Connecticut-based Webster Bank today will announce a marketing partnership with Celtics G Ray Allen through August '12. Financial terms were not available for the deal, under which Webster gains full marketing and endorsement rights to the former UConn standout for use throughout the bank's New England/N.Y. footprint. Allen will appear in advertising, marketing and collateral materials for Webster, as well as make special appearances at bank events. Boston-based Altus Marketing & Management, which has handled previous promotional events involving sports stars for Webster, brokered the deal.
The partnership announcement will be accompanied by the release of "The Webster Dream Team," a viral video starring Allen, UConn coach and fellow Webster endorser Jim Calhoun and a group of bank employees. Boston-based Kelliher Samets Volk produced the video.
The Sacramento City Council last night voted unanimously to "spend the next three months working with downtown developer David Taylor and arena builder ICON Venue Group in analyzing the financial feasibility" of a new NBA Kings venue. Taylor said that he would begin "trying to meet with the Kings" this morning. Team ownership "has stopped speaking publicly about the arena process." The study will be free for the city. Once it is complete, the city "will conduct its own analysis and bring it back to the council" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/9).
Former EPL club Liverpool Owner Tom Hicks and Royal Bank of Scotland today in London's High Court will "resume their dispute" over the sale of the team to New England Sports Ventures. Both parties are "seeking a series of injunctions" stemming from October's "frantic week of litigation" in which legal action was filed in both Texas and London. If Hicks is successful, it "could clear the way for a series of damages claims" totalling "hundreds of millions of pounds" against the bank and former club directors (London TELEGRAPH, 2/9).
Walt Disney Co.'s Q1 profits rose a "whopping" 54% to $1.3B "thanks to strong advertising buys at the company's broadcast and cable networks ... and an uptick in spending at theme parks over the holidays." Profits at the cable networks rose by $221M to $771M on "higher ad sales and the addition" of the BCS games. ESPN's broadcast of the Tostitos BCS Championship Game was "the most watched telecast in cable TV history." Higher ad rates "also helped ABC," whose profits increased to $295M from $115M (VARIETY.com, 2/8).
Officials today are expected to formally announce plans for a $10M, six-month repaving and reconfiguration of Phoenix Int'l Raceway that is "designed to facilitate more entertaining side-by-side racing." The project, scheduled to start "soon after" the Feb. 27 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500, will be the track's "first major repaving since 1990 and the most significant overhaul in the track's almost 50-year history." Changes will include a "wider front straightaway and slight variable banking in the corners" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/9).
The Alamodome today will open the Illusions Theatre, a "conversion theater that can be set up and torn down and seat between 3,600 and 11,600 people." Alamodome GM Marc Solis "expects to book about a dozen events at the theater" in '11, among them "many of the concerts and graduation ceremonies that defined" Municipal Auditorium, set to close this summer. San Antonio Dir of Convention, Sports & Entertainment Facilities Mike Sawaya said that "there was a demand in the marketplace for a new midsized facility" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 2/9).
Miami-Dade County has won the bid to host WWE's WrestleMania 28 at Sun Life Stadium in spring '12, besting rival bids from L.A., N.Y., New Orleans, Toronto and others. Officials today will hold a press conference to "detail the weeklong list of activities planned." The event will mark the "second Wrestlemania in Florida and the third outdoors." WrestleMania 24 in '08 was held outdoors at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando (MIAMI HERALD, 2/9).
More than 50,000 turn out for Packers' Super Bowl celebration yesterday at Lambeau Field
Univ. of Cal-Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau tomorrow is expected to announce whether five sports – baseball, rugby, men's and women's gymnastics and women's lacrosse – "will be reinstated after a decision in September to eliminate the programs after this school year" (AP, 2/8).
The Izod IndyCar Series today announced that it will not return to Twin Ring Motegi in '12. The series will hold its final race at the 1.5-mile oval north of Tokyo on Sept. 18 of this year (IndyCar).
