Dec 30, 2007

Memphis Grizzlies mascot takes medical leave


GameOps.com blogs about Grizz, the furry mascot of the Memphis Grizzlies. Eric McMahon, who performs as the team mascot, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Instead of replacing Eric with another performer, the team is cancelling any appearances by Grizz while Eric is in hospital. But that's only one of several initiatives the Grizzlies have implemented:
With Eric’s enthusiastic assistance, the Grizzlies have created the Friends of Grizz program. This program will invite patients of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and their families, on behalf of Grizz, to each home game beginning Saturday as a show of solidarity for their battle and his. Grizzlies players will wear a ‘00’ patch on their warm-ups representing Grizz’s jersey number to show their support for Eric and his recovery. The Grizzlies Den Team Store at FedExForum will begin selling Friends of Grizz wristbands at the Tuesday, January 15 game vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. Proceeds from sales of the wristbands will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


Read more from GameOps.com...

Dec 28, 2007

Woman arrested for flashing the jumbotron



A woman flashes the fancam at a Memphis Grizzlies game, and gets arrested for indecent exposure.

(via Awful Announcing)

Hockey intermission entertainment in the 1960's

We're always looking for tidbits of info on the history of game entertainment, especially in hockey.

This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the first Ottawa 67's hockey game at the Ottawa Civic Centre. There was a great article earlier this week in the Ottawa Citizen that recapped the festivities and mayhem surrounding opening night.

Some highlights:

On the lighter side, a quintet of jazz musicians greeted fans in the concourse, Bobby Gimby and The Young Canadians strolled around the ice encouraging all 9,000 to join in on a rousing rendition of CA-NA-DA between periods, and people complained the scoreboard over centre ice obstructed their view because rink attendants experimented with keeping it low enough that southside spectators would see it from underneath the low roof.

It was an experiment doomed to failure and soon rectified.

...

By July 1, the team had its name through a contest by fans after the Gorman family refused to allow the use of the name "Senators." "Grenadiers" was a finalist among 2,000 entries, but it was thought players would not enjoy being called "diers" for short.

The 67's opened their first training camp Sept. 14 in Hull, clad in old Ottawa Montagnard jerseys. Some 80 hopefuls took the ice with Doyle among 10 goalies, Shawville's Bill and Terry Murray on defence, and Michel St. Jacques, Montrealer Pierre Jarry and Bill Clement, of Thurso, among the best of the forwards at "four-a-day" workouts.

Eight days in, they played their first exhibition in Hull versus Peterborough. Most notable was not the fact that only 1,666 showed up. More newsworthy was that the 67's "new" barber-pole sweaters didn't arrive until the end of the first period.

T-shirt gatling gun

Check this out - the t-shirt gatling gun - the next generation in arena t-shirt cannons.




More info from FX In Motion.

Dec 9, 2007

Video scoreboard catches fire in Seattle

The Seattle Supersonics video scoreboard caught on fire the other night. It actually wasn't the scoreboard itself, but a lighting fixture inside the scoreboard that caught fire. The game was delayed as the scoreboard was lowered and firefighters doused the flames. Here's the video:



More video of the fire here.

Nov 4, 2007

Fans make the calls OR fantasy sports meets realty

Sports Marketing 2.0 reports:

Fans of Hapoel Kiryat Shalom, in Israel’s third amateur division, can now use the team’s Web site to vote on the starting line ups and to give instructions to the field coach. Read more here.

Here’s more on this from Reuters UK read it here

Bill Veeck tried this once - he let fans in the stands at a baseball game play the role of manager and vote for what play they'd like to see. I'll have to go back and re-read the book - can't remember if they won the game or lost.

Oct 21, 2007

Profile on Blackhawks organist Frank Pellico

From Paul Ladewski on dailysouthtown.com:
At a time when live organ music has been drowned out by computer-programmed rock-'n'-roll in most sports arenas, Blackhawks organist Frank Pellico is a survivor.

About half of the 30 NHL teams employ keyboard players, but Pellico is among the few who play an actual organ at the games.

What's more, Pellico said, "to my knowledge, the Blackhawks are the only team that has an organ of this size and capacity. I mean, a real pipe organ."
...
"Frank loves to play the organ, and he loves hockey. And the fans love him," Blackhawks game operations chief Ben Broder said. "It's great to have him around."

For that, local puck-heads also can thank Bill Wirtz, the late Blackhawks owner.

With Al Melgard at the controls, the 3,663-pipe Barton organ was a fixture at Blackhawks games at Chicago Stadium for years. Ever the traditionalist, Wirtz made a commitment to duplicate the sound as best as possible when the team moved to the United Center after the 1993-94 season.

The result is a custom-designed Allen organ, the largest the company had built at the time. Add the 300,000-watt sound system that was installed a year ago, and Pellico is among those who believes the sound is as good as it gets in any arena these days.

"Three hundred thousand watts? That's mind-boggling," said Pellico, whom Melgard mentored as a youth. "The previous system was decent, but it was made for the spoken word. Because there were no base speakers, it didn't do justice to organ music, which has very deep sounds in the pedals. Now the CDs and the organ sound dynamite, so we have the best of both worlds."

Still, Pellico admits to some apprehension when the Blackhawks moved across the street to the new arena.

At the cozy old Stadium, Pellico was stationed literally within reach of the fans in the mezzanine area. At the cavernous United Center, he is up, up and away from the action on the seventh floor.

"It's 100 percent different in the new building," he said. "In the old one, when somebody wanted to make a public announcement, the cue for me to stop was when the person began to talk. In the new building, I wear a headset to stay in contact with a producer. ... It's a whole different game now."
...
Pellico takes center stage between the second and third periods, a four- to six-minute segment called "The Frank Pellico Show" in which he showcases his skills.

"It gives me a chance to show what I can do on the keyboard rather than just play dun-dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun to get some crowd noise," he said. "I can play anything I want to show people that I really did study music."

Even if Broder and others are in his earpiece once in a while.

"Frank is so humble; we like to razz him sometimes," Broder said. "You know, stuff like 'C'mon, Frank, you can pump it up better than that!' But the fans give him a thunderous ovation every time."

At 66, Pellico has too much fun to give it up any time soon.

"I love what I do, and the Blackhawks have been very good to me," he said. "What more could a person ask for?"
(via Kukla's Korner)

Related:

Oct 16, 2007

Phoenix Coyotes trademark the "White Out" promotion

The Phoenix Coyotes haven't run a playoff "white out" promotion since 2001-2002, but they're ready just in case. The Arizona Republic reports that the Coyotes have trademark rights to the word "White Out":
... the Coyotes have trademark rights to the term "White Out." The club registered the term even before moving from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Phoenix and has reapplied when necessary to keep it up to date.
...
Steve Weinreich, a Coyotes' vice president and the team's general counsel, told the Daily Collegian recently that any variation of the "White Out" term for marketing purposes is a violation.

It isn't unusual for teams, coaches or athletes to secure the rights to marketing slogans.

• Miami Heat coach Pat Riley once registered the term "Three-peat" when he was coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

• Ring announcer Michael Buffer has the trademark on "Let's get ready to rumble." In fact, Holbrook said NHL clubs used to use that at the start of games but now must pay Buffer if they use it.

• The Seattle Seahawks and Texas A&M wrangled over the "12th Man" in a lawsuit last year. The Seahawks now pay a licensing fee to A&M to use it.

• And first baseman Tony Clark registered "Anybody, anytime" this season after he coined it and it became the motto of the Diamondbacks.

The Coyotes' tradition began when the club was in Winnipeg and officials asked fans to wear all white in a 1987 playoff game against Calgary in response to the Flames' "Sea of Red."

Read the entire article...

