SBJ/August 15-21, 2011/Coast to Coast

Idaho Potato commission takes over bowl

ATLANTA
Braves prep for Family Field Day

The Atlanta Braves on Saturday are slated to host their Family Field Day presented by Publix Super Markets. Fans and aspiring big leaguers can learn pitching, hitting and fielding techniques from Braves players at Turner Field. The day also includes lunch, a ballpark tour and tickets to that evening’s game against Arizona.

RPM, Ambrose unlock new contest

Richard Petty Motorsports, Kwikset and driver Marcos Ambrose have partnered to launch the Race to Smart Security Facebook Sweepstakes. The winner of the program will have the opportunity to see Ambrose race a special Kwikset-branded No. 9 Ford Fusion at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 4. The contest, which calls for fans to “like” Kwikset door hardware on Facebook, runs through Aug. 21.

BOCA RATON, FLA.
FAU football stadium on schedule

Florida Atlantic University’s $70 million on-campus football stadium is about 85 percent complete and remains on schedule for its Oct. 15 unveiling against Western Kentucky, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post.

BOISE, IDAHO
Potato Commission takes over bowl

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is the new name for the Humanitarian Bowl, following the Idaho Potato Commission signing a six-year naming-rights deal to sponsor the bowl. This year’s game, featuring teams from the Western Athletic Conference and Mid-American Conference, will take place Dec. 17 at Bronco Stadium.

BUFFALO
Sabres group donates to lacrosse league

The Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association donated $10,000 to City Lacrosse, a community lacrosse league founded in Buffalo. The funding was made possible largely by money generated from the alumni group’s 50/50 raffle held at Buffalo Bandits home games during their 2011 National Lacrosse League season.

CANTON, OHIO
HOF gets $2.5M ‘Future 50’ gift

The Ralph C. Wilson Foundation made a charitable gift of $2.5 million to support the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s $27 million Future 50 project. The gift will be used to fund a new 10,000-square-foot Pro Football Research and Preservation Center. The larger Future 50 Project calls for the hall to expand from 85,000 square feet to 118,000 square feet. Its completion is scheduled for 2013, coinciding with the hall’s 50th anniversary.

CHARLOTTE
Hendrick funds middle school sports

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Hendrick Automotive Group agreed to a $250,000 deal that will allow the district to offer a full slate of middle school sports for the coming school year, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer. The deal makes HendrickCars.com an official sponsor of CMS athletics.

CLEVELAND
Cavs’ staff dresses for National Guard

Tracy Marek, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ senior vice president of marketing, and head athletic trainer Max Benton were invited to spend a day experiencing military life firsthand during the Ohio National Guard’s Joint Employer Event last month. The goal of the event was to showcase the duties of the Ohio Air and Army National Guard units to employers who allow their enlisted team members a leave of absence.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (2)
Trainer Max Benton (top) gets a look inside the new C-27 aircraft, and Tracy Marek (above) gets behind the wheel of a tank as part of the Joint Employer Event.

COLUMBUS

Tim Hortons concept set for arena

Tim Hortons will open one of its new-concept cafe stores in a 2,000-square-foot Nationwide Arena space, according to a report in the Columbus Dispatch. Tim Hortons has been a sponsor of the NHL Blue Jackets since the team’s founding 11 years ago. The new location should be ready before the mid-September start of the team’s preseason training camp, according to the report.

Idegy selects Aquarius Sports
Promotional merchandise company Idegy named Aquarius Sports and Entertainment its first sports marketing agency of record. Columbus-based Idegy will be the preferred promotional merchandise company for Fulton, Md.-based Aquarius.

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS
New triathlon set for 2012

City officials, High Five Events, Jack & Adam’s Bicycles, and Ryan-Sanders Entertainment have teamed for the creation of a triathlon event set to debut in 2012. The Republic of Texas Triathlon Festival April 14-15 will feature sprint, Olympic and half-distance triathlon events.

DENVER
NLL team starts ambassador program

The Colorado Mammoth has created a community ambassador program designed to promote education, sportsmanship and healthy lifestyles. The inaugural group of community ambassadors features team forward John Grant Jr., coach Bob Hamley, and president and general manager Steve Govett.

