Peoria Puts Sports Park Project On Hold !


   The Peoria Sports Park, a major mixed-use-redevelopment project proposed for Peoria’s Entertainment District, needs to be evaluated further, city officials said this week.

City leaders have determined, as part of their financial and economic analysis of the project, that the Peoria Sports Park project would not be economically viable, nor a good financial investment for the city, as currently proposed by the developer.

“With every new project, we perform thorough due diligence to protect the city’s interests and to evaluate project feasibility,” said Scott Whyte, Economic Development Services director. “This economic analysis was another necessary step in the process to make sure taxpayer dollars are invested appropriately and to ensure that the project we want is possible.”

In April, Peoria awarded a contract to Ernst & Young, LLP to provide a market assessment and project analysis prior to considering a development agreement with master developer Peoria Sports Park, LLC, the developer of the proposed Sports Complex Redevelopment Project.

The proposed project includes a mixed-use lifestyle center development located on the 17.5-acre site adjacent to the Peoria Sports Complex.

The proposed project includes 250,000 square feet of high-end retail, a 176-room hotel with a 10,000 square foot conference center and 110 residential units, serviced by surface and parking structures totaling over 2,000 spaces.

The analysis has been shared with the developer, officials said, and the city anticipates the developer to submit a modified version of the project concept in September.


New Jersey ballparks join healthy concessions trend !

Turkey burgers and fruit salads sit alongside hot dogs and sodas, and do well with fans.


During a recent BlueClaws baseball game at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J., John Walters accompanied daughter Rachel, 7, to the concession stand, where she smiled as she unwrapped a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bottle of water.

Other patrons behind them were similarly excited as they walked away with their turkey burgers, veggie burgers and fresh fruit. Could this be a ballpark, a place famous for its hot dogs, soda and Cracker Jacks? Yes, but FirstEnergy Park is one of a growing number that has introduced a seemingly unconventional concept in the annals of American baseball stadiums: lighter and more nutritious concessions for an increasingly health-conscious fan base.

Fielder’s choice

“For most people, ballparks are all about ‘fun’ foods, like going to the carnival — so hot dogs, french fries, ice cream, soda, beer and chicken tenders are still the most popular items at our concession stand,” said Eric McConnell, concessions manager at Yogi Berra Stadium in Upper Montclair, N.J., home of the New Jersey Jackals. “But there’s a greater awareness of healthier options than ever before, so you’ve got to have the veggie burgers and salads to satisfy that segment of your audience.”

Though cooking and serving space is limited at the 3,800-seat stadium, “we recently started offering options like Caesar salads, veggie burgers, marinated chicken breast sandwiches, and flavored frozen yogurt from Applegate Farms, and will of course accommodate any special request,” McConnell said. “We want to offer those healthier options and do what we can to meet our customers’ changing needs.”

At the 6,100-seat TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J., home of the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots, Mike McDermott, local general manager of Centerplate, said that TD Bank has been experimenting with healthier options for several years.

“We tried different things during the ‘carb craze,’ including tofu hot dogs and bunless burgers, but ultimately installed our Healthy Options window on the third base side about three or four years ago,” he said.

There, fans can enjoy turkey and chicken wraps with baked potato chips, mixed garden and Caesar salads, fresh fruit salads, and veggie burgers.

“This year, we added our new frozen chiller smoothies, which are 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices in four different flavors, including strawberry mango,” he added, “and we also offer a vegetable burrito as well as gluten-free hot dog and hamburger buns upon request.”

At the 6,600-seat FirstEnergy Park, BlueClaws General Manager Brandon Marano said the stadium’s decision to offer a line of health-conscious fare was part of a concerted effort to support both fans and employees.

“Hamburgers and hot dogs are great if you’re here for one night, but our season ticket holders, who attend up to 80 games a season, wanted other options,” Marano said, “as did many of our 300 game-day employees, who also eat here.”

Those requests led to the stadium’s new Healthy Plate Concession Stand initiative, offered in conjunction with Horizon Blue Cross & Blue Shield of New Jersey.

