Industry News

Syndicate content
SportsTurf Magazine
Updated: 12 min 33 sec ago

Federal court blocks new overtime rule

November 29, 2016

A federal court blocked the start of a rule that would have made an estimated 4 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay heading into the holiday season, dealing a major blow to the Obama administration’s effort to beef up labor laws it said weren’t keeping pace with the times.

The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas granted the nationwide preliminary injunction, saying the Department of Labor’s rule exceeds the authority the agency was delegated by Congress. Overtime changes set to take effect Dec. 1 are now unlikely to be in play before vast power shifts to a Donald Trump administration, which has spoken out against Obama-backed government regulation and generally aligns with the business groups that stridently opposed the overtime rule.

“Businesses and state and local governments across the country can breathe a sigh of relief now that this rule has been halted,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who led the coalition of 21 states and governors fighting the rule and has been a frequent critic of what he characterized as Obama administration overreach. “Today’s preliminary injunction reinforces the importance of the rule of law and constitutional government.”

The regulation sought to shrink the so-called “white collar exemption” that allows employers to skip overtime pay for salaried administrative or professional workers who make more than about $23,660 per year. Critics say it’s wrong that some retail and restaurant chains pay low-level managers as little as $25,000 a year and no overtime – even if they work 60 hours a week.

Under the rule, those workers would have been eligible for overtime pay as long as they made less than about $47,500 a year, and the threshold would readjust every three years to reflect changes in average wages.

The Department of Labor said the changes would restore teeth to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which it called “the crown jewel of worker protections in the United States.” Inflation weakened the act: overtime protections applied to 62 percent of U.S. full-time salaried workers in 1975 but just 7 percent today. The agency said it’s now considering all its legal options.

“We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans,” the labor department said in a statement. “The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rulemaking process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule.”

The Department of Labor could appeal the Tuesday ruling.- by Michelle Rindels, Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)

Categories: test feeds

Big Ten to include Friday night games beginning in 2017

November 29, 2016

Big Ten football is coming to Friday nights in 2017 and beyond.

The conference’s new TV contract, which begins next season, will include a package of six Friday night games.

The Friday night games will be limited to September and October and won’t include every team. Schools with huge stadiums, such as Penn State and Ohio State, won’t be asked to host them. And Michigan has declined to participate in Friday night games at home or on the road.

The Big Ten plans to announce the 2017 Friday night schedule within the next four to seven days.

Several assistant coaches in the Big Ten told ESPN that they thought Friday night games would negatively affect recruiting. Friday nights are traditionally high school football nights.

“Friday night games would put the Big Ten in a recruiting disadvantage,” said one Big Ten assistant coach. “No other conference has the game-day atmospheres of this league. Combined with two teams, or whoever is playing, would not have the opportunity of going to recruit on Friday nights, as well [as] to watch prospects play.”

As another assistant said, “It kills us with recruiting. One of the best things about our place is the game-day environment. Those kids won’t be able to experience that, because they will all have their games.”

And another assistant added, “There is [no advantage]. Most, if not all, high school kids play on Friday nights, which means you would lose one game for recruiting.”

Both the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association and the Michigan High School Athletic Association expressed disappointment about the decision. The Friday night games will continue through at least 2022, the Big Ten said.

“We had hoped that the Big Ten Conference would stay above this,” MHSAA executive director John E. “Jack” Roberts said. “We think this cheapens the Big Ten brand. Fans won’t like this. Recruits won’t like this. And high school football coaches won’t like this.”

Penn State released a statement making it clear that if Delany changes his mind about not asking the school to host a Friday night game, it would decline the request.

Penn State has informed the Big Ten that we will not host football games on a Friday night. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told ESPN that the school would be able to host a Friday night game only during its autumn break, which typically occurs the second week of October.

“We don’t have classes on campus that Thursday or Friday, so operationally, it works because we’re not dealing with parking issues or classes or any of those conflicts that a game would get in the way of.”

Ohio State would be open to playing Friday night road games in September.

Michigan State said Wednesday it would agree to host a Friday night game — but only on Labor Day weekend. The Spartans previously have hosted Friday night games on that holiday weekend; but according to the MHSAA, that didn’t conflict with the high school schedule in Michigan, because most of the state’s prep games are played that week on Thursday.

Michigan State has agreed to host one Friday night home game per year provided it is over Labor Day weekend.

Wisconsin also said it is open to hosting games at Camp Randall on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend in selected years, but it has not committed to hosting them at any other time.

Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez said he had “great respect for the tradition and importance of Friday night high school football games in the state of Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest.” But he also said it was the “right time to explore additional opportunities for exposure on Friday nights on a limited basis.”

