SBJ/March 5-11, 2012/Coast to Coast

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  • Coast to Coast: College HOF revising plans

    ATLANTA
    College hall back to drawing board

    Originally scheduled to open later this year, the College Football Hall of Fame is headed back to the drawing board with no new date for the project’s groundbreaking, according to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta Hall Management is reportedly reassessing its plans for the football shrine, including its cost, size and anticipated annual attendance.

    Braves reveal $6 million loss
    Liberty Media, owner of the Atlanta Braves, in the company’s annual report acknowledged the team finished $6 million in the red last year, a loss the company attributed to the October trade of pitcher Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report. The Braves sent the Indians $10 million as part of the deal.

    BIRMINGHAM, ALA.
    Youth soccer tourney a big boost

    The 2012 Red Diamond Vulcan Cup soccer tournament is expected to pump $6.7 million into the Birmingham economy this month, according to the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau. The national tournament could bring in about 20,000 visitors. The competition will involve 275 teams from around the nation. The boys’ tournament was held March 3-4 and the girls’ tournament will be held Saturday and Sunday.

    BOSTON

    The deal will continue last year’s inclusion of a charitable partnership, personal appearances and promotions, and will leverage Eastern Bank’s partnership with NESN.
    Photo by: EASTERN BANK
    Eastern Bank re-ups with Gonzalez
    Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Eastern Bank are teaming up for a second year in an endorsement agreement that includes a charitable partnership, personal appearances and promotions. The bank is creating a campaign featuring Gonzalez that includes television, in-branch and online advertisements and a social media promotion.

    BUFFALO
    Bisons will serve Sahlen’s

    Sahlen’s Hot Dogs will be the official hot dogs of the Buffalo Bisons under a five-year sponsorship.
    Buffalo-based Sahlen’s will serve hot dogs at Coca-Cola Field’s concession stands, private party areas and in Pettibones Grille & Catering Center. Sahlen’s will also have signs throughout the stadium and other marketing elements. The Bisons are the Class AAA affiliate of the New York Mets.

    CHARLOTTE
    Checkers go pink, raise $17,000

    Checkers center Brett Sutter helped the team raise money and awareness.
    Photo by: CHARLOTTE CHECKERS
    A record crowd of 13,102 was on hand for the Charlotte Checkers’ annual Pink in the Rink event at Time Warner Cable Arena on Feb. 25. The Checkers raised more than $17,000 for cancer-related charities through an auction of game-worn jerseys. The first 2,500 fans received pink beanies at the door courtesy of Presbyterian Hospital.

    CHICAGO
    Cubs eye WGN negotiations

    A Chicago Sun-Times report cited sources saying that the Chicago Cubs expect to begin discussions with WGN at the end of this year on a television deal that is set to expire after the 2014 season. It is believed the Cubs receive about $45 million annually for TV rights on their WGN and Comcast SportsNet deals combined.

    Souvenir seller suing Cubs
    Chicago Sports & Novelty, which for decades has sold souvenirs at Clark and Addison across from Wrigley Field, is charging that it is being unlawfully pushed out of its coveted location, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report. The lawsuit names McDonald’s and Cubs owners, the Ricketts family. Chicago Sports & Novelty said that it has a valid lease to use the property through at least 2015 when the Cubs play at home.

    McDonald’s event sponsoring IHSA
    The McDonald’s All American Games will be an official sponsor of the IHSA Girls & Boys Basketball State Tournaments. The sponsorship covers 33 games in the Chicagoland area during the sectional and supersectional rounds of the Illinois High School Association tournaments. The McDonald’s games will be played March 28 at the United Center in Chicago.

    CINCINNATI
    Reds tickets for sale at Kroger

    In a new partnership between the Cincinnati Reds, Kroger and Ticketmaster, fans can buy Reds tickets for the 2012 season at Ticketmaster retail outlets inside Kroger stores in Cincinnati, Dayton, Northern Kentucky and southeastern Indiana. The 57 Kroger locations extend from Sidney, Ohio, in the north, Maysville, Ky., in the south, Mount Orab, Ohio, to the east and Lawrenceburg, Ind., to the west.

    COLUMBUS
    Fox Sports Ohio producing Crew games

    Fox Sports Ohio and the Columbus Crew entered into a new television rights agreement, with Fox Sports Ohio producing and televising 32 Crew soccer games, all in high-definition. The first “Soccer Night in Ohio” featuring the Crew on Fox Sports Ohio will be March 10 at Colorado.

