• SBJ Podcast: David Morehouse of the Penguins

    NHL writer Christopher Botta and executive editor Abraham Madkour discuss Pittsburgh Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse's unique political background and his work with the Penguins, which is featured on the front page of this week's SportsBusiness Journal.

    Tags: NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Big Ten opening Manhattan office June 1

    The Big Ten announced yesterday that it will open a New York office at 900 Third Ave. in Manhattan. The intent, the conference said, is to provide staff with a space to work on branding, championships, communications and compliance initiatives.

    The office, which will be 4,400 square feet, will open by June 1. Three full-time staffers will work out of the office, which also will have meeting space for the conference and its school members whenever they’re in New York.

    Kerry Kenny from the Big Ten said existing employees will be moved from the Big Ten’s headquarters in Rosemont, Ill., to New York, but the conference is not disclosing their names just yet. Future branding initiatives for the conference likely will originate out of the New York office, and with Rutgers and Maryland set to officially join the Big Ten on July 1, there is expected to be a flurry of marketing activity associated with that. Kenny said any plans along those lines are still in the works.

    Tags: On the Ground, Colleges
  • Back to ballparks for more concessions creations

    One last helping of new ballpark food, from three MLB concessionaires.

    Target Field (Twins)
    The ballpark, entering its fifth season of operation, is known as a foodie hotspot strong on local brands. Andrew Zimmern of “Bizarre Foods” television fame jumped on the bandwagon last year by serving a goat-and-lamb butter burger.

    Sportservice's Porketta Sluggers at Target Field
    Izzy’s ice cream ($7), Valentini’s Italian burger ($10, includes fries) and the Porketta Slugger meat pastry ($8) are among the new additions to Sportservice’s portfolio in Minneapolis.

    Valentini’s Supper Club is an 80-year restaurant based in Chisholm, Minn., about 200 miles north of the Twin Cities. It has had a presence at Target Field since 2012, when it introduced a cheese-stuffed meatball at the park. This year, Valentini’s is downsizing the dish to mini-meatballs to make it easier for fans to eat, Sportservice officials said.

    Elsewhere at Target Field, Hrbek’s, a stadium bar named after former Twins slugger Kent Hrbek, offers a Bloody Mary “garnished” with a cheeseburger for $18. It’s officially known as the Bigger, Better Burger Bloody Mary.

    Oriole Park at Camden Yards
    The new Chesapeake Crab Roll ($16) is Sportservice’s spin on the New England crab roll. Baltimore’s version is chilled crab salad served on a bed of lettuce in a French bread roll.

    Angel Stadium of Anaheim
    Legends, co-owned by the New York Yankees, takes over all aspects of foodservice this season for the Los Angeles Angels.

    Legends developed its own line of barbecue called Smoke Ring BBQ. The vendor moved a large smoker that had been operating in right field to Gate 1 at field level, one of the stadium’s busiest entrances. The new stand sells smoked kielbasa ($9.75), smoked BBQ brisket and half-chicken (both $12) and St. Louis-style pork ribs ($16).

    At The Big Cheese, Legends offers comfort foods such as grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. The selections are traditional grilled cheese ($7.50) and speciality grilled cheese with arugula and thick cut bacon ($10) and short rib ($12). The soup is $5.

    At the Nacho Nachos stand, the Nacho Daddy, a souvenir batting helmet fully loaded to feed several fans, costs $16.50. The Nacho Baby ($6) and Nacho Mama ($9.25) are available for smaller appetites.

    O.co Coliseum (Oakland Athletics)
    This year, Ovations signed its first MLB account, revamping the menus and developing new concession concepts at the home of the A's.

    The White Elephant Bar & Grille, a name tied to the team’s unofficial mascot, features fish tacos ($15), Dungeness crab cakes ($16) and wild mushroom mac and cheese ($11).

    The Burrito District has hand-rolled burritos ($10), street tacos (three for $8) and loaded nachos ($8).

    In addition, the Gastropub sells brick-oven pizzas for $13 to $16 and large craft beers for $11, poured in a 22-ounce souvenir cup.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • The NHL Shift: Numbers and notes, 4/11/2014

    A look at the past week in the NHL:

    News from New York, Part I: Rangers opening ‘Hockey House’ for playoffs

    The New York Rangers are planning to host an indoor fan festival during the Stanley Cup playoffs every day the team plays, whether at Madison Square Garden or on the road.

