SBJ/April 3 - 9, 2006/Coast To Coast

Coast to Coast

The Orioles were concerned that nearby construction
created pedestrian problems.
Blatimore
O’s agree to walkway, drop lawsuit
The Orioles dropped a lawsuit filed against the city of Baltimore after agreeing to a plan for a walkway skirting a city-owned hotel development site, making it easier for fans to get to Camden Yards, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles had said that construction blocked a gateway to the stadium and sought an injunction to force the opening of Eutaw Street between Pratt and Camden streets for two hours before and after games.

Boston
Sox logo graces lottery ticket
The Red Sox and the Massachusetts State Lottery introduced the Red Sox Instant Ticket, the first U.S. instant lottery ticket to feature an MLB team logo. The ticket, which hits retail April 11, is the result of a deal between MLB and Scientific Games subsidiary MDI Entertainment to offer league and team logos to lotteries for use on instant tickets. The game offers cash prizes and opportunities to win Fenway Fantasy Prizes, including a grand prize of a pair of Red Sox season tickets for life.

State Treasurer Tim Cahill, left, and Boston Red Sox
COO Mike Dee unveil the Red Sox Instant Ticket.
Buffalo
Bills filling out sponsorship deals
The Buffalo Bills announced separate multiyear sponsorship deals with three companies — Digicon Imaging, Frey Electric Construction Co., and Cintas. Digicon will be the title sponsor of the Bills’ annual “Taste of the Season” kickoff event, Frey will be the preferred electric construction company of the Bills, and Cintas will participate in in-game promotions and receive branding opportunities in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Chicago
Wrigley waiting list grows to 7,000
The Chicago Cubs have sold more than 2.5 million tickets, including about 27,000 season tickets, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. The season-ticket waiting list has grown to approximately 7,000.

Cincinnati
Bengals bid to host high school finals
The Cincinnati Bengals and Hamilton County have bid on the right to host Ohio’s high school football championship games for at least three years. The bid calls for Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals’ home, to host the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s six championship games from 2007 to 2009. It also calls for an option in 2010 and 2011.

Cleveland
Cities to split Cavs’ payroll revenue
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Independence Mayor Fred Ramos announced a plan to split income tax revenue from the Cleveland Cavaliers’ payroll when the team begins practicing in Independence before the 2007-08 season. Legislation is expected to be introduced in both Cleveland and Independence that would, pending approval, provide for the revenue sharing.

Columbus
Nationwide to be involved in new ballpark
Franklin County commissioners are beginning contract negotiations with Nationwide Realty Investors for the company to serve as owners representative for a $65 million minor league baseball park. Nationwide Realty is the developer of the adjacent Arena District, having worked on projects valued at $616 million there, including Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL Blue Jackets.

Dallas
MLB Rangers engage Lexus name, image
Lexus is now the official luxury car of the Texas Rangers. The agreement, which extends through 2010, provides Lexus with in-park and on-air advertising and dealer events. In exchange, the club level of Ameriquest Field in Arlington will be known as the Lexus Club Level. Ballpark valet stations will be identified as Lexus Valet, and valet parking will be free for anyone who drives a Lexus to home games.

Denver
Lawmakers consider ‘Jerry Maguire’ bill
Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill to regulate sports agents. The so-called Jerry Maguire bill is formally known as the Uniform Athlete Agents Act and would require sports agents to register with the state before doing business. The law also would allow athletes the option of voiding a contract, without penalty, within two weeks of signing.

Coors Field section closed again
The Rockies for the second straight season will close off a section of upper-deck seats in right field for unpopular games, according to a report in the Rocky Mountain News. The club last season had the lowest attendance in its 13-year history at Coors Field, which seats more than 50,000.

Detroit
First 10 rows at the Palace: $199
The Detroit Pistons announced ticket price increases averaging up to 17 percent, but fans in the best seats received the biggest increases. Seats in the first 10 rows between the baskets will cost $199, up from $135 this season, but will include dinner before every game in the Palace’s new ERSA Club. Those same seats cost $90 last season.

East Rutherford, N.J.
‘Jersey’ to get equal play with Red Bulls
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and Red Bull reached a compromise that will allow the MLS Red Bulls to continue playing in Giants Stadium, according to a report in the Newark Star-Ledger. NJSEA CEO George Zoffinger said that Red Bull officials promised him they would print New Jersey along with New York on their tickets, incorporate New Jersey into team marketing material and change the team’s logo that prominently displayed New York.

