SBJ/May 2-8, 2011/Coast to Coast

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  • Coast to Coast: D-Backs decorate desert

    AMHERST, MASS.
    UMass football moving to FBS                    
    The University of Massachusetts is elevating its football program to the Football Bowl Subdivision and will become a football member of the Mid-American Conference. The Minutemen will play their home games at Gillette Stadium, about a 90-mile drive from campus, beginning with the 2012 season.

    ANNAPOLIS, MD.
    Laxmedals.com sponsoring Bayhawks
    Laxmedals.com completed a sponsor agreement with the Chesapeake Bayhawks. The company will provide custom medals for distribution to participants of the Major League Lacrosse team’s pregame youth clinics. The medals will feature a nickel-plated 3-D logo with the Bayhawks’ name in recessed enamel.
     
    ATLANTA
    Glavine may invest in Thrashers
    Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine is interested in keeping the NHL Thrashers in Atlanta and is perhaps willing to become a partial investor, according to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Glavine said that he has spoken with franchise co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. and the team’s president, Don Waddell, according to the report.
     
    BOSTON
    Sullivan Tire launches site, offers prizes                       
    Sullivan Tire & Auto Service launched The Ultimate Baseball Showdown, giving Boston Red Sox fans the opportunity to take some swings against Jon Lester or pitch against Dustin Pedroia. The contest promotes Sullivan’s newly launched website. Contest entrants are eligible to win one of two grand prizes of joining Pedroia and Lester on the Fenway Park field Aug. 30.

    Gentle Giant rowing with regatta
    Head of the Charles Regatta and Gentle Giant Moving Co. reached a sponsorship agreement, designating the mover as the official moving and storage partner of the 47th annual event, Oct. 22-23. Gentle Giant will receive brand recognition across a variety of event marketing vehicles with the regatta. The company also will load and deliver race operations materials, boats, vendor equipment and apparel.

    GREGG FORWERCK
    Checkers goalie Mike Murphy gives Zach a boost on a customized skate.
    CHARLOTTE
    Checkers help family relocate                       
    Thanks to donations, fan support, and help from Charlotte Checkers partners and friends, a house has been bought for Zach Bennett and his family, who will relocate to Charlotte from Albany, N.Y. Zach, 11, suffers from neurofibromatosis. The Bennetts are former season-ticket holders of the Albany River Rats, who became the Checkers when the Charlotte team joined the American Hockey League last year. The Bennett family will move to Charlotte for medical care and to be closer to the team.

    CINCINNATI
    Bengals still considering indoor facility
    The Cincinnati Bengals are continuing a preliminary assessment about an indoor practice facility, according to a report in The Cincinnati Enquirer. There have not been discussions with the county about a facility, but the club has held talks with the Ohio Utilities Protection Service regarding utility work that would need to be done, according to the report.
     
    CORPUS CHRISTI HOOKS
    The left-field rockers are a perfect spot to snag home runs at Whataburger Field.
    CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

    Hooks invite fans to kick back                       
    Twenty-four Chaps Rocking Chairs have been made available nightly in the Goodwill Zone next to the Corpus Christi Hooks’ bullpen at Whataburger Field for the Class AA team’s games this year. A $15 chair ticket includes a hot dog, popcorn and soft drink.

    DOVER, DEL.
    FedEx on board for Sprint Cup race
    FedEx will title sponsor the May 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway and will continue the track’s tradition of making that race a fundraiser for Autism Speaks. Terms of the partnership call for FedEx to donate $100,000 to Autism Speaks if its driver, Denny Hamlin, wins the race.
     
    HOUSTON

    Astros ‘Play Green’ for fourth season
    The Houston Astros’ environmental campaign, Play Green, kicked off its fourth year last week. This seasonlong program features multiple ecological efforts and promotions encouraging fans to make conservation a part of daily life.

    HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIF.
    PowerBar supplying USA Water Polo
    PowerBar entered into a two-year agreement with USA Water Polo to serve as an official supplier. The agreement spans the 2011 FINA World Championships, 2011 Pan American Games and 2012 Olympic Games. USA Water Polo has its headquarters in Huntington Beach.

    KANSAS CITY
    Royals Charities surpasses $60K in grants
    Royals Charities donated more than $60,000 to 12 area organizations through its spring grant cycle. Included in the total is nearly $24,000 donated through its Royalty Fields program, which aims to improve local baseball and softball facilities. Royals Charities has donated more than $4.7 million to Kansas City-area charities since 2001.

    NEWARK
    Nets, HUMC form charitable partnership
    The Nets and Hackensack University Medical Center formed the Slam Dunk Fund: Score for Kids, Cardiac and Cancer. The charitable partnership will raise funds for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, the Heart & Vascular Hospital and the John Theurer Cancer Center at HUMC.

    ADAM PANTOZZI / NETS BASKETBALL
    Money raised from the hood auction will benefit pediatric cancer research.
    Nets, foundation, Volvo auction hood

    The New Jersey Nets teamed with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Volvo to auction off a hood of a Volvo signed by more than 50 current NBA players and hall of famers. The hood provided by Volvo, a founding sponsor of the foundation, had been placed during the 2010-11 NBA season at the entrance to the visiting locker room at Nets games at Prudential Center. The Steiner Sports auction will run through June 17. The foundation raises money to fight childhood cancers.
     
