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  • Build it and they will come....

    Associated Press
    PITTSBURGH -- Baseball might abandon its long-standing policy of alternating All-Star sites between National League and American League cities and award the 2007 game to another NL city, commissioner Bud Selig said Tuesday.



    Minutes after officially announcing Pittsburgh would host its second All-Star game in 12 years in 2006, Selig said he expects to reveal the 2007, 2008 and 2009 sites later this summer.



    PNC Park will be the '06 All-Star field of dreams.



    With San Francisco, Arizona, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and San Diego all playing in new or relatively new ballparks and St. Louis to follow in 2006, one NL city would have to wait until 2018 for an All-Star game should baseball stay with its traditional but no-longer mandatory rotation.



    By contrast, only the refurbished Anaheim Angels ballpark and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg won't have been All-Star sites among the newer AL parks, once Detroit stages the 2005 game.



    "I don't believe that it [the rotation] is as important as it used to be," Selig said. "I think the important thing is to try to be fair. In a perfect world, you would alternate NL and AL, but it's more important to reward franchises, I think, that really need to have the game because of their venue. There are so many great new ballparks, and that's the nice part."



    The hard part, he said, it deciding which cities must wait, especially when teams such as Kansas City already have waited more than 30 years for a game.



    "What I'd like to do even during the course of this summer is to at least award the games for 2007, 2008 and 2009 so they have enough time to get to work on it," Selig said. "There are a lot of cities that have new ballparks and have an intense desire to have an All-Star game. I'll just have to be as fair as possible."



    Phoenix and San Francisco also wanted the 2006 game, which was awarded to Pittsburgh partly to pump up the Pirates' slumping attendance. Their average crowd has dropped by 10,000 a game since PNC Park opened in 2001, even though the riverfront ballpark is widely regarded as one of baseball's best venues.



    Pirates managing general partner Kevin McClatchy was "relentless" in pursuing the game, Selig said, sometimes to the point of being overly intense.



    "I made the decision, and I meant what I said that the competition was incredible and there will be a lot of disappointed people," Selig said. "I have to try to be fair. I understand they had only had a game 12 years ago, but they met all the criteria other than that. They have a gorgeous ballpark ... and Kevin McClatchy was about as tenacious as you can get."



    With 38,496 seats, PNC Park is the majors' second smallest ballpark to Boston's Fenway Park, and the Pirates hope the demand for All-Star tickets will be so great that season ticket sales will increase dramatically starting next year.



    "Why did we get the 2006 All-Star game? Because we have the best ballpark in America," McClatchy said.

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  • DJRamFan
    Cities confident MLB will pick someone soon
    by DJRamFan
    Associated Press
    HOUSTON -- Baseball's No. 2 official expressed confidence Monday that the Montreal Expos will move before the 2005 season but wouldn't set a new deadline for a decision.



    The Expos were bought by the other 29 teams before the 2002 season, and baseball at first hoped for a decision by July 2002 but later pushed it back to the 2003 All-Star break and then to this year's break. The bidding areas have said in recent weeks that they think a decision could be made by late July or early August.



    "I've been hanged out to dry by coming out with proposed dates," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said before the All-Star Home Run Derby. "The sooner we get it done the better. I believe it will happen this summer. I believe it's very important we get this done this year."



    Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia's Loudoun County, near Dulles International Airport, appear to be the top contenders to land the Expos. Also bidding are Las Vegas, Monterrey, Mexico; Norfolk, Va.; Portland, Ore., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.



    Downtown Washington is about 40 miles from Baltimore's Camden Yards, and DuPuy acknowledged that Orioles owner Peter Angelos has openly opposed having a team move that close to his franchise. If the Expos move to either Washington or Northern Virginia, they would play at RFK Stadium, home of the expansion Washington Senators, before moving to a new ballpark in 2007 or 2008.



    "He's expressed his view with the regard an impact a club in the Washington area would have on the Orioles," DuPuy said.



    Commissioner Bud Selig said in May that he was concerned about the effect an Expos move to the nation's capital would have on the Orioles.



    "It isn't only the Orioles, it's all teams," Selig said then. "I think it's the commissioner's responsibility to protect the 30 franchises."



    Baseball officials met Friday with the Washington and Northern Virginia groups, and DuPuy said discussions are ongoing with all the bidding communities.



    He also said it's possible baseball will decide where the Expos move before finalizing a deal to sell the team, a process that could extend into early 2005. He said that areas that don't wind up with the Expos could become contenders for other franchises.



    "That's an inevitable conclusion you can draw if you're having eventual relocation," DuPuy said.