Indiana AD Fred Glass told the Indianapolis Star that the Hoosiers have agreed to play a conference opponent on Friday night once every three years.

Glass told the Star that he and Purdue counterpart Mike Bobinski spoke with the head of the state’s high school athletic association before agreeing to play occasional Friday night games. The Boilermakers also agreed to play on Friday nights. Illinois also says it’s on board with hosting Friday night games.

Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle wrote in an email to The Associated Press, “We will play the schedule assigned to us by the Big Ten.”

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel confirmed in a statement that the Wolverines don’t plan to play at all on Fridays. Manuel said his chief concern was more for fans that would have to make long trips to the games earlier in the week.

“With our large fanbase, Michigan fans and alumni travel significant distances to attend games, making Saturdays our preferred day for all football games,” he said.

The Friday night slate will include three nonconference games and three conference contests. Until now, the league has resisted playing on weeknights, with the exception of the opening week of the season. The Big Ten has no plans to play on Thursday nights, senior associate commissioner Mark Rudner told the Big Ten Network.

ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren, Adam Rittenberg, Dan Murphy and Jesse Temple contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press also was used.

 

Categories: test feeds

Tom Brady would like to play on natural turf

November 29, 2016

This week marked the 10-year anniversary of the New England Patriots’ decision to tear up the natural grass surface at Gillette Stadium in the middle of the regular season and replace it with synthetic turf. While Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has enjoyed great success on his home field since the change, he said Friday he’d be in favor of ditching the fake stuff and switching back to grass. “I think most players prefer grass,” Brady said. “If you could play on a good grass surface, that’s always, I think, a little more fun for the players. But I don’t know, maybe one day you guys can ask (Patriots owner Robert) Kraft to put grass back in here for us players.” Gillette is one of just four open-air (read: non-domed/retractable roof) NFL stadiums to feature synthetic turf. Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati Bengals), CenturyLink Field (Seattle Seahawks) and MetLife Stadium (New York Jets and Giants) are the others. “I think everybody likes grass,” Brady said. “I think players like to play on grass. And we practice on grass every day. I think we, as players, go out there on grass practice fields every day, so you get used to the grass. And growing up, I played on all grass. I think it’s easier to land on the grass than landing on the (turf).” He added: “I think everybody would love a good grass surface to play on. That’d be great. All those European soccer teams get all the grass when they come to (Gillette) Stadium. Good point, right?” The Patriots made the change from grass to turf following a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets in Week 10 of the 2006 season. That game — which Brady called “a real nasty” one — was played in a driving rainstorm, turning the field into a giant mud puddle, and by the time the Patriots held the next home game two weeks later, a shiny new playing surface had been installed. “Going back to that time, it was tough,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Friday. “We had to re-sod the field a couple of times at the end of the year and in the playoffs, and then in the 2006 season, during the season, it just got bad. You can’t grow it, so you either play on it or come in and re-sod it. I don’t think either one was a great option then. “But I think overall, it was a great job to get the field in as quickly as we did and turn it around. But I think at that point, we were looking at the prospect of playing however many more games on not really the surface that I would say playable but played better.”

 

Categories: test feeds

1,000 NJ children benefit from field renovation by 
Project EverGreen

November 29, 2016

A landscape work party that benefits more than 1,000 children, who will have a fully renovated sports field to play on next spring, is a party definitely worth attending.

Project EverGreen, as part of its Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.™ initiative, has donated a professional landscaping renovation to restore and improve the weather-damaged turf fields of the Hazlet, New Jersey Youth Athletic League.  With the assistance of the Performance Nutrition division of Hazlet-based LidoChem, Inc., and Bridgewater, N.J.-based Natural Green Lawn Care, and community members, a work party will reshape, fertilize and seed the field to create a safe, greenspace where aspiring young athletes and neighborhood children can play.

The professional landscaping contractor and supplier volunteers’ donations-in-kind of their expertise, materials, and services to improve the playability and safety of 100,000 sq. ft. of playing surface, totals over $20,000 in value.

The Hazlet Hawks football field was re-opened in 2016 for the first time in 10 years, but an exceptionally hot summer and fall, punctuated by recurring extreme rainfall, immediately left dead turfgrass and erosion damage that required renovation to correct the unsafe playing surface.

The fields provides more than 1,000 Hazlet Youth Athletic League football players, cheer squads, their parents, and coaches with a greener, safer, sustainable place to play. The field renovation will also provide significant environmental, economic and healthy lifestyle benefits to Hazlet’s children and their community.