“Working with Blue Cross’ professional dietitians, we’re now offering menu items including turkey and veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, baked chips, vanilla frozen yogurt with three different fruit toppings, fresh fruit salad, and a variety of non-soda beverages,” Marano said. “You can have your whole meal at the Healthy Plate Concession Stand.”

Launched on opening night in April, “the stand is doing well so far, and we’re hoping it continues to take off,” he said. “It’s something new, but a lot of stadiums and public venues are moving toward healthier options, even in their vending machines. People are asking for these items and we want to offer something for everyone.”

From an operations perspective as well, the new Healthy Plate Concession Stand has proven to be a successful way to serve the stadium’s health-conscious clientele.

“Before, we used to have to special-order food for clients who were vegetarians or who had special needs,” BlueClaws supervisor Diana Trub said. “Now these customers are really enjoying our turkey and veggie burgers, and we expect that the frozen yogurt and fruit salads with fresh cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries and honeydew will be big hits as well.”

At Trenton, N.J.s’s 6,200-seat Arm & Hammer Park, home of the Trenton Thunder, Director of Food Services Kevin O’Byrne is excited about the stadium’s new Healthy Plate Concession Stand, which, like the one at FirstEnergy Park, was rolled out this season in conjunction with Horizon Blue Cross & Blue Shield.

“We’re offering entrees that represent healthier takes on ballpark favorites, like vegetarian hot dogs and hamburgers, lean turkey and roast beef sandwiches, a portobello mushroom and grilled veggie sandwich on a wheat bun, baked potatoes with broccoli and turkey bacon toppings, and gluten-free cookies and frozen yogurt,” O’Byrne said. “Entrees are all generally under 300 calories each, and all of their nutritional information is displayed.”

Box score

So how have these options played out so far?

“Probably less than 10 percent of our fans are currently buying them, but they represent a vocal and growing segment,” the Patriots’ McDermott said. “Having these items helps people stick to their diets and eat healthier while enabling our ballpark to reinvent itself every year so that things don’t get stale for fans.”

The Thunder’s O’Byrne confirmed that their Healthy Plate Concession Stand is experiencing a similar growth in popularity.

“Ballparks haven’t traditionally been places where you could exercise healthy food choices, but people enjoy having the ability to eat healthier,” he said. “In fact, we’re selling more of our vegetarian chili than our regular chili.”

BlueClaws fan Kathy Snell said “the turkey burger is great. The other food is good, but it can be fattening, so this is a nice alternative.”

And one that area ballparks are hoping will be a home run.

“We want to make sure we’re addressing this growing slice of our fan base and serving as a model of what ballparks can and should be,” O’Byrne said.


Source:  Susan Bloom, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press


Bosch Community Fund Contributes $40,700 !


Bosch Community Fund Contributes $40,700 to Friends of the Park, Assists Founders Sports Park in Farmington Hills, Mich.

Receives Clean Corporate Citizen Award from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., Jun 26, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — –Bosch committed to donating to projects that aid community and sustainability efforts

–Bosch honored as a Clean Corporate Citizen by Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality for demonstrating environmental stewardship at four of its Michigan locations

Robert Bosch LLC today announced a $40,700 grant to Friends of the Park in support of the Farmington Hills, Mich., Founders Sports Park fishing pier development and environmental programming, an initiative that will provide an opportunity for the community to experience fishing right in their back yard and foster hands-on educational programs promoting sustainability, conservation and ecology.

The grant will assist with the construction of an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible boardwalk, seating areas, interpretive signage and educational programs, including learn-to-fish classes, pond ecology, shoreline restoration, wildlife conservation and sustainability of the watershed. The 101-acre park has recreational facilities that bring in more than 1 million visitors annually.

“Bosch was founded on the principle that in addition to a focus on innovative strength, we must demonstrate social and environmental responsibility in the communities in which we do business,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Robert Bosch LLC. “Our support for the Founders Sports Park fishing pier not only enhances the community, but provides an educational experience to children and their families.”

In addition, today four of Bosch’s Michigan operations – Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Novi and Flat Rock – were recognized with a Clean Corporate Citizen (C3) Award from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The award honors establishments that demonstrate outstanding performance in the areas of environmental management, pollution prevention and environmental compliance. Bosch is one of 11 companies in Oakland County to achieve this recognition.