    DETROIT
    Verlander pitches Fastball Flakes

    Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander introduced his own cereal — Fastball Flakes — in time for the start of the 2012 baseball season. The cereal is available at Meijer stores in the Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids areas and online at www.plbsports.com. Verlander will be donating all proceeds from the cereal to the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center and to the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

    EUGENE, ORE.
    The 12,369-seat arena on campus cost
    $227 million to build in 2009-10.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    UO lowers arena revenue projections

    Games and events at the University of Oregon’s one-year-old Matthew Knight Arena aren’t pulling in as much money as officials had hoped, prompting the school to substantially lower its revenue projections for the venue, according to a Eugene Register-Guard report. The university, in a new set of financial projections, has cut some revenue categories for the arena by more than 30 percent, according to the report.

    FERRIS, TEXAS
    City receives $100K grant

    The Baseball Tomorrow Fund awarded the city of Ferris, Texas, a grant of $100,000 to provide funding for the renovation of two youth baseball fields. Since its formation by Major League Baseball and MLBPA in 1999, BTF has awarded about 600 grants totaling more than $21 million to nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Ferris is 20 miles south of Dallas.

    FORT MEYERS, FLA.
    Misty the dog joins Pedroia and Sullivan Tire Vice President Paul Sullivan at JetBlue Park.
    Photo by: SULLIVAN TIRE
    Pedroia shoots Sullivan spot

    Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia took a break from spring training in Florida to shoot a commercial for Sullivan Tire. Sullivan Tire has locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine. In past years, Sullivan Tire ad campaigns have featured Boston sport stars Dennis Eckersley, Cam Neely, Marvin Hagler, Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Terry Francona.

    GREEN BAY
    Packers, parties sign OSHA agreement

    The Green Bay Packers, Miron Construction Co., subcontractors, suppliers and labor union representatives last week signed a strategic partnership agreement with OSHA and state regulators to reduce safety hazards during the Lambeau Field expansion project, according to a Green Bay Press-Gazette report.

    HOUSTON
    Crane eyes new threads for 2013

    Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is leaning heavily toward having new uniforms in time for the 2013 season and the move to the American League, according to an MLB.com report. MLB has been working with the Astros on uniform designs, and Crane said that he wants to get input from his staff and even get some fans involved before choosing the new threads.

    MEMPHIS
    Football film wins Oscar

    The high school football film “Undefeated” won Best Documentary Feature at the 84th annual Academy Awards. The film follows volunteer coach Bill Courtney during the 2009-10 season at Manassas High School. The documentary was inspired by a 2009 story in The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal by staff reporter Jason Smith.

    MIAMI
    Loria affirms passion for team

    Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is entering his 11th season as the club’s owner and he said he intends to own the team for “as long as I live,” according to a Miami Herald report. Loria: “I love this team. My business is baseball. Baseball is my business. It’s a great pleasure. It’s a great challenge.”

    MILWAUKEE
    Southwest becomes official airline

    Southwest Airlines entered into a sponsorship deal that makes the carrier the official airline of the Milwaukee Brewers. The sponsorship includes in-stadium signs, a field-level interactive fan experience, and a “How far did it fly?” in-game feature during Brewers home games. Dallas-based Southwest acquired AirTran Airways in May 2011 for $1.4 billion. AirTran, which had a major sponsorship deal with the Brewers, will be merged into Southwest’s operations.

    Brewers games go all-cable
    Starting this season, all locally produced Brewers telecasts will be on cable only, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report. The report quoted Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger: “We decided overall it was appropriate to have all the games to go on Fox Sports Wisconsin.” For the last five seasons, a package of 15 games has aired on WMLW-TV.

    MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL
    Racino legislation would ease stadium cost

    Minnesota state Rep. Tom Hackbarth introduced a “racino” bill last week that would spend some of the estimated $132 million in annual revenue on a Minnesota Vikings stadium in Arden Hills, according to a St. Paul Pioneer Press report. That legislation would eliminate the need for a local contribution.

    NEW YORK
    Knicks sign Taiwan tiremaker

    The New York Knicks and Maxxis International formed a marketing partnership for the 2011-12 season making Maxxis an official partner of the team. With its global headquarters in Taiwan, tiremaker Maxxis’ sponsorship of the Knicks is timely given the recent success of new fan favorite Jeremy Lin. Maxxis branding will appear on courtside signage and on the center-hung scoreboard.