(via Kukla's Korner)

Oct 15, 2007

Tavares & Couture in head-to-head intermission contest

The Ottawa 67's (OHL) are hosting a unique intermission in November. It's a tip of the hat to a common intermission promotion in years gone by - having actual players compete in a skills competition. Here's an excerpt from the team's web site:
Two of the best prospects in the Ontario Hockey League will compete against each other in a one-on-one charity shootout during the first intermission when the Oshawa Generals visit the Ottawa 67’s on November 9th. John Tavares, the Generals’ leading scorer from Oakville, will face the 67’s Logan Couture in the special event that will mark the first of six meetings between the division rivals this year.

Tavares will be competing on behalf of the Special Olympics Foundation while Couture will play for the Canadian Cancer Society. They will be attempting to put the puck past each other’s starting goaltenders.

The two young stars have been rivals ever since the Generals, who committed to selecting Couture first overall in the 2005 OHL Priority Selection, opted instead to go with Tavares two days prior to the draft after the OHL made its early-entry ruling for the then 15-year-old. November 9th’s shootout gives Couture the opportunity for revenge.

The 67’s won last year’s season series between the two teams winning four of six games. Three of those games were decided by only one goal.

Oct 14, 2007

Vancouver Canucks want your playlist

"What do you want to hear? Upload your Canucks playlist to iTunes. 1 Mix contributor per month will be chosen to sit with DJ Dave and select songs from their personal iMix to play during the game." (via Kukla's Korner)

There's more about this promotion on their web site, along with the Canucks Top 10 playlist. We've mentioned DJ Dave before -- the Canucks were one of the first teams to set up a section on their forum where fans could discuss game music, make requests, etc. Nice to see

If you're a fan of hockey music, visit our sister site: HockeyMusic.ca

Pre-game power outage in San Jose

From the San Jose Mercury News:

A pregame power outage delayed the start of the Sharks home opener Saturday night by about 20 minutes.

Players were warming up on the ice when the arena bowl went totally dark about 7:05 p.m. Five seconds later, the HP Pavilion generators kicked in and there was enough light for the players to continue skating, but limited power elsewhere in the building.

Fans weren't able to enter the building for a short period and the parking lot was also dark.

As efforts were being made to restore the power, Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson and Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli huddled to determine the best way to begin the game once conditions were ready.

They decided to go ahead without the normal season-opening ceremonies and national anthem because further delays might require additional warm-up time for players who had been idle nearly 50 minutes.

The two were also in contact with NHL officials in Toronto, who gave the green light to play even though the normal TV feed to league headquarters was not available.

The game began at 8 p.m., but the building's public address and music systems were not working. Both were restored about 15 minutes later, but for the first 8:13 of the first period, it was pure hockey without any of the usual game-night presentations.



...and more from the San Jose Sharks web site:

Team Teal faced one of the craziest nights in franchise history Saturday night, but it unfortunately ended up in an opening night 2-1 loss. First, the night started with an internal power outage inside HP Pavilion that delayed the contest 20 minutes. San Jose then tied a franchise record by holding Boston to zero shots in the second period. Next, with 38 seconds left in regulation, the Sharks appeared to forced overtime with a dramatic Milan Michalek goal.
...
The Sharks had planned to honor Mike Ricci with an honorary faceoff before the game, but the delay ruined that opportunity. The game also began without the national anthems in an effort to make up for lost time.

Oct 13, 2007

New scoreboard installation in Buffalo

Check out this vid of a new scoreboard installation in Buffalo.

Boos in Buffalo

From Sabres Edge:

The Sabres have been holding a competition since the summer to find an in-game host at HSBC Arena. They are down to the final two contestants. But really, who would want to do it?

Forget Philadelphia. Buffalo fans have become the quickest to pull the trigger on booing in the United States. They booed the Sabres into getting rid of previous in-game host Nicolas Picholas. They boo anthem singer Doug Allen. They boo the refs. They boo the opposition. They boo the power play. Sure enough, they booed the final two contestants.

The first one leads a church youth group. The second is a military reservist, who looked like he immediately regretted applying for the job. They played a clip of him singing a takeoff of the "Piano Man," with words about the Sabres that he penned himself. The words were good, the singing so-so, and the fans buried him.

Tough crowd, as expected.

**Third-period update: The Sabres asked the crowd to vote on which host they liked best. Nominee One: "Boooo!" Nominee Two: "Boooooooooooooooooooooo!"

Video & background on the Sabres MC contestants are here.


Via Hockey Capital

Oct 7, 2007

Conan O'Brien: Mr. Met attempted suicide

Seen on YouTube: Conan O'Brien sketch with Mr. Met & the Philly Phanatic:

Columbus Blue Jackets add a cannon

From the Ottawa Sun:
Ken Hitchcock is a U.S. Civil War junkie who coaches a team named for Ohio's union soldiers. So he was ecstatic when the Blue Jackets asked him to help pick out an authentic cannon to "fire" a salute at Nationwide Arena every time his team comes on the ice, scores or wins. The team paid $20,000 US for an 1873 Napoleon field gun that will flash and billow smoke, while a 105-decibel blast is triggered in the rafters.

Sep 15, 2007

Oo La La Sasson: Official Jeans of the New York Rangers (1979)

Two of our most-visited blog posts include Guy Lafleur's disco album, and the Calgary Flames karaoke video. This 1970s tv spot featuring the New York Rangers is destined to join our hall of fame:



"Members of the New York Rangers sing about Sasson Jeans. I think it is Phil Esposito, Rockin' Ron Duguay, Ron GReschner and one of the Maloneys. It could be Andres Hedberg too though."

A viewer comments: "During the 1981 playoffs when the Islanders humiliated the Rangers in the semi-finals, game 2 of that series at the Coliseum started chanting "Oooo La La Rangers suck!" It was hilarious, that and the game pair of 7-2 BEATINGS the Islanders gave the Rangers back then."

(via Black Aces)

My scoreboard's the biggest

The Arizona Diamondbacks say they'll have the largest HD scoreboard in pro sports, according to the Canadian Press:
The board, estimated to cost US$10 million to $12 million, will be 47 metres wide and 16 metres high, and it is expected to be ready for next season's opener. It would be 900 square feet larger than the biggest existing board, at Atlanta's Turner Field.

"This is an important addition to an already fan-friendly ballpark," Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said. "Fans will have a difficult time taking their eyes off of the crystal-clear picture before them."

Hall said the board would be paid for by Maricopa County, which owns the building.

Chase Field opened in 1998 as Bank One Ballpark. The new Jumbotron is part of an upgrade in the stadium's sound system and other amenities.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., the Verizon Centre is set to install the first "true" HD indoor LED scoreboard. From LEDs Magazine:

Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. is set to score the ultimate arena experience by installing the first indoor high-definition (HD) LED display scoreboard. The 4-screen center-hung scoreboard will be created, installed and operated by ANC Sports Enterprises and Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision Systems...

The four HD screens making up the scoreboard will measure 14 feet, 5 inches high by 25 feet, 2 inches wide, with a total area of 365 square feet. The displays have a pitch of 6 mm, and the resolution is 736 x 1280 physical pixels.

The displays are described as "true" or "pure" HD because they have the requisite number of individual pixels to make up the HD image. Other HD technologies use fewer pixels, but by sharing pixels they are able to achieve the necessary resolution (number of dots). Side by side, the superior performance of the true HD display would be obvious.

In addition to the high-definition boards, the new center-hung scoreboard will also feature four 10mm 5-foot, 3-inch high by 25-foot 6-inch wide LED video matrixes and two 20mm LED rings.

A renovation of the current LED boards and static fascia signage will also take place and involve the replacement of the existing signage with Mitsubishi’s new 20mm Diamond Vision® indoor fascia display. Over a 1,000 feet of linear LED fascia will bring to life the entire upper level of the arena bowl, while 400 feet of full motion signage will continue to animate the lower level of the arena bowl.

Four additional LED displays will also light the top corners of the arena bowl with statistics, 3D graphics and advertisements, thus completing the entire digital display system.