“We’re proud to partner with Project EverGreen on this initiative to restore our own hometown Hazlet Hawks youth athletic field for our kids,” says Don Pucillo, president of LidoChem, Inc. “We’re especially pleased to contribute earth-friendly and kid-safe products to produce an athletic field that is a healthy green space where our children can play sports and just be kids.”

The project includes aeration, reseeding, and topsoil applications to build up the unsafe runoff low spots to spec, and applications of organic soil amendments and fertilizers.

Natural Green Lawn Care in Bridgewater is providing all of the equipment and labor to aerate apply the athletic turf grass seed mix, organic materials, and topsoil to fill low spots and the entire field and surrounding perimeter green space. The company is also donating the purchase and delivery of a truckload of approximately 18 cubic yards, or 20 tons of topsoil.

LidoChem made a significant financial contribution to the project, is donating the athletic turfgrass seed mix, which they purchased, and their organic NutriSmart-B soil inoculant. LidoChem’s employees have also committed their time to help in the renovation.

Managed parks, sports fields and recreational playing areas provide the following environmental, health and lifestyle benefits:

  • Lawns and sports fields are 30 degrees cooler than asphalt; and 14 degrees cooler than bare soil.
  • Parks and sports fields are gathering places that create close-knit communities, improve well-being and increase safety.
  • Managed grass playing surfaces help minimize concussions and sports related injuries as well as reduce quantities or populations of mosquitoes, ticks and stinging insects.
  • Physically active young people demonstrate higher academic performance at school.

Beyond Project EverGreen’s mission and its programs, as well as the many other industry initiatives and educational resources, the focus of this movement is to help raise the social consciousness about creating a healthier earth for future generations.

“There’s only one earth; we get only one chance at this,” says Cindy Code, Project EverGreen executive director.  “We’re confident that as an industry, partnering with consumers, we can create an earth that is greener and cooler; and assure that we’re leaving an earth to the generations to come that will contribute to the healthiness and happiness for all.”

Project EverGreen’s “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” is a nationwide initiative to renovate and renew parks and athletic fields, to ensure children have access to safe managed green spaces on which to play and exercise. To learn how you can start a revitalization project in your community, visit www.ProjectEverGreen.org or call 877.758.4835.

 

Categories: test feeds

Federal court blocks new overtime rule

November 28, 2016

A federal court on Tuesday blocked the start of a rule that would have made an estimated 4 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay heading into the holiday season, dealing a major blow to the Obama administration’s effort to beef up labor laws it said weren’t keeping pace with the times.

The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas granted the nationwide preliminary injunction, saying the Department of Labor’s rule exceeds the authority the agency was delegated by Congress. Overtime changes set to take effect Dec. 1 are now unlikely to be in play before vast power shifts to a Donald Trump administration, which has spoken out against Obama-backed government regulation and generally aligns with the business groups that stridently opposed the overtime rule.

“Businesses and state and local governments across the country can breathe a sigh of relief now that this rule has been halted,” said Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who led the coalition of 21 states and governors fighting the rule and has been a frequent critic of what he characterized as Obama administration overreach. “Today’s preliminary injunction reinforces the importance of the rule of law and constitutional government.”

The regulation sought to shrink the so-called “white collar exemption” that allows employers to skip overtime pay for salaried administrative or professional workers who make more than about $23,660 per year. Critics say it’s wrong that some retail and restaurant chains pay low-level managers as little as $25,000 a year and no overtime – even if they work 60 hours a week.

Under the rule, those workers would have been eligible for overtime pay as long as they made less than about $47,500 a year, and the threshold would readjust every three years to reflect changes in average wages.

The Department of Labor said the changes would restore teeth to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which it called “the crown jewel of worker protections in the United States.” Inflation weakened the act: overtime protections applied to 62 percent of U.S. full-time salaried workers in 1975 but just 7 percent today. The agency said it’s now considering all its legal options.

“We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans,” the labor department said in a statement. “The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rulemaking process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule.”

The Department of Labor could appeal the Tuesday ruling.- by Michelle Rindels, Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)

Categories: test feeds

MLS playoff game delayed after lines around penalty box drawn incorrectly

November 28, 2016

Last Tuesday night’s MLS playoff game between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC was delayed a little over 40 minutes after officials discovered the lines around the penalty box had been drawn incorrectly.

The match, which was scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. ET, got underway just past 8:40 local time.

The Impact usually play at the 20,801-seat Stade Saputo, but sold 61,004 tickets for the first leg of the Eastern Conference final at Olympic Stadium the former home of the Montreal Expos baseball team.

All three lines of the 18-yard box at one end were drawn about two yards too close to the goal and had to be repainted before the game could begin.

