SBJ/June 6-12, 2011/Coast to Coast

Coast to Coast: Rangers sued by ticket scalper

GETTY IMAGES
A ticket reseller filed a lawsuit after years of selling to fans at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS

Ticket scalper suing Rangers

A ticket scalper has sued the Texas Rangers for refusing to sell him tickets. Michael Melendrez had regularly purchased blocks of 100 tickets for $10 apiece and resold those tickets for as much as $75, until the Rangers would no longer sell him tickets, according to the complaint. Melendrez filed the lawsuit in a Tarrant County court on May 20 against Rangers Baseball LLC, which operates as the Texas Rangers.

ATLANTA
Montgomery Gentry to play ballpark

Country music duo Montgomery Gentry will perform a free charity concert after the Atlanta Braves’ game on Father’s Day, June 19, in support of an annual leaguewide initiative to fight prostate cancer. Prostate cancer survivors will receive a free game ticket, T-shirt and the opportunity to participate in a ceremony before the game.

BALTIMORE
Ravens restore full pay to employees

The Baltimore Ravens had cut employee pay by 25 percent during the lockout, but a source cited in a Pro Football Talk report said that the team has reversed course, returning the employees to full pay and refunding all withheld compensation.

O’s welcome military members
The Baltimore Orioles are showing support for military members and their families through a variety of ticket offers, suite donations and game-day activities. A $3 ticket discount applies to all games; a buy-one, get-one-free offer exists for every non-prime Sunday home game; and complimentary “welcome home” messages can be set up on the scoreboard for all active military personal returning home from duty.

BOSTON
Red Sox On Demand goes HD

Comcast, in partnership with the Boston Red Sox, has started another season of Red Sox On Demand, delivering behind-the-scenes features, player profiles and on-the-field moments. The season led off with Red Sox Reports available in high definition for the first time. Other on-demand programs are expected to become available in HD later in the season.

BUFFALO
Gundlach eyeing Bills acquisition

DoubleLine Capital founder Jeffrey Gundlach said he is in the early stages of attempting to acquire the Buffalo Bills, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Gundlach acknowledged that Bills owner Ralph Wilson is unlikely to part with the franchise while still living, according to the report. Wilson, in response to the story, noted that he has said many times previously that he has “no intention of selling the team.”

Bigger locker room part of Sabres upgrade
Construction has started on a renovation of the Buffalo Sabres’ locker room and training facility inside HSBC Arena. The work will increase the size of the locker room by 76 percent, allowing for more off-ice workout space and expanded video rooms. A new postgame interview room is also being constructed. The upgrades will be done by the start of 2011-12 NHL season. The exact cost was not released.

Aspire to market, sell Buffalo tickets
The University at Buffalo Division of Athletics will partner with The Aspire Group to market and sell tickets to football and men’s and women’s basketball games. Sales will be done out of Aspire’s Atlanta Fan Relationship Management Center with a manager and four sales consultants beginning operation on campus in July. Terms were not disclosed.

CHICAGO
Sox ready for Bowling Classic

The Chicago White Sox will host the second annual White Sox Charities Celebrity Bowling Classic on Sunday. White Sox players, coaches and fans will aim for strikes in an effort to benefit pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children’s Memorial Hospital and Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago. The event, presented by Miller Lite, includes an auction and raffle.

CINCINNATI
Annual run adds 10K option

The 10th annual Subway Redlegs Run takes place on Saturday. The race’s 3.1-mile course starts outside Great American Ball Park, winds through downtown Cincinnati and finishes near home plate inside the ballpark. More than 3,400 runners and walkers participated in 2010. New for 2011 is a 10K race to celebrate the 10th anniversary. A fundraising initiative has also been added for 2011. Participants can raise money for the Reds Community Fund and earn incentives such as autographed memorabilia, game tickets and unique ballpark experiences.

CLEVELAND
New sponsor BP activates with Indians

The Cleveland Indians formed a new partnership with BP, making them the official fuel provider of the team. The deal includes a marketwide retail promotion at BP sites throughout the remainder of the 2011 season, as well as brand integration at Progressive Field.

COLUMBUS
Crew academy partners with youth club

The Crew Soccer Academy, the elite arm of the Columbus Crew’s player development system, and the Michigan Wolves youth soccer club formed a partnership. The relationship between the youth club (No. 4 in Soccer America’s 2010 rankings) and the MLS youth organization will be the first of its kind in the country.

MILO STEWART JR. / NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY
Baseball legends Cal Ripken Jr. and Phil Niekro explore the hall’s new exhibit.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.