    The Rangerstown Hockey House will be a 9,500-square-foot building adjacent to MSG that was the former site of a Borders books and music store. When the Rangers are at home in the playoffs, the Hockey House will be open from 2 p.m. that day until 30 minutes before opening faceoff. When the team plays on the road, it will open at 5 p.m. and close at the end of the game.

    Road games will be shown at the Hockey House, which is sponsored by Chase and is open to all fans.

    Scheduled activities include the Blueshirts Live stage for Q&A sessions with Rangers alumni (sponsored by Time Warner Cable); an exhibit of Hockey Hall of Fame artifacts and Rangers memorabilia; autograph signings (sponsored by Celebrity Cruises); and a shooting accuracy contest (sponsored by Delta Airlines). MSG Network will broadcast its pregame shows live from the facility.

    “The house is an extension of ‘Welcome to Rangerstown,’” said Michael Guth, MSG Sports executive vice president, marketing, referring to the team’s marketing campaign this season. “The idea has been to make the Rangers feel a part of your home. Now, we’re welcoming the fans into ours, whether they have tickets to the game or not.”

    The “Welcome to Rangerstown” campaign was created by MSG Sports with the New York-based marketing agency NSG/SWAT.

    “The campaign has really registered with what we call ‘true-blue’ Rangers fans and, we believe, with new fans,” Guth said. “The goal is to build our base of fans, and there’s no better time to do that than during the excitement of the playoffs.”

    News from New York, Part II: Islanders sale talks continue

    Negotiations continue in the potential sale of the New York Islanders from owner Charles Wang to Andrew Barroway. According to a person who was invited to join Barroway’s ownership group as a minority investor, the total valuation of the Islanders has been outlined as being $370 million — broken down as $100 million in cash/equity, $125 million in senior notes, $85 million in seller paper, and $60 million in preferred equity.

    A league source said Wang continues to discuss a sale with Barroway only, with no other serious bids having been formally taken to Wang yet.

    Howard Dolgon, a Long Island resident who owns the AHL Syracuse Crunch, is interested, according to a separate source, but he has yet to line up partners and make a bid.

    From 1992 to 2008, Barroway was a partner in the law firm Schiffren Barroway, based in Radnor, Pa. His focus was on securities fraud claims brought against public companies. One of those claims, in 1998, was against Computer Associates, a company co-founded by Wang. Barroway was the lead plaintiff in a class-action suit that was settled in 2003.

    By the Numbers

    4 days: The length of the exclusive window for Ohio residents to purchase tickets to the Columbus Blue Jackets’ first two home games of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The club is trying to ensure that tickets, which went on sale this morning, go to supporters of the Blue Jackets — not to fans of potential first-round opponents, such as the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nationwide Arena is only a three-hour drive from Pittsburgh.

    $25: The cost of one seat in the upper-level end zones for the first-round home games of the Tampa Bay Lightning, the least-expensive face-value price that Shift found in a search for playoff tickets. The next-cheapest seat located: $40 in the upper tier for Minnesota Wild games.

    8.35: The rating in Pittsburgh for this week’s NBCSN “Wednesday Night Rivalry” telecast of Penguins/Red Wings, making the net the top-rated cable network in the Pittsburgh market during the game’s time period that night. Nationally, the game drew 717,000 viewers, the third-highest mark this season for NBCSN’s Wednesday franchise.

    1984: The year of the Olympic gold medal victory in men’s figuring skating for Scott Hamilton, who is joining with the Nashville Predators to open a skating academy bearing in his name in August. Hamilton resides in Franklin, Tenn., and has been a Predators season-ticket holder for the last eight years. According to the team, he will be an “active principal” in the academy, hiring coaches and developing curriculum.

    0: The amount of team front-office experience of Trevor Linden and Brendan Shanahan, who were hired for major roles with NHL franchises this week. Neither is without credentials, however. Linden, named president of hockey operations for the Vancouver Canucks, is a former president of the NHL Players’ Association and former Canucks captain who played 16 seasons for the franchise. Shanahan, the new president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has been a vice president in the NHL’s hockey operations department since 2009 and was a highly-respected, hall of fame player for 21 seasons on league ice.


