SBJ/May 30 - June 6, 2011/Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast: Royals, speedway assist with tornado relief

BALTIMORE
Preakness attendance up from 2010

The Preakness Stakes on May 21 drew the sixth-largest crowd and seventh-largest pari-mutuel handle ever for the event, according to Pimlico Race Course. Attendance was 107,398, up from 95,760 in 2010. Total handle for the 13-race card was $76,376,689, down from $79,248,002 last year.

HOUSTON

Astros start third ‘Kids Free’ deal

For the third consecutive season, the Houston Astros and Minute Maid have teamed up for the Kids Free All Summer promotion for regular-season home games. Two free tickets for kids ages 14 and younger are available for every purchase of one full-price adult ticket in certain seating areas. Every Astros home game through Sept. 4 is eligible.

Champions Tour event renamed

The Administaff Small Business Classic has been renamed the Insperity Championship, reflecting the new corporate identity of the tournament’s title sponsor. The Champions Tour event is scheduled for the week of Oct. 3 at The Woodlands Country Club north of Houston. Houston-based Insperity is a provider of human resources and business performance solutions.

KANSAS CITY
Royals, speedway aid tornado relief

Royals Charities, the charitable arm of the Kansas City Royals, is supporting local relief efforts for two area communities — Joplin, Mo., and Reading, Kan. — that were hit by devastating tornadoes recently. The group made a $35,000 donation to Heart to Heart International, an emergency response organization based in Olathe, Kan. Separately, Kansas Speedway is providing an opportunity for race fans to assist the area disaster relief efforts. For a $25 donation to the American Red Cross, fans can drive their personal vehicles around the speedway on June 24 from 2 to 7 p.m. For a donation of $50, fans can drive the track on June 19 as part of the first event under the lights at the track.

The Pinto Stampede Across America will take a pit stop and lap at Kansas Speedway.
Ford Pintos roll through for a lap

Ford Pinto owners from around the country are commemorating the famous vehicle’s 40th anniversary this year by completing a 1,600-mile journey starting in Denver and ending in Carlisle, Pa. The Pinto Stampede Across America was scheduled to roll through Kansas Speedway today for a lap on the 1.5-mile oval. The trek supports the Wounded Warrior Project.

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA.
G-Braves debut mobile app

The Gwinnett Braves, Class AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, released a mobile phone application for both Android and iPhone platforms. The app is free to download and is made up of seven sections, including schedule information, ticketing, weather data and social networking.

JON SOOHOO / LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The Dodgers are highlighting their Taiwan ties with promotions and stadium signage.
LOS ANGELES

Dodgers renew with Taiwan Tourism

The Los Angeles Dodgers renewed a partnership with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau for the 2011 season. Now in its third consecutive year, the partnership is highlighted by the Hong-Chih Kuo bobblehead promotion on June 14 and Taiwan Community Night on Aug. 13. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau will receive home plate permanent signage, LED signage and a promotional video about Taiwan displayed on DodgerVision throughout the season.

MIAMI
Sun Life, Dolphins seek grant applications

Sun Life Financial and the Miami Dolphins are seeking Sun Life Rising Star Award grant applications from nonprofit organizations in South Florida. The Rising Star Award program is designed to improve the lives of underserved youth by providing financial resources and education to students and nonprofit organizations. Each winning organization will receive a $50,000 grant and other resources. The program is the educational cornerstone program of the Miami Dolphins Foundation.

MILWAUKEE

Bucks sign YES Vodka

The Milwaukee Bucks reached agreement on a multiyear sponsorship with YES Vodka. The deal includes sponsorship on the Bucks radio network, in-arena signage and social media elements. The vodka brand became available at the Bradley Center starting with a May 21 Bon Jovi concert.

WAYNE KRYDUBA / MINNESOTA TWINS
Killebrew continues to be larger than life at Target Field.
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL

Twins honoring Killebrew

The Minnesota Twins took steps to honor hall of famer Harmon Killebrew, who died earlier this month. A black band was added to Killebrew’s retired number in left field at Target Field, and Killebrew’s signature was placed on the ballpark’s right field wall. A No. 3 patch also was added to all team uniforms for the rest of the season.

Session ends with no stadium deal
The 2011 Minnesota state legislative session adjourned last week without a budget or a stadium funding deal for the Minnesota Vikings. State Rep. Morrie Lanning said that those parties involved in stadium talks were still negotiating aspects of the plan recently proposed by the team and Ramsey County, according to a report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

NEW YORK
Red Bulls partner with Kia

The New York Red Bulls signed a one-year partnership with Kia Motors America to make the automaker the official automobile of the team and Red Bull Arena. An industry source valued the deal in the low- to mid-six figures. It’s the first automobile sponsor for the team under the Red Bull brand.