Impact president Joey Saputo owned up to the error, though he said the responsibility to check the lines fell to the officiating crew, who arrived slightly late to the game.

“We’re somewhat embarrassed. Obviously it’s the first time it’s happened to us,” Saputo said. “We’ve been in situations like this before, where we have 61,000 fans.

“We have to take the responsibility for it. It’s our fault. It’s unfortunate it happened.”

The crowd will be the second largest for an MLS playoff game behind only the 61,316 fans at Gillette Stadium for the New England Revolution’s MLS Cup final against LA Galaxy in 2002.

Categories: test feeds

Some high schools invest in football helmet sensor technology

November 28, 2016

Three Long Island (NY) high schools have invested in football helmet sensor technology designed to record the force of impacts to the head.

Oyster Bay became the first on Long Island to use the technology for the 2015 season in an effort to protect its players from the risk of a concussion. Central Islip and Hewlett added the sensor technology this season.

Oyster Bay and Central Islip are using Riddell’s Insite system, which sends an alert to a handheld device whenever a hit to the helmet registers above a certain threshold of force. Riddell declined to specify what that threshold is.

Hewlett became the first high school on Long Island to use a new system from Canada-based GForceTracker. The sensor is advertised as a real-time athlete monitoring system, recording information such as a player’s speed and acceleration to the “severity” of each head impact. All of the information is cataloged in a cloud-based computer program.

Hewlett also used the sensors in boys’ lacrosse helmets.

“We’re looking at it as we’re pioneers,” Hewlett athletic director David Viegas said, “and we’re staying ahead of the curve with player safety.”

Hewlett took action last year, days after the report by Newsday and News 12 about head safety and the quality of helmets in high school football.

The school district replaced its inventory of helmets with 125 new Schutt helmets, which are given a five-star rating by Virginia Tech researchers.

Hewlett spent $8,700 on 55 sensors in March and $4,500 on 30 additional sensors in July, according to purchase orders obtained by Newsday via Freedom of Information Law requests. The cost covers the sensors and a year’s subscription to the software used to track the information.

“We feel we are cutting-edge,” Superintendent Ralph Marino said. “We have five-star helmets. We have the best sensors. We added an additional trainer this year. We have two full-time athletic trainers.”

The sensors are about an inch long – roughly the size and shape of a tile used in dominoes – and attach inside the helmet.

When a player receives an impact to the head, the sensor transmits data analyzing the force of the hit, allowing someone on the sideline to view the data on a laptop as the play unfolds.

“I thought it would be a big, bulky contraption in my helmet,” Hewlett quarterback Jake Levitz said. “I thought it would be real uncomfortable. But you really don’t notice them when you play.”

GForceTracker chief technology officer Gerry Iuliano said the high schools that have bought the system have been using the data for different purposes.

Some coaches use it to determine when a player needs to be checked after a severe hit – either by setting it to send an alert after hits above a threshold of their choice, or by looking for athletes who suddenly registered a slower running speed than their average, he said. Coaches also use it to log hits per player, position, practice, game and season.

Viegas said Hewlett’s sensors are set to send an alert if a player receives an impact at or above 80 G-forces, which is a measurement that takes into account acceleration and weight. Stefan Duma, the lead author of Virginia Tech’s study into a helmet’s ability to reduce the risk of concussion, described an 80-G impact as a “very big hit and at the level where you start to see concussions.”

Other schools are using the system for strategic purposes. Iuliano said some coaches use the sensors to determine how to best utilize players on the field based on their speed. The data might show that a player accelerates faster going straight ahead as opposed to when they run on an angle, or vice versa, and that affects play calls.

Viegas said it’s too soon for Hewlett to know for certain what the school will do with all the data it has been compiling about athletes, the hits they’ve taken and their tendencies. He said he plans to share it with the school physician after the season.

Central Islip athletic director Larry Philips said the purchase of sensors came after the board of education “inquired about what steps we were already taking to help decrease head injuries and what more we could do.”

Philips said the alerts went off about 65 times this season, and three of them led to players being removed because of suspected concussions.

Oyster Bay athletic director Kevin Trentowski said the sensors went off about 30 times last season, but none led to a player being held out because of a suspected concussion. He said the sensors were also useful as a teaching tool.

One player, he said, had his sensor go off a dozen times within the span of a few minutes during practice while the player was hitting the tackling sled. Coaches worked with the player to correct his tackling technique to keep his head out of the play.

Trentowski said this year the sensors sent fewer alerts than a year ago, and again none of them led to a concussion diagnosis.

