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City spending board OKs IRL race
Baltimore’s spending board approved a five-year agreement to bring a proposed Baltimore Grand Prix to town, beginning in 2011. The deal paves the way for the Indy Racing League’s final sign-off on a licensing agreement with Baltimore Racing Development, the organizers behind the event. The race would be run along a 2.4-mile route that would feature the city’s Inner Harbor and Camden Yards.
Penn, MI to operate Maryland Jockey Club
Penn National Gaming and MI Developments established a joint venture to own and operate the Maryland Jockey Club. Under terms of the deal, Penn National and MI also will collaborate to enhance the racing operations at Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course. The transaction is expected to close later this year.
‘Ray Lewis Way’ unveiled
The intersection of North Avenue and Broadway in East Baltimore was renamed “Ray Lewis Way” last week. The site is home to the Diakon Center, where the Baltimore Ravens linebacker and his charitable foundation host an annual Thanksgiving food giveaway for nearly 1,000 Baltimore families in need.
Bobcats sign official Realtor
The Charlotte Bobcats entered into a marketing partnership with residential brokerage firm HM Properties. The partnership gives HM an in-arena presence through both the scoreboard and LED signage, a full-page ad in the team’s program, digital presence at bobcats.com, and designation as the official Realtor of the team.
Subway, Bud Light sponsor invitational
Subway and Bud Light signed on to sponsor the inaugural USA 7’s Rugby Collegiate Championship Invitational, which will air live on NBC and Universal Sports June 5-6. Both brands receive category exclusivity, in-stadium presence at Columbus Crew Stadium, TV spots, and a presence on NBCSports.com and USASevensCCI.com.
Astros tallying top players
As part of the Houston Astros’ 45th anniversary season, the team is rolling out a Player of the Decade program. The online, seasonlong vote highlights a different decade each month. Voters are automatically entered for the chance to be on the field during a pregame ceremony in September honoring the winner of each decade.
Arena attracts more sponsors
Six more companies have signed partnership agreements for the KFC Yum! Center, bringing total sponsorship revenue to more than $44 million. Brown-Forman Corp. signed a five-year, $1.25 million deal that will name the building’s largest events room after its Woodford Reserve bourbon. Also signing deals are OfficeWare; Kentucky Ale; E.On US, as the building’s energy provider; Klosterman Bakery; and JBS Swift, which signed a three-year agreement to have its name on menu boards.
Brewers eyeing golf event
The Milwaukee Brewers are trying to bring a Champions Tour event to Milwaukee to replace the defunct U.S. Bank Championship, according to a source cited in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. It would be the first such partnership between the PGA Tour and a major professional sports franchise, according to the report.
Backstrom to pick fan’s mask design
The Minnesota Wild is running a contest that gives fans 18 and younger the opportunity to design a mask that goalie Niklas Backstrom will wear next season. Submissions are due by July 15 and will be narrowed to five finalists. The winner, who will be chosen by Backstrom and announced Aug. 2, will have the opportunity to sit in the workshop of goalie mask designer Todd Miska, who will take the design and create Backstrom’s mask.
MLS having new Impact
The Montreal Impact will be Major League Soccer’s 19th team and will begin play in 2012 at Saputo Stadium, with a select number of games at Olympic Stadium. Saputo Stadium will undergo roughly $23 million (Canadian) in improvements in order to transition to a 20,000-seat soccer-specific configuration. The franchise fee to join MLS was reportedly $40 million, $5 million more than was paid by Vancouver, which will begin play in 2011.
McEnroe to start tennis academy
The John McEnroe Tennis Academy will be established in September on Randall’s Island in New York, according to a report in The New York Times. The academy will be based at the 20-court Sportime facility and will be managed by McEnroe’s brother Mark, according to the report.
Thunder sees high renewal rate
More than 90 percent of Oklahoma City Thunder fans have renewed season tickets for next season, according to a report in The Oklahoman. The team sold 11,100 season tickets last season. Team officials capped season-ticket sales at 13,000 two years ago, and the team will do so again if necessary to assure 5,000 tickets will be available for half-season plans, 10-game packages, group sales and individual tickets, according to the report.
Amway Center names art consultant
Sports & The Arts was awarded the role of art consultant for the curation and installation of artwork, photography and large format graphics housed in the new Amway Center. The collection will include a number of fine art original paintings, photographs, sculptures and graphic wall treatments highlighting both the Orlando Magic and the spirit of Orlando and Central Florida.
Opponents of law target All-Star Game
Hispanic activists and labor unions sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig asking him to move the 2011 MLB All-Star Game out of Phoenix. The National Council of La Raza, AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, America’s Voice, and other Hispanic and liberal advocates wrote the letter in protest of Arizona’s new immigration law, which gives police broader power to question and detain people suspected of being illegal immigrants.
Coyotes still taking deposits
The Phoenix Coyotes continue to procure $100 deposits on season-ticket plans for next season even though the team’s fate has been in limbo for the past year. Reports in Canada had indicated that the Coyotes’ uncertain ownership situation had prompted the club to stop selling season tickets for the 2010-11 season.
Kings set up lottery party
The Sacramento Kings will hold a free block party for Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery in midtown Sacramento. The Kings will show the live ESPN telecast on a giant outdoor screen and will give out prizes, while area merchants will offer special deals.
Sounders offer freebie after loss
The Seattle Sounders are refunding their 32,000 season-ticket holders for the team’s 4-0 loss against the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 8. The refund will come in the form of a one-game credit toward season-ticket packages next season. A Seattle Times report quoted team owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer: “We don’t plan on giving people money back every time we have a bad game. But … we reserve the right to do whatever we think we need to do to treat our fans the way they’ve treated us.”Send your Coast to Coast news to: CoastToCoast@sportsbusinessjournal.com
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