New name for D.C. college bowl could prove to be game changer

By Liz Farmer, Examiner Staff Writer

Move over, EagleBank Northrop Grumman is now the main sponsor of the Districts rebranded Military Bowl, a move officials say will bring national recognition and boost attendance and spending for the college football game.

The financial details were not disclosed, but D.C. Bowl Committee Chairman Jeffrey Fried said the defense contractor has made a very large commitment, and it is tied to the USO, which supports U.S. troops abroad and is the games primary benefactor. The sponsorship agreement runs through 2013.

The nonprofit USO will receive proceeds from game revenue and Northrops sponsorship support. The company, which announced this year it was moving its corporate headquarters to Falls Church, is also providing services like transporting wounded soldiers to the December bowl.

Nation's Football Classic is coming to RFK in 2011

September football is returning to RFK Stadium next year -- and with it could come millions of dollars of spending in the region and much-needed revenue for the District.

The Washington Convention and Sports Authority board on Thursday approved a marketing contract to bring a match-up between two historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to D.C.'s RFK Stadium next Labor Day weekend.

A new type of marketing blitz for Stevenson

On a steamy turf field in Owings Mills, more than 100 young men are baking in the nearly 90-degree heat while coaches run drills like army sergeants and a few fatigued players stand on the sidelines sipping water under the watchful eye of a team trainer.

Welcome to Stevenson University football — the newest marketing tool for a school aiming to shed its small-time image since it changed its name from Villa Julie College two years ago.

Men’s football is the second athletics team the school has added since it changed its status to a university (women’s golf is the other), and Athletics Director Brett Adams said investing in sports is part of the plan to attract more students, offer a well-rounded college experience and keep alumni connected.

“It helps develop a passion for the university, and down the road those people give back,” Adams said after a news conference in which Stevenson unveiled its new Mustangs logo and football helmet. “In the short term, you can’t get better marketing [during the off-season] than happy football players wearing their Stevenson shirts at the beach.”

New ESPN deal will help Terps, but how much?

The University of Maryland’s financial future just got a lot more stable, but how exactly that will help the school build up its athletic programs remains to be seen.

Thanks to a 12-year, estimated $1.86 billion television deal the Atlantic Coast Conference made with cable sports giant ESPN, the conference’s member schools stand to see nearly double their television revenue and get more exposure for their sports than ever before.

While the greater exposure will help Maryland’s lesser-televised sports, just how the Department of Athletics can benefit from extra money depends on the economic climate.

“A lot of it’s going to depend on where everything else is at that time,” said the university’s interim director of athletics, Randy Eaton. “If tickets and donations are still down, all it’s going to do is keep us whole.

Oher’s new multi-year deal is with AirTran

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

The face of Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher will be coming to a billboard near you this summer as the rookie player has signed his first major endorsement deal.

AirTran Airways has reached a multi-year agreement with Oher, who finished second in the running for The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The terms of the deal, announced Tuesday by AirTran, were not disclosed.

“AirTran is very involved in the communities we serve, and to partner with someone like Michael Oher, who’s such an inspiration on and off the field, is a match made in heaven,” said AirTran spokesman Christopher White.

Cass works to maximize the Ravens

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

It’s been an unprecedented year for the National Football League.

Thanks to a national recession, the year for some teams has been marked by television blackouts, empty suites and undersold stadiums.

But not for the Baltimore Ravens. It was a tight squeeze, said Ravens President Dick Cass, but the team sold its last suite the day before it hosted its first game. And despite raising ticket prices this year when many other teams did not — Cass called that one a “painful” decision — M&T Bank Stadium quickly sold out for the season, as it has since it opened in 1998.

In 2010, see TDs in HD at M&T

Daily Record Business Writer
July 17, 2009 7:42 PM

By next football season, Ravens fans will be able to enjoy instant replays and team videos in high definition at M&T Bank Stadium as the stadium’s landlord has started the search for a contractor to build Proposals to replace the SmartVision screens at M&T Bank Stadium are due to the Maryland Stadium Authority by the end of July.two new video boards.

This month, the Maryland Stadium Authority issued a Request for Proposals to replace the video boards at the stadium and hosted a meeting for applicant contractors last week. The proposals are due at the end of the month and the work would begin immediately following the 2009 season, according to Roy Sommerhof, vice president of stadium operations.

According to the RFP, the video board should be finished by May 2010 and testing the new board with the new control room will take place during that summer to be ready in time for the first regular season home game next year.

The stadium authority recently finished overseeing a $9.1 million high definition video board and control room project at its neighboring property, Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Flacco, others cashing in as Ravens keep Super Bowl dreams alive

Daily Record Business Writer
January 12, 2009 7:06 PM

Try as he might to maintain his “Joe Cool” composure, Ravens quarterback sensation Joe Flacco is not just your average Joe anymore.

From “I [heart] Joe” T-shirts to buying the Web site “” to the Ravens’ slogan “Wacko for Flacco,” opportunists in the Baltimore region are cashing in on the rookie’s rise to fame as he heads the team’s bid for Super Bowl XLIII.

“He’s a week away from being Elvis,” said Joe Linta, Flacco’s agent and president of Connecticut-based JL Sports.

Linta and Flacco have partnered with Alumni Management Group, a Pikesville public relations agency that also represents Ravens Ray Lewis and Troy Smith, to handle Flacco’s local marketing opportunities. And according to AMG President Seth Katz, interested parties have been chomping at the bit in the last several weeks.

“We have been inundated with opportunities,” Katz said. “We look to treat everyone as a partner between Team Flacco, and while I don’t want to suggest we were rewarding someone who came to us earlier, if they approached us a couple months ago they would have bought into Team Flacco at the ground floor. Whereas now it’s Johnny-come-lately.”

Ravens play it low-key marketing Flacco

Daily Record Business Writer
September 28, 2008 8:13 PM

As the Ravens prepare for their only Monday night game of the season, the nation will get its first glimpse at the player who has had Baltimore fans buzzing at water coolers for the past three weeks.

But after the on-the-field play, the analysts’ commentary and the post-game interviews, the rest of the country will be pretty much caught up with Ravens fans on all they’ve seen — so far — of their rookie starting under center.

“We really are dying for a quarterback,” said Mike Firestine, author of the blog Baltimore Sports Post, on Joe Flacco. “I want to see more of him... But I think that, in time, we’ll get to know him and he can really latch on to the team.”

The Ravens say they are keeping a low public profile with Flacco, a 22-year-old first round draft pick who was virtually unknown outside of his Division 1-AA University of Delaware a year-and-a-half ago. He and fellow rookies Ray Rice and Tom Zbikowski are the faces of the Ravens Rookies Kids Club, and Flacco made an appearance for the Special Olympics Maryland this summer, but otherwise his exposure to fans has been limited to games and interviews.

“We are letting Joe Flacco get comfortable in his role before throwing him into a situation in the community that is not his own, as of yet,” Melanie C. LeGrande, community relations manager for the team, said in an e-mail.

My First: At the mic and at law, experience breeds confidence

If you’ve been to a University of Maryland football game in College Park, you’ve heard him. If you saw the school’s basketball team play Sunday at the BB&T Classic tournament in Washington, D.C., you know his voice.

In fact, Philip R. Hochberg has been announcing area ballgames over public address systems longer than he’s been practicing law. To many, the sports attorney’s voice, which called Washington Redskins games and the Senators from their first game to their last in D.C.’s RFK Stadium, has been synonymous with major sporting events in the area for almost a half century.