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has tapped CineSport to provide the paper's website with sports video highlights, news, features and custom video services (CineSport).
"Will everyone just take a deep breath and have a little faith that we're not going to lie to people? We're going to do the right thing" – AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke, responding to skepticism about the claim that a downtown L.A. NFL stadium will require no taxpayer money (L.A. TIMES, 2/9).
"I think what Steve has done is that he brought a lot of credibility to an organization which needed it" – Former NHL coach Scotty Bowman, on Lightning GM Steve Yzerman's impact since joining the franchise eight months ago (DETROIT NEWS, 2/9).
"If they have any interest in nostalgia, they could leave L.A. and come back home" – Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, on the Dodgers wearing throwback pre-1958 jerseys for several games this season (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/9).
“Fighting is a sport that all other sports aspire to be. We’re human beings, and fighting’s in our DNA. We get it, and we like it. Canada just gets it and likes it a lot more than everybody else” – UFC President Dana White, on Canada being a hotbed for MMA (NATIONAL POST, 2/9).
Twitter Me This....
Golfer Y.E. Yang: “Can't find Hotel Rooms for Northern Trust next week, Oscars and NBA All Star game has milked LA dry of accommodation!!”
SI’s Richard Deitsch: “Let me also add Fox Sports has nothing to apologize for regarding the A-Rod shot. You want honest footage as a viewer. And that was one.”
Ventura County Star’s Jim Carlisle: “When Keith Olbermann started ESPN2 he said ‘Welcome to the end of my career.’ With Current, it may well be...”
Broadcasting & Cable’s Ben Grossman: “Olbermann is like signing Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Dennis Rodman in their primes. He'll succeed, and you also know exactly how it will end.”
The Marlins begin their second-annual overseas troop visit, an eight-day trek through Southeast Asia and Germany to visit wounded soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The team contingent includes President David Samson; special assistants Jeff Conine and Andre Dawson; and players Logan Morrison and John Buck.
ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen will speak at Villanova Univ. from 3:00-4:30pm ET.
The Morning Buzz offers today’s back page sports covers from some of the nation’s major metropolitan tabloids:
N.Y. Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News
Last night's "Final Jeopardy!" category was "Ancient Quotes."
"He said, 'To leave this stream uncrossed will breed manifold distress for me; to cross it, for all mankind.'"
ABC's Jimmy Kimmel: "Even though the entire state of Wisconsin is frozen as solid as Nicole Kidman's forehead, that did not slow down the celebration in Green Bay, where the Packers celebrated their Super Bowl victory at Lambeau Field for their fans, 56,000 fans. The fans in Green Bay were tailgating in 14 degrees below zero. I wish I loved anything that much, I really do. It was so cold fans were shaping their breath into footballs and throwing them around to each other. Between the free hot dogs and the frostbite, about a dozen people accidentally ate their own fingers, and that's why they wear the cheese heads. It's not for team spirit. It's for warmth. ... This might be one of those instances where it's better to come in second place because most of the Steelers are in Hawaii right now. ... Brett Favre couldn't be there to congratulate his old teammates, but he did text them a picture of how excited he was for them, so that's nice. ... In Dallas – this is kind of nutty – apparently at a pre-Super Bowl event on Saturday, someone gave Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick a key to the city. Now, the Cowboys and their fans hate the Eagles, so it's strange they would give their quarterback anything other than the finger in Dallas and then on top of that, their quarterback is Michael Vick. ... The closest he's ever come to living in Dallas is when he was in prison in Kansas. But the mayor of Dallas says the key was given without his knowledge or approval. It was given to him by a city councilman who I guess is a cat guy" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 2/8).
