Sunday, January 30, 2011

NHL All-Star Finale

Southern hospitality triumphs yet again!

On Sunday evening, hockey fans across Canada heard TSN analyst Pierre McGuire, stationed outside the RBC Center, say this was the best All-Star weekend ever...fantastic...a credit to the people of NC and their spirit. He's been attending the event since 1990, he's Canadian and he's an expert. I would like to give him the final word, but...

Michael Farber, writing for, put this bow on the weekend:

...the clear winner was Raleigh, which reinforced its position as a most prominent, if not model, Sun Belt franchise.

Read his column. (While Farber is complimentary, he has an objective view of the local sports landscape.)

Y'all come again...soon!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

All-Star Update

Capitol Broadcasting - tv, radio, web, mobile - has promoted the dickens out of this event, but I have to admit that I was surprised (and relieved) at the crowd on Friday as the festivities began.

12,000 people were in the Raleigh convention center for the Fan Fair. An NHL staffer said that was a record for opening day. Meanwhile, Fayetteville St. and City Plaza were packed with people for the All-Star Wide Open outdoor activities.

I like the story Carolina Hurricanes owner Pete Karmanos was telling yesterday: the Triangle is no longer to be considered a non-traditional hockey market. The Canes have won the Stanley Cup, the NHL draft was here and now our community is hosting the All-Star Game. That's as traditional as it gets!

Here's a recap from WRAL TV5...

Keep up with the All-Star weekend buzz:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Go Figure: World Class Skating in Greensboro

Gotta man up and confess: I attended the US Figure Skating Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum yesterday, the pairs short program and the ladies short program.

I have witnessed a flying camel, twizzle, rocker...even a hydroblade. I know all of this thanks to a little radio I purchased in the arena. It provided technical commentary on the skating...priceless! And that knowledge helped me overcome costume bias, ie, if I don't like your outfit (or music for that matter) then I can't appreciate your skating.

Did you know those skimpy costumes cost $700 and up? Ditto for custom skates.

The Question...from a column by Ed Hardin in the Greensboro News & Record: "The effort to bring the skating championships here was long and arduous, and there are those who still question the decision to bring them to the South in general, much less Greensboro, N.C."

The Answer...from David Raith, Executive Director of US Figure Skating: "The layout and the venue have been very good, and the local support has been excellent and the marketing has been good, which has been reflected in ticket sales."

The Answer...
from Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton: "I'm surprised it hasn't hosted before. I've performed here a lot when I was touring with Stars on Ice, and I just assumed it had already been here. Being in the South really isn't strange."

Congratulations to Greensboro
...and to Raleigh sports marketer Hill Carrow who led the effort to land the big event. Also, Durham-based NC Amateur Sports is managing the FanFest. As's a regional effort.

Now, it's on to the NHL All-Star weekend in Raleigh...blades of glory across NC!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Colin Firth...on a roll!

Actor Colin Firth won a Golden Globe last week for The King’s Speech and seems to be a shoe-in for an Academy Award. The film received twelve Oscar nominations Tuesday.

We’re big fans-o-Firth. He was here in Durham in the spring of 2009 filming the movie Main Street. His family made a couple of trips to the ballpark, and they made a very good impression. Thoughtful, gracious folks with two impeccably behaved little boys. Firth seems like a guy who's committed to his craft, not to the trappings of show biz.

Given Firth's current success, it dawned on me that Main Street has not found its way into theaters. What happened to it?

It had a strong cast: Orlando Bloom, Ellen Burstyn, Amber Tamblyn. It was written by two-time Academy Award winner Horton Foote, a final project before his 2009 death.

Main Street premiered at an Austin film festival last fall...didn’t seem to get any traction. Here’s a not-so-good review.

Meanwhile, Main Street is in the Netflix catalog as a pending DVD release. I’m waiting to put it in my queue...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Excitement 'round the Rays

I'm psyched about the anticipated signings of Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. It's been a hard, hard winter in St. Pete as the Rays' do Extreme Makeover: the Payroll Reduction Edition. Now, hope springs eternal!

Check out the full story in the St. Pete Times,
click here.

My favorite quote from the weekend chatter...