“Is it because the kids know it’s there and they’re going to be checked after it goes off? . . . Or is it maybe that high school football is becoming safer?” Trentowski said. “I don’t know.”- by Jim Baumbach

Newsday (New York)

Categories: test feeds

Report: turf fields in San Diego falling apart

November 28, 2016

When Carlsbad High School’s $790,000 artificial turf field started looking lumpy and thin just five years after it was installed, school district officials reached out to the manufacturer, FieldTurf USA.

FieldTurf gave them two options: The school could get a new field with the same turf material that fell apart for free, or pay to upgrade to a synthetic grass that would hold up for eight years or more, as initially promised.

Carlsbad opted for turf that wouldn’t wear out prematurely. In total, over six years, the school paid FieldTurf $942,000 for two artificial grass fields even though the first round of turf was defective and had an eight-year warranty.

Read the entire story here

Categories: test feeds

Post 2017 internships at STMA Conference

November 22, 2016

Post your internship at the STMA Conference. Send it to STMAinfo@stma.org and it will be posted on Jan. 24. It will also be posted after the conference to STMA’s online career center. To make your internship attractive to students make sure you are paying solid wages, have created a well-rounded experience for the intern and include some perks, such as clothing or meals. Read STMA’s internship handbook here.

 

Categories: test feeds

CEUs available at STMA Conference in January

November 22, 2016

Increase your professionalism by taking advantage of the continuing education units (CEUs) being offered at the STMA Conference this year. Earn up to 1.5 CEUs through STMA. In addition to STMA, the following professional organizations have agreed to provide CEUs for attending education sessions at the conference:

American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) – All education sessions qualify for points toward recertification for Certified Field Builders

National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) – 1.5 CEUs for the entire conference

Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) – 1.0 Education Point for the entire conference

National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) – 1.0 CEU per hour of instruction

Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) – 1.5 CEUs per day for CGM’s and CGT’s

Florida Pesticide Recertification Credits*Click here for a detailed listing of courses that qualify for Florida Pesticide Recertification Credits

*Pesticide Recertification credits will only be available for Florida. If you are attending from another state and are in need of pesticide recertification credits, you are responsible for contacting your state’s Department of Agriculture for approval.

Visit us online or see the onsite brochure for a detailed listing of education sessions that qualify for CEUs and recertification credits. Be sure to sign in using the appropriate form during the education sessions.

Categories: test feeds

Video of logo painting from Mike Hebrard

November 22, 2016

Check out this video of Mike Hebrard, president of Athletic Field Design, and his crew painting the gray Beaver head in recognition of Oregon State’s 1942 Rose Bowl Champions at a recent game in Corvallis. Mike’s crew included Andy Hebrard, Greg Inahara, Kevan Thomas, Jack Daraee & Joey Webb.

http://tinyurl.com/hyg8vvj

Categories: test feeds

Philips Arena upgrades target millennials

November 22, 2016

It used to be that the kids would get their own playroom. Now, as they’ve gotten older, it looks like they’re going to get their own sports arena.

Boosted by Mayor Kasim Reed’s promise to kick in three-fourths of the upfront cost, leaders of the Atlanta Hawks are planning a $192.5 million renovation of Philips Arena aimed at wooing more young adults.

“This will be the first arena designed for a millennial audience,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin told me.

Millennials, schmillennials. They’re the golden ones now, not just for a basketball team anxious to sell more tickets and beer but also for most any marketer, retailer, techie or employer nervously eyeing the future.

The Hawks have become a hotter ticket the past couple years but still lag the average for NBA attendance.

So what does “designed for a millennial audience” actually mean? I asked the 59-year-old Koonin.

In part he envisions borrowing ideas from other places. Lots of bridges and walkways, for example, a la Ponce City Market. Plenty of standing room where people can hang out. Unique combinations of seating.

“This isn’t going to be stack ’em high and load ’em in, but very much about social engagement,” he said.

There will be everything from clubs to white-tablecloth restaurants in the arena. “We are going to have a whole litany of amenities that talk to today’s fans.”

The makeover also will include things not done before in arenas, Koonin assured me, though he declined to get specific.

Also, apparently, in Future-world the high-class folks may be mingled with me and the rest of the riffraff, rather than being largely walled off.

Want your shorts pulled down?

That’s way different. Now, if you try to walk near the premium seating areas with their premium clubs and upgraded food, a friendly but stern attendant will find a way to pull your shorts down around your ankles. Because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. (Well, unless you’re owner of a major American sports team and you want a partial government handout — er, I mean, partnership.)