Last night's Top Ten list was "Top Ten Signs You're Watching A Bad Cable Channel." CBS' David Letterman read the list while actor Dan Lauria, who is playing legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi on Broadway, sat on-stage next to Letterman as Lombardi. Letterman: "Look ladies and gentlemen, it's legendary football coach Vince Lombardi." Lombardi: "A pleasure to be here." Letterman: "Must be a thrill for you that the Green Bay Packers prevailed again this year." Lombardi: "Not a surprise to me." After Letterman read each one of the entries in the Top Ten list, Lombardi would offer one of his motivational sayings, such as, "The measure of a man is not how he falls down but how he pulls himself up off the ground!" More Lombardi: "Jerry Kramer used to drive across the border to beat up Canadians just for the fun of it. I love that kind of guy! ... German potato salad is not real potato salad. Real potato salad has mayonnaise in it!" ("Late Show," CBS, 2/8).
10) "All day: 'Joanie Loves Chachi.' All night: 'Joanie Loves Chachi' in Spanish." 9) "It's a history channel that focuses on everything since 1987." 8) "Top show, about malfeasance in the cabbage industry entitled 'Slaw and Order.'" 7) "Tonight's news topic of discussion: 'Ejipt.'" 6) "Only has two shows about crazy people making cupcakes." 5) "All the financial advice is aimed at pets." 4) "Most popular program, 'The Daily Show With Jon Voight.'" 3) "It's about guys named Todd by guys named Todd for guys named Todd." 2) "New primetime show: 'Who Wants To Text His Deal?'" 1) "All of its shows are from Oprah, but not THE Oprah."
CBS' Letterman: "Did you hear about the Super Bowl? They had 400 people, bought tickets. They go all the way to Texas and they can't get in because the seats aren't there so they had 400 angry people who couldn't get in. Now it's interesting because last night here in the theater, we had 400 angry people because they could get in. People are still yakking about that Christina Aguilera. I want to tell you something, I wouldn't give her troubles to a monkey on a rock, and today the Republicans demanded to see her birth certificate. ... In the United States now, there is a shortage – a desperate shortage – of snow shovels. Sounds like the beginning of a teen vampire movie, doesn't it? Charlie Sheen got a snow shovel around his neck. ... We had like nine storms here in New York City and they've been very hard on the New York City streets. In fact earlier today, Mayor Bloomberg was busy cutting the ribbon on a brand new pothole. ... There's a pothole over on 8th Avenue that is so deep – have you seen it? – it's got a gift shop. ... They say this Hosni Mubarak is worth like $80 billion: $80 billion! He said, 'Now, wait a minute.' He said, 'Let's get one thing clear. I didn't steal this $80 billion because people jump to conclusions all the time.' He said, 'I saved this money by properly inflating my tires.' ... $80 billion: That's Mrs. Tiger Woods' money" ("Late Show," CBS, 2/8).
NBC's Jay Leno: "Once again, congratulations to the Green Bay Packers. They are the Super Bowl champions or as Christina Aguilera would say, 'Champ Bowl something Packers gleaming.' ... As you know, poor Christina Aguilera, she got so much heat for screwing up the National Anthem but, you know, she was nervous. Can you blame her? I mean, you're a woman, Ben Roethlisberger is 50 feet away. Of course, you're going to be creeped out. ... To his credit, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is taking the blame for the loss. He didn't try to pass the blame off to someone else, which is good because if he did try to pass the blame off, it would have been intercepted and then returned for a touchdown. ... On the 'Today' show, they revealed who played Darth Vader. That was the most popular commercial, the Volkswagen one with the little Darth Vader. You know who played Darth Vader? Bob Costas. ... An interesting story came out this week about Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and the psychological ploy he used the night before the game. Did you hear about this? This is kind of cool. He excused his players from a team meeting so they could go get fitted for Super Bowl rings. I mean, they hadn't played the game yet but he gets them psyched up by measuring them for their rings. You know, same thing Kelsey Grammer does on a first date. ... There is now a proposal in Texas that would punish the parents if their kids are caught sexting. If the kid sends sexually explicit messages, the parents get punished. ... You know who I feel sorry for here? Brett Favre's parents" ("The Tonight Show," NBC, 2/8).
"Who was Julius Caesar?" The quote is attributed to Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon.