SBJ/August 29-September 4, 2011/Coast to Coast

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  • Coast to Coast: Braves all atwitter again

    ALBANY, N.Y.

    Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Armada Group is on board with Siena’s mobile experience.
    Mobile unit to promote health, Saints
    Siena College athletics and the Armada Group signed a three-year agreement to produce and manage the MVP Health Care Siena Saints Mobile Experience. The touring effort will run for three years in the capital region, promoting wellness and fitness by offering fans interactive games along with chances to win Siena men’s and women’s basketball tickets.

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS
    Nolan Ryan bottles up

    Baseball hall of famer and Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan has launched his own line of barbecue sauces: Nolan Ryan’s Throwin Smoke BBQ Sauce. Two flavors — Original and Sweet & Tangy — come in 18-ounce bottles and are available exclusively at North Texas Kroger stores. Fans outside of North Texas can order bottles online at www.plbsports.com.

    ATLANTA
    Braves holding first tweetup

    The Atlanta Braves are scheduled to hold their first tweetup at Turner Field on Thursday. Attending the “TweetUp @ the Ted” will be pitcher Kris Medlen (@KrisMedlen54) and broadcasters Chip Caray (@Kapaya1234) and Jim Powell (@Jim_Powell). Tickets are $25 and include a game ticket, two drink vouchers, admission to the pregame question-and-answer session, and an exclusive T-shirt.

    Importer sued over Braves hats
    Billion International Trading Inc. is being sued for more than half a million dollars for allegedly trying to import counterfeit Atlanta Braves caps into the United States, according to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The caps, intended for distribution in the Atlanta area, were seized at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in December 2008.

    Braves raise more than $200,000
    Braves Alumni Weekend raised more than $200,000 to benefit the Atlanta Braves Foundation and its grants program. Events from Aug. 12-14 included Bobby Cox’s induction into the Braves Hall of Fame and the first #BravesBash digital and social media event. More than 130,000 fans attended the weekend’s games against the Chicago Cubs.

    Falcons promote ‘RISE UP’ tickets
    The Atlanta Falcons have a new season-ticket program called RISE UP and Share. The program, administered through the Falcons Youth Foundation, enlists Falcons season-ticket holders and other fans to purchase and donate season tickets priced at $350 each. The team has set aside 100 such season tickets for each game so that a total of 1,000 children and their parents or guardians have the opportunity to attend a Falcons game this season.

    AUSTIN, TEXAS
    Texas still atop CLC ranking

    For the sixth consecutive year, the University of Texas is No. 1 on Collegiate Licensing Co.’s annual list of top-selling institutions and manufacturers. The rankings represent royalties reported between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011, on all collegiate merchandise sold on behalf of CLC-represented institutions. Auburn University moved up to No. 4 from No. 15 due in part to winning the football national championship in January. Alabama (No. 2), Florida (No. 3) and Michigan (No. 5) rounded out the top five.

    BERKELEY, CALIF.
    New Cal sports center opening

    The University of California’s new $143 million High Performance Center is scheduled to open Thursday, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. Thirteen of the university’s 26 sports teams will take up residence at the facility. Architects from Hunt Construction Group designed the more than 800-foot-long structure to meld with Memorial Stadium, according to the report.

    BOISE, IDAHO
    CenturyLink takes over arena name

    Qwest Arena, located in downtown Boise and home of the Idaho Steelheads and Idaho Stampede, is becoming CenturyLink Arena. CenturyLink acquired Qwest Communications on April 1. CenturyLink Arena has seating for 5,000 people, including 39 suites and the SportZone restaurant and bar that overlooks the arena.

    BOSTON
    Bruins pick Arnold for marketing

    The Boston Bruins selected locally based Arnold Worldwide as their agency of record. The company for the 2011-12 season will launch an integrated marketing campaign that includes digital, TV, print and out-of-home components. Arnold is also the agency of record for New Balance and Titleist.

    BUFFALO
    Bills name official real estate firm

    The Buffalo Bills partnered with Hunt Real Estate, making Hunt the official real estate and relocation firm of the NFL team. Hunt receives training camp activation opportunities as well as Bills website advertising options.

    CHICAGO
    Ricketts looking outside for new GM

    Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts plans to go outside the organization to find a new general manager after dismissing Jim Hendry earlier this month, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. Ricketts noted that the franchise has a need for a general manager with a strong analytical background as opposed to a traditional, trust-your-scouts philosophy, according to the report.

    Runners will line up with soccer stars
    Thirteen applicants will be chosen to run two-mile legs each of the Oct. 9 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with U.S. women’s soccer players Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. The trio has not yet decided how many miles each will run as part of their relationship with the marathon’s “Let’s Run Together” charity campaign.

    CINCINNATI
    Bengals go local for pizza deal

    The Cincinnati Bengals signed local chain LaRosa’s Pizzeria to a marketing agreement. The Bengals will sell LaRosa’s pizza at concession stands during all games at Paul Brown Stadium. The team previously has sold Donatos pizza at home games.

    Xavier installs new basketball court
    Xavier University installed a $120,000 court at Cintas Center, home to its men’s and women’s basketball teams. The previous floor had been used since the building opened on Xavier’s campus in 2000. Cincinnati-based Robbins Sports Surfaces built the floor while Cincinnati Floor Co. installed it. The floor features a darker appearance than the previous court, aimed at making it look better to TV viewers.

    CLEVELAND
    Indians ticket sales up 45%

    Cleveland Indians tickets sales are up 45 percent this year and single-game tickets sold for the year are up 67 percent from last season, according to a report in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. The team’s average game attendance of 22,196, however, still ranks 25th among MLB’s 30 clubs.

    COLUMBUS
    GREATER COLUMBUS SPORTS COMMISSION
    Blue Jackets All-Star Rick Nash (middle) is joined by Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Dino Ciccarelli (left) and hockey analyst Ed Olczyk at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission’s The Morning Sports Report, the sports commission’s annual breakfast.
    Sports commission shows new look

    The Greater Columbus Sports Commission unveiled its new logo to hundreds of attendees at The Morning Sports Report, the sports commission’s annual breakfast. The breakfast was presented by Marathon Oil and Fox Sports Ohio.

    City lands volleyball championships

    The Greater Columbus Sports Commission, in partnership with the Ohio Valley Region of USA Volleyball, secured the USA Volleyball Girls Junior National Championships for 2012. The event represents the largest event booked in the sports commission’s history and one of the largest events booked in city history. The 12-day event is expected to result in more than 40,000 hotel room nights at nearly 60 hotels in central Ohio.

    DETROIT
    GETTY IMAGES
    The Tigers’ Delmon Young blasted a three-run homer into the sellout crowd on Aug. 21.
    Comerica Park breaks attendance record

    A sellout crowd of 43,388 attended the Aug. 21 Cleveland Indians-Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park. The sellout gave the three-game series a total attendance of 132,239, making it the largest total crowd for a three-game series in the 12 seasons since the ballpark opened. The previous record of 131,463 was set during a 2008 series against the Chicago White Sox.

    LAWRENCEVILLE, GA.
    Braves raise $11K in cancer fight

    The Gwinnett Braves’ inaugural Cancer Awareness Weekend earlier this month raised a total of $11,015. The club is the Class AAA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

    LOS ANGELES
    USC, council renew ticket effort

    The University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Sports Council Foundation are teaming up once again on Touchdown For Youth, an annual program that sends thousands of kids to a Trojans home football game. For each tax-deductible contribution of $30 from an individual or corporation, one child will attend the game as the donor’s guest.

    LOUISVILLE, KY.
    Fanatics hiring up to 800 workers

    Sports merchandise firm Fanatics expects to hire 600 to 800 seasonal workers for a fulfillment center it opened recently in Louisville. Jacksonville-based Fanatics operates more than 250 e-commerce websites, including footballfanatics.com, and more than 60 e-commerce stores for college and pro sports teams. The company was purchased in March by GSI Commerce Inc.

    MIAMI
    DAVID ALVAREZ / MIAMI HEAT
    Heat assistant coach Ron Rothstein helped distribute school supplies at a local school.
    Heat helps kids with supplies

    The Miami Heat kicked off the 2011-12 school year by welcoming back students at Mae M. Walters Elementary on Aug. 22. Heat personnel distributed 900 backpacks filled with school supplies, courtesy of the Office Depot Foundation, to children entering the school. The event was co-sponsored by Entenmann’s and COWs — Container On Wheels mobile storage.   

    MILWAUKEE
    Brewers’ crowds, retail hit highs

    Milwaukee Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger said the team will hit 3 million in attendance by regular season’s end, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. It would be the third time since 2008 the club has reached that mark. In addition, the Brewers are in the top third among all clubs for retail sales within their own ballpark.

    MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL
    Wild, arena complete ‘10 Acts’ program

    The Minnesota Wild and Xcel Energy Center completed their 10 Acts of Thanks initiative. The project was announced on Oct. 6 last year as a way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Wild and Xcel Energy Center. Employees worked together to organize and implement an event each month that benefited the community.

    Twins hold prices steady, add benefits
    The Minnesota Twins will keep season-ticket prices for the 2012 season at Target Field unchanged from this season. The team plans to add to season-ticket holders’ value with the addition of benefits to the Sweet Spot rewards program.

    Roof scraps given at Metrodome event
    The Metrodome on Aug. 20 held an open house featuring bands, monster trucks, children’s games, stadium tours, and Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders and former players to celebrate the completion of repair work on the stadium’s roof, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Samples of the previous roof, which deflated in December, were given to about 3,000 attendees as a memento.

    NAPLES, FLA.
    Shark Shootout gets title sponsor

    Franklin Templeton Investments agreed to a two-year deal to return as title sponsor of the Shark Shootout. Franklin Templeton previously was the title sponsor of the event, hosted by Greg Norman, from 1992-2005. This year’s event is scheduled for Dec. 7-11.

    NEW YORK
    Panasonic on board with 3-D U.S. Open

    Panasonic signed a deal with CBS Sports and the U.S. Tennis Association to sponsor 3-D broadcasts of the upcoming U.S. Open Tennis Championships for the second consecutive year. CBS will expand its 3-D coverage of the tournament to weekend matches from Arthur Ashe Stadium as well as select matches from the tournament’s No. 2 court, Louis Armstrong Stadium.

    PHILADELPHIA
    Akers moved west to San Francisco but made sure to leave a heartfelt message.
    Akers buys billboard space

    Former Philadelphia Eagles kicker David Akers thanked fans for supporting him during his 12-year career with the team on a billboard along I-95 in south Philadelphia near Lincoln Financial Field. Akers is the Eagles’ all-time leading scorer. He became a free agent after the end of last season and signed a new contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

    MILES KENNEDY
    Thousands of fans attended the statue unveiling at Citizens Bank Park.
    Kalas statue on display at ballpark   

    An $80,000 statue honoring longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas was unveiled this month at Citizens Bank Park. The 7-foot-tall bronze statue, sculpted by Lawrence J. Nowlan, was paid for by donations from fans. Kalas, who served as a member of the Phillies’ broadcast team for 38 years, died in 2009.

    PHOENIX
    Raffle prize is World Series ring

    Arizona Diamondbacks fans have a chance to win the same, authentic championship ring given to team players and coaches after winning the World Series 10 years ago as part of the 2001 World Champions Ring Raffle, presented by Chase. The raffle winner will be presented his or her ring during an on-field ceremony prior to the Diamondbacks’ Sept. 10 game against San Diego. Raffle tickets are on sale until Sept. 5.

    ROCHESTER, N.Y.
    NLL team to stay at least 2 more years

    The NLL Rochester Knighthawks agreed in principle with the city of Rochester and SMG on a two-year lease that would keep the team in the city for at least two more seasons, according to a report in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. SMG operates Blue Cross Arena, home field of the Knighthawks.

    SACRAMENTO
    Kings develop new ticket packages

    The Sacramento Kings are rolling out four ticket packages that let fans buy at a discount the seats and games they want before individual game tickets go on sale to the general public. One package allows games scheduled on weekends; another offers games against premier opponents. There is also a half-season plan option, while a fourth package allows for games of the buyers’ choice plus food and beverage cards.

    Arena group to announce finance options
    The Think Big Sacramento arena committee plans to announce financing options for a proposed downtown sports and entertainment complex at the Sacramento Press Club on Sept. 8. The targeted venue would be the new home of the NBA Kings.

    SAN ANTONIO

    UTSA gets boost from Valero

    Valero Energy Corp. is teaming with the University of Texas at San Antonio to support the Roadrunners’ inaugural football season. Valero Corner Stores are the official convenience store sponsor of the UTSA team. During the upcoming season, Valero employees will be at all Roadrunners home games giving out free samples of the company’s Fresh Choices products.

    ST. LOUIS
    Overseas troops treated to telecast

    Fox Sports Midwest on Friday is presenting This One’s For You, the network’s annual St. Louis Cardinals telecast recognizing U.S. armed forces. U.S. troops throughout the world will be able to watch the Cardinals’ game against Cincinnati via American Forces Network. At the same time, a live satellite link from Afghanistan will allow Fox Sports Midwest to interview troops from the Missouri National Guard 1138th Transportation Company.

    TORONTO
    TORONTO ROCK
    At the groundbreaking, from left: Bachly Construction President Scott Bachly, team captain Colin Doyle, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, and team owner Jamie Dawick.
    NLL Rock breaks ground on facility

    The Toronto Rock broke ground on a new lacrosse facility. The 81,000-square-foot building will serve as the practice facility and team offices for the NLL team. Bachly Construction is the builder of the project, which is located in the nearby city of Oakville.

    VANCOUVER
    Whitecaps’ season-ticket prices to rise

    Vancouver Whitecaps CEO Paul Barber said that season-ticket prices will increase slightly next season to cover higher operating costs at the renovated BC Place, according to a report in The Vancouver Sun. The increases for 2012 range from about 1 percent to 3 percent. The first-year MLS club has about 15,500 season-ticket holders.

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

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