The current setup at Philips Arena includes more than 100 suites stacked atop one another like a moldy layer cake you can stare at but not eat. The higher up you go, the harder it is to find someone willing to pay for the distant view. It’s a design innovation I’m told was meant to serve the competing interests of basketball and hockey, which are best viewed at different levels. (Too bad NHL hockey long ago melted away from Philips.)

Koonin is eyeing renovations that could cut the number of big suites by about half — they each fit 20 people — and scatter what remains along with new, more-intimate premium seating around the arena.

“We know our customer wants to make this a social occasion,” he said.

Koonin is kind of a quote machine.

“In today’s world it’s not about isolation; it’s about inclusion.”

“We are getting rid of all the haves and have-nots.”

We’ll see. After all, he recently added a fun, behind-the-scenes gathering area just for top-paying fans — those with exceptional seats in the first three rows on the floor. They go in there to chat and load up on food. Which maybe isn’t over the top considering their seats can go for more than $1,000. Per game.

Having people willing to spend big bucks in downtown Atlanta is a great thing. And I can see why city leaders would want to encourage it.

But we should be wary any time government wants to shovel big public money into for-profit ventures. It shouldn’t be done unless there’s clear evidence that the public good will be greater than the public dollars at risk.

I spoke with fans at a recent home game. (I hadn’t been in years. Bad, Matt.) Most were upbeat about the team (it’s generally been winning) and the energy in the arena.

Shannon Moses, a fan from Alpharetta, seemed befuddled about why an arena renovation is needed.

“I can’t imagine what they can do to perfect it,” she told me. “I just think it’s a waste of money.”

So I asked Koonin: What’s wrong with Philips?

“It was designed in the ’90s, and I think a lot of the pieces are antiquated,” he said. “It is not a top-tier arena, which makes it very difficult to capture the best fan experience.”

  1. But Philips is one of the nation’s top 10 top ticket-selling arenas for concerts, according to Pollstar.

Koonin, who joined the Hawks in 2014, sharpened his marketing chops at Turner (where he oversaw revitalization of the TNT and TBS TV networks) and at that little red marketing machine called Coke.

A rare born-and-bred Atlantan and basketball fan in football country, Koonin said the team’s image and customer base are already morphing.

He told me the average age of fans at Hawks games has dropped from 47 to 34 in recent years.

Koonin also has focused on attracting more African-Americans and Latinos. That’s a twist, since the team’s former controlling owner, Bruce Levenson, sold his stake in the team after disclosure of an email in which he wrote “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.”

The Hawks had a particularly good run a couple of seasons ago. Attendance dipped last season but was still second-highest in a decade.Annual revenue increased 51 percent compared to two years ago, Koonin said. Season ticket holders have jumped from 2,500 to nearly 10,000.

And three more major companies — Delta, UPS and Kumho Tire — have signed on as sponsors with multi-year contracts worth multi-millions of dollars, Koonin said.

The Hawks still have challenges.TV ratings for home games logged the sharpest annual decline of any NBA team measured, according to Sports Business Journal. Average home attendance ranked 22nd out of 30 teams last season, according to ESPN.

On the bright side, it’s nice to have room to grow.

Koonin said research shows three reasons fans don’t attend more games: Traffic. Inconvenience compared to staying home. Shortage of food, drink and entertainment options nearby.

So, while the big makeover gets underway, executives already have added things to draw young hoopsters. Hence, the hip-hop organist, cool graphic projections on the court and a chance to tweet selfies shown to the entire arena.

Every moment that the game isn’t displayed on arena screens is scripted. The kiss cam? Some fans are coached in advance for a comedy act. And about 80 tickets are given to pre-selected fans who agree to spend most of the game standing and hyping up the crowd.

“Everything is produced,” Koonin said. “Because we compete with your sofa, with no traffic and no expenses. So this experience has to be rather extraordinary.”- by Matt Kempner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Categories: test feeds

SAFE needs auction/raffle items for STMA Conference

November 15, 2016

The STMA Conference is the main fundraising opportunity for The SAFE Foundation, STMA’s charity. SAFE holds several events during the conference: a golf tournament, bowling match, live auction, silent auction and a raffle.

SAFE is seeking donations for the auction and raffles.

We are seeking team gear, gift cards, equipment and product donations, experiences, sporting event tickets, sports memorabilia, vacation destination trips, gift baskets, merchandise for women …. just about anything is appreciated.

Please bring your items to the conference and drop them off at STMA’s registration desk.

 

 

Categories: test feeds

New sod being installed at Camden Yards for 1st time in 8 years

November 15, 2016

The playing surface at Camden Yards is being replaced this month, the Orioles announced Thursday, marking the first time since 2008 that the grass on the field is being swapped out.

