SBJ/March 17 - 23, 2003/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

Beat makes TV deal with CSS
Fans of the WUSA Atlanta Beat will have more chances to watch their team's games on TV this season. The Beat and CSS (Comcast Sports Southeast/Charter Sports Southeast) have agreed to a 10-game 2003 schedule. The first four Beat games on CSS will be aired on a tape-delayed basis starting at 10 p.m. Pax TV also airs Beat games through an agreement with the women's soccer league, with five on the network's schedule for 2003.

Events boost Georgia economy
As a result of four major sporting events in Atlanta, Georgia's fourth-quarter economic impact from sports has been estimated at more than $112 million, including $5.25 million in tax revenue, according to the Atlanta Sports Council, a division of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Fourth-quarter events included the SEC football championship and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

CHARLOTTE

Smith weighs invitation to invest in team

Smith
Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Bruton Smith said he has been approached by Robert Johnson about investing in Charlotte's expansion NBA team. Smith said Johnson, the majority owner of the $300 million franchise, left it to Smith's discretion as to how much he may invest. Johnson hopes to have 40 percent of the club owned by Charlotte-area investors. Former Bank of America Chairman Hugh McColl Jr. has already said he plans to invest in the team.

City's NCAA offerings down to one
Charlotte, once a staple of NCAA men's basketball tournaments, has just one upcoming host appearance — in 2005. The promise of a new arena should help that cause, but local officials said the delayed bidding process may push back the city's ability to bid successfully for a couple more years.

CINCINNATI

New complex gets boost from donor
Richard E. Lindner committed $10.2 million toward the new Varsity Village athletic complex under construction at the University of Cincinnati. It is the largest gift ever presented to the university by an individual, UC officials said. The $80 million complex next to Nippert Stadium will be known as the Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village. As its centerpiece, the Varsity Village will include the Richard E. Lindner Center, which will house sports administration offices, a practice gym, sports medicine complex and training facilities. The complex also will include a new baseball stadium, an outdoor track, renovated soccer fields and a museum.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Cowboys want sports authority
The Dallas Cowboys are lobbying for the creation of a sports authority in Dallas County to raise money for a new stadium for the team. The Dallas Morning News reported that club officials have met with county representatives and state legislators, though it's not clear whether new legislation would be required. The county could repay debt for the stadium via existing laws whereby municipalities can pay down sports-arena debt by a variety of taxes. The Cowboys are looking at four sites in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a new stadium but have not settled on a location.

Smith protests speedway's end of deal
Texas Motor Speedway is not getting enough revenue from NASCAR's $2.4 billion television deal. That's the view of Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns the track, according to the Dallas Morning News. Smith declined to tell the paper how much television money is going to TMS, though published reports have put the figure at $8 million. Ratings for races at TMS have been among the highest of all tracks where NASCAR runs.

DETROIT

Speedway setting record on Web
With tickets available on its Web site for the first time, Michigan International Speedway is well on its way to record crowds all summer long as more than 1 million hits were registered during the first week. As part of that response, which allows visitors to view seats with a 3-D perspective, a record number of tickets were bought by customers in 32 states and Canada. Racing begins the weekend of June 13-15.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.

2nd youth clinic offered by PGA
The 2003 PGA Tour/USA Youth Golf Clinics traveled to Palm Beach Gardens last week for the second Florida-based youth clinic. The clinic preceded and ran adjacent to the Honda Classic. This program is the initiative of the PGA Tour and USA Network in which 29 clinics across the country are scheduled to introduce golf to more than 10,000 youths nationally in 2003.

Fox hoping for Spanish broadcasts
Fox Sports Net Florida is hoping to offer 46 Florida Marlins home games in Spanish this season through Second Audio Program if it receives enough sponsor interest and support, and if the technical arrangements can be made at Pro Player Stadium and with cable operators, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel said.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

EQ3 takes new ad approach

Canadian furniture store EQ3 has opened near Van Andel, and is advertising there.
EQ3, a new furniture store near Van Andel Arena and based in Canada, chose the arena to advertise its wares. The EQ3 franchise is the first in the United States. The original plan called for placing some furniture in the lobby during several events, but after meeting with arena officials, the store decided on a unique furniture display, suspending the furniture from arena concourse walls.

