More money, tech in preview centers Champions 2015: Tom Jernstedt New commish, expansion greet AFL season Youth lacrosse tourney inspired by LLWS Comcast stakes claim at SunTrust Park Will Cowherd be the new Maher? The NHL and the Canadian dollar IMG College deepens ties with NCAA Toyota, iHeartRadio play Rock ‘n’ Roll Univision to produce weekly NBA shows
SBJ/Jan. 10-16, 2011/Coast to CoastPrint All
Braves caravan will hit 5 states
The Atlanta Braves are taking their show on the road Jan. 24 to Feb. 5 during the second annual Braves Country Caravan, presented by Academy Sports & Outdoors. With more than 25 stops in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, the team will travel more than 3,000 miles and meet thousands of fans before heading to Orlando for spring training.
$40 Super Bowl tours planned
The Dallas Cowboys and the NFL have created a stadium Super Bowl Tour, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The tours of Cowboys Stadium will be offered from Jan. 24 to Feb. 10, though no tours will be allowed from Feb. 4 until Super Bowl XLV kicks off at the stadium two days later. Tickets are $40 per person.
Pegula moves toward Sabres purchase
East Resources President and CEO Terry Pegula is moving toward a purchase of the Buffalo Sabres from Tom Golisano, according to a report in The Buffalo News. Pegula’s accountants and lawyers are performing due diligence, though the time frame for completing the deal remains unclear, according to the report.
Bobcats, Foot Locker forge deal
The Charlotte Bobcats have entered into a new multiyear marketing partnership with Foot Locker. Foot Locker will have a customized concourse window box at Time Warner Cable Arena, title sponsorship of the “officials for tonight’s game” announcement, a team website presence and a drive-to-retail promotion.
GM Mike Bodziach (left) and President
Collin Williams welcome fighters, fitness.
MMA training center opens
Emerald Smoke, Chicago’s first gym exclusively dedicated to mixed martial arts, held its grand opening Jan. 3. The Everlast-equipped training center features a full-size cage and professional fighters as trainers. Training programs include jiu-jitsu, muay thai, kickboxing and striking.
Cubs prepare for convention
The Chicago Cubs announced the first wave of attendees for the 26th annual Cubs Convention that takes place this weekend at the Hilton Chicago. Fans will have the opportunity to meet with players and staff from past and present, including Kerry Wood, Greg Maddux, Carlos Pena and manager Mike Quade. A weekend pass is $60 plus convenience fees, with proceeds benefitting Chicago Cubs Charities.
Snow Days attracts more than 50,000
The Cleveland Indians concluded the debut run of their Snow Days winter carnival at Progressive Field with a final attendance of more than 50,000. The figure was less than the 60,000 previously projected by club officials for the five-week run and a fiscal loss, which was expected, is likely due to the initial capital expense of equipment such as snowmaking gear. The event, however, generated revenue in at least the high six figures, an amount not subject to MLB revenue-sharing rules, and team officials said the event proved effective at attracting families as well as young adults.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.
Cycling teams include champions
The inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge event to be held in Colorado this year signed its first five teams, one of which includes Lance Armstrong. Current world champion Thor Hushovd and former world champion Cadel Evans also are members of participating teams for the August event. The teams are Team RadioShack, Liquigas-Cannondale, HTC-Highroad, BMC Racing Team and Slipstream Sports/Garmin-Cervelo.
Downtown rezoning gains support
City planners threw their support behind the Katz Group’s proposal to rezone a section of downtown Edmonton land for an entertainment complex that would include a new Edmonton Oilers arena, according to a report in the Edmonton Journal. Suggested bylaw amendments, which are scheduled to be discussed by City Council at a Jan. 18 public hearing, accommodate an arena, offices, homes, retail and other uses.
Packers prefer Van Lanen
The Green Bay Packers named Van Lanen the team’s preferred print partner, according to a report in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Van Lanen is a commercial lithographic printer based in Bellevue, Wis., and has provided the team with printing services for more than 50 years.