    To Steve Griggs — whose promotion to president of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Times Forum did not make headlines like the Linden and Shanahan hires did but was good news for a long-time sports executive. Before joining the Lightning in 2010, Griggs spent three years with the Orlando Magic, eight years with the Minnesota Wild, and five years with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment — all in leadership positions in sales and marketing.

    Looking Ahead
    Tuesday: Before the start of the playoffs on Wednesday, the most meaningful night of April for this season’s worst teams is Tuesday — when the NHL Draft Lottery is conducted in Toronto.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Person Of Interest

    The San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami said of the Warriors Owner Joe Lacob’s interest in the A’s, “If you think you can get the stadium situation settled, in the East Bay without going against those Giants territorial rights … (and) you put those things together and you just want to be part of that fraternity, you want to get a piece of that huge pie that's growing more and more every year, the digital media rights, all of these things are exploding” ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 4/9).

    PLANNING COMMITTEE: Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts said of selling shares in the team, “Most baseball teams have several dozen limited partners. I think if we can find a handful of guys that are great partners and value added people in the organization that'd be the best answer for us. But it's really early. We don't know how exactly it's all going to go down or what the plan is. But we do know that we've got to start planning for it” ("Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 4/10).

    GAME BOY: TBS’ Conan O'Brien, who last week played a video game on the big screen at AT&T Stadium: "I highly recommend that all of you watching go out and rent an NFL stadium, clear it of all personnel and play videogames on the giant Diamond Vision screen. If you can't afford that, you could try getting a basketball arena. I wouldn't go smaller than a basketball arena" ("Conan," TBS, 4/10).

  • TV Timeout: Inevitable Conclusion

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said of on-jersey ads, “In this day and age where on non-live programming where people are using their DVRs and skipping through commercials, to me it's that much more of an opportunity for our sponsors to get closer to our game and to be closer to our athletes. I mean the sleeve jersey issue, for example, I mean I get that one, whether it's superstition or players just don't like it or they're sensitive to feeling sleeves when they're shooting. That's something we have to tread very carefully on, especially long-term, if there's any suggestion that it impacts the competition or the field of players. But when it comes to advertising on jerseys, I do think it's inevitable" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 4/9).

    UCONN SAY THAT ON TELEVISION: ESPN's J.A. Adande, on UConn G Shabazz Napier's post-championship comments about the NCAA: "I love the fact that he called out the NCAA right in the midst of its biggest event, its biggest revenue generator for sure, and he just called them out on the hypocrisy of trying to pretend that this is about academics in any way.” N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola said, "He kind of had a Richard Sherman moment in my opinion afterwards with the microphone" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/8).

    BRANDED STATEMENT: ESPN's Suzy Kolber said Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's logo is "catchy, creative (and) of course it sparked some conversation about RGIII as a brand beyond being part of a team" ("NFL Insiders," ESPN, 4/8). Redskins SS Ryan Clark said, "He created a logo. So what? It just gives people things to talk about" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 4/8).

    HITTING THE BOOKS: Univ. of Delaware President Patrick Harker said of college athletes unionizing, "If there's a crisis, I think it's a crisis, in losing sight of the fact that the most important part of the phrase 'student-athlete' is student … and I really worry that starting with middle school all the way through college we've lost sight of the fact that students need an education to be successful, even if they have a pro career” ("NewsHour," PBS, 4/8).

  • Concessionaires Roll Out Tempting Ballpark Fare

    We promised a look at some of the new delicacies at MLB ballparks, and today we deliver: Feast your eyes on menu items from concessionaires Aramark and Centerplate.

    We’ll be back again with food from other MLB concessionaires.


    Citi Field (Mets)
    Pat LaFrieda's meatball sliders at Citi Field are from a family recipe.
    Photo by: ARAMARK
    Local meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda expands beyond his signature chop house at the ballpark. His meatball sliders are a family recipe. $12.

