In Jacksonville, Garry Smits noted the U.S. men's national soccer team will play Scotland at 8:00pm ET on May 26 at EverBank Field in the "first of three 'friendly' matches that will cap the U.S training camp" leading up to group qualifying for the '14 World Cup in Brazil. The match will be the "first U.S. men's soccer match aired" on NBC Sports Network. The game has the "staunch support of Jaguars owner Shahid Khan," as his spokesperson Jim Woodcock said that the game "fits with Khan's global vision for the franchise." The Jaguars are "already making plans to assist." Jaguars Senior VP/Stadium Operations & CFO Bill Prescott said that season-ticket holders and luxury suite owners will "receive an email giving them a chance to purchase tickets to the soccer game before they go on public sale" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 2/16).
END OF A LONG ERA: In London, Rory Tolson notes the name of St. James' Park was removed from the walls outside EPL club Newcastle United's stadium Thursday, marking the "end of 120 years' history." The club announced in November that the stadium would be "rebranded the Sports Direct Arena," and declared that it was a "temporary sponsorship deal with another company belonging to Mike Ashley, the club owner, with a view to securing a more permanent naming-rights deal." Ashley has said that a naming-rights deal, "along with a shirt sponsor to replace Virgin Money at the end of the season, could generate up to" US$15.8M a year in extra income for the club (LONDON TIMES, 2/17).
NEW NAMES IN TOWN: The new Player Development Center for Univ. of Michigan basketball teams will be "named in honor of late Pistons owner William Davidson." Davidson had been a "significant donor to the university over the years." The William Davidson Foundation "recently provided a gift of" $7.5M in support of Michigan athletics (DETROIT NEWS, 2/17). Meanwhile, Indiana Univ. will name its new baseball facility Bart Kaufman Field in honor of a major gift to IU Athletics from Indianapolis-based Kaufman Financial Corp. Chair & CEO Bart Kaufman (IU).