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Iconic Turner Field Coca-Cola Bottle Bids Farewell PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 19 June 2009 10:38

Turner Field Coca-Cola bottleAfter 12 years, the 42-foot-tall Coca-Cola Contour bottle standing high above left field will be retired from Coca-Cola Sky Field at Turner Field on July 2. A new version of the classic bottle, slated to hit Coca-Cola Sky Field at Turner Field later this summer.

“The original bottle wonderfully symbolized Coca-Cola’s longstanding relationship with America’s favorite pastime,” said Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. “The Coca-Cola bottle in Coca-Cola Sky Field has stood as a distinctive reminder that drinking a Coke is part of summer’s simple pleasures, just like being at a Braves game with your friends and family.”

The Coca-Cola bottle, made of over 11,000 pieces of authentic Atlanta Braves baseball equipment including 6,680 baseballs, 290 bats and 86 gloves, was built as Coca-Cola Sky Field’s main attraction. Four hundred and thirty-five feet from home plate and 80 feet above the field, the Coca-Cola bottle is positioned in Turner Field’s most unique vantage point..

 “Coca-Cola Sky Field and the Coca-Cola bottle really set Turner Field apart from other Major League Baseball stadiums,” said Derek Schiller, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, Atlanta Braves. “The bottle is not only entertaining, it reminds fans that one of America’s most iconic brands was created right here in Atlanta. Braves baseball and Coca-Cola are both sources of pride for Atlantans, so we do all we can to enhance the fan experience at Turner Field.”

The new Coca-Cola bottle will be constructed in Coca-Cola Sky Field later this summer. A special rendering of the new design will be revealed at an upcoming game before the bottle makes its official debut.

In honor of the famous bottle’s retirement, the first 15,000 fans to enter the stadium on July 2, will receive a commemorative 8-oz bottle with a depiction of Coca-Cola Sky Field.

Source: Coca-Cola


OTHER NEWS ACROSS THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK:

BREAKING: Major Teams in F1 to Break Away, Form Own Series - BusinessofSportsNetwork.com


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Texas Rangers Rename Owner's Suite in Honor of George W. Bush PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 18 June 2009 23:47
George W. BushThe Texas Rangers today renamed the Owner’s Suite at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in honor of the 43rd President of the United States and the team’s former Managing General Partner George W. Bush.

President Bush, Rangers Owner Tom Hicks, and team President Nolan Ryan participated in the event. President Bush also attended the Rangers-Astros game this evening.  

President Bush, who served two terms in the White House from 2001 until this past January, threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Rangers’ home opener on April 6, his first appearance at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since 2000, when he was Governor of Texas. The former President was Managing General Partner of the Rangers from 1989-94 before his election as Texas Governor. 


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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For the Birds: Indians Release Statement on Gulls at Progressive Field PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 13 June 2009 00:00
Seagulls at Progressive Field

The Cleveland Indians Friday made a statement Friday regarding the excessive amount of gulls that have been present at Progressive Field this season.

“Over the past few weeks, the Cleveland Indians have been doing extensive research regarding the gull issue we’ve encountered at Progressive Field this season,” said  Cleveland Indians Vice President of Public Relations Bob DiBiasio. “This research has included contacting a variety of institutions, including the US Department of Agriculture National Wildlife Research Center (including Hopkins and Burke Lakefront Airports), Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio Division of Wildlife and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to name a few.  Main reason for this issue has been the increase of nesting pairs in Cleveland’s “Flats” on flat top roof buildings. Gulls are riding the wind currents up the valley walls to the Ballpark in search for food scraps to feed their young.  The Indians are continuing to research ways to control this issue under the guidance of gulls being federally protected.”

Source: Cleveland Indians


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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Naming Rights for New College World Series Stadium Sold to TD Ameritrade PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 08 June 2009 08:23

Omaha StadiumTD Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD‎) has purchased the naming rights for the new 24,000-seat stadium in downtown Omaha that will be the home to the College World Series.

(see renderings and animated fly-through movie of the new College World Series stadium)

According to the SportsBusiness Journal, “Sources put the 20-year deal at about $750,000 a year, with annual escalators, for the $128 million downtown ballpark set to open in 2011.”

The ballpark will be known as TD Ameritrade Park. The deal with TD Ameritrade includes “signs, suite and club seats, additional tickets and hospitality, and the use of the facility for corporate events.”

As noted in the report, the deal is significant due to the soured sponsorship market, especially for stadium naming rights.

TD Ameritrade is located in Omaha, the deal was done, in large part, as hometown support.