“Achieving the Clean Corporate Citizen Award is important to Bosch because it demonstrates that Bosch has earned the confidence and trust of the State of Michigan in establishing robust processes that will help protect and preserve the environment,” said Mansuetti.

The Bosch Community Fund (BCF) provides more than $3 million annually in grants to enhance communities and the lives of students and families. Most recently, the BCF also granted $20,000 to Greenville Technical College in Greenville, S.C., to support the development of a mobile hydraulic lab. In addition, the BCF granted $25,000 to the Farmington Public Schools to support innovative and creative teaching of STEM curricula.




Elma, N.Y. (Thursday, June 20, 2013) – U.S. Women’s National Team and Western New York Flash forward Abby Wambach became the all-time women’s goal scorer on Thursday night in the United States’ 5-0 win over South Korea at Red Bull Arena.  The performance officially marks an exciting and much-hyped conclusion to #ChasingMia.

Wambach entered the game with 156 goals scored during her career, and it took less than 29 minutes for the Rochester, NY native to, not only tie, but break Hamm’s record.  Wambach would go on to score four goals before being subbed out in the 61st minute, as she now holds the record with 160 goals.

Wambach single-handedly put the Americans ahead 4-0 by the halftime break, starting with a right-footed strike in the 10th minute.  The forward collected a pass from Lauren Cheney in the box and muscled her way through two defenders before firing home.  Just eight minutes later, Wambach tied the record with a diving header goal off another feed from Cheney.

It was the 29th minute when Wambach set history, doing so with another trademark header goal. Off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe, Wambach jumped high above the South Korean defense to strike a powerful shot past goalkeeper Kim Jung-Mi.

Wambach extended her now-record to 160 goals with a goal in first half injury time, sliding into the goal to capitalize on a through-ball from Alex Morgan.

It took Wambach 207 international caps to break Hamm’s record, which the veteran set in 275 appearances from 1987-2004.

Cheney added the final USA goal in the 65th minute for the 5-0 final score.

Media members wishing to interview Wambach at Flash practice Friday should contact Flash Communications Manager Jackie Maynard at jackie.maynard@wnyflash.

The Flash return to action on Sunday at Sahlen’s Stadium when they host US teammate Hope Solo and the Seattle Reign at 4:05 p.m. Tickets for that game, and all Flash home games, are available by calling the Sahlen’s Stadium box office at (585) 454-KICK or online at

About WNY Flash

The Western New York Flash is one of eight teams selected to play in the newly formed National Women’s Soccer League after winning three women’s soccer championship titles in the last three years.  Fans can keep up-to-date on the most recent Flash news by following the Flash’s official Twitter account (@WNYFlash) or by liking the team’s Facebook page.


Amateur Sports Facilities Fill Down Time !



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National Parks Munchies Go Healthy !


Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, Let’s Move ! Executive Director and White House Senior Policy Adviser on Nutrition Sam Kass, and executives and chefs of major concessioners to announce that visitors will have additional choices for purchasing healthy, nutritious food at national parks across the country.

“Our national parks are renowned around the world for their breathtaking landscapes and important cultural and historical sites,” Jewell said. “Today, as part of the administration’s efforts to promote healthier choices, we are adding yet another reason to visit our national parks and increasing the number of healthy food options available to visitors at parks from coast to coast.”

As part of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative, Director Jarvis issued healthy food standards and sustainable food guidelines that will increase the number of menu items available at more than 250 food and beverage operations in national parks.

“There is no reason that you should have to take a vacation from eating well when you visit a national park,” Jarvis said. “Traditional favorites such as hot dogs and ice cream will remain, but the new standards will provide additional choices, such as fish tacos and yogurt parfaits, for the 23 million people who buy meals in national parks each year.”

The agency collaborated with park food and beverage operators, concession industry leaders and health experts to develop the standards, which will be integrated into all new concessions contracts and applied on a voluntary basis to existing contracts. Many concessioners are embracing the Healthy Parks, Healthy People connection, and are working with parks to display new signs and nutritional data, including calorie counts, to help customers make informed decisions.

