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

Coast to Coast

ATLANTA

ASA Racing guns for Atlanta again
The American Speed Association Racing Series will return to Atlanta in 2004, following a 20-year absence. The 100-lap ASA race will be run at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 29 following qualifying for Georgia-Pacific Night, part of the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend. The only other ASA race at Atlanta Motor Speedway was held in April 1983. ASA has run in recent years at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton and Peach State Speedway near Gainesville. This year's ASA rookie of the year, Reed Sorenson, is from Peachtree City, Ga.

BALTIMORE

Ravens launch FanTrak
The Baltimore Ravens announced the launch of FanTrak, a program to solicit feedback from fans at M&T Bank Stadium, beginning Sunday. FanTrak, owned by Turnkey Sports, will enable the Ravens to intercept and survey fans attending games and other events and receive results overnight. The system captures survey information from attendees via PDAs.

CHARLOTTE

Boone/Oakley’s eBay auction started at 99 cents and was expected to end by last Friday.

Boone/Oakley takes eBay route
Hot on the heels of winning NASCAR's Busch and Craftsman Truck series accounts, the gang at ad shop Boone/Oakley is at it again. This time they put their creative services up for bid on eBay — with a money-back guarantee, no less. The Charlotte ad agency launched the bidding earlier this month with the header, "Super Bowl TV Commercial by Boone/Oakley." The listing ran through last Friday, seeking companies that plan to advertise during the big game, which typically ranks as the most-watched television event of the year. Agency principals John Boone and David Oakley take a typically aggressive approach in the eBay notice. It reads: "Stop paying exorbitant ad agency fees for creative that doesn't do the job. Get the good stuff that sells a lot of product. At a fair price. A price that you set yourself. Start the bidding now. What have you got to lose?" Oakley said, "We started the bidding at 99 cents just to get the action going," but he noted that a 99-cent investment pales compared with the $2.1 million required to buy a spot on the CBS telecast. The money-back part: If the ad doesn't rank among USA Today's top 10 Super Bowl spots the day after the game, Boone/Oakley returns the fee.

CLEVELAND

Huntington Bank’s name is appearing on Entry Media’s Turnstile AdSleeve Armcovers at Gund Arena.

Entry Media makes Cavs deal
Winter Park, Fla.-based Entry Media Inc. announced a multiyear contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers to add Turnstile Advertising via its Turnstile AdSleeve Armcovers to Gund Arena. The Turnstile AdSleeve Armcover signage will be used by Huntington Bank as an element of its sponsorship package. The armcovers are made of a clear plastic tube; the client's color advertisement is housed inside the tube.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

Cooperstein back on radio
Four months after losing his afternoon drive-time gig at ESPN Radio's Dallas affiliate, Chuck Cooperstein is coming back to host a one-hour show at 6 p.m. The Dallas Morning News reported that the program will eventually be extended to two hours at the station, located at 103.3 FM. Cooperstein and TV news personality Newy Scruggs had their drive-time program, "The Big Show," replaced in June by Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway, who ended a nearly 18-year run at WBAP-AM (820) to move to ESPN.

DENVER

CU cracks down on rowdiness
The University of Colorado has taken steps to ensure a less rowdy experience in the football stands. The Boulder university has posted more security staff at the entrances and added security staff in each section of the stadium, and is enforcing a ban on such contraband items as alcohol and marshmallows. Yes, marshallows. Fans can stick heavier items inside the marshmallows and hurl them at people.

Avalanche continues sellouts
The Colorado Avalanche continues its record sellout streak. The Nov. 6 game against Phoenix marked the team's 400th sellout game, including regular-season and playoff games. The Avs sold out the last 201 games at the Pepsi Center. Before moving to the Pepsi Center, the Avs sold out the last 199 games played at the old McNichols Sports Arena.

HOUSTON

Groundbreaking held for Jones course
Redstone Golf Management broke ground Nov. 4 on the new Rees Jones Course at Redstone Golf Club that will be the new home to the Shell Houston Open in 2006. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, golfer David Toms and architect Jones were on hand for the ceremony to kick off construction of the 7,550-yard, par-72 course. Toms will serve as PGA Tour player consultant to Jones for the project. The Shell Houston Open will be played at the Jacobsen Hardy Course at Redstone Golf Club until the new course is completed.