The new scoreboard is set to debut this fall at a yet to be determined date.

"EVERYBODY JUST SHUT UP!"

From Ohio.com:
I’m writing this at Jacobs Field. It’s te third inning of Tuesday’s Tribe game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The press-box windows are open; it’s 75 degrees.

I’m actually having a conversation with the person next to me ... It’s doesn’t matter what we’re talking about….

But the point is, I could hear it. I actually could talk to someone at a ballgame! I mean, he could finish a sentence without the scoreboard bellowing: “EVERYBODY CLAP YOUR HANDS! EVERYBODY CLAP YOUR HANDS!'’

You hear that at an NBA game, and you want to scream: “EVERYBODY JUST SHUT UP! EVERYBODY JUST SHUT UP!'’

I followed the Cavaliers from Washington to New Jersey to Detroit to San Antonio during the playoffs. I haven’t been able to talk to anyone — and hear anything — in any arena for two months. I had to SCREAM at people next to me.

...

At Quicken Loans Arena and some other NBA venues, the scoreboard breathes fire during the introductions. There are explosions that rock the walls. A guy races to midcourt and starts shouting… then he raises his voice to a screech… the scoreboard howls at you.

It’s like being trapped in a video game designed to make you go deaf or turn your mind to mush.

(via GameOps.com)

Game Day Promotion round-up

Jon Cudo at GameOps.com recently completed a month-long blog marathon, where every day he posted about something related to game entertainment. He highlighted a bunch of fun, creative promotions. Our favourites:

  • Clean Out the Storeroom Night: The Princeton Devil Rays get rid of leftover promotional items. Schedule magnets from 1993! Broken bobblehead dolls! Expired Taco Bell coupons!
  • Cookbooks and Diamonds for Mom: A Mother's Day promo with the Alberquerque Isotopes. Cookbooks for the first 3,000 moms, and a chance to win a one-carat diamond.
  • Promotion Pills: Calgary Stampeded: The latest in a series from GameOps.com. Tips for improving your game night promotions.

Sep 7, 2007

Card stunts gone wrong


How the 1990 FIFA World Cup made Pavarotti a superstar

From Adfreak:
In 1990, the BBC selected Pavarotti’s version of the Puccini aria “Nessun Dorma” as the theme song for its coverage of the FIFA World Cup. The song was a perfect fit for the games in Italy not just because of its dramatic beauty, but also because it climaxes with the Italian word “Vincerò!” (meaning “I will win!”) on the highest note. In addition, the 1990 World Cup also saw the debut of The Three Tenors, an opera all-star team featuring Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and José Carreras... If you’re a fan of soccer, opera or brilliant marketing decisions, be sure to read the BBC’s firsthand account of how “Nessun Dorma” was selected as the theme. And if you want to see a cultural shift happen in front of your eyes, watch this legendary performance on the eve of the 1990 World Cup.

Sep 3, 2007

Football halftime contest gone bad

Here's a very funny clip of a blindfolded contestant taking part in a football halftime contest at a Toronto Argonauts game. All she has to do is reach a sign - with help from fans. She starts to run, and doesn't stop. Hope she signed the liability waiver.

Sep 1, 2007

24 goal horns in 31 seconds

Check out this great YouTube compilation of 24 NHL Goal Horns.



(via Kukla's Korner)

Aug 23, 2007

ESPN: Is Mr. Met worthy of the Hall of Fame?

ESPN's Page 2 has a fun piece about Mr. Met's nomination for the Mascot Hall of Fame. Mr. Met was the first-ever professional baseball mascot, as well as the first "costumed character" in pro-sports. He made his debut in New York on April 14, 1964.

This year's nominees for the Mascot Hall of Fame are:

Professional Category:
1. Youpie - Former Montreal Expos and Current Montreal Canadiens
2. Mr. Met - New York Mets
3. Hugo the Hornet - New Orleans Hornets
4. The Coyote - San Antonio Spurs
5. The Oriole Bird - Baltimore Orioles
6. The Mariner Moose

Collegiate Category:
1. Lil Red - University of Nebraska
2. Sebastian the Ibis - University of Miami
3. Smokie - University of Tennessee
4. Brutus Buckeye - Ohio State University
5. Big Red - Western Kentucky University
6. Sparty - Michigan State University

You can vote for your favourite mascot here.

(via GameOps.com)

Aug 18, 2007

How the Giants got Hank Aaron to record a video tribute to Bonds

One of the memorable highlights of Barry Bonds' record breaking home run earlier this month was the video message from Hank Aaron that they showed on the big screen.

GameOps.com points us to this story from Newsweek, that explains how it came about.
The Secret Videotape: How the San Francisco Giants got Hank Aaron to record a video tribute to Barry Bonds.

By David A. Kaplan
Newsweek
Updated: 6:29 a.m. ET Aug 9, 2007

Aug. 9, 2007 - Hank Aaron’s measured video tribute to Barry Bonds on Tuesday night was the final act in a magnificently choreographed production put on by the San Francisco Giants. It was a 51-second piece of stagecraft greeted by 43,000 stunned fans with a standing ovation. And it was a tribute to the adage, “It never hurts to ask.”

“I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball’s career home-run leader,” Aaron said in a surprise taped tribute played on the big video scoreboard at AT&T Park, seconds after Bonds hit No. 756. “It is a great accomplishment, which required skill, longevity and determination.” Aaron, whose record of surpassing Babe Ruth stood for 33 years, then offered his “best wishes to Barry and his family,” and then rather cryptically added, “My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.”

...

Earlier this summer, the team approached Aaron in Manhattan after a regular meeting of officials from all 30 clubs. (Aaron is a senior executive for the Atlanta Braves.) “We thought this might be Hank’s opportunity” to explain his position, says Larry Baer, the Giants chief operating officer, who had the conversation with Aaron. “I didn’t think he’d do it. But you never know until you ask.”

To Baer’s surprise, Aaron replied, “That’s something I think I can do.” (Through his lawyer, Aaron declined to comment to NEWSWEEK.) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, a close friend of Aaron’s, offered his blessings, and in early July, Aaron’s carefully written and vetted statement was videotaped in his offices in Atlanta. A single copy of the tape was sent to Baer in San Francisco, who then kept a copy with him as he attended games around the country as Bonds approached No. 756. Only a few Giants officials knew of the tape, as did the commissioner’s office and scoreboard-keepers at ballparks where Bonds was playing. Those scoreboard officials had to be briefed ahead of time to be sure the tape was compatible with the local video and audio systems. “I’ve been carrying around this tape for weeks,” says Baer. “Next to the formula for Coca-Cola, it was the most secretive piece of information out of Atlanta.”

The countdown to No. 756 began a few weeks ago with Bay Area quarterback legend Joe Montana, who recorded congratulations that were played after home run No. 752. Then came Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Muhammad Ali. Within the Giants clubhouse, as well as across talk radio, the guessing game became who would appear after the record homer. The Giants’ well-kept surprise Tuesday night provided the answer.

Read more...


Aug 11, 2007

Knitting at Shea Stadium

From the New York Times, a story about a growing trend in sports promotions - "Stitch N' Pitch Day":
The Mets and local needle arts stores sold more than 800 discounted tickets for last night’s game against the Braves, when people from all over the metropolitan area gathered to knit, crochet and embroider in the stands.

...

“The rhythms of baseball fit the rhythms of needle arts,” Barbara Paley, marketing specialist for the National NeedleArts Association, said yesterday.

The Stitch N’ Pitch program had its unofficial start in 2005, when retail needle arts stores in Seattle began a program at Mariners games, Paley said. The national association facilitated the nationwide expansion of the program last year, with 15 major league teams involved.

The Mets, new to the program this year, are one of 25 teams that scheduled days for needle arts enthusiasts this season. Patty Parrish, executive director of association, said in a recent telephone interview that her organization had unsuccessful discussions with the Yankees.