DETROIT
Wings, MillerCoors extend partnership

The Detroit Red Wings and MillerCoors agreed to extend their longstanding partnership through the 2015-16 NHL season. As part of the deal, Miller Lite will remain the official domestic beer of the Red Wings, and Molson Canadian will remain the team’s official imported beer.

EVANSTON, ILL.
Arena floor gets Facebook input

Northwestern University plans to redesign the floor at Welsh-Ryan Arena next month, and the school was expected to decide last week between four floor options partially based on fan opinions shared through Facebook, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

FOXBORO, MASS.
Kraft Sports Group, Putnam partner

Putnam Investments and the Kraft Sports Group formed a multiyear marketing partnership, bringing together Boston-based Putnam with the New England Patriots. The agreement calls for high-profile branding of new and improved properties at Gillette Stadium, led by the Putnam Club, which consists of two 60,000-square-foot indoor club spaces that will be accessible to more than 6,000 club-seat holders.

HONOLULU
Stadium, airline partner on field name

The playing surface of Aloha Stadium will become known as Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium under terms of a recently reached deal. Financial terms of the multiyear agreement were not announced but are expected to be in the range of five years and $2.5 million, according to a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

HOUSTON
Astros plan Hispanic cultural night

The Houston Astros will celebrate Houston’s Hispanic community and culture on Saturday when the team hosts Los Astros Night at Minute Maid Park. The celebration is presented by Goya Foods, Budweiser and Univision.

Rice weighing facility options
Rice University is exploring options to upgrade its football facilities, including the possible addition of a new end-zone complex at 60-year-old Rice Stadium, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle. Rice Athletic Director Rick Greenspan said that a student-used weight room and training room areas for the football program are top priorities.

INDIANAPOLIS
Pacers offer fan loyalty options

The Indiana Pacers are offering a loyalty option during the NBA lockout and talk of possible missed games for the 2011-12 season, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star. Ticket holders who pay in full or maintain their payment plans to keep money in their accounts can accrue, for each home game canceled, from 5 percent to 10 percent credit in the form of interest for future use.

KANSAS CITY
Royals-themed All-Star logo unveiled

The official logo of the 2012 MLB All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium was unveiled earlier this month. The design features elements of the Kansas City Royals’ crown logo, adorned with stars. The club’s blues and metallic golds are incorporated into the theme of a family crest.

KISSIMMEE, FLA.
Pop Warner, ESPN complex renew deal

Pop Warner signed a 10-year renewal through 2019 with ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. ESPN3.com will feature more than 40 hours of live game coverage and game cut-ins from the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

MESA, ARIZ.
Cubs may share with ASU baseball

Arizona State University is in discussions with the Chicago Cubs to practice and play Sun Devils baseball games at the Cubs’ new spring-training complex in Mesa starting in 2014, according to a report in the Arizona Republic. The Cubs approached ASU about sharing the $84 million complex.

MILWAUKEE
FS Wisconsin adds online play

Fox Sports Wisconsin launched GameConnect as an online tool designed to accompany the network’s Milwaukee Brewers telecasts, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The new system will provide real-time updates and statistics as well as full game box scores, team leader lists, and player bios.

NEW ORLEANS
Hornets, Citadel renew radio deal

Citadel Broadcasting renewed its deal as the New Orleans Hornets’ flagship home, with all games to air live on WMTI-FM in New Orleans and WEMX-FM in Baton Rouge, La. WMTI also will air daily morning talk shows launching closer to the start of the 2011-12 season.

NEW YORK
GEORGE NAPOLITANO
Toscano’s early career included singing at Brooklyn Cyclones games in 2003.
Former ‘Idol’ coming home to ballpark

Former “American Idol” contestant Pia Toscano will appear at the Aug. 22 Brooklyn Cyclones game at MCU Park. Toscano, from nearby Howard Beach, gave one of her first public performances in 2003 when, at the age of 15, she appeared at a Cyclones game to sing the national anthem. She will be honored in a pregame ceremony, take batting practice and throw out the first pitch.  

Barclays Center aligns with Coke
Coca-Cola was named the official carbonated soft drink provider of the Barclays Center and formed a sponsorship alliance with the New Jersey Nets for when the team relocates to the arena, being built in Brooklyn, for the 2012-13 NBA season. Coca-Cola will be the exclusive provider of carbonated soft drinks, juices, teas and other beverages at the arena.