“The College World Series is big already and has great potential to grow,” said  Bill Gerber, TD Ameritrade executive vice president and CFO. “Hopefully those collegiate ties link us to customers, and as they graduate and start making money, they have to invest. I would still tell you this isn’t about generating a lot of new accounts, as much as it is recognition of our headquarters community, and because it is the right thing to do as a local corporate citizen.”

The naming rights deal was brokered Rob Yowell’s Gemini Sports.

TD Ameritrade has other connections to baseball, as well. Thomas Ricketts, who is working to complete the purchase of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago is the son of TD Ameritrade founder J. Joe Ricketts.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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PeTA Announces Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 04 June 2009 21:17

Wasn’t that long ago that ballpark food was strictly a blue-collar thing. Hot dogs, chips, soda, beer, snow cones, and Red Vines were your staples.

But, in recent years, ballpark food has moved from this standard fare into a broad array of food offerings.

Along with the change in food at the ballpark has come a change in dieting, and for many, social awareness when it came to eating something that could look you in the eyes before being hauled off to market.

With that, ballparks have begun tapping into the “vegetarian demo”.

Today, PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released their Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks list. Here’s the list, plus honorable mentions. By the way, you never know what high profile baseball writer might be a vegetarian. This author is neither high-profile, nor vegetarian, so keep guessing.

In addition to old standbys such as peanuts and popcorn, baseball fans are enjoying options such as fresh-grilled veggie dogs, veggie burgers, and faux chicken as well as burritos, vegetable wraps, and regional foods. According to PeTA, "Not only are these choices full of flavor, they're also 100 percent cruelty- and cholesterol-free—talk about a triple play!"

PETA is pleased to announce the Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks for 2009. (Be sure to check out PETA's animal-friendly minor league counterparts too.) Click on each ballpark below to learn more about its vegetarian options. And the winners are …

  1. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia Phillies)
  2. AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants)
  3. Coors Field (Colorado Rockies)
  4. Turner Field (Atlanta Braves)
  5. Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros)
  6. PETCO Park (San Diego Padres)
  7. Comerica Park (Detroit Tigers)
  8. U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox)
  9. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)
  10. (tie) Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers)
    (tie) Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)

According to PeTA, "Fortunately, these aren't the only ballparks that have stepped up to the plate to serve delicious vegetarian options. Here's a list of ballparks that received honorable mention and a rundown of the meat-free items on their menus!"

Honorable Mention:

  • Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers): Veggie burgers, veggie dogs, California and cucumber rolls, fresh fruit skewers, roasted sweet corn, assorted salads, Healthy Kids meals (PB&J, juice box, and fruits and veggies)
  • Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays): Veggie burgers, bowtie and penne pasta, black beans and rice, assorted salads, vegetarian action stations with pasta, risotto, black bean cakes, and quinoa cakes (available in the Batter's Eye)
  • Busch Stadium (St. Louis Cardinals): Fire-roasted vegetable burritos with rice and beans, Asian vegetable stir-fry, garden-fresh salads, fresh vegetable plates
  • PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates): Veggie burgers, vegetable wraps, veggie pierogies, fresh fruit smoothies
  • Dolphin Stadium (Florida Marlins): Veggie burgers, made-to-order salad station, fruit cups, potato latkes, vegetables crudités
  • Nationals Park (Washington Nationals): Veggie burgers, hummus and vegetables, fresh fruit salads, pear and walnut salads with lemon vinaigrette, Healthy Kids meals (PB&J, juice box, and fruits and veggies)
  • Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland Athletics): Veggie dogs, chipotle black bean burgers, assorted salads, baked potatoes

Kudos to the Brewers making the Top 10, and the Dodgers making Honorable Mention. Now, you'll excuse me, I need to watch the Sausage Race while eating a Dodger Dog. 


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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Turn Out the Lights: Tiger Stadium to be Completely Demolished PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 02 June 2009 13:11

Tiger StadiumEfforts by a non-profit group to preserve a portion of historic Tiger Stadium has failed, thus ushering in its complete demolition.

A $33.4 million proposal by the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy was shot down by the Economic Development Corp. board, which voted 7-1 in favor of the complete demolition.

"We cannot have a partially demolished building remaining indefinitely," Detroit Economic Growth Corp. vice president Waymon Guillebeaux told The Associated Press.

While the partial demolition of the stadium began just over a year ago, the rest of Tiger Stadium will be leveled as soon as a contract is negotiated with a contractor. As further reported, the issue revolved around fund raising by the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy:

[T]he Detroit City Council voted 5-3 last October to spare -- for the time being -- the remaining wedge of ballpark in the city's Corktown neighborhood. Council members said at the time they wanted to give the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy more time to raise funds for a proposed redevelopment of the site.