“Providing additional choices is good for our customers and good for our business,” said Gerry Gabrys, CEO of Guest Services Inc., who spoke on behalf of the concessioners. “All of us have seen a growing consumer demand for healthy food, and we are committed to meeting the needs and desires of park visitors while keeping prices affordable. The new guidelines include many efforts already underway by the industry and reflect the close collaboration and positive partnership we enjoy with the National Park Service.”

The new program includes incentives and recognition opportunities for concession companies that exceed the standards and demonstrate leadership in improving the visitor experience.

“We all have a role to play in building a healthier nation, and improving the offerings at parks across the country is an important step toward making the healthier choice the easier choice for parents and kids,” Kass said. “Our beautiful national parks are a fun way for families to get active together this summer, and now families will also be able to enjoy many healthy food options as part of their visit to the great outdoors.”

In addition to providing more nutritious food options, the National Park Service is encouraging concessioners to incorporate sustainable food sourcing and service practices. The use of locally grown or raised items, when available, provides fresh food, reduces environmental impacts, and supports regional economies.”

Already, concessioners in parks like Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore are working with local vendors to supply a variety of seasonal ingredients, from fish, beef, bread and tomatoes to dairy products, blueberries, cage-free eggs and vegetables. Mount Rushmore’s “Lakota Popcorn,” for example, is from the harvest of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.

“When it comes to serving items like beef and vegetables, we are returning to our roots,” said Lu Harlow, director of food and beverage for Xanterra’s Yellowstone National Park operations, which served 1.8 million guests last year. “Whenever possible and practical, we offer healthy foods that are good for our guests, our neighbors and our park. Because there are now more organic farms and local growers in the region, we have more choices to source close-to-the-ground and organic foods than ever before. It’s a win for our guests, a win for us and a win for our suppliers.”

The Healthy & Sustainable Food Program is a key pillar of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People US initiative, which the service established in 2011 to better link public health and mission of public parks and public lands. The initiative includes national, state and local parks, as well as business innovators, healthcare leaders, scientist, foundations and advocacy organizations.

Concessioners from the Muir Woods in California to the Statue of Liberty in New York have already received local and national restaurant awards for their efforts. In addition, the first National Park Healthy Parks, Healthy People Award nominations have been accepted, and winners—including those in the healthy food category—will be announced in July.

Learn more by visiting

Source: Recreation Management Magazine


New Jersey Sports Betting Battle Continues as Revenue Slides !


New Jersey fired back at the major sports leagues and the US Department of Justice this weekend, while at the same time posting yet another decline in monthly gaming revenue in Atlantic City.

The US Department of Justice and five sports leagues filed briefs last week for the June 26th showdown in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit over whether New Jersey has the right to legalize sports betting within its borders.  New Jersey filed its own brief on Friday, as did two other groups supporting the State’s position.

New Jersey’s main points are that the sports leagues lack standing and that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act(PASPA) is unconstitutional as it exempts four states from its enforcement and fails to provide regulatory framework.

New Jersey also alleges that the DOJ changed its position on what it hopes to prevent in New Jersey, including the contention that New Jersey could simply remove its prohibition on sports betting without outright legalizing and regulating it.  In reaction to this, New Jersey states:

…the notion that Congress enacted PASPA to deregulate sports wagering is, on its face, absurd.

Briefs have also been filed by top New Jersey Democrats and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.  The New Jersey Democrats contend that their accountability by voters has been threatened and use the anti-commandeering doctrine to make their point.

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association states that the one year window New Jersey would have been allowed to legalize sports betting in 1993 was not an election year and residents could not have voted for lawmakers that supported sports betting in the hopes of beating the clock.  The Horsemen also assert that they would have been excluded from offering sports betting if a law was passed during the one year window.  A clause in PASPA would have only allowed Atlantic City casinos to offer sports betting had the state met the December 31, 1993 deadline to legalize sports betting.

Both briefs also make some of the same points the State makes.

Sports betting is a feature that state lawmakers hope will increase visitation and revenue at ailing Atlantic City casinos. Sports betting would also be allowed at New Jersey racetracks, including the Meadowlands, home of the next Super Bowl.