    Selig says the Florida Marlins and Oakland Athletics need new ballparks to survive in their areas.
    -07-12-2004, 06:12 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Try To Get Fans Off Couch, Into Dome
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams try to get fans off couch, into dome


    BY JIM THOMAS
    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Over the first four games of the season, local television ratings for the Rams were up 51 percent over 2009, the largest increase of any NFL team.

    Even with a diminished rating in Sunday's Meltdown in Motown a 44-6 loss in Detroit the Rams' average rating of 24.1 is the team's highest figure through five games since Scott Linehan's first Rams squad started 4-1 in 2006.

    (The ratings figure is the percentage of homes with a TV set in the St. Louis area watching the game.)

    With another home game this weekend, the challenge remains translating that television interest into ticket sales at the Edward Jones Dome.

    "How do we bridge that gap?" said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations.

    Demoff said between 5,000 and 7,500 tickets remain for each of the Rams' remaining five home games. Sunday's game against San Diego, the four-time defending AFC West champ, is in the 5,000 area of unsold tickets. So is the Dec. 19 contest with Show-Me State rival Kansas City.

    The Dec. 26 contest with San Francisco is in the 7,500 area, with the Oct. 31 Carolina game and the Nov. 21 Atlanta game somewhere in between. The Carolina game features the Isaac Bruce jersey retirement ceremony, and even if that game is televised locally, Demoff points out the Bruce ceremony won't be shown on live TV. You have to be in the stands to see it.

    The Rams used a combination of corporate sponsorship, buying up some unsold tickets themselves, and some giveaways and promotions to get the first three games of the season on local TV. Demoff said the team is hoping for a similar arrangement this week with the San Diego game.

    "We're going to be proactive trying to get every game on TV any way we can," Demoff said.

    With what so far has been a noticeably improved product, Detroit game notwithstanding, the Rams want to get as much exposure as possible for that product. But there's only so many times you can tap into corporate sponsors. And only so many times the Rams will buy up unsold tickets before games start getting blacked out.

    "And it's going to be a challenge without mass ticket buying," Demoff said.

    Group sales have picked up following the home victories against Washington and Seattle. But the needle isn't moving on single-game sales. During the preseason, when both Rams home games were blacked out, the team experienced a decent walkup crowd on game day. But that hasn't been the case during the regular season, probably because the three home games so far have been on local television.

    "It's nobody's responsibility to fill the dome but the Rams'," Demoff said. "And I would never chastise fans for not showing...
    -10-13-2010, 04:11 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Arena league owner isn't sure city is ready for MLB
    by DJRamFan
    By Adam Candee
    <[email protected]>
    LAS VEGAS SUN

    Jim Ferraro moved his Arena Football League franchise from New Jersey to Las Vegas in December 2002, gambling that he could buck the city's history of rejecting even the most noble of sporting franchises.

    And as noble an idea as he feels moving the Montreal Expos to Las Vegas would be, Ferraro said recently that he is just fine watching someone else gamble their money on selling Major League Baseball on the Strip.

    "I'm not so sure it's the right place, but who knows," Ferraro said.

    As he prepares for the Las Vegas Gladiators' third season in town, Ferraro can speak with some authority about the changing sporting climate of the city. He has watched his team draw respectable, but far from overwhelming, crowds for two years at the Thomas & Mack Center, averaging just under 10,000 tickets sold -- and closer to 7,000 actual attendance -- per game in 2004. By Las Vegas historical standards, that is not bad.

    Ferraro acknowledged in 2002 and reiterated Thursday that he did not expect the Gladiators to really establish themselves in Las Vegas until their third season, putting some onus on the upcoming year. He still feels strongly that sports can work in the valley.

    "Vegas is a major-league city," Ferraro said. "It deserves all these sports franchises."

    But that is tempered praise from Ferraro, who went on to say that he would want no more than a small part of the risk involved in relocating baseball's nomad franchise to Las Vegas. To draw the kind of crowds necessary for financial stability through 81 home games over six months, in addition to keeping enough year-round event traffic in the proposed facility to make the building profitable, is an endeavor that Ferraro worries could be a struggle.

    That goes not only for the Expos themselves, but also for the city's credibility in attracting major sports as it continues to grow in size and respectability as a market for professional teams.

    "If it doesn't work, it will be a black eye for Vegas for potential sports teams," Ferraro said.

    His better idea? It's not a new one -- professional basketball in Las Vegas.

    "I personally would be more interested in doing a basketball team than a baseball team because basketball has a track record there," Ferraro said, noting how fans supported UNLV through its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Success for an outfit such as the Gladiators is measured on a much different scale than it would be for the Expos. Ferraro said that given some anticipated improvement in sponsorship deals in 2005, the Gladiators can certainly be profitable for the first time in three years if they average 12,000 tickets sold per game.

