Bradenton Marauders announce FSL All-Star Game Festivities

(Bradenton, FL) The Florida State League All-Star Game will be played at McKechnie Field  on June 14th. The Bradenton Marauders have announced more details for a busy weekend of baseball and entertainment in downtown Bradenton.

 

Friday, June 13 is the inaugural Pirates and Princesses 5K Home Run. The 5K race will start on Old Main Street, run along the Bradenton Riverwalk, and return to Old Main. Race participants will receive a commemorative tech t-shirt and a ticket voucher for one ticket to the All-Star Game. The top male and female runner overall and in each age group will be invited to be recognized on-field at the All-Star Game the next evening. A “Best Dressed” award will also be given to the participant with the best pirate or princess themed costume.

 

The race will be followed by the “Main Street Plunder” after party on Old Main Street. Each race participant age 21 and older will receive their first 12oz beer free from New Belgium Brewing near the finish line. Several Old Main Street bars will offer discounts on select drafts to race participants.

 

Online registration and printable registration forms are available by visiting www.BradentonMarauders.com/PiratesandPrincesses5K. Early packet pickup will be available at Fit 2 Run in University Park on Monday, June 9 from noon-close and McKechnie Field June 10-12 from noon-6:00 p.m. each day. Race day check-in will begin at 5:30 p.m. Participants must register by May 25 to guarantee preferred shirt size.

 

Florida State League players and executives will be entertained at an invitation-only gala at the South Florida Museum from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. After the gala, players and executives will proceed to the “Main Street Plunder” party.

 

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the game at McKechnie Field. An autograph session will be held from 4:30-5:15, featuring players from both teams. There will also be live music by Matthew Huff at the Yuengling Plaza Bar pre-game.

 

The Home Run Derby will begin at 5:30. Eight Florida State League All-Stars will compete to earn the 2014 Florida State League Home Run Derby championship. Fans have a chance to win as well as various targets will be placed on the field. Balls that land or are caught in target areas will trigger great fan giveaways.

 

The winners of the All-Stars Among Us competition will be honored on-field in a ceremony before the game. Winners will be announced in a special section of the Bradenton Herald in the week preceding the All-Star Game.

 

The first pitch of the Florida State League All-Star Game will be at 7:05 p.m. The All-Stars from the South Division, which includes the Marauders, will take on the All-Stars from the North Division. The South Division has won the last two All-Star Games. A live audio webcast of the game will be available on www.BradentonMarauders.com.

 

A silent auction will be held during the game for each player’s All-Star Game jersey. Proceeds from the auction will benefit Pirates Charities.

 

A Mystery Ball Raffle will be held to benefit the Children’s Dream Fund. Fans can pay $20 to receive a randomly selected signed baseball. Among the many available autographs are balls signed by 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Frank Thomas, reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen, and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore.

 

Tennis balls will be sold during the game for post-game Launch-A-Ball. Winners have a chance to win up to half of the total pot. Proceeds will be donated to the Florida State League Hall of Fame.

 

After the game concludes, Zambelli Fireworks will present a spectacular post-game pyrotechnic display. The fireworks will be followed by a postgame concert and after party on the outfield boardwalk at McKechnie Field.  

 

For more information about the Florida State League All-Star Game, visit www.BradentonMarauders.com/AllStarGame.

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Pittsburgh Pirates Announce Plans For Improvements to McKechnie Field and Pirate City

(Bradenton, FL) The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced plans for two capital improvement projects to enhance baseball operations and training facilities at McKechnie Field and Pirate City. 

At historic McKechnie Field, where a renovation completed in 2013 has contributed to record-setting attendance for Spring Training, the Pirates plan to replace the aging clubhouse building at the southeast corner of the property. The new, 22,500-square-foot building will include the Pirates/Bradenton Marauders locker room, strength training facility, training center, food service operations and baseball operations offices. 

At Pirate City, the Pirates’ training facility in east Bradenton, the Club plans a new performance center to be constructed adjacent to the existing dining facility. The 10,500-square-foot center will include weight training and fitness facilities to support year-round athletic performance and rehabilitation programs in Bradenton.

The Pirates will fully fund construction of the buildings, which were approved this morning by the Bradenton City Council.

“The Pirates are continuing to invest in Bradenton because of our long-standing relationship with the community and the vital, year-round training and rehabilitation assets that have been developed by our partnership with the City,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “Our Major League and Minor League players deserve first-class facilities and the new home clubhouse at McKechnie Field and performance center at Pirate City will be among the best in the industry.”

Both projects are scheduled to be completed by early 2015 and are included in long-range plans for the facilities. The Pirates have hired local firms NDC Construction and Fawley Bryant Architects to design and build the projects.

Bradenton has hosted Pirates Spring Training every year since 1969. Only one team has trained at its current Spring Training facility longer.  First opened in 1923, McKechnie Field is the oldest Spring Training ballpark in use.  The addition of lights in 2008 and the expansion of fan-friendly amenities in 2013, have enhanced the ballpark’s status as one of the gems of the Grapefruit League. Ballpark Digest honored McKechnie Field as the “Best Ballpark Renovation” of 2013.

In 2014, the Pirates set new records for average attendance and single game attendance during the 2014 Grapefruit League season. The average attendance at McKechnie Field this spring was 7,587 per game, surpassing the prior high mark of 6,229, set in 2013. A new single-game attendance record was also established. The game between the Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, March 22 drew 8,566 fans.

In addition to Spring Training, McKechnie Field is home to the Bradenton Marauders, the Pirates’ Single-A affiliate in the Florida State League.  McKechnie will also host the 2014 Florida State League All-Star Game on June 14.

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WENG Radio to broadcast Lemon Bay Mantas Spring Football Game Thursday May 15

(Sarasota, FL) Spring football in Sarasota and Manatee counties kicks off Thursday May 15th with North Port hosting Lemon Bay at “The Preserve” at 7:00 p.m. WENG AM 1530 and FM 107.5 will broadcast the game beginning at 6:45 p.m. Rich Spedaliere will call the play-by-play.

 

The schedule of spring games follows:

May 15
Lemon Bay at North Port, 7:00 p.m.

May 16
Charlotte at Fort Myers Dunbar, 7:30 p.m.
St. Petersburg Northside Christian at Out-of-Door, 7 p.m.
Bradenton Christian and Fort Myers Southwest Florida Christian at Saint Stephen’s, 7:00 p.m.

May 22
Cardinal Mooney at Braden River, 7:00 p.m.

May 23
Haines City at Manatee, 7:30 p.m.
Bayshore at Cape Coral, 7:00 p.m.
Lakeland at Venice, 6:00 p.m.
Port Charlotte at Wauchula Hardee County, 7:30 p.m.
St. Petersburg at Sarasota, 7:00 p.m.
Southeast at Riverview, 7:30 p.m.
Palmetto at Booker, 7:00 p.m.
Lakewood Ranch at Naples Lely, 7:00 p.m.

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2014 Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training Visitors Generated nearly $21 Million for Charlotte County’s Economy

(Tampa Bay, FL) Visitors attending Tampa Bay Rays spring training games in Port Charlotte generated an estimated economic impact of $20,978,500 for Charlotte County. This estimated figure includes direct and indirect spending and is based on out-of-county visitors. It does not include the spending of the Tampa Bay Rays organization, visiting teams or media staying in the destination.

This estimated figure is based on research the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau commissioned Research Data Services, Inc., of Tampa, to conduct during the 2014 spring training season which ran from Feb. 28 to March 29.

Highlights of the research include:

·   Of the 78,624 people who attended the 2014 Tampa Bay Rays home spring training games, 39 percent were Charlotte County residents or seasonal residents;

·   Of the non-Charlotte County resident attendees, 68 percent came from other Florida counties, 22.7 percent from other states in the U.S. and 9.3 percent hailed from other countries;

·   The typical overnight visitor party had a median party size of 2 people and spent on average five nights in the area;

·   More than half the respondents attended regular season Tampa Bay Rays games at Tropicana Field in 2013;

·   In addition to spring training baseball, the top five activities out-of-town visitors enjoyed were:

Dining Out

Shopping

Beach/Walking on the Beach

Relaxing

Bars/Nightlife

Each year, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau conducts marketing, sales and promotional campaigns to increase awareness of and visitation to Charlotte County. In addition to generating economic contributions, the Charlotte Harbor Visitor & Convention Bureau is also focused on developing soft adventure or eco-tourism, a low-impact industry enabling the county to preserve the invaluable natural resources that contribute to its ecological health, distinguish the area and draw visitors.

