SBJ/January 20 - 26, 2003/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

BERKELEY, CALIF.

Stadium renovation delayed
Renovation plans for the University of California's Memorial Stadium have been delayed indefinitely due to glitches in the planning stages, said Cal Athletic Director Steve Gladstone. Construction plans for the estimated $100 million project originally were scheduled to be released by Jan. 1.

BUFFALO

Sabres, Tops continue youth program
The Buffalo Sabres and Tops Friendly Markets are continuing a program that focuses on making hockey more accessible to kids while expanding and diversifying the team's fan base. The "SabreStreet" program is part of a 9-year-old initiative hosted by the NHL. Pepsi-Cola Buffalo Bottling and Pizza Hut also are sponsoring the program. More than $100,000 in hockey equipment has been distributed to kids in western New York since the program launched.

CINCINNATI

Reds slate 15 promotions
The Reds will begin play in the new Great American Ball Park with 15 promotion days. The days include three bobblehead giveaways — including bobbleheads of radio broadcasters Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall and outfielder Austin Kearns. The team's new mascot will debut at a bobblehead night on Aug. 1.

COLUMBUS

Jackets, Dominion give away 3rd home
For the third year in a row, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Dominion Homes are teaming up to give away a new home in the Great American Dominion Home Give-Away contest. The contest will culminate April 4, when the Blue Jackets host the Detroit Red Wings in the FANtastic FANale III at Nationwide Arena. The home, a new Cranston ranch at the Southern Point community in Orient, Ohio, will be won by one of 10 finalists who will compete, blindfolded, to find a miniature Dominion Home on the ice, at the last home game of the Blue Jackets' 2002-03 regular season.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Desperados to play in Reunion
The Dallas Desperados will play their 2003 season in Reunion Arena. The Arena Football League team played its inaugural season last year in the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Stars and Mavericks. The team, which is owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, said that while Reunion is smaller than the American Airlines Center, it offers fans better proximity to the game.

DENVER

Kroenke eyes Corel Centre arena
Kroenke Sports Enterprises of Denver reportedly is interested in

Kroenke Sports Enterprises is reportedly interested in buying Corel Centre, but not the Ottawa Senators who play there.
buying the financially troubled Ottawa Senators' Corel Centre arena. Kroenke Sports can't buy the Senators because it already owns the Colorado Avalanche, but it can acquire the arena. While some Canadians fear Corel's sale to Kroenke would mean the end of the NHL in Ottawa, others see it as a way for the team to have the financial wherewithal to stay there. The Senators filed for bankruptcy protection in a Canadian court Jan. 9 and also are expected to file Chapter 11 in New York state, according to the Canadian Press news service.

DETROIT

Classic: Fla. A&M vs. Alabama State
The Florida A&M Rattlers will play the Alabama State Hornets in the inaugural Detroit Football Classic at Ford Field on Aug. 30. Several ancillary events also are planned, including a black-tie charity event, a tailgate party and the much anticipated "Battle of the Marching Bands." Detroit Lion Robert Porcher is one of the promoters along with Detroit businessmen Frank Taylor and John Graves.

Tigers on the road to promote '03 season
In an effort to stimulate interest, three buses packed with Detroit Tigers players, coaches, announcers and front-office personnel will spend today and Tuesday visiting every part of Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; and Windsor, Ontario. The caravan is being sponsored by Metro Coach, Ticketmaster and Fox Sports Net Detroit.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

FLW Tour starts this week
The $5.76 million Wal-Mart FLW Tour, a lucrative bass fishing tournament series, will open its season on Florida's Lake Okeechobee this Wednesday through Saturday. As many as 350 bass anglers will compete for a share of a $500,000 cash purse. The event kicks off the most lucrative FLW Tour season to date, with three of seven events touting cash purses of $1 million or more, according to a release.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

City lands 2004 AHL All-Star Classic
The Grand Rapids Griffins and the city of Grand Rapids have been awarded the 2004 AHL All-Star Classic on a date yet to be determined. The announcement was made at a press conference at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena. Van Andel Arena opened in 1996 and seats nearly 11,000 spectators for hockey. Grand Rapids joined the AHL in 2001 and in its first year of competition captured the N.R. "Bud" Poile Trophy as the league's West Division champions.

HAMILTON, ONTARIO

Team to let fans choose new name
The Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL will allow fans to weigh in on the name of the team. "You Make The Call" will also let fans choose the color scheme the team will wear. Fans are encouraged to visit any Hamilton Tim Hortons franchise to fill in a ballot choosing one of the three names: Bulldogs, Canadiens or Habs; and to choose the team colors: blue, white, red and bronze (current), or red, white and blue (Montreal Canadiens). Fans will have an opportunity to win two tickets to a select Bulldogs game in weekly draws by just entering their ballot at Tim Hortons locations in the greater Hamilton area.

