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Volume 24 No. 160


The Nets have signed a three-year deal with adidas to sponsor the team store at Barclays Center, the NBA club’s new arena opening in September. The Nets Shop by adidas is the sportswear company’s first store in Brooklyn, N.Y.’s largest borough with more than 2.6 million residents. adidas is the NBA’s official retail supplier. The deal marks the start of a new relationship between the Nets and adidas on the team level, according to Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. adidas is collaborating with the Nets on a refresh of the team logo and possible color options tied to the team’s first season at its new $1B facility. “We have not had a partnership beyond what the typical NBA deal is,” he said. “adidas wanted to get into Brooklyn and this is a great branding opportunity for them. adidas has worked closely with us and (minority team owner) Jay-Z on a new team identity.” The 4,000-square-foot store will be open 365 days a year, Yormark said. It is located on the main concourse and will be accessible through a street-level entrance by Flatbush Avenue in one of the busiest areas of downtown Brooklyn, Yormark noted. There will also be two adidas-branded Nets merchandise stands on the north and south sides of the main concourse. As part of the agreement, adidas receives digital signage inside Barclays Center and will be part of the Nets’ social media platform and included in the team’s print materials. Elsewhere in the NBA, adidas is involved in a partnership with Comcast-Spectacor for the Fan Zone team store at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, but the brand name is not part of the store’s official title. The MLS Timbers have the adidas Timbers Team Store at Jeld-Wen Field.

SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, whose company owns Bristol Motor Speedway, is “considering about $1 million worth of changes to return his Tennessee track to the way it was before a 2007 reconfiguration,” according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. Smith yesterday said, “We are going to take a very hard look at it this week.” The track this past weekend hosted the Food City 500, the fourth straight Sprint Cup Series race that has been unable to sell out at the 160,000-seat facility. Smith said that “8,120 sold tickets went unused.” But he insisted that it was “the rain, not fan apathy over the current style of racing at Bristol, that contributed to Sunday’s poor crowd.” The rain began late Saturday night and “continued until about two hours before Sunday’s scheduled start.” Smith said the rain “killed the walk-up crowd. And that alone accounts for 3,500 to 4,000 tickets.” He added, “I want to be sure that the fans like what they see” (AP, 3/19). Meanwhile, in California, Louis Brewster notes in “past years, virtually every story in the NASCAR mainstream media in advance of the Fontana stop has centered on attendance.” Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker, whose track hosts this Sunday's Auto Club 400, said, "The tickets are tracking good, at least from last year. We expect good weather, it's spring break for many students and we believe we have good packages." Brewster notes the most popular package to date "was the Valentine's Day offer for two tickets, two track scanner rentals and two pre-race pit passes” (SAN BERNARDINO SUN, 3/20).

In Minneapolis, Kaszuba & Rao report Minn. Gov. Mark Dayton met privately with City Council members Kevin Reich and Sandra Colvin Roy "in an attempt to sway them and build a pro-stadium majority on the 13-person council, which has been split" over the Vikings stadium project. Though the stadium plan "faces other significant political hurdles," State Sen. Julie Rosen said that the City Council "now holds a key to the project's overall chances" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/20).

ROLLING DOWN THE HILL? Military Bowl officials said that they "might be interested in moving the 4-year-old bowl game from its current home in Washington, D.C., to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore." In Baltimore, Jack Lambert notes the Military Bowl is "currently played at RFK Stadium." Military Bowl Committee President Steve Beck said that relocating the game to Baltimore "would depend on whether the Baltimore Ravens would want it played in their 72,000-seat stadium." Beck said that the Ravens "have not expressed interest to the bowl committee" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/16 issue).

SEATS FOR SALE: IMG College's seating division has struck a deal with the Univ. of Arizona to begin leasing seats to Wildcats fans at Arizona Stadium this fall. The service rents seat-back chairs for the season or individual games. IMG College's seating business now has 129 school partners, including Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame and Ohio State (IMG College).

ORDER ON THE COURT: In N.Y., Mike Tanier wrote under the header, "Delicate Balance In Game Of Names: Rebranded Courts Yield Donations, And Resentment." Tanier noted the last few years have seen an increase in basketball court dedications "at the major college level, many of which have been controversial." Naming the floor after one coach sometimes undercuts the legacy of another, and as is often the case in college athletics, honor usually comes with a price tag." Many smaller programs are "upfront about connecting naming rights to fund-raising" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/18).