...

Stitch N’ Pitch is merely an extension of a long history of large social groups meeting to work on needle arts projects. There are social gatherings around the world, often called Stitch ’n Bitch groups, for knitters and crocheters to meet and chat, needles in hand.

...

With Stitch N’ Pitch, Major League Baseball teams can reach out to people who need more than a game to stay interested. One of those was Debbie Stoller, who said in a telephone interview last week that she usually rooted for whichever New York team was the most successful and had never been to a baseball game.

The slower pace of baseball makes it more suited to this type of event than other sports, but apparantly the Portland Trail Blazers have hosted a similar event in the past. Does anyone know of other sports teams who have hosted "knitting nights"?

Useful tool: FindSounds search engine

If you're looking for sound effects for your next production, we recommend FindSounds.

"Each month FindSounds.com and FindSounds Palette process more than 2,000,000 sound searches for more than 200,000 users"

Aug 8, 2007

This player is brought to you by...

In a story about Rich “El Guapo” Garces in Boston Magazine, writer John Gonzalez describes the PA announcement when Garces is at bat for the Nashua Pride (New Hampshire), of the Can-Am League:
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, introducing…El Guapo! El Guapo is brought to you by the New Hampshire Business Resource Center in Concord. If you have any questions about any aspect of doing business in the state of New Hampshire, visit nheconomy.com. That’s nheconomy.com.”
Is sponsoring a player like this common in minor league baseball?

I've seen lots of player endorsement & sponsorship deals - but it's pretty rare that individual player sponsorships are part of the in-game entertainment. For example, Sidney Crosby has a sponsorship deal with Reebok - but you would never hear "Goal scored by #87 Sidney Crosby, brought to you by Reebok" inside any NHL arena.

The closest I've seen in hockey was at the Ottawa 67's last year, where each player's headshot on the video scoreboard had a unique sponsor logo.

Any other examples of in-game player sponsorships?

Via Deadspin:

Jul 26, 2007

West Michigan Whitecaps Star Wars Night

Seen on GameOps.com:

The West Michigan Whitecaps are hosting Star Wars Night this weekend (team website). Including:

  • storm_trooper.gifA post-game screening of The Empire Strikes Back
  • A Storm Trooper playing the national anthem on guitar
  • The players will wear special themed jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game for the Make-a-Wish Foundation
  • 30 costumed characters from the movies will roam the stadium during the game


Kansas City's new 7th inning stretch song is...

Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City".

We couldn't find an audio file online, but we did found a YouTube video that uses the song as a soundtrack. Here it is.

(See previous post here.)

Jul 15, 2007

Will the Phillies celebrate their 10,000th loss?

We're waiting to see if the Philadelphia Phillies do anything to commemorate their 10,000th franchise loss. Pro sports teams rarely have a sense of humour about this kind of thing. But if they did, here are some suggestions: Play Beck's "Loser" whenever a player comes up to bat. Rig all the promotions between innings so that there isn't a winner. Have Al Gore throw the first pitch. Have a "guaranteed loss" night (free ticket if the Phillies lose).

Jul 7, 2007

Cavaliers Mascot & Eva Longoria on the Kiss Cam

Found on YouTube:



Cavaliers Mascot and Eva Longoria in hot steamy Kiss-Cam action.

(via DCSportsChick)

Jul 5, 2007

The Game Day Experience

Check out Ted's Take for a great list of elements that influence a fan's game day experience. (Ted is the owner of the Washington Capitals.)

As far as game entertainment goes, he lists:
  • Lighting
  • Arena ambiance
  • Quality of merchandise and promotions
  • Music and videos
  • Scoreboard quality
  • Replays
We would add to that list:
  • National anthem & pre-game ceremonies
  • Intermission/half-time entertainment
  • Performers (cheerleaders, PA announcer, host, in-stand entertainers)

Jul 4, 2007

Four finalists for Kansas City's 7th Inning Stretch Song

The Kansas City Chiefs have narrowed down the field to four finalists in their search for a new 7th Inning Stretch Song:
  • Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
  • Dancing Queen - ABBA
  • Kansas City - The Beatles
  • Kansas City - Wilbert Harrison
You can vote for your favourite here. Please, not ABBA.

Previously: Kansas City Chiefs look for a new 7th Inning Stretch Song

Jun 28, 2007

Kansas City Chiefs look for a new 7th Inning Stretch Song

From the Kansas City Royals Web site:
Hey Kansas City! What song do you want to STRETCH to?
There's no question the essential 7th inning Stretch song will always be "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." It's a baseball tradition! But the dance doesn't end there...

After that each Major League ballclub and it's fans can set their own course by adopting a song and truly making it their own. Fenway Park and Red Sox Nation belts out "Sweet Caroline", the folks in Texas hoe-down to "Cotton-Eyed Joe" with the Rangers, and in the altitude of Colorado they always reach a "Rocky Mountain High"...

The Royals are asking fans to vote to help them narrow down the field from ten songs:
  • Last Dance, by Donna Summer
  • Son of a Preacher Man, by Dusty Springfield
  • Kansas City, by The Beatles
  • The Limbo
  • Cotton Eyed Joe, by Rednex
  • Ring of Fire, by Johnny Cash
  • Dancing Queen, by ABBA
  • Come on Eileen, by Dexy’s Midnight Runners
  • Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground), by Michael Jackson
  • Sweet Caroline, by Neil Diamond
The first round of voting is done, and on July 2 three finalists will be announced. The new 7th inning stretch song will make its debut after the All Star Game.

Jon Cudo over at GameOps.com (where we originally heard about this) is voting for Come on Eileen. We're rooting for Cotton Eye Joe, although something tells me it won't win.

Fort Wayne Wizards host a Peanut-Free Night

Check out the GameOps.com discussion on a food promotion at the Fort Wayne Wizards (Minor League Baseball): Peanut-Free Night

Don't try this at your stadium: Free sharpie giveaways

From the Dodge City Daily Globe:
The inexplicable thing happening at Wrigley Field was one of those giveaways. On June 17 the first 10,000 fans were given a Cubs Sharpie. Yep, pens which write with permanent ink. This ink resists a variety of cleaning fluids and possibly even napalm. The brain trust in the Cubs promotions department willingly handed 10,000 fans (adults, children, and drunkards) 10,000 pens... Read more...

(via GameOps.com)

Jun 11, 2007

Link round-up, post-playoff edition

Now that we have a bit of free time on our hands after the end of the Stanley Cup Final, here are a few "recommended reading" links that have piled up \over the past couple months:

May 24, 2007

L.A. Dodgers launch "all you can eat" seats

The LA Dodgers have launced a special seating section - "all you can eat seats" - where you can chow down on as many hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, pop corn, and soft drink as you want. Beer is not included!

From The Globe & Mail / AP:
Launched this season, the outfield eat-a-thon opens 90 minutes before the first pitch and lasts until the start of the seventh inning. Ticket prices range from $20 for group sales to $40 for day-of-game walk-ups. Some games are $25 during designated promotions.

"The fans love it," said Marty Greenspun, Dodgers executive vice-president and chief operating officer.

"It was an isolated area that we could really focus and test," he said. "No one has done this big of a seating section for this price in all of professional sports. It's been a hit since day one."

Some items aren't in play — beer ($8 and $10), ice cream and candy are sold from carts at regular prices. But they are included at some other major-league ballparks, which do versions of the eat-til-you-drop concept in smaller seating areas.

The concept was tested three times last season before being launched in April.

Since then, the Dodgers say the section has sold out eight times in 24 home games, with attendance averaging 2,000 in the 3,000 seats.

...

Greenspun said a handful of other professional sports teams have contacted the Dodgers about copying the idea, including the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. The Milwaukee Brewers sent their stadium operations chief to check it out.

Fans are allowed four items per trip to the food counters under the stands. Soda stations offer unlimited drinks and bottled water is free.

"Before, no one wanted to work here. It was a hassle," said Joe Herrera, a 10-year stadium employee. "We used to have the registers and a lot of angry people backed up. Now, the lines go fast and customers don't complain."

At times during a recent game against the Brewers, lines were eight-deep as workers quickly handed over fistfuls of grub. The only registers are at the merchandise counter and beer carts.

May 19, 2007

Behind the scenes at Joe Louis Arena

From the Detroit News, here's an account of some of the staff and activities that go on behind the scenes to prepare for a Red Wings game:
Ricky Gopigian Audio engineer ... By 9:30 a.m. Sunday, he was doing routine checks around the building, including a stop in the media work room to prepare morning news conferences. He also made sure Karen Newman had the proper setup for the national anthem ... Gopigian, an entertainment business veteran since the late 1970s, ended the day overseeing the postgame news conferences.

...

Sheldon Nueman Director of broadcasting ... Nueman has the most unique office in Detroit. It's 100 feet above center ice. From there -- inside the giant four-sided scoreboard at the Joe -- Nueman and his company control everything from the animated octopus to the distinctive horns that blare after goals. Nueman, 51, president of Livonia-based Joseph Productions Inc., also can control the video needs at Comerica Park and the Hockeytown Café from this location.
...
As for the goal horns, they're real horns powered by nitrogen tanks. Hockey fans know the sound is unique to the Joe, and Nueman wouldn't be more specific about how it's created.

"It's a mystery, kind of like the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken," Nueman said
.
(via Kukla's Korner)

May 4, 2007

25 years of rally towels in Vancouver

From the LA Times:
What's noteworthy is that Sunday marked the 25th anniversary of the day that spurred Canucks fans to make the towels so popular.

While playing the Blackhawks on April 29, 1982, in the second game of the conference finals, Canucks Coach Roger Neilson became convinced referee Bob Myers was biased against his team. After yet another call went against the Canucks, Neilson grabbed a white towel, stuck it on the blade of a spare stick and began waving it in mock surrender behind his team's bench at Chicago Stadium.

Several Canucks players joined him, making their point very clear. Although Neilson was fined $1,000 by the NHL, the towels were a hit back in Vancouver. A local businessman printed up and sold several thousand towels — with the proceeds going to a charity — and fans snapped them up for the next home game. And the next, and the next.
(via Kukla's Korner)

Related topics:

Miami Dolphins rap "U Can't Touch This"

This video from the Miami Dolphins rivals, but does not quite surpass, the Calgary Flames singing "Can't Stop A Flame When It's Red Hot".



(Found via MilkandCookies)

Woo Hoo!

By coincidence, I came across two versions of Blur's Song 2 (aka Woo Hoo).

#1: A dance remix by Eric Prydz.

#2: French musicians Dionysos & Louise Attaque do a cover

Other bands who have done covers, according to Wikipedia: Weezer, Wallflowers, Plain White T's, AFI, My Chemical Romance, Plan B, Brock Landers, Die Toten Hosen.

More about Song 2 on Wikipedia...

May 3, 2007

The baddest scoreboard in the NBA


From the DC Sports Blog, found via Gameops.com:

"We have the baddest scoreboard in the NBA," bragged Cavaliers Senior Vice President of Marketing Tracy Marek.

...

So the idea was floated: what if "Q Tube" itself blew fire? Through the mouths of four giant swords? The brand new scoreboard was taken apart and fitted with propane-powered firebreathers at a cost of $200,000, plus $2,500 per flaming game. The original plan was for a pyro wiz named Lloyd to sit inside the scoreboard to monitor the firestorm, but the experts eventually determined that was unnecessary.

...

Anyhow, the flames discharge throughout the pre-game introductions; all four corners at once (that's called "The Big Kahuna") and then individually in succession after each starter is introduced. It's loud, and it's warm, all over the arena. I think my face got singed. Such performances landed Q Tube the featured spot on the team's postseason media guide, and even the Wizards approved of its power.

"Oh that was hot," DeShawn Stevenson said of the intros, although he denied being startled. "I don't ever get scared," he said. "If they were trying to scare me, it didn't work."

Read more...


Here's some more from an official press release from the Cleveland Cavaliers:
Cavaliers Unveil Flaming Swords at the Q

The Cleveland Cavaliers have introduced “The Flaming Swords” as blazing exclamation points to the team’s player introductions at Quicken Loans Arena. The pyrotechnic display that shoots out from four corner retractable swords on the center-hung video scoreboard called Q-VISION, dramatically sets the tone for the fans and home-court advantage. The unique presentation to the team’s pyrotechnics, which was unveiled at the November 1st season opener, is already a much talked about signature trademark of Cavs games at The Q.

The use of pyrotechnics is one of the NBA’s fastest growing game presentation features. This season, the Cavaliers have creatively adapted the pyrotechnics that traditionally spout from atop the basketball stanchions, to fire out from the emblems of the team logo. The four swords hang vertically on the corners of the scoreboard and are lowered to a 45 degree angle before flames proceed to explode from their tips, much to the spine-tingling amazement of the fans.

Read more...

The moment of silence

Check out the great feature on GameOps.com about the "Moment of Silence". Editor Jon Cudo asked five different teams from various sports leagues about their policies and experience with observing a moment of silence. (Although totally unplanned, this feature is particularly timely, coming right after the Virginia Tech shootings.)

Some interesting notes:
  • Major League Soccer didn't observe a moment of silence after the Virginia Tech massacre, but instead read the following: "Instead of observing a moment of silence, we ask that you show your support for the families most deeply affected by this tragedy by joining INSERT NAME OF ANTHEM SINGER in singing a song of perseverance and solidarity – The Star-Spangled Banner."
  • The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets observe a moment of silence before EVERY home game to honour American soldiers who died while serving their country.
  • From the Portland Trailblazers: "Recently a long time (much publicized) season ticket holder passed away and we didn't do a moment of silence, but we put a "we will miss you" message on the big screen then went to a live shot of her seat which had photos & flowers on it."
Read more...

New York Post re: O Canada

From a New York Post blog:
"In my opinion, the Canadian national anthem should be sung at all hockey games in North America. I love "O Canada"; it's a great tune and a rousing anthem. It signifies a country and its spirit well, and hearing it really gets me fired up. Sure, I've got Canuck heritage, but objectively I think it's hard to deny that it has a place in hockey. Singing "O Canada" is paying homage to the place that gave us such a great sort and so many great players...

The Phoenix Coyotes used to be the Winnipeg Jets. Sing "O Canada" there. Detroit is right across the river from Windsor, Ontario. I think it's crazy if they don't sing "O Canada" at the Joe. Sing it everywhere; Florida, California ... Nashville ... because — to adapt a cliche — even if you take all the hockey teams out of Canada, you'll never take the Canada out of hockey."
(via Kukla's Korner)

Apr 25, 2007

NHL anthem singers we like

  • Lyndon Slewidge, Ottawa Senators
  • Lauren Hart, Philadelphia Flyers
  • Paul Lorieau, Edmonton Oilers
  • Doug Allen, Buffalo Sabres

Doug gets added to the list after his performance tonight at HSBC Arena, before Game 1 of the Buffalo-New York series. He was accompanied by the arena organist, and sang at a nice, quick tempo. He doesn't mess with the melody, and sings with authority and excitement. And best of all, they always sing both the U.S. and Canadian anthems before every game - regardless of which teams are playing. What a great way to start a game.

BONUS NON-HOCKEY ANTHEM VIDEO: Marvin Gaye sings the anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game.

Apr 24, 2007

Get Ready For This

As a follow-up to our post about Cotton Eye Joe last week, here's 2 Unlimited in a tv performance of Get Ready For This, one of hockey's most popular songs. (via The Popjournalism Blog)

Apr 18, 2007

All about Cotton Eye Joe



How did we miss this?? Last week on eBay, we could have bought the rights to Rednex, the Swedish group behind Cotton Eye Joe. For only $1.5M, we could have owned the rights to one of the greatest/worst sports anthems of all time.

