SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Coast To Coast

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  • Coast to Coast


    AMS signs 2 sponsorship deals
    Atlanta Motor Speedway has signed sponsorship deals for both the fall and spring NASCAR Winston Cup races at the Hampton track. Bass Pro Shops and MBNA America Bank N.A. have signed a four-year deal to sponsor the fall race, starting with the Oct. 24-26 race weekend. The spring race's title sponsorship is being taken over by Golden Corral. The March 14 Golden Corral 500 will rev up the three-year Winston Cup deal just signed with the restaurant chain. The deal marks Golden Corral's entry into NASCAR racing.


    Panthers make water, food, cable deals
    The Carolina Panthers are adding food and drink — and keeping their cable TV, too. The NFL franchise signed Aquafina to a two-year deal as the team's official bottled water, replacing LeBleu. Another new sponsorship, a one-year agreement with Johnson & Wales University, which is building a campus in Charlotte, will put the school on Panthers' broadcasts and make it a partner in the team's annual Thanksgiving food drive. Time Warner Cable extended its deal with the Panthers by three years.

    Barons fans watch the Cleveland Legends Hockey Game at Iceland USA.

    Barons host Hockey Fest
    The Cleveland Barons held their inaugural "Barons Hockey Fest" Aug. 23 to a packed crowd at Iceland USA in Strongsville. Barons players Niko Dimitrakos, Lynn Loyns, Robert Mulick and Yuri Moscevsky, former Barons Bill Needham and Ian Cushenan, former World Hockey Association Cleveland Crusader Bob Whidden and former players for the IHL's Cleveland Lumberjacks Rick Hayward, Jeff Christian, Chris Longo and Perry Ganchar attended. Mulick joined alumni players in a Cleveland Legends Hockey Game. Pittsburgh Penguin and Parma native Brian Holzinger played in the game and signed autographs.


    CSL studies minor league ballpark
    Minneapolis-based Convention Sports & Leisure International has started conducting a survey to determine interest in renovating Columbus' minor league baseball park or building a new one. The firm was hired Aug. 19 by Franklin County, which owns 71-year-old Cooper Stadium and its principal tenant, the Class AAA Columbus Clippers.

    Blue Jackets host festival/tourney
    The NHL and Columbus Blue Jackets held a street festival/street and in-line hockey tournament

    More than 30,000 fans turned out for the NHL/Blue Jackets street festival and in-line hockey tournament.
    Aug. 8-10 at the Easton Town Center with more 30,000 fans attending. A total of 150 street and in-line teams of all ages and skill levels competed in the NHL Breakout Invitational Championships '03. The NHL StreetFest included an interactive hockey theme park that included a wide range of activities and prize giveaways. NHL StreetFest was presented by Southwest Airlines and supported by Nickelodeon Games and Sports, Kellogg Co., MBNA, Franklin Sports, Transport Graphics and USA Hockey Inline.


    Stars open 7th StarCenter
    The Dallas Stars have opened their seventh and largest Dr Pepper StarCenter, which offers ice skating and youth and adult hockey to the public. Located in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, the 208,000-square-foot facility also will serve as a practice rink for the team and as the playing arena for a minor league club, the Dallas Tornadoes of the North American Hockey League, according to The Dallas Morning News.


    Grand Prix had $26.5M impact
    Last year's inaugural Grand Prix of Denver pumped $26.5 million into the local economy, city officials said last week, just before the second Grand Prix was heading to Denver. The race was set for Sunday, to be run on city streets along the Pepsi Center sports arena.

    Tyra Banks wore a "modified" Tigers jersey to throw the first pitch.

    Banks throws first pitch for Tigers
    In town to promote the opening of a new Victoria's Secret, supermodel Tyra Banks gave Detroit Tigers fans something to cheer about Aug. 20 when she threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Tigers' game against the Texas Rangers. For her appearance, she wore a specially tailored Tigers jersey. Victoria's Secret gift certificates were passed out to fans throughout the game, including one $1,000 shopping spree.


    Toyota Center goes with Vertical Alliance
    Clutch City Sports & Entertainment, the Houston Rockets' division that operates Toyota Center, has partnered with Dallas-based Vertical Alliance Inc. to create a ticketing system for the new arena. Instead of using Ticketmaster, Toyota Center will sell all its own tickets to Rockets and Comets home games and the 200 other entertainment events expected to be held in the venue each year. Toyota Center signed a retail outlet deal with Randalls Food Markets to sell tickets at its Houston area locations. The arena has placed touch-screen kiosks in Randalls that fans can operate themselves that allow them to request certain seats for most events.