INDIANAPOLIS

Firebirds expect blockbuster year
Indiana Firebirds officials, bolstered by the Arena Football League's TV deal with NBC, said they expect ticket and sponsorship revenue to increase this year. Seven of the team's eight home games are scheduled to be on NBC as well as three or four road games. Team officials think the TV exposure will attract in-arena sponsors and more fans to the games. The first year here, the Firebirds sold 4,033 season tickets and averaged 10,851 fans per game. Attendance declined slightly last season.

IRL adds IndyCar to moniker
Capitalizing on the heritage of the Indianapolis 500, the Indy Racing League recently changed its name and logo, and will be known as the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series starting in the 2003 season. IRL President Tony George relinquished the name "IndyCar" in 1993 to CART, but that deal expired in 2002 and George took back control of the trademarked name. IRL officials also unveiled a new logo Jan. 7. The Indy Racing League, based in Indianapolis, now serves as the sanctioning body for two professional racing series — the IndyCar Series and the Infiniti Pro Series, the IRL's development series that debuted in 2002.

JACKSONVILLE

Fans get view of seats at new park
The Suns recently welcomed season-ticket holders for a first peek at the construction site of Jacksonville's new $34 million baseball park. Fans who renewed passes for the 2003 season surveyed the park, slated to open this summer, and staked their claim for the best seats.

KANSAS CITY

Royals want fee for trademark use
The Kansas City Royals want the Kansas City Life Insurance Co. to pay a fee pegged at $10,000 by The Kansas City Star for using the team's trademark name on baseball cards. The insurer produces cards for Kansas City-area police departments to distribute to children for free. A Royals spokesman said the team wants to protect the value of its other corporate sponsorships.

T-Bones hit ticket sales goal
The Kansas City T-Bones hit their goal of selling 700 season tickets by Dec. 31. The Northern League team moved from Duluth, Minn., and will play in a 4,365-seat ballpark under construction in Kansas City, near Kansas Speedway.

MARYSVILLE, CALIF.

City turns team over to new operators
The city of Marysville will turn over its professional baseball team on Feb. 1 to new operators who will convert the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox into a team within a collegiate summer invitational series. The new management team consists of Marysville car dealership owner Don McCullough and former Gold Sox President Bob Bavasi, who owns the Aquasox baseball team in Everett, Wash. The Gold Sox, formerly in the struggling Western Baseball League, will play in the California Coastal Collegiate League beginning May 29. The city was left with the ballclub after the previous ownership group entered bankruptcy proceedings.

MIAMI

Women commit to Nasdaq-100
The Nasdaq-100 Open tennis tournament said all of the top 12 women have committed to play in the 2003 Nasdaq-100 Open, marking the earliest the Miami event has ever gotten a 100 percent commitment from the WTA Tour's top players. The tournament begins March 19.

ORLANDO

Astros head to Kissimmee for spring training
In less than a month, the Osceola County Stadium and Complex in Kissimmee will be overrun by the Houston Astros and the team's fans. Houston's pitchers will report for spring training Feb. 15, with position players following on Feb. 18. The Astros' spring training schedule includes 30 games, 28 of which will be played in Florida. The team also will suit up for two home training games against the Atlanta Braves, who also are training in Osceola County at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports.

PHILADELPHIA

Phillies to honor the Vet all season
The Philadelphia Phillies announced plans for a seasonlong tribute to the franchise's "great memories" at Veterans Stadium this year, its last at the Vet before moving into a new ballpark in April 2004. Among the special events planned during what the Phillies are calling their "Field of Memories" season will be dropping the ceremonial first ball from a helicopter for this year's season opener, in a re-enactment of what was done for the 1971 stadium opener; numerous alumni appearances; and separate salutes honoring Phillies teams of the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Also planned are a series of "final innings" events during the last weekend series in September. The Phillies' last game at the Vet has already sold out. This season's giveaways will include a return of "Bat Day" and a dual bobbing-head doll featuring the team's original mascots, Philadelphia Phil and Phillis.

Bridge lights up for Eagles
The Delaware River Port Authority did its part to rally fan support for the Eagles. Starting a week before the team's first playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons, the port authority illuminated the Ben Franklin Bridge in Eagles green and white at dusk each night. The special illumination was to continue at least through last Sunday's NFC championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Barkley becomes Celebriduck

Barkley duck
The Philadelphia 76ers held their second-ever Celebriduck giveaway, this time honoring former Sixer Charles Barkley before the Sixers' Jan. 12 game against the Orlando Magic. The first 5,000 kids 12 and younger received Barkley Celebriducks.