From MTV News:
"Currently up for bid on eBay: a whole bunch of crap you don't need — and sole ownership of one of the greatest novelty acts of the past 20 years, bizarro Swedish popsters Rednex. That's right: If you've got an extra $1.5 million lying around — you know, under the cushions of the couch or whatever — then you can own the group responsible for the version of the classic song "Cotton Eye Joe" that's currently bumping at Yankee Stadium. It's all completely legit, as the post states the buyer inherits 100 percent of Rednex AB, the partnership that oversees all things related to the band. Or, as the posting states in decidedly sexier verbiage, "The buyer gets it all: the music, the trademark, the band, the tour, the record deals [and] the Web site ... [plus] the catalog ... the opportunities, the future."

Things you probably don't know about Cotton Eye Joe:

  1. Who was Cotton Eye Joe? (Part 1): Cotton Eye Joe is a folk tune dating back at least 150 years. There are plenty of theories of who “Joe” was, including: a “hoodoo” man who rolls into town with the travelling medicine show … a slave, a hired hand, or a talented fiddler … even someone who performed abortions. Source: CULTURE & TRADITION: The Canadian Graduate Student Journal of Folklore & Ethnology

  2. Who was Cotton Eye Joe (Part 2): Cotton Eye Joe may have been the seducer of another man’s woman, he may have suffered from trachoma (making his eyes milky-white), and he may have been black or white, but he definitely was an American Southerner. Source: Get Underground

  3. Repeat after me. The chorus of Cotton Eye Joe is repeated over 8 times, which is a a somewhat high repetition rate for a pop song. Source: The Queen anomaly

  4. We're #1 / wir sind Nr. eine. Rednex have spent more weeks at number 1 in Germany than any other artist in the past 25 years. Source: Blender

  5. We suck. Blender ranked Cotton Eye #38 on its list of 50 Worst Songs Ever. That's just behind Gerardo's Rico Suave, and just ahead of Ricky Martin's She Bangs. (#1 was Starship's We Built This City.)

  6. One hit wonder. Cotton Eye Joe was the only hit for Rednex in the United States, but never hit #1 . It did hit #1 in the U.K. in January 1995, and got as high as #8 in Australia. Source: Wikipedia

  7. Last but not least. From Rori Sarig's review on Amazon: "Leave it to the Swedes to feed us back only the best of American kitsch. The gimmick: Techno as made by country bumpkins, bluegrass house music. Utterly dumb, but thoroughly enjoyable. Even a little subversive, perhaps, given the international smash hit "Cotton-Eye Joe," a helplessly catchy disco reworking of an age-old traditional folk tune, slyly coded, and implying what? ... Rednex is all joke, from the banjos and fiddles to the sequencers and drum loops ... Though Rednex fails when it deviates from the formula, it more often works on the knowledge that bluegrass and techno share a fast and steady beat, and can thus stand fusion."


Know any other fun facts about Cotton Eye Joe? Leave them in the comments below!

Philadelphia Flyers dancing guy

Found via Kukla's Korner:

Apr 16, 2007

Houston Rockets Clutch greatest hits

Here's a great "best-of" video of Clutch, the Houston Rockets mascot.



Found via GameOps.com and their great YouTube section.

Lynx Stadium Goes Trans-Fat-Free

From an Ottawa Lynx (AAA baseball) press release:

It just got a little healthier to take me out to the ballgame.

All food prepared at Lynx Stadium, home of the Ottawa Lynx, will be cooked in trans-fat-free oil, the Lynx announced at a press conference at Lynx Stadium today.

"We're very proud to offer our fans a healthier menu at the ballpark," said Lynx General Manager Kyle Bostwick. "We're always trying to make the stadium experience more enjoyable and I think this is a big step in that direction.

The move has drawn praise from Jim Watson, Ontario Minister for Health Promotion and MPP for Ottawa West Nepean and from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Read more...

Apr 13, 2007

All about the Buffalo Sabres opening video

From the Buffalo News:
The words on the minds and lips of Buffalo Sabres fans as their team begins the quest for hockey’s greatest prize also are a line from the song “Better Days” by homegrown rockers the Goo Goo Dolls.

The song will serve as a spine-tingling soundtrack to a video that will be shown on the Jumbotron in HSBC Arena and aired as part of MSG Network game broadcasts throughout the Stanley Cup playoff run.

“And you ask me what I want this year,

“And I try to make this kind and clear,

“Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days,” the Goos sing as a video snapshot of a game-day-in-the-life of Western New York unfolds on the screen.

“The lyrics are a perfect fit,” said Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn, who suggested using the song. “The words embody the dreams and hopes of this team and this community.”

...

As if there weren’t enough excitement among fans already, the video tribute to local residents and the team they love should kick it up another notch.

The video begins at dawn with views of rural landscapes and city skylines. Sabres faithful head to school and work, while HSBC Arena staff and Sabres players go through their gameday rituals. As momentum builds toward game time, fans stream into HSBC Arena, and the team readies to take the ice.

Live concert footage of the Goo Goo Dolls’ March 20 appearance on the St. Bonaventure University campus is interwoven throughout the one-minute, 30-second video, which culminates with a fleeting image of Lord Stanley’s elusive silver cup.

“ ’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again,” sings Johnny Rzeznik.

“We showed it at the team dinner, and the guys loved it,” Quinn said. “It tugs at your heart and gives you goose bumps.”

Sabres broadcast producer Matt Gould masterminded the marriage of game-day postcard and music video. Armed with a camera, he traveled around Western New York capturing images from such diverse locations as Main Street in East Aurora, a downtown coffee shop, construction sites, suburban neighborhoods and even General Motors Corp.’s Tonawanda Engine Plant.

“This team and the community are so tied to each other. We really wanted to celebrate that relationship,” Gould said.

Gould was part of the Goo Goo Dolls production team for the band’s 2004 DVD that featured a Niagara Square concert and video clips around town. He said the band members were “very gracious” about helping out the Sabres.

“They’re Buffalo born and bred and continue to have ties here. They’re fans, too, so they were excited to be a part of what we are doing,” he said.

“Better Days” was released as a single from the Goos’ 2006 CD “Let Love In.”

A 30-second, hard-hitting highlight reel with an orchestral score will follow the opening video, with a Sabres/ Islanders highlight video, set to the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” after that.


Watch the video: via Buffalo News or BuffaloSabres.com

Apr 7, 2007

Win a Zambonis CD at HockeyMusic.ca

To celebrate the start of the playoffs, HockeyMusic.ca is giving away TEN copies of "The Zambonis Greatest Hits". To enter, click here.

Also: Check out the HockeyMusic.ca Forum for a FREE Zambonis download.

Spring cleaning / link round-up

A little bit of downtime before the playoffs start ... so that means time to go get caught up & post some game entertainment links from the past few weeks. Send your link suggestions to us here.
  • GameOps.com reviews the Erie Otters (OHL) - First in a series of game entertainment reviews by GameOps.com editor Jon Cudo. Jon does a great job describing what the Erie Otters do to entertain their fans, and then offers his "promotion pills" to make their show even better.
  • Islanders Ice Girls accuse Rangers of bad behaviour (via Newsday)
    "According to the two women, the Rangers should be penalized for slashing, spitting and verbal abuse during television timeouts in the first period of Tuesday night’s game at Nassau Coliseum, won by the Islanders, 3-2, in a shootout.
    During commercial breaks, teams of three Ice Girls clean loose ice known as “snow” in the goal and the blue-painted goaltender’s crease in front of the goal line. But Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist declined to move and used his stick to whack the squeegee Kelli Higgins was using to push the snow into a pile during the first TV timeout, knocking the butt-end of the squeegee stick into her stomach. " See also TSN: NHL reviews ice girls incident
  • Dan Menendez Piano Juggler - Amazing halftime performer ... must be seen to believe! (via GameOps.com)
  • Big Mama Pizza Toss - Video of a halftime pizza promotion (via GameOps.com)
  • Honeybeeys at the Half - A slam dunk competition with a twist - featuring the Hornets dance team (via GameOps.com)
  • Atlanta Thrashers hold a mullet night (via Kukla's Korner)
  • New York Giants set to unveil a giant new scoreboard - Plans for a $3.1-million, hi-def, Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision display, 31.5 feet high x 103 feet wide. 3 million LED lights, 28 tons.

