SBJ/October 24 - 30, 2005/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast


Suit against Angels tops $1M

Anaheim city officials said that the legal costs the city has spent on its lawsuit against the Angels totaled $1.1 million through Aug. 31. Los Angeles Times writer Bill Shaikin noted that the Angels after this season will have paid the city about $5 million in revenue sharing since Arte Moreno bought the club in ’03. However, “if the city’s legal bills double, and if the city loses at trial and must reimburse the Angels’ legal bills as well, Anaheim’s liability could well exceed” $5 million.


Fan flavor: Peach or Sugar?

With its move to Atlanta from New Orleans, the Nokia Sugar Bowl could be competing with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for the same fans. The Peach Bowl will have increased competition with three football games in four days — the Peach Bowl on Dec. 30, the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 1, and the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.

Speedway eases traffic congestion

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and SMI chief executive Bruton Smith, whose company owns Atlanta Motor Speedway, “cut the ribbon at the official opening of the Bruton Smith Parkway, a four-lane highway that will provide direct access from the racetrack to I-75.” Smith said that the route will enable the speedway to keep its two NASCAR Nextel Cup dates by alleviating traffic around the track.


Longhorns field to be renamed

The University of Texas has sold the naming rights for its baseball stadium to the University Federal Credit Union for $13.1 million. The funding will help renovate the 30-year-old ballpark. The stadium will change its name to UFCU Disch-Falk Field in August 2006.

Workers gather after a glass-shattering
ceremony at Fenway Park in Boston.


New upgrades begin at Fenway

The Boston Red Sox removed the glass front of Fenway Park’s .406 Club to start another round of stadium renovations. Because the club was the only seating area without open-air access to games, it had long been a point of contention at Fenway. The seating area, which will be renamed the EMC Club and feature 406 open-air seats, will be renovated in time for the 2006 baseball season.


More Bills programming on the dial

The Buffalo Bills and their flagship radio station, Citadel Broadcasting Corp.’s WGRF-FM, have increased team-related programming for the 2005 season. The “Under the Helmet” lineup features Bills president Tom Donahoe and is heard each Monday evening from 6:30 to 7 p.m., followed by a one-hour program with coach Mike Mularkey.

MAAC hoops rivalry on ESPNU

The 156th meeting in the basketball rivalry between Canisius College and Niagara University will have added exposure this season. ESPNU will televise the game between the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference members on Jan. 17 at Canisius’ Koessler Athletic Center.


Bobcats find home on local cable

The Charlotte Bobcats will appear on Time Warner Cable’s local-news channel beginning next month, replacing the NBA franchise’s ill-fated regional sports network. Financial terms of the TV deal weren’t disclosed. The multiyear deal calls for the team to have 50 games a season on News 14, which reaches 400,000 of the Charlotte TV market’s 1 million homes.


Station takes MSU over Michigan

Ending a 28-year relationship with the University of Michigan, 50,000 watt WJR-AM, “The Great Voice of the Great Lakes,” announced that it will switch to Michigan State football and basketball games starting in the fall of 2006. The station, the perennial market ratings leader, reaches a huge geographic area that includes the Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint and Toledo, Ohio, markets during the day, and much of the Great Lakes region at night.


New Jersey Nets vets to greet fans

The Nets have launched their first Host Committee, in which former Nets teammates Darryl Dawkins and Albert King will greet fans at select home games, community events and sponsor-related functions. Dawkins, a 6-foot-11 center nicknamed “Chocolate Thunder,” played 14 NBA seasons, including five for the Nets (1982-87). King, a 6-7 forward and Brooklyn native, played for the Nets from 1981-87, and nine NBA seasons in all.


Changes for Packers front office

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported that the Packers’ board of directors unanimously approved a succession plan making executive vice president and chief operating officer John Jones president in May 2006 and CEO in May 2007. Bob Harlan, current Packers president and CEO, will become chairman and CEO in May 2006 and chairman emeritus in May 2007.

Indianapolis is drawing up colorful plans
for a Super Bowl within 10 years.


Super Bowl on Indy lips

Officials in Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson’s office are working with Indianapolis Colts brass to put together a bid to host the Super Bowl sometime between 2012 and 2015. The city is set to open a new $625 million, retractable-roof stadium in time for the 2008 season. “Now that ground is broken on the new stadium, it’s important we start building momentum,” said Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Steve Campbell. “We’re learning quickly how the bid process works. And we’re keeping track of how Detroit is doing very closely.”