PHOENIX

Suns, ESPN, Cox show off The Truck
The Phoenix Suns teamed with ESPN and Cox Communications to showcase ESPN The Truck before the Suns-Memphis Grizzlies game Jan. 10. ESPN The Truck is a 53-foot-long, mobile interactive center that includes a replica "SportsCenter" desk, the ESPN sports bar and ESPN The Magazine booth among other attractions. Suns legends Dan Majerle, Connie Hawkins, Alvan Adams and Mark West were on hand to sign autographs. Cox Communications is a multiservice broadband communications company and Suns sponsor with headquarters in Atlanta. Cox serves more than 600,000 customers in the metro Phoenix area.

SAN DIEGO

Injunction denied, Super Bowl on tap
A federal magistrate denied a request by a disabled activist seeking an injunction to stop Sunday's Super Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. The activist contended that the city had not lived up to a 2-year-old settlement agreement requiring the stadium to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act by April 2002. The magistrate inspected the stadium Jan. 9 and found that while there was still work to be done, it wasn't enough to warrant halting the game.

City spends $6.1M to keep team on air in 2002
The city paid $6.1 million for Chargers tickets during the 2002 season, bringing to $31.4 million the amount spent since a controversial ticket guarantee went into effect in 1997. Under a clause in the Chargers' contract, the city guarantees the team ticket sales of 60,000 per game and purchases unsold tickets. This assures that all Chargers home games are shown on local TV.

SEATTLE

Real adding NFL, Super Bowl to service
Seattle-based Real Networks Inc. will add exclusive behind-the-scenes video of NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl to its Internet entertainment service. Real Networks recently announced it had paid $500,000 to the NFL for the right to sell the video on its SuperPass program, an entertainment service that offers video from Major League Baseball games, the NBA, NASCAR and CNN. In addition to behind-the-scenes footage, SuperPass subscribers will have access to four 90-minute shows produced by NFL Films.

ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO

Boomer a first for Canada
Brock University has announced the arrival of "Boomer the Badger" bobblehead dolls.

Boomer
The mascot of Brock University will be the first university mascot in Canada to have its own bobblehead. The 1,000 limited-edition dolls are being sold via the school's Web site. Numerous dolls also are being given away in halftime drawings at selected home hockey, basketball and volleyball games.

STERLING HEIGHTS, MICH.

PWBA championship picks Sunnybrook
The Professional Women's Bowling Association announced that Sunnybrook Lanes in Sterling Heights will host the 2003 Women's U.S. Open Bowling Championship from May 24 through June 1. Guaranteed to be the richest prize fund of the 2003 PWBA schedule, the Open will feature a minimum first-place prize of $30,000 and an estimated total purse of $200,000. PWBA director of marketing Jan Schmidt noted that several local and national corporations have expressed an interest in assuming a sponsorship role that could increase the prize fund prior to the tournament. The Open finals will be televised on ESPN on June 1 at 1 p.m. Eastern.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Bucs hold flag giveaway
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in conjunction with Pewter Partners, Miller Lite and Red Lobster, held a battle flag giveaway Jan. 12 for the NFC Division playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. Fans at the game received a battle flag in the cup holder at each seat. Half of the flags were white and half were red to allow fans to create a dramatic visual at the game and for the national television audience on Fox. The battle flags were for use at the Jan. 12 game only and will not be permitted into the stadium at future games.

TORONTO

Strike ends at Air Canada Centre
More than 1,000 ushers, concession workers and ice crews at Air Canada Centre were expected back on the job after a weeklong strike that forced ACC management and volunteers into the trenches. The workers' union, Teamsters Local 847, reached a three-year contract that gives wage increases and allows some concession workers to keep their tips. The membership still needed to ratify the deal. Air Canada Centre's three restaurants were closed during the strike, but no events were canceled.

Jays tix weighted by dates, months
The Toronto Blue Jays have added a twist to the variable ticket pricing schemes by factoring in the day and month of a game rather than just the competition. Of 81 home dates for the 2003 season, more than half will be regularly priced, roughly the same as last season's prices. Seven games will be slotted as premium events: opening night against the New York Yankees on March 31, plus Saturday-Sunday games June 12-13 against the Chicago Cubs, July 12-13 against the Yankees and Aug. 23-24 against the Oakland A's. The remaining 26 games, including Mondays through Fridays in April and May and Mondays through Thursdays in June, are pegged as value games, with discounts on regular prices.

The Capitals' new system allows fans to transfer tickets to others via the Web.

WASHINGTON

Caps site manages ticket plans for fans
The Washington Capitals have unveiled a new account management application for full-season and other ticket-plan holders on their official Web site, washingtoncaps.com. The new software is a product of Ticketmaster, the Capitals' ticketing partner, and expands upon the team's previous online-payment application. Along with the ability to fully manage their accounts, season-ticket and ticket-plan holders can take advantage of the ticket-forwarding option that allows the redistribution of tickets to clients, friends and family in just seconds. The ability to print tickets purchased online has been available to Capitals customers for more than two years, but the ability to reprint and redistribute purchased tickets is a brand-new function of the Capitals' and Ticketmaster's new software.

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