Beginning November 10 and ending by December 1, the team said that 105,000 square feet of 100% Kentucky bluegrass from Tuckahoe Turf Farms in Hammonton, NJ, will replace the existing grass on the field, in the bullpens and in the park’s turf farm.

While eight years is considered the long end of the spectrum for the lifespan of stadium grass, the Orioles haven’t had many apparent issues with the sod at Camden Yards.

Manager Buck Showalter touts that the team, led by head groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen, is able to keep the field in such good shape because the team’s ownership doesn’t allow money-spinning events like concerts, football games or soccer matches to be hosted at Camden Yards when the team isn’t playing.

The team said the new sod will be shipped on a dozen tractor-trailers, with the net weight of the shipment around 400 tons.

In 2013, the team replaced the synthetic warning track with real dirt, but the grass remained intact throughout that process.

Categories: test feeds

San Diegans reject new stadium

November 15, 2016

After years of posturing and threats, the San Diego Chargers could be on the move.

Voters in San Diego County on Tuesday soundly rejected a referendum that would have steered hundreds of millions of tax dollars toward a stadium that the team wanted to build in downtown San Diego.

The Chargers now must decide whether to pay for the stadium themselves, look for an alternative site elsewhere in the city for a stadium, or move to Los Angeles, where they have an option to move into a stadium being built by Stanley E. Kroenke, the owner of the Rams.

The Chargers, who have several years left on their lease at Qualcomm Stadium, have until the second week of January to exercise that last option. If the team’s owner, Dean A. Spanos, decides not to move the Chargers to Los Angeles, the Oakland Raiders will then be given the option to join hands with Kroenke.

“In terms of what comes next for the Chargers, it’s just too early to give you an answer,” Spanos said in a statement. “We are going to diligently explore and weigh our options, and do what is needed to maintain our options, but no decision will be announced until after the football season concludes and no decision will be made in haste.”

The Rams had no comment on the result of the vote in San Diego.

The team has spent years trying to get the public to pay for part of a new stadium to replace Qualcomm Stadium, opened in 1967 and one of the oldest buildings in the NFL. Last year, the team rejected a plan championed by the mayor and a committee that included building a new stadium on the property where Qualcomm Stadium sits in the Mission Valley neighborhood. Instead, the Chargers focused on moving to Carson, California, near Los Angeles, and building a privately funded stadium with the Raiders.

 

Categories: test feeds

This is National SnowCare for Troops Awareness Week

November 15, 2016

When the temperatures start to plummet and the winds begin to blow, it signifies that winter is on its way. It also means that homeowners will have to make sure the snow blower starts and that they have a shovel or two handy for the first winter blast. For families of deployed military personnel and post 9/11 veterans with a service-connected disability, clearing driveways and sidewalks of snow and ice can be a real challenge.

To overcome that challenge, Project EverGreen, in partnership with BOSS Snowplow, established the SnowCare for Troops initiative in 2010 to provide complimentary snow and ice removal services to these deserving individuals who are our nation’s heroes.

From November 13-20, 2016 Project EverGreen recognizes National SnowCare for Troops Awareness Week to raise the profile of the program and spotlight the efforts of the initiative’s volunteers, military families and wounded and disabled veterans it serves.

Now in its seventh year, SnowCare for Troops has seen more than 5,000 military families and 1,500 snow removal contractor volunteers across the country registered to either receive or provide services.

“SnowCare for Troops provides military families with peace of mind and lifts a significant burden from their plate,” says Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “We’re very grateful for the commitment of our dedicated volunteers and the continued support from BOSS Snowplow. The leadership they have demonstrated in support of military families goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

SnowCare for Troops is more than clearing driveways and sidewalks of snow and ice it is a means to allow military families and wounded/disabled veterans to maintain their independence and go about their daily routines taking care of family, going to work or rehabilitating service-connected injuries.

“We are passionate about supporting active and disabled veteran members of the Armed Forces in whatever way we can,” said Mark Klossner, director of marketing, BOSS Snowplow. “Supporting initiatives like SnowCare for Troops allows us to make this passion a reality.”

More volunteers are always needed for SnowCare for Troops. In particular, Fort Drum, N.Y. and Groton, Conn., are two high-demand service areas. Snow removal contractors, able-bodied veterans or anyone with a shovel are encouraged to volunteer.

For more information on how to volunteer or sign up for Project EverGreen’s SnowCare for Troops, visit www.ProjectEverGreen.org

Categories: test feeds

New research links football and degenerative brain disease

November 8, 2016

The first concrete link between football and degenerative brain disease was found in a new study by Boston University researchers that also showed the longer players play the game, the greater the risk – of permanent damage.