Champ Car on deadline for Toronto

Molson Sports & Entertainment has given Indianapolis-based open-wheel race series Champ Car until Oct. 31 to sign an agreement to buy the rights to stage the Toronto Indy race. A source close to negotiations said a price is being negotiated, and Molson is interested in sponsoring the event and maintaining exclusive rights to sell beer at the race.

Racing trade show wants more space

Despite an agreement to return to Indianapolis in 2010, officials for the Performance Racing Industry trade show say now they might reconsider. This year, the show is being held at the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center. PRI director Steve Lewis signed an agreement with Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson last year to return if and when the city and state complete a 275,000-square-foot expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.


Stadium tax proposal soars to $750M

The Downtown Council of Kansas City’s proposed sales tax increase to move the Kansas City Royals into a new downtown stadium and fix the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium could cost taxpayers $750 million — at least $250 million more than a bistate tax that was defeated in November. And unlike the five-county bistate tax proposal, the Downtown Council’s 25-year, three-eighths-cent tax would be assessed solely in Jackson County. Critics said Jackson County voters won’t go for it, though they approved the bistate tax that other counties rejected.


L.A. approves Coliseum-area upgrades

The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 to approve a 12-year extension of the Hoover Redevelopment Project, “making $115 [million] available for revitalization” of the area around the Los Angeles Coliseum, including $80 million for below-market housing, according to Rick Orlov of the Los Angeles Daily News. Council member Bernard Parks: “This sends a message to the NFL that this city is prepared to do its part in terms of bringing [back] professional football.” However, Council member Greig Smith said, “I could care less about professional football, but I do care about revitalizing this area.”


Insight adds network to cover UK, SEC

Insight Communications said that FSN South, a cable network featuring coverage of professional and college sports in the Southeast, will be added to its Classic lineup in Louisville and Southern Indiana. FSN South will carry sports coverage for the University of Kentucky and other teams in the Southeastern Conference. The network’s coverage will include UK football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and weekly coaches’ shows.


Grizzlies allow concerts at other venues

The Mid-South Coliseum will host concerts by Kanye West and 3 Doors Down in November despite the Grizzlies previously taking “a hard line with their FedExForum contract clause, which enabled them to block shows that could have played the Coliseum or The Pyramid,” according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Scottie Pippen is dressing up for a
new role in real estate development.


Pippen teams up for condo project

Miami real estate developer Isaac Kodsi and former NBA star Scottie Pippen have teamed up to purchase land near the Atlantic Ocean in Fort Lauderdale, where they plan to build a $40 million mixed-use building. The 11-story project is slated to include 46 condos and 8,000 square feet of commercial space. The duo is looking to bring more athletes in on the investment. The partnership is between Kodsi’s real estate company, Ark Financial Group, and a group of investors headed by Pippen called Team Equity.


CMT locks up Preds, Titans deals

CMT has signed a pair of sponsorship agreements with the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators. The television network, which is headquartered in Nashville, struck a first-time deal with the Nashville Predators for the 2005-06 NHL season. Highlights of the deal include CMT branding of the Predators’ band stage in the Gaylord Entertainment Center.


Florida Classic on the tube

For the first time in its 26-year history, the Walt Disney World Florida Classic will get some television coverage. ESPNU will televise the 2005 Classic live on Nov. 19. The annual college football matchup, held at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, showcases two prominent historically black schools from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference — Bethune-Cookman College and Florida A&M University.

Sports agent joins UCF faculty

A veteran sports agent who recently negotiated a mega-bucks contract for Minnesota Vikings quarterback and former University of Central Florida star Daunte Culpepper has been given a faculty position at UCF. Mason Ashe, founder and president of Ashe Sports & Entertainment Consulting Inc., will teach sports law in the DeVos Sport Business Management Graduate Program at UCF.

Gone BASS fishing

The Harris Chain of Lakes in Leesburg have been chosen to host the 2006 BASS Federation Championship from Jan. 11-14, 2006. The tournament consists of 54 anglers invited to battle for $50,000 cash and six coveted berths to the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Federation members from 47 state chapters and chapters in Japan, South Africa, Italy, Zimbabwe and Canada constitute the field.


Open call for fan talent

Sports Talk 950, Philadelphia’s new sports talk radio station, is recruiting fans to host a nighttime program to be called “The 700 level sports fanatics.” The 700-level moniker is a reference to the rowdy fans who occupied the highest level seating during Eagles games at the old Veterans Stadium. The radio station is asking would-be co-hosts to send in two-minute audition tapes of themselves talking about sports.