Royals will pick social media journalists
The Kansas City Royals added a new opportunity to the 2011 Royals FanFest presented by Sprint and Teva Neuroscience. Through the first-ever FanFest Digital Digest contest, fans who blog, tweet or produce videos will be chosen to report on FanFest, set for Jan. 21-22 at the Overland Park Convention Center, as social media journalists.
Dodgers, Cubs to meet at Cashman
The Los Angeles Dodgers will play a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Cashman Field in Las Vegas on March 13. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League, Class AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, will host both clubs for the exhibition.
USC taps FieldLevel for recruiting tools
The USC athletic department has implemented a Web-based software system from Santa Monica, Calif.-based FieldLevel that gives coaches improved communications with recruits, instant warnings of potential recruiting violations, real-time compliance reports and immediate oversight by school officials. All 19 NCAA varsity teams at USC are now using the software.
DAVID ALVAREZ / MIAMI HEAT
An interactive area at AmericanAirlines Arena encourages gaming and goofing off.
Heat, Kumho Tire open fan zone
The Miami Heat and corporate partner Kumho Tire USA launched an interactive fan zone at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Kumho Fan Zone features a gaming wall with four, 60-inch Sony HDTVs and Sony PlayStation consoles.
Marlins packing for military visit
The Florida Marlins will be making a visit to U.S. military personnel serving in Southwest Asia and Germany from Feb. 3 to 11. The visit will be made in association with Armed Forces Entertainment and will mark the Marlins’ second trip overseas in as many years.
Brewers call for fan recipes
The Milwaukee Brewers, in coordination with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Sportservice, are promoting their Create a Concession contest. The contest will culminate with one Brewers fan’s personal menu creation being added to the concession offerings at Miller Park this year. Through Friday, fans can submit their recipes at brewers.com/concessioncontest.
Giant scoreboard taking shape
Construction workers atop Miller Park prepare to place the new scoreboard.
Construction crews continue to make progress on installing a new scoreboard at Miller Park. The project is expected to be completed in time for the Brewers’ first game in April. The new scoreboard will be 5,940 square feet, compared with the current 3,728-square-foot display, making it the third-largest in baseball.
TwinsFest moves out of Metrodome
Because of ongoing repair issues with the Metrodome, TwinsFest 2011 has been moved to the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. The event, which serves as a fundraiser for the Twins Community Fund, remains scheduled for Jan. 28-30.
Vikings crucial to Metrodome revenue
Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Executive Director Bill Lester indicated that the Metrodome can’t stay open without the Minnesota Vikings, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The team’s lease to play in the facility expires after the 2011 season. The Metrodome brings in about $8.5 million a year: $6.6 million from the Vikings and $1.9 million from other bookings, according to the report.
FERNANDO MEDINA / ORLANDO MAGIC
Gilbert Arenas signs Magic basketballs that will help area schools and charities.
Magic gives boost to fundraising
Orlando Magic players and coaches last week participated in an internal autograph session for items to be distributed to nonprofit organizations, schools and charity events throughout Central Florida. Each year the autographed items benefit more than 1,000 local organizations and raise an estimated $100,000 for charitable activities.
WPS team to play games at Widener
The Philadelphia Independence of the Women’s Professional Soccer league reached a tentative agreement to play its 2011 home games at Widener University’s Leslie C. Quick Jr. Stadium in Chester, Pa. In its inaugural WPS season last year, the team played 20 miles away from the Widener campus at West Chester University in West Chester, Pa. The team hopes to eventually play at PPL Park, home of the MLS Philadelphia Union, which also is in Chester.
Union signs 15-year-old player
The Philadelphia Union signed 15-year-old Zach Pfeffer of Upper Dublin, Pa., to a contract. Pfeffer is the fourth-youngest player ever to sign an MLS contract and is the first player to become a member of the Union after participating in the MLS Homegrown Player initiative.