 

 

 

HARTWELL, GA.

Club hosts Audubon summit
The Cateechee Golf Club hosted the recent Audubon International Environmental Leadership Summit, drawing about 30 influential members of the golf industry and marking AI's "Fifty in Five" campaign, designed to enroll half of all U.S. courses in the organization's environmental programs over the next five years. Since 1991, AI has managed education and certification programs targeted at improving the environmental performance at golf courses. Roughly 13 percent of all U.S. courses in the country are members of either the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for new and existing facilities or the Audubon Signature Cooperative Sanctuary Program for new developments, such as Cateechee.

MIAMI

Boxing returns to Waterfront
Boxing returned to the Waterfront Theatre at AmericanAirlines Arena on March 13. The Crown Royal Presents Miami Fight Night was the third installment of the new fight series bringing classic, competitive boxing back to Miami. Seven bouts featured nationally noted fighters and up-and-coming local boxers.

MILWAUKEE

Pettit Ice Center seeks cash streams
Pettit National Ice Center officials plan

The Pettit National Ice Center is considering adding a sports bar and restaurant.
to convert underutilized space at the Milwaukee indoor ice facility into a sports bar and restaurant. Discussions also are under way to add a third hockey rink. The sports bar and rink are among several initiatives being explored by the Pettit and its landlord, the Wisconsin State Fair Park. The Pettit's board of directors is considering remodeling its second-floor Olympic Hall of Fame room to accommodate the sports bar and a restaurant. The Pettit was named for Jane Bradley Pettit, who donated $4 million to the $13.4 million facility. Pettit, who died in September 2001, arranged through her foundation to give the center $350,000 a year for the next 10 years. The Pettit Center has an operating budget of $2.4 million.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

CRP becomes Twins Sports Inc.
Minneapolis-based CRP Sports Inc., parent company for the Minnesota Twins and Victory Sports One television network, has changed its name to Twins Sports Inc., according to a statement from the team. Victory Sports will begin broadcasting Twins baseball games in 2004.

Vikings meet on proposed stadium site

The Vikings are considering a site in Lino Lakes for the team’s new stadium.
The Minnesota Vikings met with Anoka County officials about a possible stadium site in Lino Lakes south of the junction where Interstates 35W and 35E meet. It is one of five sites where the county is trying to lure the team's stadium, headquarters and training camp.

ORLANDO

Magic revamps ticket sales plan
Although the 2002-03 season hasn't seen its last basket yet, officials with the Orlando Magic already have revised the team's ticket sales plan for next season. Along with offering season-ticket holders a flexible payment plan for the second consecutive season, the Magic also has revamped the prices for single-game tickets. For the 2003-04 season, the average ticket price will decrease $2.54 per seat per game. There will be 5,196 seats priced under $30 per game, and another 2,646 seats priced under $20 per game.

PALO ALTO, CALIF.

Stanford opens new rugby stadium
Stanford University formally opened its $2 million rugby stadium March 8. The 762-seat Steuber Rugby Stadium includes a clubhouse, four locker rooms and a 77-by-143-yard field. The stadium makes Stanford's bid for USA Rugby's Collegiate Final Four Championship in May a lock, Neal Brendel, USA Rugby's president, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The field was paid for with two $1 million donations from Hal Steuber and John Doyle.

PHILADELPHIA

Threshold to oversee cycling programming
Threshold Sports of Norristown, Pa., signed an agreement with Clear Channel Entertainment Television Inc. to oversee all production and distribution of its cycling programming for 2003. The agreement includes live coverage of the Pro Cycling Tour events in Philadelphia, New York and San Francisco. The Pro Cycling Tour is managed by Threshold Sports and sanctioned by USA Cycling.

Tickets on sale for soccer exhibition
Tickets for the Aug. 3 exhibition soccer game pitting Manchester United against FC Barcelona at Lincoln Financial Field went on sale Saturday. Ticket prices range from $35 to $85. The game will be the first event held at the Philadelphia Eagles' new $512 million stadium. The Philadelphia Charge of the Women's United Soccer Association ran a promotion earlier this month offering discounted tickets for the Manchester United-FC Barcelona contest to people purchasing or renewing season tickets.

