SBJ/January 9-15, 2012/Coast to Coast

Baltimore terminates racing contract

ALBANY, N.Y.
New sponsor for arena sports bar

Keeler Motor Car Co. secured a five-year naming-rights deal for the concourse level sports bar at the Times Union Center. The sponsorship takes effect in February, when Citizens Bank’s five-year sponsorship expires. Keeler reportedly will pay close to $250,000 over the five years.

ASHEVILLE, N.C.
Olympic torch pawned for $200

An Asheville, N.C., man was arrested after he allegedly pawned a stolen torch used in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Brian Edward McDonald was charged with felony larceny and obtaining property by false pretense. The torch, valued at $15,000, was sold at a pawn shop for $200, according to court papers. McDonald’s initial court appearance was Jan. 3.

BALTIMORE
With the termination, the city can now move forward with other interested parties.
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City ousts Grand Prix organizers

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration terminated its five-year contract with Baltimore Racing Development and could seek a new group to run the Baltimore Grand Prix in future years. Race organizers were asked to restructure and pay $1.5 million in debts by Dec. 31 or risk losing its contract.

O’s plan ballpark improvements
The Baltimore Orioles plan to enhance the fan experience at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for 2012, highlighted by an area with sculptures of six Orioles greats: Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. Other improvements planned for the venue’s 20th anniversary season this year include bar and dining space atop the batter’s eye wall overlooking center field and upgraded concessions in the upper deck.

Camden Yards needs a voice
The search is on for a public address announcer for home games at Oriole Park, beginning this year. The new public address announcer will be only the third in the ballpark’s history, following Rex Barner (1992-97) and David McGowan (1998-2011).

Ravens home for the playoffs
It took just 14 minutes for a few thousand tickets to the Baltimore Ravens’ divisional playoff game to sell out on the morning of Jan. 3. Sunday’s game will mark the first Ravens home playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium since the 2006 season.

BOSTON
Frozen Fenway 2012 under way

A regulation NHL rink has been constructed for public and private use at Fenway Park for the second time in three years. The rink is the site of Sun Life Frozen Fenway 2012, a 16-day event with eight high school hockey games and six collegiate men’s and women’s games. A free public skate is also planned for Jan. 16.

New spring training record for Sox
The Boston Red Sox set a record for spring training ticket sales on their opening sales weekend last month. This year marks the debut of the club’s new JetBlue Park at Fenway South, a 106-acre complex in Lee County, Fla. Across Dec. 17-18, 34,705 tickets were sold, surpassing a mark posted in 2006, when 34,315 tickets were sold.

BUFFALO
Bills reach broadcast deal with Entercom

The Buffalo Bills have a new multiyear radio broadcasting partnership with Entercom Communications to broadcast all Bills games on WGR-AM beginning next season. The Buffalo Bills Radio Network will also be heard on more than 20 stations throughout the region. WEDG-FM and WGRF-FM, both owned by Cumulus Media, aired Bills games from 1998 through 2011.

CLEVELAND
Press box welcomes public fans

Public seating is available for the first time in Progressive Field’s press box for The Frozen Diamond Faceoff. The event Sunday will feature the men’s hockey teams from Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. For $200 per seat, fans will have a climate-controlled location and all-inclusive buffet.

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.
USA Triathlon signs Active Network

Active Network will serve as the exclusive official technology partner of Colorado Springs-based USA Triathlon through November 2016. The new partnership is expected to streamline the registration and membership process for USA Triathlon members.

COLUMBUS
MLS Crew re-signs Match Analysis

After a one-year hiatus, the Columbus Crew renewed its relationship with Emeryville, Calif.-based Match Analysis to provide video and technical analysis tools and data for the 2012 MLS season and beyond. The multiyear agreement will provide the Crew’s technical staff with video and statistical analysis of every game using Match Analysis’ Mambo Studio software.

DETROIT
Tigers extend with Connecticut affiliate

The Detroit Tigers extended their working agreement with the Class A Connecticut Tigers for two years, through the 2014 season. The 2012 season will mark the third season the minor league club has been based in Norwich, Conn., after playing in Oneonta, N.Y., for 11 seasons as Detroit’s short-season Class A affiliate.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
Officials say that over the first 12 games this season at MetLife Stadium an average of 20 fans were ejected per game.
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Complaints, arrests up at stadium

Tightened security at MetLife Stadium has generated a sharp rise in complaints for alleged criminal behavior ranging from ticket scalping to assault, according to a Newsday report. Stadium President and CEO Mark Lamping and spokespeople for both the NFL Jets and Giants said that it is their concern for fan comfort and a low tolerance for foul language and drunkenness that have increased the number of arrests and ejections from the stadium, according to the report.