Atlantic City Gaming Revenue Down in May

As expected, May was another bad month in Atlantic City, though it was better than previous months in 2013.  Taxable gaming revenue declined 3.8% in May.  Four of Atlantic City’s twelves casinos posted positive results for the month.  Those casinos were Borgata (4.8%), Caesars (6.9%), Resorts (20%) and Atlantic Club (24.5%).  Trump Plaza was the biggest loser with a 27.1% decline, while the multibillion dollar Revel declined 19.6% and placed tenth in the market in terms of gaming revenue.  Revel won just $11,2 million from its slots and tables during May.

Atlantic City casinos have posted a cumulative decline of 10.4% year-to-date.  The Atlantic Club, the casino that was the subject of a failed takeover attempt by PokerStars, is the only casino that is positive over last year’s casino win this year.  The Atlantic Club’s 2013 gaming revenue is up 26.5% over the first five months of 2012.



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Riverfront Sports complex to be dedicated Thursday !


WATERLOO, Iowa — A grand opening of the Riverfront Sports Park — a public celebration of 20 months, nearly $1 million, hundreds of hours of labor, and dozens of dedicated individuals to renovate the complex’s eight fields — will be 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Field 2 at Riverfront Sports Park, Park Road and Burton Avenue.

Among those attending will be Mayor Buck Clark, Tim Hurley of the Black Hawk County Gaming Association, Bob Hellman of Build Our Ballpark and Mark Gallagher of Waterloo Leisure Services.

The Union Missionary Baptist Church Crusaders Drill Team will perform, Heather Newman will sing the national anthem, and baseball and softball games will be played on six fields.

Created in 2008, Build Our Ballpark was the vision of Bob Hellman Sr., the founder and chairman of the board of a Waterloo ad agency. The organization is committed to providing the assistance and rallying the support needed to build new ballparks and improve existing ballparks to ensure kids have a quality place to play.

In 2011, Build Our Ballpark and Waterloo Leisure Services began working toward the renovation of Riverfront Sports Park’s eight fields, sidewalks, buildings and equipment.


Why You Should Wage a War on Cash ?

Ca$h While most of my posts have been focused on digital marketing and sales, a team of colleagues has been deeply focusing on the coming digital payment revolution. Having just gone to Europe, I was shocked by how many of the interactions, even in a developed market, had to be done in cash. Digital cash has long been a fantasy of the digiterati, and the headlines generated by Bitcoin’s ups and down certainly reflect a broad interest in the topic. But there is tremendous value to be unlocked if we can get cash out of our society (e.g. the cost of handling, securing, and moving cash; tax compliance implications). Yes, there are many people who chafe at the notion of every transaction being traceable, but the value to consumers, businesses, and society adds up quickly. While predictions of a cashless society have floated around for years now, it does seem like a matter of “when” not “if.” Given that kind of inevitability, how should marketers think about it? Brands should consider encouraging card transactions, despite the merchant fees, in order to capture the right data, bring new value to the transaction (like a follow-up coupon or an enhanced credit offer), and enable much more streamlined customer payment experiences. The biggest transformation would happen if small businesses made the move to encourage non-cash payment. If the payment service providers could help them get new information, and make it easier for them to use that information to market to their customers, more small merchants would likely get on board. Instead of just charging for the convenience of offering a card payment option to customers, payment service providers can hold themselves to a higher bar for helping merchants activate the information they create in each transaction. When I think of my dry cleaner, who does not accept cards for transactions under $20, it seems like he is losing out on opportunities to bring back straying customers, or track the full impact of trial offers he sends to new movers. The bottom line is that every interaction should be an opportunity for an information exchange that a marketer can use to help the customer better in the future. Besides all of the societal benefits of payment digitization, the war on cash holds enormous promise for bringing new marketing capability to merchants of all kinds.  What do you see as the full ramifications of a cashless society? Will it happen in your country? Learn more about this topic and others on the Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Forum site, and follow us on Twitter @McK_CMSOForum. And please follow me @davidedelman. SODA_Ins_Ad


source: David Edelman