SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

CHARLOTTE

Bobcats drop $2 ticket fee idea
The Charlotte Bobcats have dropped a proposal to add a $2 facility fee to tickets at the new uptown NBA arena opening next season. The team suggested the idea to the city’s visitors authority, which runs other public venues (the NBA arena is publicly owned but will be operated by the Bobcats). The visitors authority was to vote on the facility fee next month, but the Bobcats have rescinded their request and decided to drop the fee altogether. The move was prompted, in part, by criticism over ticket price hikes of 25 percent to 100 percent for Bobcats tickets when the team moves to the new arena next season.

CLEVELAND

Cavs giving away Gooden bobblehead
The Cavaliers 35th Anniversary Celebration continues with giveaways for fans who are collectors. The fourth installment of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ mini bobblehead series featured forward Drew Gooden on Feb. 23. All fans with a ticket to the game received a bobblehead courtesy of Opti-Free Express and Rite Aid. The last in the bobblehead series will be LeBron James on March 29.

DALLAS

Mavs offering on-court weddings
The Dallas Mavericks say they get frequent requests from couples who want to get hitched on-court at a game, and now they’re giving some the chance to do that. As part of a yearlong commemoration of its silver anniversary, the team is giving 25 couples the chance to hold their nuptials on court at halftime of an April 11 game against the Memphis Grizzlies. In addition to a free wedding ceremony, the winners will get six tickets to the game and a pregame reception.

DETROIT

FSN to air college hockey tourneys
With the NHL season canceled, FSN Detroit will carry a double load of college hockey March 18-19 as conference tournaments determine teams in the NCAA championships. Viewers in Detroit will see complete coverage of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s “Super Six” semifinals and finals from Joe Louis Arena.

FRESNO, CALIF.

ECHL All-Star Game coming in 2006
The 2006 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills

The 2006 ECHL All-Star Game will be held at the Save Mart Center in Fresno.
Competition have been awarded to the Fresno Falcons. The events will be held Jan. 24-25 at Save Mart Center, a 13,800-seat multipurpose facility that opened in the fall of 2003 on the campus of Fresno State University.

GLENDALE, ARIZ.

Roof goes up at new Cards stadium
Crews hoisted the major portion of the retractable roof at the new Cardinals Stadium Feb. 18-21 in the largest single roof lift in North America. The majority of the lift took place on Saturday, when the roof was raised 103 feet above ground level. The crews spent Sunday performing maintenance and then resumed Monday when they completed the project by raising the roof the final 53 feet. The center portion of the retractable roof weighing 5,500 tons was hoisted to the top of the stadium. The 63,000-seat stadium is expected to be complete in August 2006 in time for the Cardinals’ season. The Fiesta Bowl and BCS National Championship game are slated to be held in the stadium in January 2007, and Super Bowl XLII is set for January 2008.

A big part of the Cardinals Stadium’s retractable roof was lifted into place last week.

HOUSTON

Yao Ming’s parents open restaurant
Houston has ushered in a new restaurant co-owned by the parents of hometown hoops star Yao Ming. The Yao Restaurant and Bar, a $1.5 million Chinese eatery and sports bar in Houston, opened Feb. 21, The Houston Chronicle reported. Owners of the 440-seat restaurant include Yao’s father, Yao Zhiyuan, and his mother, Fang Fengdi. The Houston Rockets center’s parents live near Katy, a suburb west of Houston. The new eatery is co-owned by chef George Phou, founder of Fu’s Garden, an established Chinese restaurant in Houston. Yao Restaurant features contemporary Chinese dishes, including some from Shanghai, where the Yao family lived in China.

KANSAS CITY

Chiefs seek stadium improvements
The Kansas City Chiefs want $320 million of improvements to Arrowhead Stadium. A second club section would be built for glass-paneled suites. The stadium’s exterior walls would be moved out to make more room for extra concession stands. Also planned are a team store and a Chiefs hall of fame. Jack Steadman, the Chiefs’ chairman, urged Jackson County, the stadium’s owner, to request a quarter-cent sales tax hike that would run for 12 years.

MILWAUKEE

Owner: Hot dogs won’t shrink
The Milwaukee Brewers have undergone a change of

No shrinking dogs from the Brewers
ownership, but one thing won’t change this season at Miller Park: the size of the hot dogs. New owner Mark Attanasio pledged in remarks before the Greater Milwaukee Committee, a civic organization, that the Brewers will not shrink the size of stadium hot dogs, as other major league clubs have done to save money.

NEW YORK

City to host Cross Country in 2006
New York Road Runners won the right to host the 2006 USA Cross Country Championships next February at historic Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Van Cortlandt Park is considered by most the home of American cross country running and was last host to the Championships in 1990.

PLANO, TEXAS

Safety-Kleen signs NASCAR deal
Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., a supplier of parts cleaning and oil refining services, has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with NASCAR. Terms weren’t disclosed, but NASCAR officials say it’s “a seven-figure deal.” Safety-Kleen will use the NASCAR name and sponsorship logo on uniforms worn by about 1,300 of its customer service representatives who clean auto parts and dispose of industrial and hazardous waste. NASCAR branding also will appear on the sides of some 200 new trucks that Safety-Kleen will use on its routes.

PHILADELPHIA

City primed to lose $5.5M over hockey
The Philadelphia Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Philadelphia Sports Congress said the city expects to lose about $5.5 million in tax revenue because of the cancellation of the 2004-05 NHL season. Of that amount, $2.5 million represents amusement taxes the city collects on Flyers tickets. In addition, Philadelphia will not collect local sales tax and levies on parking, liquor, hotels and merchandise sales.

PITTSBURGH

Heinz Field replaces playing surface
The playing surface at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which has been rated one of the worst in the National Football League, has been replaced yet again. Only four fields — those in Indianapolis, St. Louis, Oakland and Minnesota — were rated worse than Heinz Field, according to a leaguewide survey of players. The Steelers said the field has been replaced with four types of Kentucky bluegrass. When Heinz Field opened in 2001, it had all-natural turf. The turf has since been remixed several times with a variety of natural and synthetic fibers.

SAN DIEGO

Chargers drop request to city
The Chargers have dropped their request for the city to contribute $175 million in public improvements to the Mission Valley site where the team hopes to build a new stadium. The club also withdrew a bid to have the current Qualcomm Stadium site where the new facility would go declared blighted so city money could be used to redevelop the area. Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani said the team and its as-yet-unnamed development partner would pay for the public improvements, stadium and construction of parks at the 166-acre city-owned site. In exchange, the team is asking for 60 acres that it would develop into housing units, offices, shops and a hotel.

ST. LOUIS

Daktronics gets display contract
The St. Louis Cardinals have signed Daktronics Inc. to a $5.8 million contract to design, manufacture and install a scoring and display system in the new Busch Stadium. Daktronics plans a 40-by-120-foot main scoreboard with a 32-by-52-foot video display. The back of the main scoreboard, which faces a gathering area, will also have a video display. Two color displays, measuring 8 feet by 80 feet, will provide information on other games being played. Hunt Construction Group is the main contractor on the new stadium project with Kwame Building Group. The stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2006 baseball season.

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