Flyers put words into type

Philadelphia Flyers players will take turns keeping monthly blogs this season on the Flyers Web page. Forward Turner Stevenson is filing an online journal for October. The players’ blog site is part of a revamped Flyers’ Web site that also includes video clips and a daily report from Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock.


No three-peat for track trials

Sacramento lost out on its bid for a three-peat of hosting the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 2008. USA Track & Field awarded the June 27-July 6, 2008, trials to Eugene, Ore., which hosted the competition in 1972, 1976 and 1980. While Sacramento broke attendance records in 2000, Eugene offered a stronger package with a strong focus on athletes, the governing body said.

New Kings arena in the news

Sacramento-based developer Angelo Tsakopoulos has been working on a proposal to “finance an arena for the [NBA] Kings by developing land he owns in rural eastern Sacramento County,” according to sources cited by Mary Lynne Vellinga of the Sacramento Bee.

Permanent stage, partially open roof included
in Real Salt Lake stadium plans.


RSL stadium designs unveiled

Illustrations by architect Gino Rossetti for the new stadium in Sandy, Utah, for Real Salt Lake show a “25,000-seat stadium that includes a permanent performing arts stage and a partially open roof, allowing a view of the Wasatch Mountains to the east,” according to Kersten Swinyard of the Desert News. The drawings also depict restaurants and a fountain plaza outside the facility. One possible source for public funding is “a sports entertainment zone, possibly modeled after a similar zone in Phoenix” for the Diamondbacks.


A’s, Giants attendance slips

Even as Major League Baseball reported record attendance in 2005, the Bay Area’s baseball teams had attendance slumps. The San Francisco Giants welcomed 3.18 million fans, a 2.3 percent decline from last year. The Oakland A’s had 2.1 million spectators, a 4.1 percent decline. Both teams were plagued by spotty play.


Joneses keeping up with SLU

A $1 million gift from philanthropists Dennis and Judith Jones will help Saint Louis University sports teams enjoy a home-court advantage they haven’t had in the past. The Joneses are among several donors making $1 million contributions toward the school’s new on-campus sports arena, expected to be complete in fall 2007.


The Devil Rays, give ’em a brake

A construction worker is the Tampa Bay Devil Rays temporary mascot. The flagging baseball team launched a three-week marketing blitz to show it is in a rebuilding process through opening day next year. “We’re starting all over,” said Devil Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn. The “Under Construction” campaign includes six 15-second television spots and several print ads.

Bucs fan takes pat-down to court

A Tampa Bay Buccaneers season-ticket holder has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the NFL’s pat-down policy in court. Gordon Johnston, a high school civics teacher from Tampa, filed the lawsuit Oct. 13 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, claiming the searches violate fans’ Fourth Amendment rights protecting them from unreasonable searches. The NFL has vowed to continue the mandatory pat-downs this season, arguing they are reasonable to protect spectators entering stadiums.

Legal hurdle challenges NFL camp

NFL Europe’s annual training camp in Tampa could be disrupted by a new Florida law that requires background checks for visitors to public high schools. A provision in the Jessica Lunsford Act, which is aimed at protecting schoolchildren from sexual predators, could block the league’s 750 players and coaches from holding preseason workouts at Tampa football fields. That could cost each hosting high school $10,000 in rental revenue.


Real-time Sun Devils on the Web

New Tier Communications Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Arizona State University athletics, have reached a long-term agreement to provide real-time and archived sports programming of the Sun Devils Sports Network via the Internet. By visiting, alumni, students and fans around the world will be able to listen to all football, men’s basketball and baseball games, and watch live video broadcasts of all home women’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics events.


WSU finds ad ‘Solution’ for arena

A new partnership between a Wichita digital media firm and Wichita State University’s athletics department is creating a new stream of advertising revenue at Charles Koch Arena. Through the partnership, StreamTrax Visual Solutions LLC will replace all 19 video screens in the concourse, gift shop and ticket lobby of the arena with 32-inch LCD screens.


2006 Grey Cup logo unveiled

The Canadian Football League and the 2006 Grey Cup Committee unveiled the 2006 Grey Cup logo at a media conference at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Brent Scrimshaw, CFL senior vice president of marketing and partnerships, described the design as “reinforcing the Grey Cup’s unique connection with Canada through the strong use of the Maple Leaf, its connection to Manitoba through the bold and forward-looking depiction of the iconic bison and the celebration of the history of football in Winnipeg in the application of Bomber blue and gold.”

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