    NEW YORK
    Yankees give away flower seeds
    The New York Yankees partnered with Keep America Beautiful for an Earth Day celebration at Yankee Stadium. As an extension of the partnership, the first 18,000 fans in attendance for the Yankees’ game against Chicago last Thursday were slated to receive a package of flower seeds aimed at encouraging environmental betterment of communities.

    PHILADELPHIA
    PhillieBot throws out first pitch      
    A robot created by engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania threw out the first pitch before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park last month. The PhillieBot was designed to emulate a pitcher’s throwing motion. The robot bounced its pitch in front of the plate, though, generating a few boos among the fans.

    Eagles implement deferment option
    The Philadelphia Eagles initiated a deferment option for season-ticket-plan buyers, an offer that allows them to delay making their second payment on tickets until an official announcement that the 2011 season will be played. Season-ticket buyers were required to pay half their season-ticket fee by March 8, four days before the NFL lockout began. The team said about 35 percent of season-ticket buyers have already paid in full.

    Union’s youth program adds 19 clubs
    Fifty area soccer clubs are taking part in Philadelphia Union’s youth soccer partnership program for the 2011 season. After a successful inaugural season, all 31 partner clubs returned for 2011 and 19 new youth clubs have come on board to further strengthen the MLS team’s ties with the regional youth soccer community.

    PHOENIX
    Sports group creates prep division
    The Phoenix Regional Sports Commission created a high school sports division to develop national championship tournaments in the region. The goal of the division is to create a space in the greater Phoenix area for local teams to play top-flight competition at home and to take advantage of the area’s grassroots sports venues.

    All-Star ticket sales pass 40,000
    The Arizona Diamondbacks and MLB had sold more than 40,000 tickets as of late last month for the 2011 All-Star Game, along with more than 34,000 tickets each for the Home Run Derby and Futures Game, which precede the July 12 event. The club and MLB lowered ticket prices as much as 59 percent from last year’s All-Star Game and began selling tickets to the general public March 1, roughly seven weeks ahead of normal scheduling.

    The colorful cactus statues celebrate the Diamondbacks and all MLB teams.
    Cacti placed ahead of All-Star Game   
    MLB is teaming with Forever Collectibles to design a series of themed cactus statues as part of the celebration of this summer’s All-Star Week in Phoenix. Ten statues in four designs measuring 7.5 feet tall and weighing more than 700 pounds will be stationed around Phoenix. The statues will be placed in late May and displayed until after the All-Star Game on July 12. Collectible versions measuring 7.5 inches tall will be available at local retailers and through MLB.com later this spring.
     
    D-backs debut wireless portal
    The Diamondbacks debuted an interactive online portal that allows fans at Chase Field to see replays, get food listings and receive real-time game information on smartphones or tablet computers, according to a report in The Arizona Republic. There are 278 Wi-Fi access points throughout the ballpark.
     
    PITTSBURGH
    Drag strip ready with upgrades
    Pittsburgh Raceway Park has been upgraded ahead of a full season of racing slated for the venue this year, including an IHRA event scheduled for May 20-21. Upgrades were made to the track’s surface, grandstands and spectator facilities.

    SACRAMENTO
    Pledges reach $10M for Kings
    A campaign by local civic and business leaders to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Anaheim had brought in $10 million in corporate sponsorship pledges as of late last month. The efforts come ahead of a scheduled deadline of today for team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof to file for relocation of the franchise.

    SPARTA, KY.

    Track unwraps trophy design
    Kentucky Speedway unveiled its inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 trophy design, inspired by fan William Stohr of Sparta, Ky., through a fan contest. Stohr’s design was chosen from 120 entries and brought to life by designer Rusty Wright through an association with Maryland-based Aquarius Sports Management.

    ST. LOUIS
    Cardinals assist with tornado relief
    The St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinals Care made donations to the American Red Cross to assist with that group’s efforts to help families devastated by the recent tornadoes in the area. The team pledged $30,000 to the Red Cross, with $20,000 coming directly from the Cardinals and $10,000 from the team’s charitable foundation.

    TAMPA
    Rays’ Ks mean free eye exams, glasses
    The Tampa Bay Rays created a joint promotion with the Richard and Sharon Sanchez Family Foundation to help Tampa-area children receive eye exams and eyeglasses this season. As part of what’s being called the Caught Looking program, the Rays will mark the first called strikeout recorded by Tampa Bay pitchers in games this season with sponsorship of complimentary eye exams and pairs of glasses at Eye Associates of Pinellas for needy children.

    TORONTO
    Leafs studying women’s hockey
    The Toronto Maple Leafs formed a task force to study the promotion of women’s hockey, according to a Canadian Press report. The report noted that the NHL hired former WNBA President Val Ackerman as a consultant to come up with ideas on how it can help women’s hockey.

    WASHINGTON, D.C.
    Nationals ditch fireworks for sub horn
    The Washington Nationals this season are sounding a submarine horn after home runs and wins at Nationals Park instead of shooting off fireworks, according to a report in The Washington Post. It is a tribute to the team’s relationship to the military, the fans who work in the military, and the stadium’s proximity to the Navy Yard, according to the report.

    Send your Coast to Coast news to: CoastToCoast@sportsbusinessjournal.com or phone (704) 973-1436.

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