    Fenway Park (Red Sox)
    Wake up with a breakfast burger, topped with a fried egg, fresh mozzarella cheese, sauteed onions and chipotle sauce. $10

    PNC Park (Pirates)
    The Closer is an overstuffed grilled cheese sandwich with four slices of thick-cut sourdough, nine cheeses, candied bacon and a leek, plus Granny Smith apple compote. $14.50

    Minute Maid Park (Astros)
    Texas Hold ’Em is a barbecue chicken sandwich with cheddar cheese, tomato, fries and slaw crammed between Texas toast. $9

    Citizens Bank Park (Phillies)
    The Philly cheesesteak dog is a no-brainer at this ballpark. Hot dog topped with Philadelphia steak, melted cheese, “wit’ or wit’out onions.” $7.

    Rogers Centre (Blue Jays)
    The Muddy York Market fish taco is named after the city’s famed farmer’s market. Crusted tilapia served in a flour tortilla, mixed with red cabbage slaw, chili-lime sour cream, pico de gallo and cilantro. Two for $11.

    Coors Field (Rockies)
    A twist on the traditional Reuben sandwich. Pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on a pretzel bun. $10.


    Tropicana Field (Rays)
    Bangin’ shrimp ($11), fried bologna sliders ($5), housemade smoked beef jerky ($6) and old-fashioned deviled eggs ($3) are all served at the new Everglades Brewhouse.
    Fans can wash them down with Everglades Moonshine, a mix of bourbon and lemonade served in a Mason jar with a house-smoked bacon strip swizzle. The drink costs $14, and you get to keep the jar.

    The crab sandwich is served on the club level at Safeco Field.
    Photo by: CENTERPLATE
    Safeco Field
    The ’Pen, the stadium’s outfield food court, remains one of the best experiences in baseball four years after the space underwent a retrofit. Swingin’ Wings, a new stand at the ’Pen, offers classic Buffalo-style, honey serrano and barbecue sauce chicken wings for $9.

    The same stand sells Dirty Tots, tater tots topped with Beecher’s flagship cheddar, Carlton’s Farm pork belly and Bay Valley picked peppers. Those three brands are local companies.

    On the club level at Safeco Field, the crab sandwich ($13), oysters and chips ($10) and applewood smoked salmon chowder ($7) are new items.

    Click on any image below to begin a slideshow of images from Aramark and Centerplate.

    • Aramark's Reuben sandwich at Coors Field
    • Aramark's breakfast burger at Fenway Park
    • Centerplate's fried oysters and chips at Safeco Field
    • Aramark's Texas Hold 'Em at Minute Maid Park
    • Centerplate's salmon chowder at Safeco Field
    • Centerplate's chicken wings at Safeco Field

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Covering The Issue

    Analysts from numerous media outlets have voiced their opinion on Golf Digest’s decision to use Paulina Gretzky on its most recent cover. Former PGA Tour Senior VP/Strategic Development Donna Orender asked, “Why is it that the only women who seem to grace their covers in the last eight years or so are women that either are half-dressed or models? What is that greater message to women, to young girls who want to play this game, and to men?” Golf Channel's Gary Williams: “You don’t think there is any merit to having somebody who is the daughter of one of the most famous athletes that the sports world has known in the last 50 years?” Orender responded, “Will that make me interested in the game, seriously? No, I’m going to look at it and say, ‘Whoa, she is really a beautiful young woman. Wow, Dustin Johnson is lucky. Let me go back and do my other stuff,' but it is not going to get me in the game.” Williams asked, “Do you understand that they are in the business of selling magazines as much, if not more so, than growing the game of golf?” Orender replied, “We all understand that. … But I do believe in the creative good. I do believe in quality, and good and thoughtful and moral business decisions here. And I believe that there is a great disservice being done to an audience that clearly does want more information about the best athletes in the world, and we are not seeing that.” Orender: “If Golf Digest does not grow the golf business, and if they really don’t see that, then they are going to have a shrinking business. So when young girls all over the world can’t see role models, then what are we saying to them? Go play another sport” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 4/5).