    Mets to honor Carter this season

    The Mets will wear a patch to honor Gary Carter during the 2012 season. Carter passed away Feb. 16 after a battle with brain cancer. The patch features a black home plate with “KID 8” in white lettering. The patch will be worn on all Mets jerseys for the 2012 season, starting with the first spring training game today.

    Judge to rule on Mets lawsuit
    U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said that he would rule by today on motions that could alter the face of the lawsuit against the owners of the New York Mets filed by the trustee for the victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, according to a New York Times report. A jury trial is scheduled to begin March 19.

    Wilpon to own Mets ‘a very long time’
    Mets owner Fred Wilpon said that he has no plans to sell the team despite its recent financial troubles, according to a New York Post report. Wilpon, in his first appearance last week at the Mets’ spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., said, “We intend to own the franchise for a very long time.”

    OCEANPORT, N.J.
    Monmouth Park takeover approved

    The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority board authorized administrators to sign contracts to lease Monmouth Park for up to 35 years, according to an Asbury Park Press report. The facility will now be run by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, with the handoff expected to occur May 1.

    PHILADELPHIA
    Flyers, arena sign StubHub

    StubHub was named as the official fan-to-fan ticket marketplace of the Philadelphia Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center. San Francisco-based StubHub and Paciolan, a ticketing and technology subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor, will work together to provide integrated cancel/reissue barcode technology that will allow fans to buy and sell tickets online. StubHub will receive signage and dasherboard presence in Wells Fargo Center.

    PHOENIX
    D-Backs’ renewal rate near 90 percent

    Arizona Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall said last week that the team has sold about 1,300 new season-ticket packages and that the renewal rate was near 90 percent. An MLB.com report quoted Hall: “There’s definitely been some momentum. Very favorable, especially in this economy.”

    Legends venture partners with Gila River
    The Legends Entertainment District, a joint venture between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns, formed a new multiyear partnership with Gila River Casinos. Gila River will be featured in the highest point of signage in the district, on the northwest corner of Chase Field. The illuminated window graphic display will measure 57 feet tall by 27 feet wide.

    PORTLAND
    Timbers season tickets at Jeld-Wen Field are sold out for the upcoming season.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    Timbers’ sponsor revenue up 10 percent

    The Portland Timbers’ sponsorship revenue is up by 10 percent over last year, which sets an MLS record for a first-year franchise. The Timbers also expanded Jeld-Wen Field’s capacity from 18,627 seats to more than 20,000, and each home game is expected to sell out.

    SAN DIEGO
    Padres add to military promotions

    The San Diego Padres have a new Military Season Pass for junior enlisted military personnel. The $99 pass entitles the holder to one upper reserved seat for up to 80 home games in 2012. As in years past, all active-duty military personnel, reservists and veterans will continue to enjoy $6 off single-game tickets priced $13.50 or higher.

    SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.
    Players, coaches, bases miked for game

    For the first time in an MLB game broadcast, live audio content will air on a brief delay throughout the Cleveland Indians at Arizona Diamondbacks spring training game on Wednesday. In cooperation with the MLBPA, up to as many as six players on each team will wear live microphones during the game. Coaching staff will also wear microphones and microphones will be positioned at each base, down the first- and third-base lines and along the outfield wall.

    TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG
    Champions Tour pro-am signs title sponsor

    Encompass Insurance will be the title sponsor of the 2012 Champions Tour celebrity/pro-am event. The tournament, held in the Tampa Bay area since 1988, will acquire a new name — the Encompass Insurance Pro-Am of Tampa Bay — and will be played at the TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz, Fla., April 9-15.

    WORCESTER, MASS.
    On one good leg, Gronkowski brought some touchdown style to the Sharks’ pregame.
    Photo by: ALAN SULLIVAN
    Pats’ Gronkowski spikes puck

    New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski spiked the puck at the start of the Worcester Sharks-Providence Bruins game in front of a record crowd at the DCU Center. The Feb. 24 game was also the kickoff for the March of Dimes April “March for Babies” event in Worcester. More than $7,500 was raised for March of Dimes through an autograph session with Gronkowski and other marketing and ticket sales efforts.

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

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