Baseball HOF President Jeff Idelson said the '14 class of inductees, representing the largest group of living honorees since '71, will help challenge the museum's Induction Weekend attendance record of 82,000, set seven years ago. The HOF on Thursday in N.Y. formally introduced the three players elected by the BBWAA: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. The trio will join previously announced Expansion Era Committee selections Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox. Idelson said, "Expectations are very high. Topping 2007 will be very difficult. But when you think about the big Induction Weekends in years past, years like '07, '99, '83 and so on, this will be right there with them." He added, "These players and managers pull fans from a lot of big, key markets like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and St. Louis." The HOF last year drew just 2,000 people to Induction Weekend, when the BBWAA elected no one and three honorees from the Pre-Integration Era Committee were long deceased. The HOF on Wednesday said it saw unprecedented spikes in inquires into museum membership, which in part can provide priority seating for Induction Weekend. Membership in the HOF's Presidents Circle and Benefactor levels of giving are up 27% since the Expansion Era selections were announced last month, and continue to grow. Idelson said, "Our phones (Wednesday) were lit up like a Christmas tree. I haven't seen anything like it" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
OUR TOWN: In New York, Denise Richardson notes the Cooperstown Bat Co., which "produces and sells autographed collectible bats, will begin reviewing its product line to include elected inductees and also to reflect the Hall of Fame's 75th anniversary celebration this year." CBC Owner Connie Haney said, "We feel it's going to be a great year for Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame. It's going to have a very positive impact on tourism through the course of the year." Richardson notes the lack of living honorees last year "negatively impacted attendance and local tourism." Cooperstown Cookie Co. Owner & President Tony Zieno said, "Last year was a quiet year, to say the least. This is a bounce-back year for the Hall -- if it's good for the Hall, it's good for Cooperstown" (Oneonta DAILY STAR, 1/10).
The NFL plans on "closing 14 blocks of Broadway" to stage its Super Bowl Boulevard celebration for the four days leading up to Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. NFL VP/Event Production Mary Pat Augenthaler said, "Some people think we are a little crazy for tackling what we did in New York." Best notes the city of Indianapolis "pioneered the concept of turning over several city blocks to Super Bowl festivities in 2012 -- complete with a zip line -- and soon thereafter, the NFL began making plans" for a version adapted to N.Y. The centerpiece of Super Bowl Boulevard "will be an eight-lane, 60-foot-high toboggan run, the only attraction that will charge a fee." Other features include "autograph sessions by day and concerts by night." Augenthaler said that she is "especially excited about a football-themed 'virtual theater' video presentation that will be projected on the façade of Macy's each evening." Best notes many familiar elements of the NFL Experience will be missing because there was "no suitable venue available in the metropolitan area." Augenthaler said, "I can't tell you how many times we say in meetings, 'This is not the NFL Experience.' We've done that for 20-something years. There is no formula for this. This one is from scratch." She added of the venue for the Boulevard festivities, "We're working essentially with a street. Normally we have a venue per se -- a field or parking lot or convention center. Working along 14 blocks is unique and different for us, but also very fun and challenging" (NEWSDAY, 1/10).
THE GOLDEN TICKET: The AP's Rick Freeman noted NFL.com users in search of Super Bowl tickets are "directed to a resellers' website, operated by Ticketmaster," where as of Thursday evening, the "cheapest ticket available was over $3,000." Sellers on StubHub were "willing to part with seats for a little more than $2,500." StubHub Senior Manager/Corporate Communications Smita Saran said, "What we're probably going to see is over time, the closer we get to the game, the more the prices will drop." She added that before last year's game, StubHub was "receiving searches for tickets up to an hour before kickoff" (AP, 1/9).
LEARNING AS THEY GO ALONG: NFL Giants President & CEO John Mara on Thursday noted the Giants and Jets have "worked very well together" in organizing Super Bowl XLVIII and the related events, but he added he "certainly didn’t anticipate the complexities of dealing with" the states of New York and New Jersey, as well as New York City. Mara: "That adds kind of another layer to everything that you have to do. But we've had great cooperation from all three." He said it was a "good thing" that the teams will turn over operations of the Super Bowl and the stadium to the league because "they've done it so many times before" ("Francesa," WFAN-AM, 1/9).
Defending NCAA men's hockey champion Yale faces Harvard on Saturday night in an unusual location for a neutral-site game: MSG. The Leverage Agency, N.Y., which is also the Ivy League's sponsorship agency of record, is owning, operating and promoting the game. "This has taken two to three years to put together," said Leverage Founder & CEO Ben Sturner. "Our goal is to make this somewhere near as significant as The Game," said Sturner, referring to the 131 times that Harvard and Yale have met on the football field. On the ice, there have been 238 Yale-Harvard contests in eight different cities. Around 14,000 tickets for Saturday's game have been sold as of Friday morning. Turkish Airlines is the lead sponsor for the MSG game and gets ads on NBCSN, along with integration into the broadcast; three dasher boards; LED signage; tickets; and hospitality. Shoe maker JP Crickets is also sponsoring in conjunction with its new hybrid Ivy League sponsorship/licensing deal, under which the conference's "Official Dress Casual Footwear" is marketing shoes branded with indicia from the member schools. The company will have dasher boards. The Wall Street Journal is sponsoring pre- and postgame parties. Chia Bars and taxi app Uber are also sponsors.