowl, and the team's fans are coming in droves. In fact, less than 24 hours after Penn State found out it would be playing in the bowl, the school's allotment of 12,000 tickets had sold out. This will be Penn State's fourth bowl appearance in Orlando, having previously played in the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1988, 1994 and 1998. The last two appearances were sellouts as well.

Magic's new Web site big draw
Orlando Magic fans were busy surfing the Web in November. Last month, the Magic's official Web site set a monthly record with more than 1.9 million impressions registered. Additionally, Magic players Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady ranked among the top 10 players in the league as their player profiles were among those viewed most by fans.

PHILADELPHIA

Kixx selling dance team calendar
The Philadelphia Kixx of the Major Indoor Soccer League have created a new swimsuit calendar featuring members of the dance team. The 13-month calendar sells for $13 at the First Union Spectrum or $16 by mail. The new calendar is holiday competition for the Philadelphia Eagles' calendar, which features the football team's cheerleaders in lingerie.

Kids signing up for Phantoms night
The Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League have started registering children 14 and younger for their "Kids Run the Show" night. Winners will join the Phantoms' marketing, sales, public relations, operations, box office, fan development and game production staff for the team's Jan. 12 game against the Norfolk Admirals.

Reebok opens first Rbk store
Philadelphia 76ers

Reebok has opened its first concept store, Rbk, in Philadelphia.
all-star guard Allen Iverson was scheduled to appear at the grand opening of "Rbk" on Dec. 19 in Philadelphia. Rbk is the new stand-alone "concept store" created by Reebok. The Philadelphia retail store is the first Rbk in the country. Iverson has been a Reebok endorser since he entered the NBA in 1996.

SACRAMENTO

Rangers, Mariners in exhibition game
The Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners will play each other March 29 in an exhibition game at the Sacramento River Cats' Raley Field. The next day the River Cats will play their parent club, the Oakland Athletics, at Raley Field. The Rangers-Mariners game will be the first contest in Sacramento pitting major league teams against each other since 1964, when the San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians played a couple of exhibition games at Edmonds Field, a Sacramento ballyard that was torn down a few months later.

Kings, Wells Fargo repeat kids' program
For the second year, the Sacramento Kings and Wells Fargo & Co. will hold a Youth Team Captain of the Week contest for children 8 to 18. Participants fill out entry forms and answer questions on leadership and positive attitudes at area Wells Fargo locations. Each week the branch manager will choose the most deserving candidate from among the entries. A selection committee will then pick one winner each week. Twenty new winners from the Sacramento region will be chosen throughout the Kings' season. Winners receive two tickets to a designated Kings game and a Kings jersey. The winner also will participate in a pregame on-court presentation.

SAINT JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK

Flames' 'showoff' winner chosen
The Saint John Flames of the American Hockey League announced the winner of their "Be-A-Showoff" promotion. The Delta Brunswick hotel's promotion, which ran through November, gave fans the opportunity to enter a drawing by submitting their name and the name of a friend or relative they would like to show Saint John off to. Matthew Evans of Victoria, British Columbia, a friend of Saint John's Ian Mullett, was awarded the prize-winning package including return air fare from anywhere in Canada, accommodations at the Delta Brunswick while in Saint John and tickets to any Saint John Flames games during the visit.

SAN DIEGO

Bus wraps may be extended
San Diego Transit is looking to suspend a self-imposed limit on "bus wrap" advertising during Super Bowl week next month. Inquiries have been made by a soft drink company, cell phone manufacturer and cell phone service firm about the top-to-bottom, vinyl ads that cover the entire bus exterior and sell for about $6,000. Transit policy limits the number of wraps to 30, or 10 percent of the fleet, but with an opportunity for up to $180,000 in additional revenue, the bus agency may suspend the policy during the week leading up to the Jan. 26 game.

SAN FRANCISCO

Pac Bell Park to take on parent's name
SBC Communications will change the name of Pacific Bell Park to SBC Park starting with the 2004 baseball season. Texas' SBC is the parent of Pacific Bell, a California phone company. It paid $53 million in 1996 for the stadium naming rights through 2019. SBC has sought to unify all its regional operations under the SBC banner and will phase in the SBC logo inside the stadium next year. SBC and San Francisco Giants officials will meet in January to discuss the implementation. Reaction to the change has been negative in the press and with fans, but Giants management said the name change will change nothing inside the stadium and would not detract from the fans' experience.

SEATTLE

Man U to play at Seahawks Stadium
Seahawks Stadium beat out its cross-the-street-rival, Safeco Field, to host the opening match in Manchester United's four-city tour of the United States. The Manchester "Red Devils" will face the Scottish League champion Glasgow Celtics on July 22 at 8 p.m. in Seahawks Stadium. Seahawks Stadium and Safeco Field had both been bidding to host the match.

SONOMA, CALIF.

Sobriety challenge at raceway
People were drinking and driving at Infineon Raceway on Dec. 13 with the full approval of all law enforcement agencies in the nine Bay Area counties. Twenty-seven people participated in the sixth annual "Holiday Sobriety Challenge" at Infineon Raceway, a controlled wine and beer tasting experiment that graphically illustrated the dangers of drinking and driving, even at levels well below the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The event was co-sponsored by Bay Area law enforcement agencies and the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. Participants included San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Worrell, NHRA racer David Baca and NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series driver Bryan Germone. Testers were given one to three glasses of wine or beer upon arrival, donated by Beaulieu Vineyard and Mount St. Helena Brewery, before submitting to field sobriety tests, including a Breathalyzer analysis. Once participants were at a level between 0.03 and 0.05, they were asked to get behind the wheel of an automobile and drive through a fixed course at the raceway. All drivers were accompanied by an instructor from the Jim Russell School. Only nine of 27 people who took the test passed.

ST. LOUIS

Sporting News Radio signs on
Sporting News Radio entered the St. Louis marketplace Dec. 12, marking the first time the network has broadcast here. The station brings to three the number of 24-hour all-sports radio stations on the St. Louis airwaves. Sporting News Radio, with more than 450 affiliates nationwide, will compete directly with Missouri Sports Radio, which operates two other 24-hour sports stations in the St. Louis market. Sporting News Radio takes over broadcasts for a station owned by a local church and will split ad revenue with the church.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Piniella pushed in promotions
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are putting new manager Lou Piniella out front in billboards and brochures promoting the 2003 baseball season. Piniella, a Tampa native, was hired away from the Seattle Mariners shortly after this year's World Series, and the use of his image is a departure from the Rays' prior efforts

Piniella
to market either recognized veterans or young players. The Rays suffered the third-lowest attendance in Major League Baseball last season, with a little more than 1 million fans turning out to St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field. The marketing slogan for the upcoming season is "It's a Whole New Ballgame."

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