Mills finishes lease ahead of Xanadu plan
Mills Corp. completed its lease payments to the NJSEA with a final $31 million installment for a 15-year lease on land around the Continental Airlines Arena, according to a report in the Newark Star-Ledger. Mills is partnering with Mack-Cali Realty to build the Xanadu retail and entertainment complex at the site.

Hollywood, Fla.
Casino arena has new football team
The Hard Rock Live arena, part of a tribal-owned casino in Hollywood, Fla., has gained its first team sports tenant, the Florida Frenzy of the National Indoor Football League. The Frenzy will play its seven home games in the arena this season, starting April 9 against the Fayetteville Guard. The 5,500-seat arena is part of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Mascots from the minors suited up and rubbed
furry elbows with Knicks fans.
Lubbock, Texas
Under Armour to clothe Red Raiders
Under Armour agreed to a five-year deal with Texas Tech University to be the official outfitter of the university’s Division I-A football team. The Texas Tech Red Raiders will be outfitted in Under Armour’s performance apparel and footwear.

Minneapolis – St. Paul
UofM to sell land for stadium funds
The University of Minnesota has offered to sell 2,840 acres in Rosemount, Minn., to the state for about $9.4 million a year for the next 25 years to finance the construction of an on-campus football stadium. That money would go toward the new stadium, and the university could still use the land for research.

Tech firm joins No. 41 Target Dodge
Imation Corp., an Oakdale, Minn.-based data storage company, will be an associate sponsor for Target Corp.’s racing team. The Imation logo will appear on the No. 41 Target Dodge throughout the NASCAR Nextel Cup season.

Newark, N.J.
Team reaches settlement with struck fan
The Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League and Riverfront Stadium’s concessionaire, Gourmet Dining Services of South Orange, N.J., reached an out-of-court settlement with a Newark man who sued both parties after being struck in the face by a foul ball while standing in line to buy a beer. Louis Maisonave, 47, of Newark, filed the suit after the incident occurred during a Bears baseball game in 1999. New Jersey lawmakers subsequently passed a bill that prevents similar lawsuits.

New York
Knicks welcome baseball to the Garden
The New York Knicks brought a blast of summer to Madison Square Garden on March 24, when the team hosted the first “Minor League Baseball Night” during its game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Eight of the area’s 11 minor league baseball teams were in attendance: the Brooklyn Cyclones, Staten Island Yankees, Bridgeport Bluefish, Lakewood Blue Claws, New Britain Rock Cats, Newark Bears, Hudson Valley Renegades and Somerset Patriots. Fans were able to meet team mascots and get information about the teams in their area.

Charity built into Yankees ballpark plan
As part of the Yankees’ proposal for a new ballpark, the club will contribute $28 million to a trust fund and distribute 15,000 free tickets each season to Bronx groups, according to a report in The New York Times. The proposal also calls for the team to pay $100,000 annually to maintain parks around the ballpark and give $100,000 yearly in equipment and promotional merchandise to New York schools and youth groups.

Taxpayers to build Yankees parking lots
The Empire State Development Corp. board of directors has approved $70 million in taxpayer money to build 4,735 parking spaces for the proposed new Yankee Stadium, according to a report in Newsday. The development corporation also approved $70 million for infrastructure improvements for the proposed Mets ballpark, according to the report.

Phoenix track is putting final touches on Octane,
a new club perched atop Turn 1.
Philadelphia
Phillies add food options at Citizens
The Philadelphia Phillies introduced a series of concession changes and additions at Citizens Bank Park for the 2006 season. Additions to the ballpark’s Ashburn Alley include Rick’s Steaks and Chickie’s & Pete’s. New food options include stromboli at Peace-A-Pizza stands, bratwurst at Hatfield Grill and “The Bulldog,” an extra-large kielbasa sandwich at Bull’s BBQ. Fans will also be able to use the MasterCard PayPass touch-and-go payment option when buying concessions at the ballpark.

FedEx sponsoring MLL Barrage
The Philadelphia Barrage of Major League Lacrosse signed a sponsorship deal with FedEx. As part of the agreement, the Barrage will present the FedEx High School Coach of the Year Award to a coach from both a boys’ and girls’ sport in the tri-state area at the final Barrage home game this season.