    Bud Zone to open for away games
    The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Alltel Stadium's new Bud Zone sports bar will open for all away games this season. Doors will open an hour early during the regular season. Fans attending can take advantage of food and drink specials and ticket giveaways.

    Winn-Dixie launches Jags products
    Jacksonville-based Winn-Dixie launched two products to help boost Jaguars fanfare — the (coach Jack) Del Rio Delmonico Rib-Steak and Jagwood Sub. The supermarket chain is marketing the Jaguars-themed products as ideal tailgating fare.


    Latino sports group launched
    RL Public Relations + Marketing has announced the launch of Sportivo, a Latino sports group hoping to feed Latinos' appetite for sports and provide branding opportunities for companies, consumer products, entertainment properties and athletes. Sportivo was conceived by communication executives Mario Flores and Roxana Lissa. It will be based in Los Angeles, with offices in Mexico City and Buenos Aires. The group's key capabilities will include media and community relations, brand marketing and sponsorships.


    Grizzlies to book other events at forum
    Next year when the FedEx Forum is completed in Memphis, the Memphis Grizzlies will get the keys and the responsibility of keeping it booked year-round. The Grizzlies not only will be the primary tenant of the arena, they will be in the business of booking other events there as well. The Grizzlies also will be responsible for building maintenance after they move in. The team has open slots at the arena throughout the basketball season during its 41 away games. Andy Dolich, president of business operations for the Grizzlies, said Beale Street was a factor in choosing the downtown location. "A lot of new stadiums and arenas bring in artificial entertainment entities and plop them down around these stadiums and arenas in hope of creating a new source of revenue," he said. "Here we have an original, real entertainment, musical and dining experience which has created music. It's not the other way around. That's one heck of an equation that a lot of places could never have."


    Marlins plan fantasy camp
    The Florida Marlins said they will host a weeklong fantasy baseball camp for fans 30 and older. Participants will receive instruction from former Marlins Andre Dawson and Charlie Hough along with a host of other former major league players. The 2004 Florida Marlins "All-Star" Baseball Fantasy Camp will run Jan. 24 through Feb. 1 in Fort Myers. Participants will wear a Florida Marlins authentic uniform, receive instruction and participate in games each day of the camp and play against the pros on the final day of camp. The cost: $3,495.


    Speedskaters return to Pettit Center
    The Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee is the host to 13 members of the 2003 U.S. National Speedskating team training at the Milwaukee oval through Sunday. Michael Crowe, program director for the U.S. squad, said 2002 gold medalist Derek Parra and bronze medal winner Jennifer Rodriguez will be among the athletes participating. As the U.S. team prepares for the 2006 Olympics to be held in Turin, Italy, the long-track skaters are expected to spend more time in Milwaukee to become more accustomed to skating conditions at sea level, said Rob Multerer, a Pettit spokesman. The Pettit also will host the 2003 U.S. Long Track Speedskating Championships Dec. 20-23.

    Miller extends NASCAR sponsorship
    Miller Brewing Co. will extend its sponsorship of a car competing in NASCAR Grand National races. The High Life Dodge debuted in the June 27 Grand National Series race at the Milwaukee Mile. The new agreement makes High Life the primary sponsor of Jesel Racing and driver Chad Blount for six additional races, which began with the Cabela 250 on Aug. 16 at the Michigan International Speedway.


    'Farm Day' at Metrodome
    A petting zoo, pony rides and a mascot cow-milking contest highlight the Minnesota Twins' "Down on the Farm Day" at the Metrodome today. Austin-based Hormel Foods Corp. will sponsor the event. Hormel's mascot, "Spammy," and T.C. The Bear will compete in the milking contest on the Metrodome Plaza before the game.


    Eagles season-ticket holder sues team
    A Philadelphia Eagles season-ticket holder, upset about the location of his seats in the team's new stadium, filed a breach of contract suit against the Eagles. Stephen Maslow, 62, of Narberth, Pa., a season-ticket holder for more than 20 years, said he paid $12,580 (including a licensing fee) for his seats at Lincoln Financial Field that were supposed to be comparable to his old seats near the 50-yard line at Veterans Stadium. The new seats, according to the lawsuit, are closer to the 30-yard line. Maslow attorneys said the litigation may be expanded into a class-action suit against the team. Eagles officials declined comment on the lawsuit.

    AMC filming 'Natural' scene at Campbell's
    American Movie Classics, the AMC network, will be filming a recreation of the final scene of the movie "The Natural" at Campbell's Field in Camden, N.J., on Friday for the premiere episode of a new reality TV show. The filming of the climactic scene — where Roy Hobbs hits a home run into the stadium lights — will take place immediately following a Camden Riversharks game. All fans in attendance will be part of the crowd in the scene. AMC conducted a search for the Philadelphia area's biggest baseball fan, who will be trained to recreate the scene. The fan selected for the honor has not been identified.