Elway, Marino go ‘Inside the Game’
The Wells Fargo Center is hosting a Philadelphia fan forum about professional football called “Inside the Game” this month. The event will feature Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway and Dan Marino, sportscaster Joe Buck, and Sports Illustrated writer Peter King. The Jan. 19 event is part of a three-city “Inside the Game” tour and is a production of the William Morris Agency. Shows will also be held Jan. 18 in Uniondale, N.Y., and Jan. 20 in Providence, R.I.
Free tacos tied to Suns’ efforts
The Phoenix Suns and Jack in the Box are offering fans two ways to win two free tacos with a 99-point promotion. When the Suns score at least 99 points or hold their opponent to no more than 99 points, all ticketed fans will win two free Jack in the Box tacos. The promotion started Dec. 31 and runs through the end of the season.
Timbers see healthy ticket trends
The Portland Timbers have sold 10,000 season tickets and sold out 33 full sections at PGE Park for their inaugural MLS season. The club plans to cap season tickets at 12,000 at PGE Park, which will hold approximately 19,000 fans once construction on the east and south stands finishes in late March.
Nike lights up in support of Ducks
The Montgomery Park building had a custom light job ahead of the national title game.
The sign atop the Montgomery Park building in northwest Portland has been overhauled to read “GO DUCKS” followed by the Nike swoosh sign, according to a report in The (Portland) Oregonian. Nike said the move was prompted by the building’s owners and is a temporary change timed to the University of Oregon’s appearance in the BCS National Championship Game.
SALT LAKE CITY
Mortgage firm presenting Jazz season
The Utah Jazz signed its first presenting sponsorship deal with Salt Lake City-based Academy Mortgage. Academy will be the team’s presenting sponsor for the remainder of this season and the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The deal includes a media buy, in-arena signage and promotion.
Next America’s Cup sailing in
San Francisco was chosen as the 2013 site for the America’s Cup, heralding a potential renaissance in competitive sailing and a boon of more than $1 billion to the local economy, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. The city beat out Newport, R.I., and Italy to host the event.
Panthers boost ‘Good Time Guarantee’
Sunrise Sports & Entertainment announced more complimentary ticket offers for Florida Panthers games as part of the team’s Good Time Guarantee promotion. The new offers include complimentary tickets for fans celebrating birthdays, newly married couples, seniors, and active or veteran military service members.
Baseball group to acquire Rainiers
SDL Baseball Partners and The Baseball Club Of Tacoma entered into a preliminary letter of intent for TBCOT to acquire the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. The Rainiers are the Class AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Whitecaps exceed 13,000 season tickets
The Vancouver Whitecaps reported brisk ticket sales for their inaugural MLS season, with more than 13,000 season tickets sold, according to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Whitecaps will start the 2011 season at Empire Field while BC Place stadium is fitted with a retractable roof.
Retail sales at FedEx Field were up nearly 70 percent over 2009 figures.
Redskins report retail rebound
The Washington Redskins and MainGate announced that retail sales at Redskins Team Store locations in Virginia and Maryland increased by nearly 50 percent in the last six months of 2010 compared with sales during the same period in 2009. Sales at the Hall of Fame store and game-day locations at FedEx Field were up nearly 70 percent.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.
Track plans $3M in renovations
Significant renovations totaling $3 million are planned for Watkins Glen International in time for the 2011 racing season. The International Speedway Corp. board of directors approved funding for a sweeping capital improvements project that includes four additional grandstands, a new Crown Royal Club and permanent showers in the infield.
WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS
IHRA welcomes new member track
The International Hot Rod Association signed Wichita Raceway Park as the latest track to join the sanctioning body and its family of member tracks. With the addition of the Texas facility, located northwest of Dallas, near the Texas-Oklahoma border, the IHRA has added nearly a dozen tracks over the past nine months. The addition also pushes Texas past North Carolina as the state with the most IHRA member tracks.