Hall opens high-tech exhibit

The National Baseball Hall of Fame opened One For The Books, a permanent, $1.25 million exhibit on the sport’s famous statistical milestones developed in partnership with California-based film production outfit Legendary Entertainment. The exhibit includes two large touch-screen monitors for visitors to mine through the sport’s historical records. The statistical data is provided by baseballreference.com, which is owned in part by Big Lead Sports.

DENVER
Broncos have new home with KUSA

NBC affiliate KUSA-TV is the new home of Denver Broncos preseason games. The station also will air the team’s official regular-season postgame show and coach’s program. The Gannett-owned station replaces CBS affiliate KCNC-TV as the official local broadcast partner of the Broncos for the next two years.

HIDALGO, TEXAS
Vipers president wins D-League award

Rio Grande Valley Vipers President Bert Garcia won the NBA D-League’s Executive of the Year Award. Garcia has been with the team for five seasons, two as president. The Vipers were D-League champions in 2010 and runners-up in 2011.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIF.
USA Water Polo names official spa

VIDA Organic Life Massage was named the official spa of Huntington Beach-based USA Water Polo. Discounted services will be offered to athletes and coaches of the men’s and women’s senior national teams.

KANSAS CITY
Royals ready for Broadcast Auction
Royals Charities and Fox Sports Kansas City have their Broadcast Auction set for Wednesday. The second annual event will feature a special on-air auction, giving viewers the opportunity to bid on 10 unique ballpark experiences. The auction begins at 6:30 p.m. during the Hy-Vee Royals LIVE pregame show and continues throughout the game telecast.

Kings-Penguins set for Sprint Center
The Los Angeles Kings will play the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Sprint Center in a Sept. 27 exhibition game, according to a report in The Kansas City Star. The Kings are owned by AEG, which operates the Sprint Center, and will be playing their third exhibition game in Kansas City in the last four years.

LOS ANGELES
Dodgers, MLS club partner on ticket plan

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chivas USA for the first time are offering two ticket packages that include tickets to both a Dodgers game on Viva Los Dodgers Day (June 19) and a Chivas USA match (July 16). The $35 ticket offer includes a preferred field box ticket at Dodger Stadium and a midfield ticket for the Chivas USA match at The Home Depot Center. A second option is priced at $20.

Dodgers legends to tee up for foundation
The 10th annual Dodgers Dream Foundation Charity Golf Invitational will take place June 16 at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes. Each foursome in the tournament will golf with a Dodgers legend, current player, coach or Dodgers broadcaster. The day will include silent and live auctions, breakfast, and an awards banquet. All proceeds will benefit the Dodgers Dream Foundation.

NASHVILLE
Crons Brand opens first retail store

The Crons Brand, a Pittsburgh-based motivational lifestyle apparel brand, opened its first retail location, The Crons Mentality Store. The store, in Franklin, Tenn., features “Mentality Zones,” where different tenets of “the Crons mentality” will be highlighted. Several other retail locations are being planned for later this year in New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

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The No. 7 VooDoo Ride Chevrolet competed at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 28.
NEW ORLEANS

VooDoo partners with Rick Ware Racing

The Arena Football League’s New Orleans VooDoo and Rick Ware Racing jointly announced a partnership for the balance of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The VooDoo car will appear in NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Road America in Wisconsin on June 25 and Daytona International Speedway on July 1.

NEW YORK
New exhibit honors Steinbrenner
The New York Yankees have a new exhibit dedicated to honoring the legacy of George Steinbrenner at the New York Yankees Museum presented by Bank of America. “The Boss: Remembering George M. Steinbrenner III” opened late last month. The exhibit includes a variety of Steinbrenner’s championship rings, including all seven of his World Series rings, and his “Lead, Follow, or Get the Hell Out of the Way” sign from his desk at the original Yankee Stadium.

Yankee Stadium 5K set for Aug. 7

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Center will stage the Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 7. The race includes two laps on the warning track around the field. Through the support of 4,000 fundraising runners and corporate sponsors, the annual event will reach a three-year total of $1 million raised to support cancer research.

JASON DECROW / AP IMAGES FOR 2K SPORTS
MLB 2K11 devotee Brian Kingrey (left) turned an idle passion into real profit.
Halladay meets with 2K Sports winner

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay presented 2K Sports’ MLB 2K11 Million Dollar Perfect Game Challenge winner Brian Kingrey, of Hammond, La., with a check for $1 million during an event at Citi Field on May 27. Kingrey won the challenge by pitching a perfect game in 2K Sports’ “MLB 2K11,” using cover athlete Halladay.