    Bank picks Forty Forty for branding
    Citizens Bank has named the Forty Forty agency of Berkeley, Calif., as its primary consultant for the development of branding guidelines for Citizens Bank Park, the new home for the Philadelphia Phillies. Citizens Bank acquired the naming rights for the venue as part of a 25-year, $95 million corporate partnership signed in June. The $346 million ballpark is scheduled to open in April.


    Raley Field hooks up suite fans
    Raley Field, the stadium of the Sacramento River Cats Class AAA baseball team, has provided wireless Internet access for customers in suites and in the Solon Club area. The wireless fidelity technology will be available to all fans by next season, allowing spectators to operate laptop computers, PDAs and other wireless equipment from their seats, as well as order a drink, snack or tickets for future games. The technology also will allow operations staff to adjust stadium lighting and heating and air-conditioning systems remotely from handheld devices anywhere in the ballpark. Later the River Cats expect to use technology to scan tickets at the gates, obtain updates on seating and monitor and view security cameras from wireless devices. Folsom-based Corporate Information Exchange proposed creation of this digital ballpark to the River Cats late last year, and convinced Intel Corp. to invest in the project as a way to showcase the application of wireless technology.


    Colleges get sneak preview of Petco
    The Padres probably won't get the honor of playing the first game at their new downtown ballpark next spring. Plans are being completed for San Diego State, under head coach Tony Gwynn, to host a six-team collegiate baseball tournament in Petco Park from March 11-14. The Aztecs would open play against the University of Houston, Padres owner John Moores' alma mater. Among the other teams expected to compete are the University of San Diego, UCLA and Long Beach State. With the park expected to be ready well before the Padres' 2004 opener, San Diego fans would get a sneak peek at the new facility, local collegiate baseball programs (particularly SDSU) would receive an unexpected windfall, and ballpark personnel would get a dress rehearsal before the Padres open play.


    University gets its own cereal
    Penn State Sports Marketing has announced the creation of Penn State Crunch cereal for this fall. Penn State Crunch, a keepsake and breakfast for Penn State fans, allows statewide exposure for the university in more than 100 supermarkets from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and statewide markets in between. Penn State Crunch is a sweetened corn flake from Ralston Foods and will be carried exclusively in Giant Food Stores and Foodland Supermarkets across the state of Pennsylvania.


    Park reopened for tailgating
    Tampa officials have reopened a popular city park near Raymond James Stadium for parking and tailgating during Tampa Bay Buccaneers games, though they are now charging $15 per vehicle at the gate. The city limited parking at Al Lopez Park to 400 paved spaces on game days three years ago because of high cleanup costs after games. Now the park can hold up to 2,300 autos in both paved and grassy areas. The move is expected to generate at least $200,000 annually, which will go toward city park improvements.


    Stotland interested in Argos
    A Montreal businessman has confirmed his interest in purchasing the Toronto Argonauts. Steve Stotland tried to buy the team two years ago from then-owner Sherwood Schwarz, but Schwarz refused and eventually had his franchise revoked at the start of this season. Stotland said he believes the club has suffered from poor marketing and mismanagement. Two priorities, he said, would be to find an outdoor stadium for the club and to use his business contacts to bolster corporate sponsorship efforts among Toronto's financial sector.

    CFLPA seeks alums
    For about 1,100 former Canadian Football League players who have lost touch with their brethren, it might be worth their while to reacquaint themselves. The CFL Players Association pension fund contains some $4 million that would be sent to former players, if only the fund administrators knew where to find them. Pension trustee Al Ford said some players are owed up to $70,000. Benefits can be paid out to players once they turn 50. Many of the players spent just a few years in the CFL before returning to the United States and probably have no idea they are owed money, Ford said. Among ex-CFLers owed money are former NFLers Fred Biletnikoff, Dexter Manley, Mark Gastineau and actor Carl Weathers.

    The Blue Jays and SkyDome have been taking extra steps to conserve energy since the Aug. 14 blackout.
    SkyDome reacts to blackout
    The Toronto Blue Jays and SkyDome did their part in Ontario's quest to reduce power use in the wake of the Aug. 14 blackout. In the Jays' first game after the blackout, the JumboTron wasn't powered up until 20 minutes before game time and was shut down immediately following the game. This cut the JumboTron's power consumption by 20 percent. The Jays also shut off air conditioning in the seating area and opened the retractable roof earlier than usual to help cool the stadium. The Jays, SkyDome and Toronto Hydro will continue to monitor power consumption.

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