    "We'll actually make a profit next year,"...
    -06-30-2004, 11:07 AM
  • RamWraith
    Rams Freeze Prices
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    12/24/2008

    With an eye toward the economy, as well as the team's won-loss record, the Rams are freezing prices on almost all tickets for the 2009 season.

    "We are sensitive to our fans and the choices that they have to make for the entertainment dollar," said Bob Wallace, Rams executive vice president and general counsel. "It's clear that the economy's going through a tough stretch right now. People are having to make choices. We don't want to add to that burden, so we've decided for our loyal fans they have been great fans to freeze prices."

    Wallace did say that because of some refurbishment on the lower level of the stadium bowl, there may be a price increase on "a little under 2,000 seats" in the 66,000-seat Edward Jones Dome.

    Those 2,000 seats, which most likely will be between the 40-yard lines, are being changed to something that's more like a club seat concept, according to Wallace.

    With the above exception, this marks the second straight season that the Rams have decided to freeze ticket prices. What's unusual about this year's news is that the team didn't even wait until the end of the season to make the policy known.

    Last season, the price freeze wasn't made known until the beginning of February. The early notice on the 2009 price freeze could be a reflection of concern over season-ticket renewals.

    "Obviously, it's a lot better to come off a very, very successful season than it is to come off a season that we're all disappointed in," Wallace said. "Combine that with a tough economy and, yes, we are concerned about the renewals."

    According to Wallace, the Rams have had a season-ticket renewal rate of more than 90 percent every offseason since the franchise moved to St. Louis in 1995. But with just one game remaining this season, the Rams have lost 26 of 31 games since the start of the 2007 season. Understandably, that has led to much unrest among the fan base. The past two home games have been blacked out on local television because they did not sell out.

    Fans who buy season tickets or renew PSLs for 2009 will see a spruced-up stadium that will have undergone $30 million worth of upgrades by the start of the preseason. Bids are still out on the refurbishment, Wallace said, so not all of the plans are finalized.

    But at a minimum, there will be new scoreboards in both the end zones, upgrades in some of the club seat lounges, and a major paint job to help lighten up the atmosphere in the dome.

    "I'm 99.9 percent sure that we'll have two new scoreboards that will be substantially better than what's there now," Wallace said. "In this market we use as benchmarks what the other venues have. These (new scoreboards) will be similar if not better to what's in Busch (Stadium)...
    -12-24-2008, 05:43 AM
  • DJRamFan
    UTA AD thinks intrastate football game will attract students
    by DJRamFan
    By Britney Tabor The Shorthorn
    ARLINGTON, Texas (U-WIRE) -- The Tarleton State University Texans will host their football season opener against New Mexico Highlands University at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mavericks Stadium.

    As a show of support of the referendum vote to bring football back to UTA, Tarleton's athletics director is giving $1 tickets to all UTA students with an ID. The Texans are opening their season at Mavericks Stadium because of a delay in the installation of their new artificial turf at Memorial Stadium in Stephenville. Tarleton, who rented the stadium for the event, establishes the ticket prices for all spectators attending the game.

    Athletics director Pete Carlon said he is excited about seeing a college game on this campus and feels sure that a number of students who like football will come out to watch the game. Although he said he does not think this will be an indicator of what a college game will be like if UTA gets a team, it will give students a chance to support college football.

    "I just think it will be a quality football game," Carlon said. "If students are interested in watching a quality football game, they'll get one here on Thursday night."

    Mavericks Stadium, a 13,000-seat venue, has opened its doors to host high school football and soccer games, band competitions, and high school and college track meets since football ended in 1985.

    Student Congress President Casey Townsend said although he believes UTA students want to see football come back, there will not be a lot of excitement for students because it's not their home team that they will be cheering for.

    "People want to see their own team and there is a difference between seeing a college football game and their university," Townsend said.

    He said although it would be more significant if UTA was playing, this football game is a college event that can help in enhancing college life.

    "It's nice to see more events that are tailored to campus life," Townsend said.

    Computer science senior Usman Tareen said he will probably attend the game because it is at UTA, but he agrees with Townsend. He said the university has a stadium, and they should have their own team playing there. To cheer for a team, a student has to be emotionally attached to them, Tareen said.

    "A lot of people won't care because it's not our team," he said. "It's hard to support the team of a school you don't go to."

    (C) 2004 The Shorthorn via U-WIRE.
    -08-26-2004, 01:25 PM
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