Hairdo gets ticket discount to Wings game
The Philadelphia Wings indoor lacrosse team is hosting "Mullet Night" Saturday when the team takes on the Calgary Roughnecks at First Union Center. Anyone with a mullet hairstyle who reports to the arena box office one hour before game time may purchase a discounted ticket for $10, normally at least $18. The team will offer free haircuts on the concourse during the game.

RALEIGH-DURHAM

28-foot mascot at NCSU
N.C. State's new sculpture, "Wolfpack Turf,"

N.C. State wolves guard the entrance at the new football center at Carter-Finley.
stands in front of the new football center at Carter-Finley Stadium. It is about 28 feet tall and may be the biggest mascot sculpture in the country. The N.C. State Wolfpack Club is raising funds through dedication rights and sales of bronze table-top reproductions of the Wolfpack mascot sculpture to alumni and fans. The effort already has raised more than $2 million. Wisse, Hollman & Co. and Dick Idol Ventures have handled initial design consulting and selling reproductions for the Wolfpack Club online. The Wolfpack Club is projecting profits of more than $3 million for scholarships.

SACRAMENTO

Magna submits horse track plans
Magna Entertainment Corp. has submitted its plans to the Solano County city of Dixon for a $250 million thoroughbred horse track and entertainment and retail complex totaling 1.5 million square feet on 260 acres. Proposed to open by 2006, Dixon Downs would have space for more than 1,600 horses and would feature an 1,800-seat grandstand and finish-line pavilion with a capacity for about 5,000 people. Magna proposes in later phases to bring department stores, specialty retail stores, restaurants, a multiscreen theater, hotel, conference center and offices.

SAN DIEGO

Council to begin talks with Chargers
The City Council, which holds a public hearing Tuesday on the report issued earlier this month by the Citizens' Task Force on Chargers Issues, is expected to begin talks with the team later this week aimed at keeping the Chargers in San Diego. On March 4, the Chargers triggered a 90-day period in which they are expected to negotiate with the city over ways to improve their lease at Qualcomm Stadium, which the team feels is an inadequate facility. The Chargers are seeking a new facility to stay competitive.

Spirit has new logo for third season
The San Diego Spirit has unveiled a modified logo for its third season in the WUSA. The modified logo, which replaces the eagle's head insignia, is the first since the club began play in 2001. The logo was designed by Spirit director of marketing Paige Jackson and graphic artist Myles McGuiness of San Diego-based 9 Myles Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO

E-tickets coming to Pac Bell
The San Francisco Giants said they plan to unveil a new method for season-ticket holders to pass unused tickets to friends without having to physically deliver the tickets. Under the "Just Arrive" program, expected to debut in May, season-ticket holders can send the name of the ticket recipient to the Giants via the Internet. Then once that person arrives at Pacific Bell Park, the fan swipes a driver's license or credit card through an electronic will-call machine, which spits out a ticket for entrance to the park. The service will come with a $1 transaction fee.

SAN JOSE

Quakes prefer weekend games
The San Jose Earthquakes have changed the team's July 30 home game against the Dallas Burn to a Saturday, July 26, fulfilling management's desire to play all home games on weekends this season. Weekend games have been drawing about 40 percent better than weekday games in recent years, team officials said.

ST. LOUIS

Women's team joins league
The St. Louis Slam is the newest

Nancy Simonds (center right) is owner and coach of the newly formed St. Louis Slam.
member of the 30-team National Women's Football Association. Nancy Simonds, owner of a St. Louis remodeling company, and a group of minority investors paid the NWFA about $30,000 for franchise rights to the team in February. The Slam comprises 40 female athletes and will make its debut in St. Louis April 12.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG

Glazer buys Man U stake
Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer has acquired a small stake in Manchester United. The London Telegraph reported March 2 that Glazer bought 2.9 percent of Man U, with the stake being valued at about $14.2 million. Glazer, who acquired the Bucs for $192 million in January 1995, was previously interested in acquiring Major League Soccer's Tampa Bay Mutiny before the franchise folded in January 2002.

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