The group submitted a plan this year to renovate the stadium into a commercial building with a working ballfield for youth and amateur baseball. The project had an estimated price tag of $33.4 million, much of which would be covered by historical and other tax credits. A $3.8 million federal earmark also was approved for the project.

"In terms of some of their plans, they met our approval," Guillebeaux said. "The biggest issue was the funding. There were some matters as to how they were going to fund it, whether they were going to receive certain tax credits. ... It was the financial milestones largely that had not been met."

The cost of completing the demolition is reported to be $400,000, “with $300,000 covered by money put up by the conservancy in advance, in case their plans for the site were rejected or fell through.”


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Fenway Puck: Red Sox’ Home to Host NHL Winter Classic PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 25 May 2009 01:41

Fenway Park - Winter ClassicBut will you be able to play slap shots off the Green Monster?

Multiple sources are saying that the next NHL Outdoor Winter Classic will be played at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox.

As has been the case with the last two Outdoor Winter Classics, the game will be played on New Year’s Day.

The Cubs’ Wrigley Field hosted the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings for this year's game and saw attendance of 41,000. The Buffalo Sabres played the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Jan 1, 2008 which saw a record for NHL attendance at 71,217.

Yankee Stadium (both the House That Ruth Built, and new Yankee Stadium) have been considered for the Outdoor Winter Classic, and the upcoming event was no exception. The other location under consideration had been Philadelphia.

The 2010 game would have the Boston Bruins playing an as yet unknown opponent, but according to ESPN.com, it “likely would be an Original Six rival such as the Montreal Canadiens.”


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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When Watching Nothing (For Now) Is Something: New Marlins Stadium Webcam PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 14 May 2009 09:03
Marlins webcam


Sitting atop the roof of the Robert King High Towers Building, a webcam is pointed at what is, for now, the vacant lot where the Orange Bowl used to sit. But starting in July (if groundbreaking does occur then) nothing will start to become something. That’s because the webcam is pointed at the new home for the Flor... I mean, soon to be Miami Marlins 37,000 seat, retractable-roof stadium. Targeted opening date? April of 2012. According to Sarah Talalay of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Marlins site - Flags

Click to see in larger view

Three flags representing the Marlins, Miami-Dade County and city of Miami, are at home plate. First base features a flag for architect Populous (formerly HOK Sport); second base has the U.S. flag; and third base has a flag for Hunt/Moss – the joint venture construction manager for the ballpark.

(click on the thumbnail image to see a zoomed in shot of the flags)

The webcam camera, which was manufactured by "EarthCam", provides high-speed, Multi-Megapixel images that are archived for remote viewing. Clicking on "Camera Control" to the left of the main image, you can zoom in and out (hence the ability to zoom in on the flags). You can also click on the archive tab to look back in time. The camera's orientation is from North to South and images are updated every 15 minutes.

Boring? For the moment. After all, an empty dirt lot isn’t much to see. But, given the design of the new stadium (see the images below, and other high-res images here), the ballpark should be stunning. Now, about that public subsidy...

To see all of the following images, plus others, in high-resolution, select the link below:

Proposed Miami Marlins Stadium

Miami Marlins Stadium
Miami Marlins Stadium
Miami Marlins Stadium Miami Marlins Stadium

ALL IMAGES COURTESY HOK SPORT


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Collection of 1300 Photos Grace New Yankee Stadium PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 13 May 2009 11:21

Yankee Photos

Select the image above to see details of the photo of Gehrig
holding bats

Sports & the Arts announced on Tuesday its curation of “The Glory of The Yankees,” a collection of photography within Yankee Stadium. Curated by Tracie Speca and presented by the New York Daily News, the collection features more than 1300 past and present archival photographs from the New York Daily News and other sources. “The Glory of The Yankees” brings the walls of Yankee Stadium to life by creating a museum attraction for both young and old.

(select the image provided to see a close up of the photo of Gehrig holding bats)

Fans will be treated to the largest collection of Yankees photographs ever displayed. Celebrating the illustrious history of the New York Yankees, photographs dating back as early as the 1900’s have been meticulously restored to showcase both the legends of “yesteryear” and the stars of today.

“When we envisioned this thrilling photographic exhibit, we insisted upon a level of quality and dedication that reflects the Yankees history and tradition. There was no artistic organization which had the requisite skill sets and could accomplish our goals other than Sports & the Arts,” said Lonn Trost, Chief Operating Officer of the Yankees.

