Coast to Coast
Birdland Passport returns
The Baltimore Orioles have brought back their Birdland Passport program for 2013. Fans who visit five of the Orioles’ six affiliated-club ballparks — those of the Norfolk Tides, Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys, Delmarva Shorebirds and Aberdeen IronBirds — and have their “passport” marked will receive a Birdland Passport T-shirt and will be entered to win a trip to spring training next year in Sarasota, Fla.
Hartzog spent 24 years at SIU shaping track and field champs.
Southern Illinois University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest athletics facilities, the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex and Connie Price-Smith Throws Area. The site houses a state-of-the-art track, a 4,500-square-foot building for locker rooms and a top-of-the-line throwing area.
Nuggets hold playoffs festival
The Denver Nuggets, the Downtown Denver Partnership, and the Denver Parks and Recreation Department were marking the start of the NBA postseason with the first Downtown Denver Playoff Hoops Fest at Skyline Park. The six-day event was slated to begin April 20 and will feature Nuggets players, team dancers, team mascot Rocky and community ambassadors.
Mayor backs Jags’ board plan
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown supports the Jacksonville Jaguars’ proposal to have the city borrow $50 million to build the biggest video boards in the country at EverBank Field, according to a Florida Times-Union report. Approval by the 19-member City Council is also needed for the project to proceed. Jaguars President Mark Lamping said he is hopeful the project will be approved by June, according to the report.
Senator eyes billboards at stadium site
California state Sen. Alex Padilla has introduced a plan to allow electronic billboard ads, which are currently banned by state law, next to a proposed NFL stadium, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Activists opposed to the proposal, approved by a legislative committee, said that lawmakers intend the measure as special treatment for AEG Chairman Philip Anschutz, whose Farmers Field project is the subject of the legislation.
Magic marks 25 years
The Orlando Magic, in celebration of the franchise’s coming silver season, unveiled a commemorative 25th anniversary logo. The mark meshes the club’s original pinstripe jersey design with the Magic’s current star ball secondary logo. The club debuted in 1989.
Kelce’s beard part of sponsorship.
The Philadelphia Eagles and center Jason Kelce entered into a partnership with Dietz & Watson for the 2013 season. The deal includes a promotion called Beard Yourself in which fans are encouraged to superimpose virtual beards on their Facebook photos to become part of Kelce’s Beard’s Crew for a chance to meet Kelce at the Eagles’ NovaCare Complex later this spring.
Suite fans asked to change shirts
Fans sitting in a suite behind home plate for the April 12 L.A. Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks game were asked by Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick to change out of their blue Dodgers shirts or move to a different suite, according to an Arizona Republic report. The fans agreed, changing into Diamondbacks gear provided by the team. The team has a policy forbidding fans from wearing opposing team’s gear before they purchase the suite.
D-Backs team with Safelite
The Diamondbacks have partnered with Safelite AutoGlass to offer three glass repair and replacement days at Chase Field. Fans will receive two complementary tickets to a future game when they sign up for the service. The service will be available for all fans on June 8 and Aug. 31, with season-ticket holders eligible for an additional service date on May 14.
NASCAR signs recycler Liberty
NASCAR and Pittsburgh-based Liberty Tire Recycling agreed to a partnership that designates the tire recycling services provider as the official tire recycler of NASCAR Green. Liberty joins the likes of Coca-Cola, MillerCoors, Creative Recycling, Goodyear, Safety-Kleen and Sprint, who are other Green partners. The NASCAR initiative is now in its fifth year.
Teams, RIT plan hockey festival
The Rochester Americans, Rochester Red Wings and Rochester Institute of Technology are teaming for a 10-day festival of hockey in December at Frontier Field, home of the Class AAA Red Wings. Plans call for the Amerks to host an AHL game at the downtown stadium. RIT’s NCAA Division I men’s and women’s teams also will play on the constructed rink, which additionally will feature high school and amateur games during the Dec. 13-22 festival.
Mariners get majority stake in RSN
DirecTV and the Seattle Mariners renewed their local media deal, giving the team a majority stake in Root Sports’ Seattle-based RSN. DirecTV will hold a minority stake and oversee day-to-day operations of the channel.
BASF returns for Sustainable Saturdays
BASF is teaming again this year with the Mariners for a second consecutive season of Sustainable Saturdays at Safeco Field. In part due to BASF-sponsored zero-waste stations throughout the club’s ballpark, the Mariners and their fans divert more than 86 percent of game-day waste away from local landfills.
COAST TO COAST — BEYOND THE COASTS
Emirates to sign Real Madrid deal
Emirates Airline is set to sign a shirt sponsorship deal with Real Madrid worth up to $39.3 million a year, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The deal is expected to be signed in the next few weeks, with the Emirates logo appearing on the La Liga club’s shirts for a duration of between four and six years, according to the report.
Basketball complex planned
Manchester is set to become the nation’s basketball capital with the creation of the new Belle Vue Sports Village, according to a Manchester Evening News report. The British Basketball League’s Manchester Giants are expected to become tenants at the site’s new National Basketball Centre. Governing body England Basketball committed $913,000 to the total cost of $4.3 million for the four-court facility.
Blatter to open new soccer HQs
FIFA President Sepp Blatter is scheduled to inaugurate the new headquarters of the Federation of Haitian Football this week, according to a Defend report. The organization’s former headquarters was destroyed in the January 2010 earthquake.
RIO DE JANEIRO
Stadium builders will play first match
Construction workers who helped rebuild Brazil’s Maracanã stadium will play in the first match to be staged there, according to a Reuters report. That first match, scheduled for Saturday, calls for the construction workers to join a team representing two of Brazil’s greats: Ronaldo and Bebeto.
Road project 75 percent done
Roman Starovoyt, head of government infrastructure company Rosavtodor, said that road building for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is three-quarters complete with less than a year to go until the opening ceremony, according to an R-Sport report. Nearly $4.9 billion is being spent on expanding and modernizing Sochi’s road network.
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