FOXBORO, MASS.
NRG plans to triple solar power

NRG and The Kraft Group formed a sustainable energy supply agreement for Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place. NRG will triple the amount of renewable solar power generated at Patriot Place, and the Kraft Group and NRG will pursue the addition of a full-sized wind turbine for the retail and entertainment complex.

HOUSTON
Annual dinner marks Astros’ milestone

The 2012 Houston Baseball Dinner benefiting Grand Slam for Youth Baseball’s scholarship program will include a celebration of the Astros 50th anniversary. This year marks the 27th season of the dinner, which will take place Jan. 27 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston.

LAS VEGAS
UFC partners with MetroPCS

MetroPCS has become the exclusive wireless partner of the UFC in the United States and Puerto Rico. The multiyear deal includes MetroPCS signage at all domestic UFC events, a presence in UFC pay-per-view event broadcasts, fighter endorsements and retail promotions. The first event featuring MetroPCS was UFC 141 in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.

LOS ANGELES
Dodgers reach deal with former COO

The Los Angeles Dodgers struck a $1 million settlement with former COO Geoffrey Wharton, pending approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Wharton was hired in 2009 to lead efforts for a now-stalled $500 million ballpark renovation project before moving into the COO role in late 2010.

Team bids deadline extended
The deadline to submit bids to buy the Dodgers has been extended by 10 days to Jan. 23. The club said the shift is not related to last month’s U.S. District Court decision granting FSN a stay blocking the Dodgers from marketing their TV rights as part of the sale, pending an appeal hearing on Thursday.

MIAMI
Fish tanks installed at ballpark

Two 450-gallon fish tanks were installed behind the home-plate wall at the new Miami Marlins ballpark. They are positioned on the first- and third-base sides, and the fish will be protected by shatterproof glass.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL
Twins packing for 52nd caravan

The Minnesota Twins’ 52nd annual Twins Winter Caravan features stops in almost 50 communities from Jan. 16 through Jan. 30. The caravan includes teams of current and former players visiting schools, hospitals, corporations and service clubs during the day, with a traditional “hot stove” program each evening.

Ballpark earns another LEED title
Less than two years after being recognized for the “Greenest Ballpark in America” and earning LEED silver certification for new construction, the Twins and Target Field have become the first pro sports franchise to also attain LEED silver certification for the operation and maintenance of their facility.

MONTREAL
MSG Sports, StarGames rendezvous

MSG Sports and StarGames expanded their partnership and tennis platform and will join forces with Evenko to present The Montreal Rendezvous on March 2 at Bell Centre. The event will showcase tennis icons Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Michael Chang.

NEW YORK
The New York Police Department has begun charging event organizers to recoup its costs.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Marathon entry fees increase

Entry fees for the ING New York City Marathon in November will jump about $60 largely because the New York Police Department has begun charging event organizers to recoup its costs, according to a New York Times report. Members of New York Road Runners must pay $216 this year, compared with $156 last year. For U.S. residents who are not club members, the fee increases to $255 from $196.

Arena teams with Disney Institute
When the Barclays Center opens in Brooklyn in September, it will provide visitors with “street-to-seat” service and hospitality. Disney Institute will offer experiential services and practice training for arena staff, as well as recommendations and input on creative design ideas such as signage, guest flow and in-game staff outfitting.

OAKLAND
Raiders to restructure front office

The Oakland Raiders will restructure and add to their front office, three months after the Oct. 8 death of owner Al Davis, according to an NFL.com report. Sources have repeatedly mentioned the names of two potential candidates with ties to the organization — Reggie McKenzie and Elliot Wolf, both of the Green Bay Packers.

ORLANDO
The Pirates will try dynamic pricing to fill out the bleachers at PNC Park this season.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Tijuana Flats returns with taco deal

The Orlando Magic is partnering with Tijuana Flats for a second season to offer a free taco to any Magic fan in attendance at any home game in which the team hits 10 or more 3-pointers. Tijuana Flats, a team sponsor, gave away more than 8,500 free tacos last season as part of the 3-Point Hot Shot Promotion.

PITTSBURGH
Pirates tap Qcue for dynamic pricing

The Pittsburgh Pirates will introduce dynamic ticket pricing for bleacher general admission seating at PNC Park this year. The Pirates plan to use Qcue’s software analytics to set and adjust ticket prices in real time based on actual demand for each game for about 1,400 seats.

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

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