Mar 23, 2007

History of music & figure skating

Thanks to Alicia from my Algonquin College class for sending along this note about the roots of music in figure skating:
"I got to thinking today after your class. Figure Skating has very deep roots. I was pretty sure that Figure Skating had incorporated the use of music with the sport long before 1929, as all of the patterns and music for Ice Dance were set by the ISU in the 1930's. This would have required years of preparation.
I checked some History of the Olympics books and History of Figure Skating books that I have at home. Here is what I found:
Jackson Haines, who is dubed the father of modern freestyle skating died in 1876 at the age of 36. Before his death he transformed ice skating, he is recognised as being so amazing because he was "the first interpretive skater. He skated to music and performed like a dancer...". As well Sonja Henie among other skaters were part of travelling skating show throughout the late 1920's and early 1930's which incorporated Freestyle skating with music.
I gained most of this info from the book titled "Figure Skating - A Celebration" written by Beverley Smith.
You were talking about the use of Organs in the stadiums/arenas. One of my coaches used to tell me of his training as a child in England, where they had a live organist play all of the music for their practices, tests, and competitions."

Mar 20, 2007

Mavs host "Dirk for MVP" night

We saw this on the GameOps.com blog:
"The Dallas Mavericks are campaigning to have player Dirk Nowitzki named the 2006-07 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP). There is an official “Dirk for MVP” campaign web site found at myspace.com/official_dirk4mvp. As part of the campaign, the team designated their February 22 game “Dirk for MVP” night. At the game, all fans received Dirk Nowitzki MVP jersey t-shirts. They were encouraged to wear them during the game. In addition, Mavs megaphone noisemakers were placed at every seat in the arena, and special “Dirk for MVP” entertainment elements were held during the game."

Feb 25, 2007

Air Canada Centre conversion from hockey to basketball


From the Toronto Star, here's a stop motion video showing the conversion from a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game to a Toronto Raptors basketball game at Air Canada Centre. A crew of 18-25 workers takes about 8 hours to make the transformation.

Crunch invite Britney Spears to Syracuse

Via CP/NHL.com:
An American Hockey League team is offering pop star Britney Spears a break from the party scene and paparazzi madness in Hollywood - an all-expenses paid trip to snowy Syracuse.

And fans of the Syracuse Crunch are also getting a Britney offer: women who shave their head will get into Saturday's game against the visiting Manitoba Moose for free. Howard Dolgon, owner and president of the Crunch, said Tuesday he would be happy to fly Spears in, cover her hotel and meals and give her the best seats in the house at Crunch games.



More from a team press release:
In an effort to provide tranquility for troubled pop star Britney Spears’ turbulent lifestyle the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League have invited the newly separated icon to spend an all expense paid trip in snow- buried Syracuse, NY.

In recent weeks Spears has been the subject of negative publicity surrounding late-night partying, a very short stint in rehab and being photographed without wearing any underwear and a new shaved look.

In a show of support the Crunch is offering any woman that comes to the War Memorial Box Office with a shaved head a free ticket to the club’s February 24 game against the Manitoba Moose.

“The team and community want to provide Britney Spears with a stress free environment and the chance to experience a high level of hockey,” said Crunch President and CEO Howard Dolgon. “In addition to being 3,000 miles away from Hollywood, Syracuse is light years away from that pretentious environment. There won’t be paparazzi within a 100 miles.”

The Crunch’s offer of an all expense paid trip will begin with their game on the 24th. Also if Spears accepts the Crunch’s invitation each member of the club’s front office staff will shave their heads.


Also: Read Jon Cudo's comments on the GameOps.com Blog

Behind the Scenes: Penalty box guy

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a penalty box attendant? Kevin Kaduk from the Northwest Herald (Chicago) found out:
The first penalty is called on the Hounds, and it’s on Chris Busby, 2 minutes for hooking. I lean down on the lever and pull the door back. Busby skates up and steps in. I slam the door, slide to the left on the bench and remain unsure of whether to greet him. Finally, I decide to say something....

Busby mumbles something about the blue line, and that’s the extent of our conversation. Two minutes of awkwardness begin. I wonder, is there supposed to be chatting in the penalty box? Should I ask him about the weather? His life away from the ice? Britney’s new bald head? Read more...
(via Kukla's Korner)

Feb 19, 2007

Howard Berger on Montreal crowds vs. Toronto crowds

Blogger Howard Berger has this to say about the differences between crowds in Montreal and Toronto.

...First off, the winning tradition in Montreal far exceeds anything that is evident in Toronto, for obvious reasons. The Habs, though they haven't sipped champagne since 1993, have won ten Stanley Cups since the '67 Leafs upset them to win their last championship. Also, there are cultural differences among people in Ontario and Quebec that lead to a more passionate, noisy hockey crowd at Habs games. Here in polite, conservative Toronto, people do not start making a fuss until the Leafs win a first-round playoff match -- at which point Yonge Steet, the main north-south drag in our city, is closed to vehicular traffic. Montreal, because of its rich French-Canadian heritage, is more reminiscient of the culture and custom in Europe. And anyone who watches soccer from England, Italy, Spain or Germany knows how demonstrative and zealous good European soccer fans can be. Montreal's hockey audience reflects that trait, and it frequently carries over to the devotion for past heroes. There will never be a Rocket Richard-like ovation in Toronto for any hockey player, past or present. It just isn't in the genes...

Cudo on in-game marriage proposals

Jon Cudo writes about in-game marriage proposals on the GameOps.com blog:
  • I think if I would have proposed at a sports event on the jumbotron not only would my wife had said no….but she might have killed me.
  • In my days as a mascot I have been a part of over 20 proposals over the years, which means I have been (literally) right in the middle of two people’s most intimate moment. It’s something that always gets me emotionally. It’s really an honor, yet totally bizzare.
  • I also have been the “best man” in costume for a couple I never met nor have never heard from again. Again…and honor, and totally bizzare.
  • Previous: Animal rights activist sneaks message onto scoreboard

    Feb 18, 2007

    Too many NHL jerseys being retired?

    Columnist Rick Wile asks this question in Kamloops This Week: "Is there glorifying for the sake of image and marketing? Jersey retirement nights in hockey are far more prevalent than they are in the other major sports of football, baseball, and basketball. Is it overkill in hockey?" (via Kukla's Korner)

    I think Rick is on to something here - it seems like since the NHL lock-out, we've had a jersey retired about once every month.

    When/how/why should teams retire jerseys?

    After his #29 jersey was retired in Montreal last month, Ken Dryden said:
    "It used to be ... that when a special rookie arrived in a team's training camp, that player would be given No. 9 or 7 or 2, whatever the number that was special to that team. One of the great and surprising thrills for me was seeing goalies wearing No. 29 after me. For a few, it may have been because I wore that number, but over time it became a goalie number."
    And in Toronto, they prefer to "honour" players, rather than retire jerseys:
    It was felt that not retiring player sweaters gives the Leafs the flexibility of honouring more of these individuals than would be the case if the Leafs took the sweater numbers out of circulation.