INDIANAPOLIS

Pacers marketing targets urban audience
With fewer black fans than the national average attending their games, according to one study, the Indiana Pacers for the first time have hired a marketing and advertising firm to help reach the urban market. Bruce Bryant, whose Promotus Advertising firm was hired by the Pacers last spring, thinks drawing more of central Indiana's black population to support the franchise can be a key part of reversing the team's three-year attendance slide. Pacers attendance has fallen from an average of 18,345 during the 1999-2000 season — the team's first in Conseco Fieldhouse — to 16,353 last season. The most recent U.S. Census data shows that Indianapolis' population is 25 percent black, but a J.D. Powers & Associates study showed that only 8.5 percent of Pacers game attendees last season were black. That compares with a 17.6 percent league average.

Colts tickets selling fast
With the Indianapolis Colts off to their best start since coming to Indianapolis in 1984, members of the team's sales and marketing staff don't think they'll have any trouble selling out the final three home games and avoiding local television blackouts. There are fewer than 2,000 tickets remaining for each of the next two home games: Nov. 30 against New England and Dec. 14 against Atlanta. There are fewer than 5,000 tickets left for the Dec. 21 game against the Denver Broncos, and those are going fast.

California track owner sues CART
International Speedway Corp., which owns the California Speedway, filed a lawsuit against Indianapolis-based Championship Auto Racing Teams over a race that was supposed to take place Nov. 2. The race was postponed and later canceled because of the California wildfires. ISC officials are trying to recoup part of the $2.5 million in race fees they paid CART for the race. ISC officials said the race could not be held due to heavy smoke and ash in the area. CART voiced initial disappointment in that decision.

JACKSONVILLE

Committee ready to sanction events
The Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee launched its event-sanctioning process with a downloadable application on its Web site, jacksonvillesuperbowl.com. Sanctioned events receive limited use of the host committee logo for marketing purposes, designation as an "Official Sanctioned Event" and promotional support, including a listing in the host committee's event guide, distributed to more than 100,000 Super Bowl visitors, and on the host committee's Web site. One sanctioned event already in the works is the Shands Super 5K Family Day, presented by Shands HealthCare, the host committee's official community partner. The event takes place the weekend before Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, slated to be played in Alltel Stadium.

KANSAS CITY

Comets staying at Kemper
The Kansas City Comets have committed to remain in Kemper Arena through the 2005-06 Major Indoor Soccer League season. Financial arrangements of the verbal understanding continue terms of the past several seasons. The Comets pay $6,000 to $9,000 a game in return for most gate revenue and a small share of parking and concession income. The Comets will televise 11 games on local television this season. The team will pay for airtime and receive proceeds from ads it sells. The MISL wants each of its teams to appear at least four times this season on local television.

MIAMI

Board allocates $73M for stadium
Miami-Dade County commissioners voted 9-4 to allocate $73 million in tax money to help pay for a stadium for the Florida Marlins, The Miami Herald reported. It is a piece of a plan for a $325 million ballpark. Of the $73 million, $35 million is slated to come from a convention development tax with $38 million coming from the pro sports franchise facility tax. The money is available to the team as long as the Marlins are able to put together a deal for the facility by March 15. If the deal falls through, Miami Beach would get the $50 million it wants for upgrades to the city's convention center.

Riley not interested in TV job
Miami Heat President Pat Riley is not interested in accepting any TV job, he told The Miami Herald through a spokesman. ABC was expected to contact Riley to determine whether he has any interest in working with Al Michaels as a lead analyst.

MILWAUKEE

Brewers hire NuEdge marketing
With ticket sales on a two-year slide and many sponsorship deals due for renewal, the Milwaukee Brewers have hired NuEdge Systems to help them develop a plan to strengthen their fan base. NuEdge, a marketing automation consulting firm, will analyze customer-purchasing data and help the ballclub better understand its fans and their purchasing preferences, with the goal of increasing ticket, merchandise and concession sales, said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers' executive vice president of business operations. The ballclub does not plan to cut its traditional advertising budget. Hoffman York, Milwaukee, handles the club advertising account.

Bucks add digital ad panels
The Milwaukee Bucks debuted two, 2-foot-wide digital advertising and information display panels that run the 216-foot length of the Bradley Center's upper deck. During the off-season, the Bucks paid for the installation of the panels, which were manufactured by Daktronics Inc. of Brookings, S.D. The panels carry full-color animated images and text and are equipped to display video. The club has sold time on the panels to its six "building sponsors" at the Bradley Center and to other advertisers. The cost to advertise on the panels through the course of the season ranges from $25,000 to $100,000.