Jonathan Cherry, lead author of the project, said the study also takes researchers one step closer to early diagnosis and treatment of the potentially deadly condition.

‘That middle step was kind of missing for a while,’ said Cherry, a postdoctoral fellow in – neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. ‘Just by knowing there’s a connection, it’s – incredibly beneficial so we have a place to start with potential therapies and identifying it early on.’

The findings, published online Friday in Acta Neuropathologica Communications, show a direct correlation between brain inflammation brought on by football-related head injury and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Brains of 66 professional and collegiate football players, along with 16 non-athlete brains, were examined. Scientists used statistical modeling that strongly connected inflamed brain material to CTE. Researchers went a step further to compare the number of years playing football to the amount of damage in the brain that left players at higher risk of degenerative – brain disease.

‘We saw that there was a connection there,’ Cherry said. ‘Those who played football longer had more inflammation.’

CTE has been found in the brains of deceased athletes and others with a history of repetitive hits to the head, resulting in concussions. Yet while there has been plenty of conjecture on risk factors, research has yielded few definitive answers.

‘It’s been suspected that inflammation has been involved, but there hasn’t been a lot of proof actually linking it to CTE,’ – Cherry said.

The study coincides with an upcoming announcement from Boston University researchers later this morning about the brain of former Patriots running back Kevin Turner, whose death from ALS last spring at 46 was a suspected consequence of CTE.

Chris Nowinski, a Harvard graduate and co-founder and CEO of the Waltham-based Concussion Legacy Foundation, said Cherry’s study is ‘the sort of breakthrough that will lead scientists to be able to treat the disease.’

‘It bolsters the knowledge that there’s a correlation between length of career and brain damage,’ said Nowinski, a former wrestler who said he endured several concussions with lasting consequences. ‘To be honest, I’m glad my mom held me out of football until high school.’

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Aging, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Concussion Legacy Foundation.- The Boston Herald

 

 

Categories: test feeds

New overtime pay rules take effect December 1

November 8, 2016

The new DOL rules affecting overtime and salary levels of exempt employees go into effect Dec. 1. Are you prepared? The rule means that your exempt employees (not eligible for overtime) must earn a salary of $47,476, or you must pay for any overtime worked. For information on strategies to manage the impact, click here.

 

Categories: test feeds

Scavify at STMA Conference

November 8, 2016

STMA is introducing a fun, interactive game at the STMA annual conference. Powered by Scavify, it is an app that will be accessible through STMA’s 2017 Conference App. Just click on the link and begin completing challenges. The app automatically tracks your progress and you earn points. STMA will be awarding exciting prizes for top point getters. There’s a leaderboard, too, so you can see where you are ranked.

New tasks and questions and tasks will change throughout the conference, so start playing on Tuesday. Thanks to our exhibitor partners who are supporting this experience: Barenbrug, Floratine, Landmark Turf & Native Seed, Nature Safe Natural & Organic Fertilizers, TruMark Athletics, John Deere, and Intelligro.

STMA is still accepting commercial sponsors of this scavenger hunt. If you are exhibiting and interested, please contact STMAinfo@stma.org.

Categories: test feeds

Sports Turf Canada’s Lee Huether retires

November 8, 2016

Lee Huether, Sports Turf Canada’s Executive Manager, has announced her retirement effective the end of the year, 2016. Lee has held the chief administrative position of the association since 1997.

“I am somewhat in disbelief,” said Lee, “that nineteen years have gone by since I first joined Sports Turf Canada. During that time both the association and I have grown together in a changing landscape.”

Anne Baliva will succeed Lee in the position beginning November 8. Anne, a Certified Association Executive, comes to Sports Turf Canada from the water environment sector. She has a wealth of experience in association management at both the provincial and national level.

STC President Tab Buckner commented, “Lee will be truly missed and all of us at Sports Turf Canada wish her the best as she turns the page on a new chapter. At the same time we welcome Anne. We are confident she will continue to provide leadership excellence for Sports Turf Canada as we celebrate thirty years of dedication to the promotion of better, safer sports turf.”

Lee will work with Anne until the end of the year for a smooth transition. “The association has been under the direction of some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers in the industry through its board of directors and committee participants. It has been so rewarding to work with them, together with our members from coast to coast, for the benefit of our communities. It’s going to be hard to say good-by!”

About STC

Sports Turf Canada was established in 1987 at a meeting held at the University of Guelph to address the need to minimize and avoid turf-related injury on athletic fields. Almost thirty years later the association continues to passionately promote better, safer sports turf through innovation, education and professional programs across the country.

 

Categories: test feeds

International Resources

us