Tracie Speca, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sports & the Arts said, “This has been a project close to my heart and a true accomplishment in my career.” Sports & the Arts has created an intimate museum quality gallery within Yankee Stadium. Visitors will have the opportunity to view their favorite players from Yankees history, as well as experience an up close look at rarely seen images. Photographs on display depict both iconic players and moments from the legacy that defines America’s pre-eminent baseball franchise, the New York Yankees.

Sports & the Arts works directly with sports franchises, professional athletes, and nonprofit organizations throughout the world of sports to develop intimate and large-scale art installations. The goal of Sports & the Arts is to create a museum-like experience through the curation of paintings, photography and sculpture.

Source: Sports & the Arts


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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History Up for Bid: Sod, Signs, Seats, and More from Yankee Stadium PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 13 May 2009 10:36

Yankee Stadium Beer Sign

You can purchase this bit of Yankee
Stadium history.

The New York Yankees and Steiner Sports Tuesday began auctioning off 1,500 pieces of memorabilia from the original Yankee Stadium. Costs can run from $80 for approx. a tablespoon of dirt used during the last game at the ballpark to $6,000 for a 4’x30’ authentic Yankee Stadium sod from between home and 1st base, and that’s just the fixed bid items.

In the open auction section, you can bid on a personal pitching clinic with Joba Chamberlain (yes, you get an “autographed multi-exposure 16x20 photograph, as well). Starting bid? $7,500

Other items? How about a Yankee Stadium authentic turnstile (current bid, $2025) or a Yankee Stadium authentic 6x12 Sign: "Be Alert Foul Balls" (current bid $786), and what Yankee fan wouldn’t want this sign for their personal rumpus room wet bar? Yankee Stadium Authentic 18x12 Signed: "Limit 4 Beers Per Person Photo ID Required" (current bid $625), or maybe a Yankees Game Used Pitching Rubber Visitors Bullpen 9-13-2008 (current bid, $299).

The reason for the auction? To pay the city back $11.5 million in public subsidy. Other items that will eventually be up for grabs? According to Bloomberg News, “a clubhouse door that Jeter pounded with his bat before every home game; the foul poles; the section of the wall that Jeter dived over July 1, 2004, for a foul ball, bloodying his face; and seats that were hit by select home runs throughout the stadium’s history.”


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Rain, Rain Go Away. Yankees Promise Better Info in Rain Delays PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 06 May 2009 18:47

Yankees Stadium - Gate 6As reported yesterday, everything did not go so smoothly at Yankee Stadium on Monday night when some employees told fans that the game against the Red Sox was going to be rained out, when it wasn’t. The hundreds of fans that tried to get back in to the stadium caused a near riot of sorts with one person arrested. To add to the chaos a NY Daily News photographer shooting pictures of the fans trying to get back in nearly had his credentials revoked.

Afterwards, the Yankees brass was reportedly livid about the situation, met with the event staff and have promised better communications to the patrons at the stadium during rain delays.

"We have about 5,000 game-day event staff," Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo said Tuesday. "Today we're being proactive. We've met with supervisors and with all ranges of guest services people."

Zillo added that patrons should be getting a singular direction from the staff.

"There should be one voice coming from the Yankees during any rain delay situation via either the PA announcer or scoreboard messages," he said. "We recognize that we can give fans information more repetitively during a rain delay situation."

As to the chaos that broke out on Monday night, Benjamin Kabak of River Ave. Blues has several eyewitness accounts of the situation, some of which confirm the Daily News’ accounting of the scene, but also some that said those working Gate 6 informed fans as they left there would be no re-admittance into the stadium, should fans leave (see Yanks facing heat over rainy day actions for more details).

BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK FEATURE ARTICLES:


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Near Riot Breaks Out at Yankee Stadium When Rainout Isn’t a Rainout PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 09:26
Gate 6

Hundreds of fans, who were informed by Yankee personnel that last night’s game between the Red Sox and Yankees was rained out, only to have the game played anyway, angrily begged to be let back into the stadium at Gate 6, with one fan being arrested in the chaos.

The ugly scene occurred after patrons were reportedly told by Yankee employees who walked the concourse holding pinstriped "How may I help you?" signs, that the game had been rained out. When the game started at 9:20pm, fans tried to get back into the stadium, hundreds of them at Gate 6. That’s when security denied access. A Daily News photographer shooting pictures of the confusion was threatened to have his credentials revoked. As reported by the New York Daily News:

Becky Wright, who flew in from Oregon for Monday night's game, had bought two tickets as a birthday present for her 16-year-old son, Seth O'Neil. They left the game because "the guys holding the 'How may I help you signs?' said they weren't going to play," said Wright. They were among the hundreds of fans outside Gate 6 trying to get back into the Stadium.

Jason Zillo, a Yankee spokesman, said the team has a firm no-reentry policy. He also said the NYPD and Stadium security hadn't let any fans back into the ballpark.

"We're a part of hundreds of people, if not thousands," said Martin Watson, a 39-year-old New Yorker who spent $800 for four tickets and tried to reenter through Gate 6. "This is not fan-friendly. This is B.S. You pay money for a top-of-the-line franchise, and you get bottom-of-the-line customer service."

And, it wasn’t just the fans that got burned that saw the Yankees organization as treating fans unfairly, apparently, so did at least one employee. As further reported:

"This is unfair what they did to the people," said one Yankee employee who witnessed the entire scene outside Gate 6. He declined to give his name for fear of losing his job, but added: "For the people who left the game, what are they going to do about their money?"

Between this, exorbitant premium ticket prices, and the vast amount in public subsidy used to construct new Yankee Stadium, it’s enough for one to ask, Are the Yankees a Tarnished Brand?


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Seibu Lions Use Matsuzaka Posting Fee to Upgrade Bathrooms in Grand Style PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 03 May 2009 20:51

Money toilet paperWhen the Boston Red Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007, part of the agreement between the Sox and the Seibu Lions involved a $51,111,111.11 posting fee – a fee that simply allowed the Red Sox to have exclusive rights to negotiate with Daisuke (for more on how the posting fee works, read the US-Japanese Player Contact).

And while Dice-Kmania reached US soil, it was yet another blow to Japanese baseball as MLB took one more of their premier players.

But, all is not sad for the Seibu Lions. In fact, if you attend a game at the Seibu Dome you can see (and apparently, feel) where the Lions used the Daisuke posting fee revenues to renovate the stadium. As reported by the New York Times, much of the money went into porcelain fixtures:

With the $51,111,111.11 posting fee the Lions earned from the Red Sox in the deal, they renovated the drab, outdated Seibu Dome, constructing concession stands and seating, resurfacing the playing field, installing an enormous video scoreboard and, most notably, building magnificent bathrooms with electronically warmed toilet seats.

[...]

Each stall in the women’s bathrooms holds a Toto Washlet, a toilet and bidet in one unit. These $1,500 fixtures provide a luxurious experience for fans, who may spend their time in the restrooms contemplating the full extent of Matsuzaka’s legacy with the Lions.

“It looked like a women’s room in a nice hotel with the vanities and sinks,” said Tere Garcia-Pena, visiting from Manhattan with her husband, Miguel. “It was just so nice and clean, I felt like I just wanted to keep going in there.”

Not all of the posting fee money went into the toilet/bidet units. According to the report, “Two seasons ago, the Lions spent some Matsuzaka money on the country’s widest video scoreboard, almost 165 feet across (and 23 feet high).”

Let the debate begin as to whether the Yankees really spent their $1.3 billion as best they could. After all, what would a diehard Yankee fan have said if he sat down on a heated toilet seat? “Fehgetaboutit!”


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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New Gwinnett Ballpark Unveiled for Braves Triple-A Club PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 27 April 2009 01:34

Gwinnett BravesGwinnett County’s new state-of-the-art venue, Gwinnett Stadium, was opened to the public on Friday, April 17 when the Gwinnett Braves took on the Norfolk Tides, for the opening of a 10-game home stand.

Barton Malow Company and HKS Architects, Inc. served as the design/build team for the one-of-a-kind Triple-A stadium.

“Today marks a memorable occasion for the Braves organization and Gwinnett County,” said Braves President John Schuerholz at the time. “This world-class ballpark is an impressive place for baseball fans to experience the game and has made possible the return of one of the classic Triple-A franchises to its roots in Georgia.”

The ballpark provides an intimate setting with a total capacity of 10,427 seats. It will ultimately serve as the focal point of a mixed-use entertainment district.

“Building Gwinnett Stadium is an example of true teamwork,” states Len Moser, vice president of national sports, Barton Malow. “Given the condensed schedule of just over a year, the only viable delivery option was design/build. This required Barton Malow, HKS, Gwinnett County and the Braves to all buy in to the goals of the project from the start and work collaboratively throughout its duration.”

HKS Architects, with offices in Atlanta, has completed more than $1 billion in construction in the area over the past 20 years. The firm’s minor league projects include Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock, Ark.and Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. Additional HKS minor league projects include The Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas; Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas; and Stockton Ports Ballpark in Stockton, Calif.

HKS Architects designed the distinctive stadium by extensively researching the history and culture of baseball in the region. According to Fred Ortiz, AIA, senior designer with HKS, the stadium’s unique design reflects a historic retrospective combined with a keen sensitivity to the varied topography and vernacular aesthetic of the local area. “As the first Triple-A baseball stadium in Georgia, the venue incorporates numerous exceptional characteristics that position it as a dynamic and memorable destination for all fans.”

Gwinnett Stadium Features:

  • The sports and entertainment destination serves as the nucleus/central point for a future mixed-use entertainment district.
  • The stadium’s design is inspired by historic and memorable baseball parks in the region.
  • Environmental responsibility and sustainability are inherent in the design and construction. HKS integrated recycled content materials throughout the facility, incorporated reclaimed water in all restrooms and installed a unique lighting energy management system. Barton Malow recycled over 90 percent of the construction waste during the project.
  • As part of future development, the stadium will include two restaurants overlooking the outfield.
  • A seating bowl with 7,777 fixed seats and a total capacity of 10,427 seats fosters an intimate setting for viewing games.
  • The stadium’s seating bowl concourse and surrounding spaces are designed to blend with the sloping topography of the site.
  • The stadium features 22 luxury suites, a super suite with extra space and two party decks located on the upper level.
  • Lawn seating for 2,500 on the berm is located behind the left-center and right-center field walls.
  • A distinctive feature of the stadium is its 360 degree concourse which enables fans to view the games from all angles.The dynamic roof canopies cover 30 percent of all the fixed seating.
  • The exterior façade of the stadium is composed of materials that were regionally manufactured including brick, glass and cast-in-place concrete.
  • The baseball park has an outdoor area designed to accommodate a variety of family activities.

Below are images of the new ballpark, courtesy of HKS Architecture

(CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)

Gwinett 1
Gwinnett
 Gwinnett 
  
  
  

 Source: HKS Architecture


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Dodgers Lower Price of Beer, Soda and Other Concessions PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 12 April 2009 01:47
DodgersWith a focus on families, the Dodgers announced on Friday new initiatives for the 2009 season that include lower-priced options at concession stands and a price freeze on parking, tickets and Dodger Dogs.

The Dodgers are introducing a new free fan club for kids, a free Playbill publication distributed to each car arriving at the game, and all-inclusive packages that provide tickets, souvenirs, Dodger Dogs and free parking.

"No sport is more associated with families than is baseball," said Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt, who worked with Commissioner of Baseball Allan H. "Bud" Selig to help create the Commissioner's Fan Initiative, announced April 2.

"Many families are dealing with the question, 'What's valuable to us? What matters?' We want to make the game more accessible and more affordable. We value their devotion to the game and hope to offer the kinds of ticket and event packages that will make baseball a memorable, meaningful and affordable piece of their summer of 2009. This is more than an initiative; it is a commitment."

Among the new options available at concession stands are lower-priced options for Coca-Cola soft drinks and water, as well as beer for adults. Soft drinks will start at $3.75, down from $5; bottled water will start at $3.75, down from $5.75; and beer will start at $6, down from $8. In addition, there will be no increase in the price of the popular Dodger Dogs or any other food items from concession stands or vendors.

New in 2009 are "Dodgers All-Inclusives," packages providing everything from tickets to T-shirts and peanuts to parking. Packages providing value, savings and cost certainty start at $99 for a family of three.

In addition, the club is lowering the price of the popular All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion, presented by AM/PM, which gives families cost certainty for hot dogs, nachos and soda. The price will drop, from $35 per game to $25 per game, for 70 of the 81 home games.

Also new in 2009 is the Jr. Dodgers Kids Club, presented by Kaiser Permanente. The free membership includes first access to all Jr. Dodgers Training Days, newsletters, special offers and exclusive access to special Jr. Dodgers Experiences. For more information, visit dodgers.com/jrdodgers.

Each family coming to Dodger Stadium will receive a free Dodgertown Playbill, a program of features, offers and family-friendly tips to make their visit more affordable and more enjoyable. The publication, which will be distributed at the auto gates, will have new content each homestand.

Earlier this year, the Dodgers announced that all ticket prices would remain the same as in 2008, when the team captured the National League West title and advanced to the NLCS for the first time since 1988. Children's tickets start at $7 (when purchased day of the game), adults tickets start at $9 (when purchased in advance) and, with a 12-game mini-plan, ticket prices start at only $4.

According to the 2009 Fan Cost Index by Team Marketing Report, the Dodgers average ticket price is $29.66 while the average premium ticket costs $222.38.

Source: Los Angeles Dodgers, Team Marketing Report


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Buzz Kill: Beer and Alcohol Banned from Rogers Centre Games PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 08 April 2009 08:23
Beer and Alcohol ban at Rogers Centre

Last night’s Tigers/Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre in Toronto was a decidedly “dry” affair, but it wasn’t just because the roof was closed: The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario banned beer and alcohol for the game due to past infractions at the ballpark.

And, it wasn’t just fans that found themselves being subjected to the banning, according to MLB.com:

"They took it all out," said Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, who then chuckled. "I haven't opened my fridge yet to see if there's any in there."

Tuesday's game was one of three scheduled alcohol-free dates at Rogers Centre. The ban will also be in effect on April 21, when the Blue Jays host the Rangers, and for a Canadian Football League game on Aug. 1. The Gaming Commission cited five broken rules at baseball and football games and concerts dating back to 2007.

What, exactly, were the rules that were broken at Rogers Centre, thus causing the ban?

  1. Permitting drunkenness
  2. Permitting the use of narcotics
  3. Selling and serving to apparent minors
  4. Failure to request approved identification
  5. Permitting illegal liquor on the premises

For those that simply can’t handle the notion of going to a Blue Jays game without getting buzzed, the Jays are offering ticket exchanges for the dates affected by the ban.

Business of Sports Network Feature article:

Isle Be Damned: A Tale of Two Cities (A ‘Dickens’ of a story)


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Red Sox Unveil "Year VIII Improvements" to Fenway Park PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 02 April 2009 10:36

Fenway ParkWith Mayor Thomas M. Menino and city officials in tow, the Boston Red Sox unveiled the “Year VIII Improvements” to Fenway Park today.

The work by the current ownership group continues to squeeze the most out of MLB’s oldest ballpark.

“From Day One, the mission of this ownership group led by John Henry and Tom Werner has been to protect and preserve America’s Most Beloved Ballpark for the long term.  With the completion of the Year VIII improvements, Fenway Park is poised to serve fans for several decades,” said Larry Lucchino, President/CEO of the Boston Red Sox.  “And that preservation and protection would not have been possible without the support of the City of Boston and, most importantly, the vision of Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  One of Mayor Menino’s enduring legacies will be that the Boston Red Sox can play baseball at Fenway Park for the next 40 to 50 years.”

All off-season projects were designed by D’Agostino Izzo & Quirk of Somerville, MA, and overseen by the Boston office of Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse.

Select Read More to see the Year VIII Fenway Park Improvements. See schematics and artist renderings of the overall improvements

Read more...
 
Daktronics and Sony Team Up On New Cincinnati Reds Scoreboard PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 02 April 2009 09:14

New Reds Video Display

Daktronics and Sony teamed up to develop the
massive new video display at Great American
Ballpark

(CLICK TO SEE IN LARGER VIEW)

The Cincinnati Reds have chosen Daktronics (Nasdaq-DAKT) and Sony Electronics (NYSE: SNE) to upgrade the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati with a state-of-the-art, integrated display system featuring Daktronics HD-X light emitting diode (LED) technology and Sony high-definition video production technology.

The new system includes a large high-definition LED (light emitting diode) video display and other LED displays from Daktronics, which are installed and will be operational prior to the start of the 2009 Major League Baseball season.

“We are extremely excited to announce the new system to be delivered by Daktronics and Sony,” said Jennifer Berger, Senior Director of Entertainment, Events and Productions for the Cincinnati Reds. “Working together with these two industry leaders, we’ve put together a system that will provide a great game day experience. Our fans will certainly appreciate the high-definition quality of the images and information we present on the main board and all the other displays within the ballpark. This system will be among the most sophisticated in the sports world.”

In addition to the main HD-X video board measuring approximately 138 feet wide and 39 feet high, two other Daktronics displays are positioned behind left field. A full-color digital display is installed as part of the left field fence, measuring 153 feet wide, and will provide statistics, out-of-town game information, and additional graphics and animation. A digital ribbon board is installed on the left field fascia of the second deck of seating.

Other Daktronics displays include digital ribbon boards along the first and third base lines with a total combined length of nearly 630 linear feet. The Reds will be the first team to utilize Daktronics popular HD-16 technology into fascia/ribbon board applications, providing greater detail and even greater viewing angles than most ribbon boards installed today. The new ribbon boards also incorporate a new top access design for easier service if necessary. Three unique vertical displays will show division standings and other information for fans.