PENSACOLA, FLA.
Reds affiliate named Blue Wahoos

Pensacola Professional Baseball last week announced the name of the new local team, which will be the Class AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds: the Blue Wahoos. Shelley Yates of Pensacola submitted the winning name. Plan B Branding will create the new look and feel of the franchise, which begins play next year, from logos to characters to on-field uniforms.

PHILADELPHIA

MLS Union to play Real Madrid

The Philadelphia Union reached an agreement to host Real Madrid in an exhibition game at Lincoln Financial Field on July 23. The match is part of the World Football Challenge, a series of summer exhibitions between top European clubs and MLS teams. The contest will mark the 10th international soccer match Lincoln Financial Field has hosted since 2003.

Riversharks welcome laborious
The Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic League held Mommy-to-Be Night on May 21. The promotion, sponsored by Virtua, included a variety of baby-themed activities and games for chances to win prizes. All pregnant women in attendance were invited on the field during the seventh-inning stretch to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The team also was offering free 2012 season tickets to anyone who went into labor at the game.

PHOENIX
MLB promotes FanFest wedding

Major League Baseball plans to host a wedding at All-Star FanFest for the first time this year. Couples are invited to share their stories at allstargame.com/fanfestwedding for a chance to win the wedding, which will be held July 12 at the Phoenix Convention Center, site of FanFest. The winning couple will receive a wedding package that includes the ceremony, dress, rings, a catered reception for 50, roundtrip airfare and two tickets to the All-Star Game.

NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
Team president Larry Miller (right) helped introduce Cho to the press last July.
PORTLAND

Cho out as Blazers GM

The Portland Trail Blazers fired Rich Cho, general manager of basketball operations, 10 months into his three-year contract for what the team called a “chemistry” issue between Cho and owner Paul Allen, according to a Portland Oregonian report. Chad Buchanan, director of college scouting, will serve as acting GM until the team hires a permanent replacement.

RALEIGH

RBC Center studied for improvements

RBC Center owner The Centennial Authority commissioned a study that will identify tens of millions of dollars more in capital spending that will be needed at the facility over the next couple of decades. The authority is paying Populous $125,000 for the study, which will update a capital improvement plan done in 2006.

Olympic trials events scheduled
USA Table Tennis selected Cary, N.C., as the host city for the 2012 U.S. and North American Table Tennis Olympic Trials. The U.S. Olympic trials will be held Feb. 8-12; the North American Olympic trials will be held April 18-22. This marks the first time that suburban Cary will host an Olympic trials event.

SAN DIEGO
Chargers’ home needs $80M in repairs

A city of San Diego report found that Qualcomm Stadium needs $79.8 million in maintenance, repairs and improvements over the next seven years, according to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune. The study indicated that the city will continue to lose more than $10 million a year operating the stadium through 2020 regardless of whether the San Diego Chargers stay at the venue, get a new stadium site or leave the county.

SAN FRANCISCO
Giants to create Champions Walk

The San Francisco Giants announced plans to create a World Champions Walk in recognition of the team last year winning its first World Series title since moving to the city. The designated path outside AT&T Park will feature granite markers depicting moments from the 52-year wait for a World Series title. Fans will be able to purchase brick pavers to commemorate their own favorite moments.

SEATTLE STORM
The 2010 WNBA champions are promoting a new look for their upcoming season.
SEATTLE

WNBA Storm hoist ad campaign

The Seattle Storm is getting a new look, a new expression of its brand, and a new ad campaign as it heads into a new season. The campaign, designed by agency Wunderman, includes billboards, television and radio spots, print ads, online marketing, and new sales collateral targeted at driving ticket sales.

Mariners offer ‘King’s Court’ tickets
Discounted Seattle Mariners tickets are being
offered in a special section of Safeco Field on nights 2010 Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez pitches, according to a report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Section 150 will be called King’s Court for each of Hernandez’s home starts. Tickets in that section will cost $30, down from the normal $40 price, and fans in the section will receive Hernandez T-shirts.

ST. LOUIS
Cardinals donating to disaster relief

The St. Louis Cardinals will make a $25,000 donation to Convoy of Hope to assist families devastated by the tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., earlier this month. The Class AA Springfield (Mo.) Cardinals also planned to collect fan donations at the gates before each of their games during last week’s homestand at Hammons Field.

SUNRISE, FLA.
360 will consult on arena projects

Sunrise Sports & Entertainment has retained 360 Architecture to consult on conceptual projects both in and around BankAtlantic Center. Potential projects include the creation of all-inclusive premium-seating locations, an inner bowl bar, suite-level opera boxes and digital signage opportunities.

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

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