Phoenix
Raceway adds luxury club option
Phoenix International Raceway this month will debut a 100-person club called Octane above Turn 1 that will feature a bar, sushi bar, pasta and carving stations and desserts. Guests will have a full-service concierge and have the option of watching races indoors or outdoors on a private veranda. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series returns to Phoenix International Raceway April 19-22 for the Subway Fresh 500.

The 17th at Sawgrass had fans streaming.
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Record crowds flock to Players online
Live@17, the PGA Tour’s live online coverage of the first two rounds of the Players Championship, had record-breaking numbers in viewership with more than 540,000 total streams, a 150 percent increase over 2005. This year’s coverage included TV-like graphics and shot-by-shot statistics with ShotLink technology.

Sacramento
Ballclub lands deals, plans big season
The Class AAA Sacramento River Cats expect to sell 8 percent to 10 percent more tickets this year. The team drew 755,750 fans last season, and expects to welcome its 5 millionth fan by early May. The organization has landed 15 new corporate sponsors, including bedding retailer The Sleep Train Inc. This season, fans can buy autographed, player-worn jerseys. New promotional activities include an Easter egg hunt and “celebrate marriage” nights with men receiving a (base)ball and women, a (key)chain.

San Diego
Chargers OK $1.9 million settlement
The San Diego Chargers agreed to accept a $1.9 million settlement from the city for money the team lost over the past three years after Qualcomm Stadium was reconfigured to meet federal rules for accommodating disabled fans, according to an Associated Press report. To help out the cash-strapped city, a Chargers spokesman, Mark Fabiani, said that the team won’t seek payment until 2007.

Seattle
Budweiser at Qwest through 2010
The Seahawks and Anheuser-Busch have extended their partnership, making Bud Light and Budweiser the team’s exclusive alcohol beverage sponsor through 2010. The new deal includes a presence on radio game broadcasts and on seahawks.com. It also increases A-B’s sign and merchandising packages at Qwest Field and Events Center.

St. Louis
Bank of America, Cards extend pact
The St. Louis Cardinals and Bank of America will continue their nearly 70-year partnership with a significantly expanded sponsorship agreement. The new, six-year agreement ensures that Bank of America will remain the official bank of the team and the new Busch Stadium through 2011. The organizations have teamed up to launch the Bank of America Cardinals Care Glove Drive, which will benefit the team’s Redbird Rookies program and give fans the chance to win tickets to the Cardinals’ home opener April 10.

Free open house planned at new Busch
The St. Louis Cardinals will host two free open-house sessions April 8 at Busch Stadium. Up to 60,000 fans will have the opportunity to explore all public areas of the new ballpark, including the party rooms, Bank of America Club, Ford Plaza and the U.S. Cellular Family Pavilion.

Tampa
AFL Storm has $20 million price tag
Tampa Bay Storm owner Woody Kern has put his longtime AFL franchise up for sale, seeking at least $20 million. Kern, who bought the Storm for $477,000 in 1994, said he believes the team has a strong history to justify the price, including five ArenaBowl championships. Palace Sports & Entertainment, which handles the Storm’s local marketing and ticket sales as operator of the St. Pete Times Forum, says it isn’t interested in buying the team.

Devil Rays, Anheuser-Busch OK new deal
The Devil Rays signed a new two-year sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch but lost longtime sponsor Outback Steakhouse, which exercised an opt-out clause in a six-year deal that was not set to expire until 2008, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times. The MLB club declined to disclose the value of the new A-B deal.

Toronto
XM Canada tees up PGA Tour events
Canadian Stephen Ames’ victory at the Players Championship was heard on live satellite radio in Canada as part of a new broadcasting agreement between XM Canada satellite radio and Pure Golf, a golf programming company. Aside from live, four-round coverage of all PGA Tour events, XM Canada will also carry a one-hour Pure Golf morning talk show Monday through Friday.

Washington, D.C.
Nats could earn $203 million in new park
The Nationals could generate $203 million in revenue during their first season in their new ballpark in 2008, according to a D.C.-commissioned report cited by the Washington Post. The report, prepared by Economics Research Associates for D.C. CFO Natwar Gandhi, indicates that the Nationals can anticipate grossing $190 million from ticket sales, concessions and parking by the 2011 season and seeing that amount grow by 2.8 percent annually.

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CoastToCoast@sportsbusinessjournal.com or
phone (704) 973-1436.

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