    The consulting group determined that the former player’s number would be deemed an “Honoured Number” but remain in circulation. As a means of adding significance to this, the sweater of the current Maple Leaf that has the “Honoured Number” wears a special shoulder patch with the honouree's name inscribed for the balance of that season. The special banner for the honouree remains on permanent display at Air Canada Centre.

    The Leafs historically only retired numbers of distinguished players that have died or had their career shortened due to tragic or catastrophic circumstances while being a member of the team. Irvine (Ace) Bailey (No. 6) and Bill Barilko (No. 5) are the two represented in this category.

    What criteria should be used for retiring numbers? Here's an idea from the "Bitter Leaf Fan Page" blog:
    ...to be eligible to have a number retired, the player has to meet both of the following two baseline criteria:

    1. Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame
    2. Spent the majority of their NHL career as a Leaf...

    In addition to the above, the player would also have to meet at least 2 of the following 3 criterion:

    1. Won or been nominated for one of the major NHL trophies such as the Stanley Cup, Hart, Vezina, Jennings, Calder, Rocket Richard, Conn Smythe, Norris or Lady Byng while playing as a Leaf
    2. Lead (or have lead) the Leafs organization in at least one major statistical category (e.g. career games played, career goals, career assists, career +/-, career points, shut outs, GAA, wins, etc.)
    3. Been a pioneer or transformational player for the organization

    I think the team should also have special dispensation to retire a number in the event that a player had promising career cut tragically short a la Tim Horton, Bill Barilko...


    What do you think?

    Feb 4, 2007

    Austin Toros mascot loses his head, gets suspended

    The Austin Toros (NBA Development League) mascot "Da Bull" lost his head during a recent game, almost cost his team a win. From ESPN.com:
    The mascot, known as Da Bull, prematurely ran onto the court and hung from the rim with .4 seconds remaining, apparently to punctuate center Loren Woods' breakaway dunk that gave the Toros a four-point lead over Colorado.

    While hanging from the rim ... Da Bull collided with a Colorado player. At the point of contact, the mascot's head, to his horror, fell to the floor.

    The Toros were assessed a technical foul. The 14ers' Von Wafer made the free throw, but Rick Rickert missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the score as time expired.
    Click here to see a video of the incident from CNN.

    The Toros suspended the mascot, and assigned him to 50 hours of community service, according to a team press release:
    Da Bull will return to action on Friday, February 2, when the Toros take on the Bakersfield Jam. The Toros will have a replacement mascot for Friday's game against the Arkansas Rimrockers at 7:30.

    Community service for Da Bull begins this weekend at the Bastrop Hoopstars basketball clinic on Saturday and Sunday at the Whataburger Youth Basketball clinic from 1-3 at the IH-35 and Wells Branch store.

    (via GameOps.com Editor Blog)

    Interview with Krazy George

    GameOps.com has an new interview with Krazy George -- professional male cheerleader and inventor of the wave. Read about how Krazy George got started in the business, how he started the very first wave, and the time that Wayne Gretzky invited him out for dinner.

    I met George for the first time in January 1999. We booked him in for an Ottawa 67's game. We spent the afternoon taping tv promos -- with George yelling and screaming to the tv cameras.

    As it turned out, the 67's game was cancelled becuase the visiting team bus got delayed in a snowstorm. I took George out for dinner, and not once did he yell, scream, or try to start the wave at the restaurant.

    O Canada sung in Cree at Calgary Flames game

    From cbc.ca:

    A 13-year-old Alberta girl is about to make NHL history, when she becomes the first person to sing O Canada before a game in Cree.

    Akina Shirt, who lives in Edmonton but is originally from the Saddle Lake First Nation, will sing the national anthem in Cree before the puck drops for the Calgary Flames-Vancouver Canucks game on Saturday night.

    Jan 28, 2007

    Help wanted: Mascot performer

    Via GameOps.com:
    The New Orleans Hornets of the NBA are looking for a creative and talented mascot performer for a full time position. The performer’s responsibility will include performing as all three Hornets characters as well as creative input for video and live skit production.

    Jan 27, 2007

    What's the strangest thing you've seen thrown onto the ice?

    Hats, octopi, rats, teddy bears ... what's the strangest thing you've seen thrown onto the ice at a hockey game?

    Blogger / Toronto Sun writer Sunaya Sapurji says:
    "For me -- and I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff -- it would have to be a baby shark (real, but already dead) and an, ummm... how to say this delicately... a sex toy. Both, oddly enough, thrown onto the ice in Erie, Pa., during the OHL championship series.

    The shark was pretty darn big, even for a baby, and I remember former Otter Brandon Cullen picking it up by the gills and swinging it around. Highly disturbing. If I recall correctly, the shark had been part of a display for some show that had taken place in the arena a day earlier.

    The second bizarre item thrown on the ice was, I’m assuming, an homage former Otter star Cory Pecker. The funniest thing about that moment was watching the officials fight amongst themselves, since no one wanted to touch said item.
    In those days it was not uncommon to see people walking around town wearing their "Pecker Power" T-shirts with pride."

    What's the strangest thing you've seen thrown on the ice? Post a comment below.

    Jan 19, 2007

    Awesome Detroit Pistons intro

    Courtesy of the GameOps.com blog ... Stay on your feet, time to meet and greet ... John Mason, the Detroit Pistons PA announcer.

    Something in the Air: Florida Panthers opening video



    This vid reminds us a bit of this old school gem from Calgary. Especially Bertuzzi's piano solo.

    (via On Frozen Pond)

    What happens to the hat trick hats?

    When there's a hat trick in Atlanta, all the hats are collected and put into a big display box. Here's part of an article from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution:

    Traditionally, the hats are gathered into a bag, brought to the locker room after the game and offered up to the player who scored the three goals. Occasionally, a player will grab one as a memento.

    On Tuesday night, with help from the Ice Girls, the 150 or so hats were quickly cleared off the ice into trash bins and brought to Hossa, who could have had his pick. He didn't grab one. He never has.

    "I heard the first time, the guy gets his choice [of hats], but I never noticed," Hossa said. "I don't know what they do with the hats and have never asked about it."

    He still has the puck from his first hat trick with the Thrashers, but has no interest in saving somebody's hat.

    Neither does Ilya Kovalchuk. He's never kept a hat after scoring three goals at home.

    "I don't, I just [have them] throw it in the box," he said. "There's a box in Philips Arena for all the hats."

    It's the hat-trick case, located on the arena's main concourse. There, fans can see every hat thrown to the ice after a hat trick since the start of the Thrashers' third season. Decals on the front of the display give details of each home hat trick that helped contribute to the collection.

    It was an idea stolen from the Columbus Blue Jackets, after the Thrashers vice president of marketing, Jim Pfeifer, toured their arena. The idea has been a popular one with fans.

    (Via Kukla's Korner)

    Pimp my zamboni

    This is the "Fan Zam", a pimped-out zamboni that the Dallas Stars use at their games.

    Specs, according to Kukla's Korner:

    • Seats 8 people
    • 3 Xbox 360’s on board
    • Fog machine
    • Hydraulic auto ride suspension
    • Strobe lights
    • 22-inch wheels
    • 110 cubic inch Harley-Davidson engine
    • 9 mph

    Jan 15, 2007

    Fans love t-shirts

    Mark Cuban writes:
    No where in any research have customers told us that they get most excited at a sporting event by T Shirts. But its true. I have gone to NBA games in every arena and many NHL and MLB games across the country . Without exception, the response to T Shirts being thrown into the audience exceeds the response to actual game action for all but the most exciting of game action moments.

    The minute the T Shirt cannons or slingshots come on the court, field or ice, every man, woman or child of any age is up screaming their head off trying to get a free T Shirt . They have no idea what is on the shirt. They know the chances of getting one are slim, but it doesnt matter. Its T Shirts gone wild.

    Its a huge marketing lesson.

    The Customer is always right, but often they tell you want they want not by their responses to your inquiries but by their actions.

    Read the full article...