    DRIVING HOME THEIR POINT: ESPN’s Jemele Hill said, “So I guess Beyonce will be on the cover of a fishing magazine sometime soon" (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 4/6). The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay: "There is a media deficit in terms of attention paid to women's professional athletics and it's not just exclusive to this cover" ("Crowd Goes Wild," FS1, 4/4). ESPN’s Pablo Torre said Golf Digest “can do whatever they want. It’s a capitalistic enterprise, freedom of speech. But we can evaluate them on how honest and forthright they’re being about their intentions and to get more new people interested in the game is a farcical explanation” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 4/4). ESPN’s Bomani Jones said, “So you’re telling me somebody who actually plays the game can’t get on the cover of your magazine but you can put a woman who dates a golfer and say she’s giving golf advice. That’s the most ridiculous part” (“Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 4/4).

    BE-LABORING THE POINT: ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg said of the NCAA, “I’ve noticed them working very aggressively to realign conferences to make more money. … I’ve never seen them working very aggressively to address any of the points that the Northwestern kids are bringing up” (“Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 4/7).         

    OUT OF SIGHT: CBS’ Clark Kellogg, on TNT’s Charles Barkley calling fans idiots for their criticism of the net’s Teamcast, “Well, he’s not on Twitter, so he doesn’t care” (“Kentucky-Wisconsin,” TBS, 4/5).

    REPORT CARD: ESPN’s Jay Bilas, on Saturday’s Final Four: “It wasn’t so much about straight A’s as it was about straight cash” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 4/6).

    LOVE IT LOUD: ESPN’s Bram Weinstein said of the AFL L.A. Kiss’ home debut, “Thank you, Anaheim. We are going to rock and roll all night, and party every down” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 4/6).

  • Knights ready to return to Charlotte in new home

    The Charlotte Knights will christen BB&T Ballpark on Friday night with the first of three consecutive sellouts at the $54 million stadium.

    The team’s move back to Charlotte’s downtown has generated excitement in town. The Knights played the past 24 years in Fort Mill, S.C., where they of late had drawn meager crowds at Knights Stadium and finished last in International League attendance for the 2013 season.

    BB&T Ballpark has dramatically changed the team’s situation. The stadium has 8,800 fixed seats, and with standing room and outfield lawn space, it can fit 10,200 fans. One week before Opening Day, season-ticket sales represent 45 percent of the stadium’s fixed seats, said Knights Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski, the manager of ballpark development for team owner Don Beaver. Those figures include the stadium’s two clubs, the Budweiser Home Plate Club and the Diamonds Direct Luxury Lounge on the upper level, which have both sold out.

    Most of the 18 suites are sold for the season, some divided as “time shares” among multiple companies, he said. Suite prices run $15,000 to $50,000 a season depending on location tied to seven- and 10-year leases. They all have 12 fixed seats and can accommodate 20 people.

    Two dugout suites sit at field level behind home plate, a design similar to Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa., home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. At BB&T Ballpark, those suites are reserved exclusively for single games. The $1,975 cost per game covers 25 tickets and food and drink, but no alcohol.

    The Carolinas HealthCare System Home Run Porch in right field on the ballpark’s second level was converted to a standing-room-only space after the Knights could not agree to terms with a potential restaurant partner. Standing-room-only tickets cost $10, and the team has capped sales at about 300 for each of the first three home games. The Knights anticipate a nearby bar will become a hangout for the singles crowd over the summer months, Rajkowski said.

    Underneath that space on the first floor are concession stands tied to local and national restaurant brands such as Queen City Q, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, Fuzzy Peach and Just Fresh. Ovations Food Service is the Knights’ official concessionaire.

    Toshiba produced the left-field video board at BB&T Ballpark, which at 82 feet long is the widest screen in Minor League Baseball. The ballpark’s tight footprint on less than nine acres has led to Knights players hitting the video board in batting practice, which has forced the club to attach a protective surface, Rajkowski said.

    Chick-fil-A sponsors both “fowl” poles, among the park’s branded spaces.

    Future development plans beyond the outfield walls includes a hotel and office space, Rajkowski said. For now, fans can sit in those grass areas.

    Click on any photo below to see full-screen images. All photos by Tiffin Warnock / Staff

    Tags: On the Ground, Facilities, Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Podcast: NFL sked's impact on media partners

    Executive editor Abraham Madkour and media writer John Ourand discuss the upcoming release of the NFL schedule and what it could mean for ESPN, CBS and the league's other media partners. The topic is featured in a front-page story in this week's SportsBusiness Journal.

    Tags: NFL, Media, ESPN, CBS, SBJSBD Podcast
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