SBJ/Feb. 7-13, 2011/Coast to Coast

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  • Coast to Coast: Blazers, Eagles freeze ticket prices

    Bettman talks NHL team news
    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking during NHL All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, addressed several league and team issues.
    • He declined to comment on the specifics of the recently filed litigation involving the Atlanta Spirit, owners of the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta Spirit filed a $200 million malpractice lawsuit against an Atlanta law firm used in the buyout of former partner Steve Belkin.
    • He said the league is entertaining half a dozen interested parties to buy the Dallas Stars. The NHL has been working with team owner Tom Hicks to find a buyer for the club. “The league is not, I repeat, not funding the club,” Bettman said. “There’s an orderly sales process under way.”
    • He said the league’s board of governors is confident that the proposed sale of the Phoenix Coyotes to Matthew Hulsizer will be completed soon. Bettman said the NHL earned the right to explore other sales options on Dec. 31, but the league is not entertaining other options.

    SDSU signs Learfield for rights

    Learfield Sports struck a multimedia rights deal with South Dakota State University beginning with the 2011-12 school year. This marks the first such comprehensive rights agreement for the school. Learfield will establish Jackrabbit Sports Properties to oversee and manage the marketing and media rights.

    The plan includes the county buying an $8 million scoreboard in the next two years.
    Bengals seek county funding

    The Cincinnati Bengals want Hamilton County to pour $43.6 million into Paul Brown Stadium repairs and improvements over the next decade, according to a report in The Cincinnati Enquirer. The county, which owns the stadium, is legally obligated to pay for the improvements under the terms of the lease it agreed to with the Bengals in 1997.

    Wings see value in outdoor game, show

    The Detroit Red Wings may pursue an outdoor game at Comerica Park in the future, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. Tom Wilson, Olympia Entertainment president and CEO, said he will have conversations with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and owner Mike Ilitch, who also owns the MLB Tigers, about whether the Wings would consider hosting the NHL’s Winter Classic at the Tigers’ ballpark and taking part in a “24/7”-style show, as Washington and Pittsburgh did with HBO ahead of this year’s game.

    Royals promote Pick 15 ticket plan

    The Kansas City Royals launched a ticket package for the 2011 season called the Pepsi Max Pick 15 Plan. Fans can choose from all 81 home games in customizing their plan. Buyers will also receive a voucher for a free two-liter bottle of Pepsi Max redeemable at local Hy-Vee stores.

    Speedway widens seats, cooler specs
    Kansas Speedway is increasing the width of its seats throughout the grandstands, a project that is set for completion in time for the track’s June 4-5 event weekend. The speedway is also increasing the size of coolers that fans can bring to the track. Starting in June, soft-sided coolers measuring 14 by 14 by 14 inches or 2,700 cubic inches will be permitted, which is six times bigger than in years past.

    Brewers adjust Founders Suites terms

    The Milwaukee Brewers have commitments for all but one of 18 Founders Suites at Miller Park, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The 10-year leases for all 18 lower-level suites ended after last season. Rick Schlesinger, executive vice president of business operations for the Brewers, said that a $200,000 license fee for 2011 was required for each lease, with the option of three, five or seven years to prevent all from expiring at the same time.

    The Eagles finished with a 4-4 home record and atop the NFC East at 10-6 overall.

    Eagles not increasing ticket prices

    The Philadelphia Eagles will not increase ticket prices for the 2011 season. The team has had one price increase over the past four years. Last year, the average ticket price for an Eagles game ranked 20th in the NFL.

    Premier re-signs with Independence   
    Premier Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Associates signed a deal to be presenting sponsor of the Philadelphia Independence for the second straight year. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Under the jersey sponsorship agreement, Premier Orthopaedics will expand the support services the company provides to the Women’s Professional Soccer club.

    Documentary nominated
    The movie “Inside Job,” a film for which Philadelphia Eagles owners Jeff Lurie and his wife, Christina, served as executive producers, was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary category. The Luries helped finance the film about the worldwide financial crisis through their documentary film company, Screen Pass Pictures.

    Blazers freezing ticket prices
    After two years of raising ticket prices, the Portland Trail Blazers will keep rates flat for the 2011-12 season. Some sections will see price drops. Tickets in the corner sections of the team’s club section will be $89, or about $30 less than club tickets offering direct court views.

    Canes owner closing in on investors
    Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos said he believes he is close to securing an investor or a group of investors in the team, according to a report in The (Raleigh) News & Observer. The report quoted Karmanos: “I want people from the Raleigh area, because I think having more community involvement will help.” Karmanos hired Allen & Co. last year to help find an additional investor.

    More info sought on arena proposals
    The Sacramento City Council decided Jan. 25 to bring four development groups back in two weeks to learn more about their qualifications and financing approach for a new arena for the Sacramento Kings. The city at that point could then decide how to proceed on finding a solution for a new sports and entertainment complex.

    Blues await news from Checketts

    The St. Louis Blues and the NHL seem confident Dave Checketts will strike a deal with investors and remain in control of the team, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Checketts indicated in December that a newly structured ownership group for the club, with an additional investment group being in place, would be complete at the latest by early February, according to the report.

    A microchip-embedded jersey for each
    season-ticket holder earns discounts at retail and concession stands.

    Lightning phasing in new logo, uniforms

    The Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled a new logo and new home and road uniforms for the 2011-12 season in a rebranding effort. The team will continue to display its current logo and jerseys through the end of this season, though the updated logo will immediately have a presence at St. Pete Times Forum.

    Bauer Hockey seeks public trading

    Hockey-equipment manufacturer Bauer Hockey filed a preliminary prospectus with the Ontario Securities Commission to have its stock publicly traded with the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a report in The Hockey News. Nike in 1995 purchased the company for $415 million and took it private, but it was bought from Nike for $200 million by Kohlberg & Co. and Graeme Roustan in 2008.

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