SBJ/January 9 - 15, 2006/Coast To Coast

Coast To Coast

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.
Isotopes licensee tops in minors

Graphic Connection, the company that manufactures merchandise for the Class AAA Albuquerque Isotopes, is the top local licensee in Minor League Baseball. The screen-printing and embroidery company sold the most merchandise last year among the 71 local Minor League licensees.

CHICAGO
Restaurant grabs ‘last out bat’

Harry Caray’s Restaurant managing partner Grant DePorter purchased the bat that was used by Houston’s Orlando Palmeiro in the last out of Game 4 of the 2005 World Series. Originally estimated to sell between $75,000 and $150,000, the “last out bat” was purchased for $18,400. “Harry Caray’s bought it with plans to display it prominently in the restaurant,” DePorter said.

CINCINNATI
Bengals see sales quadruple

Sales of Cincinnati Bengals merchandise have skyrocketed along with the team’s fortunes this season. Sales of Bengals-related items through Dec. 18 had quadrupled from a year ago to more than $60 million, according to SportScanInfo, which tracks sales at sporting goods stores across the country.

Jason Terry flies in style with
specialized luggage.
DALLAS
Mavs saddle up with Samsonite again
For the second consecutive year, Samsonite will be the official luggage provider of the Dallas Mavericks. During the 2005-06 season, team management, players, coaches and broadcasters will head to road games with garment bags from Samsonite’s 700 Series Silhouette collection, with each piece sporting the Mavs’ logo and personalized for each team member.

Trading card fetches $85,000
A 10-day online auction hosted by Dallas-based Beckett Media fetched $85,000 for a baseball trading card, making it the most expensive card sold in 2005. Produced by Upper Deck, the SP Legendary Cut card has signatures of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson. The seller, 26-year-old Mississippi collector Barry Scott, found the gem in a pack he purchased at a card shop.

HARTFORD, CONN.
Arena, NHL team in CEO’s playbook
Northland Investment Corp. Chairman and CEO Larry Gottesdiener said that he wants to build a $250 million, publicly subsidized sports and entertainment arena in Hartford, and that he’s also looking into buying an NHL hockey team for the facility, according to a report in the Hartford Courant. The proposal would be to build a 16,000-seat arena that could support an NHL team, as well as the University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams.

HONOLULU
Pro-am spots are big tickets on Oahu

Marketers pushing golf tournaments on Oahu are bracing for their biggest rush from corporate sponsors in five years. They are preparing to sell out the 700-plus pro-am playing spots at the Sony Open in Hawaii, Turtle Bay Championship and SBS Open. Tournament officials say corporate executives are paying an average of $5,000 per spot to play in the tourneys in order to lavish attention on important clients and pamper top employees.

Renee Gitto, Bloomberg Television; Susan
O’Malley, president, Washington Sports
and Entertainment; and Sam Schroeder,
executive vice president and general
manager, Comcast SportsNet, pose near
the new marquee.
INDIANAPOLIS
Andretti emerging from retirement

Andretti Green Racing announced that Michael Andretti will come out of retirement to run the Indianapolis 500 in May. AGR officials also announced that Michael’s son, Marco, will run the full slate of Indy Racing League races for the team next year. Michael Andretti is part owner of the team, but has not raced since May 2003.

Indiana University gets banked track
Indiana University recently became one of only a handful of schools in the United States with a banked indoor running track. Indianapolis city officials in December gave university officials the banked track used in the RCA Dome for the 1987 World Indoor Championships. The track is on permanent loan, city officials said.

KANSAS CITY
Brigade looks beyond 7,000 sales

The Kansas City Brigade has sold more than 5,000 season tickets. The Arena Football League team’s goal is to surpass 7,000 season tickets before the Feb. 12 home opener.

NEW YORK
Wang reportedly pulls Nassau tower plan

Newsday reported that New York Islanders co-owner Charles Wang has removed the controversial 60-story tower that was the centerpiece of his vision for redeveloping central Nassau County. Ed Ward, spokesperson for the Nassau County Legislature’s Republicans, said that Wang’s offer to remove the tower still left too much to the unknown.

OAKLAND
A’s to share more ad dollars with Raiders
The Oakland A’s will share more stadium advertising revenue with the Oakland Raiders under a deal approved by Alameda County Supervisors. In revamping their relationship with the Raiders, supervisors allowed the football team to get more revenue from McAfee Coliseum, the facility the team shares with the A’s. In exchange for giving up more ad revenue, the A’s asked for a three-year lease extension to 2013, but the baseball team was denied.

No upper-deck tickets for A’s
The Oakland A’s will reduce seating in McAfee Coliseum for the 2006 season by more than 20 percent. The team will not sell tickets to games in the stadium’s upper deck, a move that will shrink game capacity to 34,179. The decision is meant to increase demand for tickets.

SACRAMENTO
River Cats boost, organize sales staff

The Sacramento River Cats have dabbled in it in the past, but the Class AAA baseball club is going full force in 2006 with targeted ticket sales. The River Cats have reorganized and trained their sales staff — a group of 15 full-timers, up from 10 during 2005 — to sell to individual market segments.

SAN FRANCISCO
Gift cards good for gear and tickets

The San Francisco Giants have unveiled new gift cards. The cards, in $25 and $50 denominations, are available at Safeway stores and at Giants Dugout Stores. The cards can be used to buy Giants merchandise and, beginning in March, tickets for the 2006 season.

Emerald Bowl sets sponsorship record
San Francisco’s Emerald Bowl will set a record for sponsorships in 2005, netting a total of $1.18 million in cash and $300,000 of in-kind support. The Emerald Bowl, played annually since 2002, turned its first profit in 2004. Bowl organizers hope for a similar outcome as they start discussions on a new deal with title sponsor Diamond Foods Inc., a Stockton-based nut seller.

Michael Andretti and members of the AGR
lineup get ready for the 2006 IRL season.
ST. LOUIS
Cardinals’ new flagship cleans house

KTRS-AM, the new flagship radio station of the St. Louis Cardinals, fired eight of its on-air personalities, effective Jan. 6. KTRS President Tim Dorsey said the firings were part of the talk radio station taking a new direction. The Cardinals bought 50 percent of KTRS in August.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
‘Times Square’ comes to D.C.

The MCI Center unveiled a new video marquee on 7th Street in northwest Washington, D.C. Measuring 17 feet, 8 inches high by 15 feet, 4 inches wide, the marquee, sponsored by The Washington Post and Geico, will offer live sports highlights, news and information on MCI Center events. Programming for the video marquee will be provided by Comcast Sports Net and Bloomberg Television.

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