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CBS Sports and NFL Network Team Up For Thursday Night Football

(New York, NY) CBS Sports and NFL Network today announced plans for extensive on-site pre-game and post-game coverage for its broadcasts of Thursday Night Football. The networks team up for over two hours of coverage, featuring CBS Sports and NFL Network analysts and reporters, originating from the site of each game for all 15 weeks, beginning at 6:00 PM, ET on NFL Network and continuing through kick-off at 8:25 PM, ET.

At 7:30 PM ET, host James Brown is joined by analysts Deion Sanders and Bill Cowher. The show will air on CBS and be simulcast on NFL Network weeks 2-8, and on NFL Network during weeks 9-16. Brown, Cowher and Sanders will also provide halftime coverage.

Additionally, each week Thursday Night Football coverage will conclude with a live post-game show airing both on CBS and NFL Network.

The networks will utilize two sets each week on location with the joint studio team contributing across all shows leading up to kick-off and post-game. One set will be positioned in the stadium, while the other set will be located outside the venue. The full talent lineup for the pre-game and post-game coverage of Thursday Night Football will be announced this summer.

The full slate of 16 regular-season Thursday Night Football games will be produced by CBS with its broadcasters and production team, including Jim Nantz and Phil Simms.  The Thursday Night Football schedule kicks off on September 11 with Steelers vs. Ravens from Baltimore. 

2014 Thursday Night Football Schedule

Kickoff times are 8:25 PM ET unless otherwise noted.

Sept. 11 (Week 2):

Steelers at Ravens

Nov. 6 (Week 10):  

Browns at Bengals

Sept. 18 (Week 3):

Buccaneers at Falcons

Nov. 13 (Week 11):

Bills at Dolphins

Sept. 25 (Week 4):

Giants at Redskins

Nov. 20 (Week 12):

Chiefs at Raiders

Oct. 2    (Week 5):

Vikings at Packers

Dec. 4  (Week 14):  

Cowboys at Bears

Oct. 9   (Week 6): 

Colts at Texans

Dec. 11 (Week 15): 

Cardinals at Rams

Oct. 16 (Week 7): 

Jets at Patriots

Dec. 18 (Week 16): 

Titans at Jaguars

Oct. 23 (Week 8): 

Chargers at Broncos

Dec. 20 (Week 16): 

Eagles at Redskins*

Oct. 30 (Week 9): 

Saints at Panthers

Dec. 20 (Week 16): 

Chargers at 49ers*

Weeks 2-8 and one of the Saturday games from Week 16 will be broadcast by CBS and simulcast on NFL Network. Weeks 9-12 and 14-16, including one of the Saturday games during Week 16 will be televised by NFL Network.

*The kickoff times for each of the Saturday games – Philadelphia at Washington and San Diego at San Francisco – will be determined at a later date.

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2014 St. Petersburg Bowl to be played December 26th at Tropicana Field

                                     

(St. Petersburg, FL) The St. Petersburg Bowl will play its 2014 game on Friday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The game, which will once again air on ESPN, is in its first-year of its new conference affiliation with the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the American Athletic Conference.

“We’re very happy with our new post-Christmas date and having it fall on a Friday night should make it even more attractive for Tampa Bay area football fans, as well as those who will be traveling to our market from the two schools,” said Brett Dulaney, St. Petersburg Bowl Executive Director.

With the new conference agreements starting this upcoming season, the 2014 game will mark the first-time the ACC has a bowl game in the Tampa Bay region. Meanwhile, the American is set to place one of its teams in the St. Petersburg Bowl for the first time since 2010. The league sent USF, Rutgers and Louisville from 2008-10 while it was known as the BIG EAST.

“We are one of only two games for the ACC where the teams and fans can enjoy a bowl week experience in a tropical climate with events on the beach,” added Dulaney. “There’s an excellent opportunity to secure a top American team this year with the new conference affiliation.  I have heard from many schools that if they don’t advance to the new playoffs they would look forward to spending bowl week with us in St. Petersburg.”

The ACC will have 15 teams available in its bowl process: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

The American will have the following 11 schools in the league this year: Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa, UCF and USF. 

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