OTTAWA
Senators say ‘Hockey Makes Us”

The Ottawa Senators launched their 20th anniversary season effort under the theme “Hockey Makes Us.” Members of the franchise’s 1992-93 team, the first group of modern-era Senators players, will be guests at Scotiabank Place on opening night, Oct. 11.

PHILADELPHIA
Flyers align with Trenton club

The Philadelphia Flyers entered into a minor league affiliation agreement with the Trenton Titans of the ECHL for the 2011-12 season. The agreement includes cross-promotional opportunities to help the Titans sell tickets through the Flyers’ fan base. The Trenton team had been affiliated with and owned by the New Jersey Devils the past four years.

TOM BRIGLIA
Shane Victorino and the Phillie Phanatic did some heavy lifting for Southwest Airlines.
Phillies go to work at airport

Philadelphia Phillies outfielders Shane Victorino and John Mayberry Jr. recently served as “sub-ins” for Southwest Airlines operations agents and ramp agents at Philadelphia International Airport. The duo helped unload bags, greeted passengers and mingled with travelers. Southwest is the official airline of the Phillies.

Eagles sell out single-game inventory
The Philadelphia Eagles sold out their inventory of single-game tickets for the 2011 season in less than an hour. Eagles President Joe Banner said in published reports that season-ticket renewals, waiting list applications and single-game sales show that local fans are ready for football post-lockout. The team did not say how many single-game tickets were sold.

SACRAMENTO
Poll shows arena, funding support

Two-thirds of polled regional residents support a proposed downtown arena, and job creation and economic development are the primary reasons they cite for that support, according to a poll released by Sacramento’s arena committee. Several possible funding sources had the support of at least 70 percent of those polled, including digital advertising signs and cell towers.

SAN DIEGO
Chargers create ‘Ladies’ group

The San Diego Chargers and University of California San Diego Health System partnered to create Lightning Ladies, an official Chargers support club designed for female fans. The club will have an annual $50 membership fee.

SAN FRANCISCO
Host Lucena Herrera packs each show with sports and entertainment news.

Puma partners with America’s Cup

The America’s Cup Event Authority named Puma its official sportswear partner. Puma will operate both the official online fan shop and on-location pop-up store in ports hosting races. San Francisco will host the America’s Cup Finals in 2013.

New sports radio show debuts
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area launched “The Lunch Box,” a live weekly half-hour sports and entertainment online show, presented on CSNBayArea.com. The show originates midday from the Comcast SportsNet studios in San Francisco each Tuesday and will incorporate musicians and DJs.

SEATTLE
Storm promotes summer health initiative

The Seattle Storm is partnering with Group Health Cooperative and PCC Natural Markets for a summerlong initiative  called Take Your Health by Storm. Group Health Cooperative is offering scholarships to youth basketball camps and is sponsoring fans to participate as Team Storm in local road races and triathlons. PCC Natural Markets is sponsoring the Storm Dance Troupe and is creating healthy eating tips aimed toward youth.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA.
LLWS pins to help Relay for Life

A specially designed Little League Baseball World Series pin aims to benefit the Relay for Life Team at the Little League International offices in South Williamsport. A group of 13 Little League employees annually raises money through different fundraising efforts for the Relay for Life event in May. There will be 1,000 pins sold for $4 each during this month’s World Series.

SUNRISE, FLA.
Panthers create loyal-fans section

The Florida Panthers have started a season-ticket seating section at BankAtlantic Center where no visiting fans will be allowed to sit, according to a Yahoo! Sports report. Seats in the Florida Panthers Red Zone start at $25 per game and include a red Panthers fan pack as well as the chance to win a red 2012 Ford Focus, according to the report.

TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG
Group lobbies for new Rays stadium

Clutch Hitters, a group promoting the Tampa Bay Rays to area companies, is working to get a new ballpark for the club, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times. Group leaders were scheduled to meet with St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster last week, hoping to end the standoff between the city and the team over building a replacement for Tropicana Field.

TORONTO
Rogers streaming Jays games online

Rogers Communications is allowing Toronto Blue Jays fans to watch live streams of the rest of the team’s regular-season games this year on mobile phones and over the Internet, according to a report in the Toronto Star. The games are available to Rogers customers through their Rogers on Demand service and its mobile counterpart, which has a $5 (Canadian) surcharge.

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

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