“Working with the Reds and Sony, we’ve put together an incredible system that will rival the best in Major League Baseball,” said Daktronics Sales Manager Will Ellerbruch. “The combination of HD-X technology on the high-definition video display and the other LED displays throughout the ballpark will provide the Reds with unsurpassed flexibility to engage fans and activate sponsors.”

Daktronics and Sony Electronics have begun a relationship that will provide a “best of breed” approach to integrated video, display and scoring systems. Daktronics provides industry-leading scoreboards, LED video, fascia and marquee signage, and Sony provides industry-leading high-definition broadcast and production equipment and LCD displays.

“Our work with the Reds is a model for our future stadium and sports venue deals,” said Steve Stubelt, Director of Sony’s Solutions Group. “Teaming with Daktronics adds a critical component of a sports venue system and allows us to give customers a one-stop shopping experience.”

Source: Daktronics


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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By the Numbers: New Yankee Stadium Diamond Vision Display PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 31 March 2009 11:16

New Yankee Stadium Video Display

The video display at new Yankee
Stadium will be approx. 4-times
as large as the one from The
House That Ruth Built.

When the new Yankee Stadium opens its doors April 2 with its annual team workout, the Yankees will also be unveiling what Mitsubishi Electric is saying is the most advanced, high-definition Diamond Vision display ever constructed in center field.

The Yankees and Mitsubishi Electric continue a longstanding agreement which began in 1983 when they installed one of the first Diamond Vision video displays in Major League Baseball at The House That Ruth Built. (Mitsubishi Electric was the first company to introduce large-scale video display boards for the 1980 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.)

The Yankees’ new Diamond Vision display blasts 1080 resolution from more than eight million LEDs (light-emitting diodes) for replays, updates from around the league and messaging.

Measuring 100-feet wide and nearly 60-feet tall, the Diamond Vision is longer than the distance between the bases, delivering 5,925 square-feet of high-definition display area and using 8,601,600 LED lamps with exceptional viewing angles that provide sharp images visible from nearly every seat in the ballpark. (By comparison, the scoreboard at the previous Yankee Stadium measured 24.9-feet by 32.8-feet with 486,400 LED lamps.)

The Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision Display at Yankee Stadium, By the Numbers:

  •  Width: 100.79 feet
  •  Height: 58.79 feet
  •  Total Display Area: 5,925 square-feet
  •  Total LEDs: 8,601,600
  •  Pixel-Pitch: AVL-ODQ8 with 8mm dot pitch
  •  Video Source: 1080 HD
  •  Content Management: Mitsubishi Electric DSC2 Digital HD Display Controller
  •  Resolution: 1080 x 1920, plus an additional lower row of 48 pixels for messaging
  •  Installation Start Date: Summer 2008
  •  Installation Completion Date: March 2009

Source:  Mitsubishi Electric


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB Appoints Committee to Explore Athletics Stadium Dilemma PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 30 March 2009 18:43

OaklandAfter meeting with ownership and management of the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that he has appointed a committee to thoroughly analyze all of the ballpark proposals that have been made to date, the current situation in Oakland, and the prospects of obtaining a ballpark in any of the communities located in Oakland’s territory.

Oakland’s current lease expires in 2010 with three one-year club options beyond that date.

The committee will be chaired by Bob Starkey, a stadium expert and financial consultant for Major League Baseball. It also will consist of Corey Busch, a former baseball executive, and Irwin Raij, a lawyer with Foley and Lardner who worked extensively on both the Washington and Miami ballpark proposals. They will work with MLB President & Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy and will provide a written report to the Commissioner at the conclusion of their analysis.

“Lew Wolff and the Oakland ownership group and management have worked very hard to obtain a facility that will allow them to compete into the 21st Century,” Commissioner Selig said. “To date they, like the two ownership groups in Oakland before them, have been unsuccessful in those efforts, despite having the significant support of their corporate partner Cisco. The time has come for a thorough analysis of why a stadium deal has not been reached. The A’s cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation.”

A key comment in the statement by Selig pertains to the committee looking at options in the Athletic's home territory. That territory includes Alameda and Contra Costa counties in California and would not include Santa Clara Co. where San Jose resides. That location has been of keen interest to the A's, as well as general partner, Lewis Wolff who has been involved in commercial real estate ventures in the city, and is looking to develop a soccer-specific stadium for the MLS Earthquakes, of which Wolff is owner, as well.

Lesser known is whether areas, such as Sacramento, might be explored. Sacramento Co. is not considered within the MLB Constitution, but the the city hosts the Triple-A  Rivercats, an Athletics affiliate and minor league baseball's most successful franchise.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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