NASHVILLE

Rendering of proposed Nashville ballpark

Mixed-use ballpark proposed
The Nashville Sounds have presented a proposal to Metro Nashville officials, asking the city to build a $37 million mixed-use ballpark downtown. The facility would cover an 11-acre site with an 11,000-seat stadium, 80,000 square feet of retail space and 225 rental units that would price out at about $30 a square foot, making a two-bedroom apartment run about $1,200 a month. Cost for the entire project is estimated at $80 million. If approved by the Metro Sports Authority and Metro Council, the timeline calls for the park to open in April 2006. The city will own the park itself, as well as retain title to the existing Greer Stadium.

NEW YORK

Marathon sets some records
It was a record-making day at the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 2, as an event-high 35,286 runners started and a record 34,662 finished the five-borough, 26.2-mile course. New York Road Runners officials estimated that more than 2.5 million spectators, a race record, lined the course while the combined marathon viewing audience on New York station WNBC-TV and Spanish-language station Telemundo was about 1.3 million.

ORLANDO

Region to host NCAA festival
Next May, central Florida will be teeming with NCAA Division II athletes. The NCAA Division II Championships Committee has created a weeklong, multisport national championships festival that will include more than 600 student athletes vying for national titles in women's and men's golf, women's lacrosse, softball and men's and women's tennis. The event will take place May 11-16. Event partners include the NCAA, Central Florida Sports Commission, Sunshine State Conference and Rollins College. The events will be held at venues throughout central Florida, including Showalter Field in Winter Park, Sanlando Park and the Seminole County Softball Complex in Altamonte Springs, Victoria Hills Golf Club in Deland and Alaqua Country Club in Longwood.

PHILADELPHIA

Ballpark opening set
The Philadelphia Phillies will officially open their new ballpark, the 43,500-seat Citizens Bank Park, with a Monday afternoon game against the Cincinnati Reds on April 12. Two exhibition games against the Cleveland Indians will be played April 3 and 4. The team's 2004 schedule also includes six business person's specials and interleague games against the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles at Citizens Bank Park. Season-ticket sales will begin later this month. Individual game tickets will go on sale early in February.

Eagles debut new uniforms

The Eagles were to debut the new uniforms in Sunday’s game.
The Philadelphia Eagles planned to debut new black home uniforms when they played the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. The new black uniforms have green trim and white numbers and lettering. Replicas of the uniform are on sale on the Eagles' Web site for $64.99. "Authentic" versions of the jerseys sell for $229.99.

SACRAMENTO

Kings to be on local TV more often
The Sacramento Kings have reached agreement with KXTV-Channel 10, the ABC affiliate in Sacramento, to expand the number of locally televised games featuring the team from 38 to 56. As part of the deal, the Kings will change the start times for five Sunday games at Arco Arena, moving them earlier to avoid stepping on Channel 10's prime-time programs. News 10 will add 11 games to its broadcast schedule. Cable networks ESPN, TNT and the league-run NBA TV also will air games, although the NBA feed has limited availability in the Sacramento area.

Kings trying to buy Mighty Ducks?
The majority owners of the Sacramento Kings are negotiating to buy the Anaheim Mighty Ducks NHL team from the Walt Disney Co., according to the Los Angeles Times, whose sources were not identified. Disney told the Times that the team has more than one interested buyer. Joe Maloof, whose family owns the Sacramento Kings, would not confirm or deny the report when contacted by The Sacramento Bee.

SAN DIEGO

Padres unveil logos, uniforms
To go with their downtown park that opens in April, the Padres unveiled new uniforms and a new logo Nov. 6, incorporating navy blue, medium blue, sand and white into a color scheme that for the first time in 25 years does not include orange. The colors are intended to reflect the city of San Diego and Petco Park. A new script "Padres" will adorn the front of the home white and alternate blue jerseys, and "San Diego" will be on the front of the sand-shaded road uniforms in block letters. The new logo features the team name and a blue-and-white wave within a home-plate shape.

TORONTO

Argos plan their own stadium
The SkyDome could soon be without one of its major tenants after the new owners of the money-losing Toronto Argo-nauts announced their intention to build a new outdoor football stadium within two or three years. Toronto businessmen Howard Sokolowski and David Cynamon bought the team, which was under the control of the league, and named former TSN President Keith Pelley as the team's president and chief executive officer. Sokolowski and Cynamon were to officially assume control of the club after Sunday's Grey Cup. The purchase price was reportedly around $2.1 million.

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