Ballpark match features Ecuador-Greece
Antonio Valencia of Manchester United will play for the Ecuadorean national team as it takes on the Greek national team June 7 in the first soccer match at Citi Field. Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda also invited MLS rookie and recent Player of the Week Joao Plata of Toronto FC for the match, the team’s final warmup before the Copa America Cup.

NORTON, MASS.
Golf Town named Founders Club partner

Golf Town will become the newest Founders Club partner of the Deutsche Bank Championship. The multitier partnership includes Golf Town outfitting all 1,800 event volunteers with its Gordon Cooper Golf line of apparel. This year’s championship is Aug. 30 through Sept. 5 at TPC Boston.

PHILADELPHIA
Union staff will play Sons of Ben

Philadelphia Union staff will square off against the Sons of Ben, the team’s supporters club, in their inaugural River Cup charity match at PPL Park on July 15. The game will benefit one of the Union’s community partners, Chester City United, with all proceeds going to the local youth soccer organization. Fans supporting both teams will be able to buy $10 tickets at PPL Park.

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Army officer Steve Martin threw out the first pitch at Chase Field on Memorial Day.
PHOENIX

D-Backs offer military discounts

The Arizona Diamondbacks created a discounted ticket program for military personnel and first responders that started with their Memorial Day game and continues with the remaining nine Sunday home games at Chase Field this season. All active, reserve, retired and veteran military personnel as well as any active or retired fire and police personnel can receive a 50 percent discount for up to four tickets purchased anywhere in the ballpark.

SACRAMENTO
$387M downtown arena proposed

The Sacramento City Council received a report that concluded a downtown arena is feasible and, at $387 million, is less expensive than expected. The decade-plus effort to build a new home for the Sacramento Kings has never gotten this far or looked this promising, city leaders said. The city staff will spend the next 100 days developing a private-public funding plan.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA.
Little League Museum open for tours

Little League International and the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum will open its doors to the public for free tours and other events June 18 in recognition of National Little League Week. In June 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the proclamation designating National Little League Week as the week of Flag Day, which is June 14.

SPARTA, KY.
UNOH moves race sponsorship to July

The University of Northwestern Ohio will transfer its Kentucky Speedway NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title sponsorship originally scheduled for October to July 7. The UNOH 225 will set the stage for a weekend of racing that includes the July 8 Nationwide Series Feed the Children 300 and the Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 July 9.

SUNRISE, FLA.
Panthers renew with beverage supplier

National Beverage Corp. renewed its multiyear marketing partnership with the Florida Panthers and the BankAtlantic Center. LaCroix water is the official sparkling water of the team and the arena, and Ritz seltzer is the official seltzer and kosher beverage. National Beverage will receive exposure through in-arena signs, outdoor marquees, in-game announcements and online.

TAMPA BAY-ST. PETERSBURG
Bucs to furlough employees

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the growing list of NFL teams that have cut or furloughed employees during the work stoppage, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times. The team did not specify how many employees will be furloughed, though coaches and employees in football operations who work on contracts are not affected, according to the report.

TORONTO
Blue Jays help with summer safety tips

The Toronto Blue Jays are partnering on an initiative, organized by the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council, to bring back the Swing Into Summer Safety campaign. More than 200 provincial fire departments and the Blue Jays will distribute 135,000 sets of Blue Jays baseball cards equipped with safety tips for students.

WEST POINT, N.Y.
Press box built for Army baseball

The home of Army baseball, R.H. Johnson Stadium at Doubleday Field, is finally getting a press box. An enclosed multilevel steel and glass structure weighing about 12 tons that was built by Sportsfield Specialties in Delhi, N.Y., will be delivered to West Point by flatbed truck and then hoisted by crane for installation this month. The new box will have seating for up to 12 writers, scoring and sports information staff.
WORCESTER SHARKS
Worcester Sharks head coach Roy Sommer (yellow shirt) joined Red Cross members at the DCU Center to gather relief funds.

WORCESTER, MASS.
Sharks fundraiser aids Joplin efforts

The American Hockey League’s Worcester (Mass.) Sharks and the SMG-managed DCU Center held a fundraiser late last month that raised $2,500 for the American Red Cross to support the victims of the tornado in Joplin, Mo., and other disaster clients. Until the disaster in Joplin, the Worcester tornado of June 9, 1953, was the deadliest single tornado in the U.S. since 1950.

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

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