Eric Ortiz, NESN: Putting Damon and Manny in Rays uniforms adds a whole new level of intrigue to the East. Maybe that’s part of Scott Boras' master plan to conquer the world. Maybe Tampa Bay was the only team willing to pay each veteran more than the league minimum. Whatever the reason, Damon and Manny are back in the Beast. They will be coming to Fenway Park nine times in 2011 and playing the Red Sox 18 games. They will be stopping by Yankee Stadium nine times and facing the Yankees 18 games. They will be making trips to Baltimore and Toronto. Joe Maddon isn’t complaining. Neither is Bud Selig. The former Red Sox stars are smart pickups for the Rays. They might be past their "Cowboy Up" days, but at the very least, Damon and Manny will put fans in the seats at Tropicana Field. (from The Heater blog)

Other weekend highlights:

The Bulls held a job fair Saturday for seasonal positions at the DBAP. I'm very much aware of the unemployment stats, but still, we were surprised at the interest in these part-time jobs. 250 people pretty crowded. It was an older-than-usual group, too. We have about 100 seasonal jobs on our Hospitality Team, however, most of them are filled by returning employees.

A neighbor had taken her kids to The Lion King at the Durham Performing Arts Center. It's a fantastic show, but as they passed the ballpark and the famous snorting bull, the young uns wanted to know when they could go to a Bulls game. That warms my heart! (The answer, of course: Opening Day is April 14th.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Championship Salespeople

It's easy enough to stereotype salespeople. We've all had unpleasant encounters with high pressure telemarketers or the annoying door-to-door solicitor.

...but here's the truth about our top Account Executives: A caring attitude. Team players. Determined professionals with a strong work ethic.

Capitol Broadcasting Company honored its top Salespeople of the Year on Thursday at a luncheon in Durham. Here's the cream of the crop at Capitol Sports:

Kathleen Bove
99.9 The Fan/620 The Buzz

…dedicated…caring player
…added ten new accounts and grew three key accounts dramatically
…achieved her annual budget midway in October
…accomplished a personal best hitting the highest billing month of her career

Jim Moran
Wolfpack Sports Marketing

...a determined prospector a tough business climate he soldiered on business leader for two consecutive seasons

Mike Miller
Durham Bulls Baseball Club

…admired by all for his focus, determination and goal oriented work ethic
…highest total sales in the Bulls’ organization
…112% of his ticket sales goal

Mike, who got his start as an intern in 2007, with Capitol CEO Jim Goodmon.

These sports marketers make selling a dignified, significant profession.

Congratulations on your success. We appreciate your commitment and contribution to our company.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NHL All-Star Wide Open

I have to put my baseball pride aside and tout the NHL All-Star Game. It’s a major event surrounded by a monster weekend January 28-29-30 in Raleigh. Capitol Broadcasting Company is a major media partner with the NHL and City of Raleigh to promote the event(s).

Friday night concert (3 Doors Down), Saturday skills competition, the game on Sunday. Those major happenings are wrapped in the three-day Fan Fair and All-Star Wide Open in downtown Raleigh. Thirty bands on three stages, a 5K, ice skating, snow making, ice carvings, player autographs and food. Like I said, a monster weekend.

While this gives everyone something to do in the dead of winter, I’m more interested in the global notoriety that comes with this game. From Montreal to Moscow, hockey fans will be hearing about the Triangle. The game is televised in 150 countries. The NHL has issued over 300 press credentials. (If you include the US and Canadian TV crews, there are 450 people in the media contingent!)

Beyond the media attention, the event fills up our hotels and restaurants. The economic impact of the All-Star Game in other host cities has hovered around ten million dollars.

Like I said, a monster weekend: It creates worldwide attention for our community…brings all of us together for three days of entertainment…has a significant economic impact.

Read the media releases. Check out the web site. And make your plans for All-Star Wide Open.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kudos for a Colleague

CONGRATZ to Gary Hahn, radio voice of the NC State Wolfpack. He is NC's Sportscaster of the Year.

Gary has been behind the mic for NCSU and Capitol Broadcasting Co. for over two decades. We're proud of his longevity and that signature voice. He's even more serious about his faith...a great example and influence.

From Wolfpack AD Debbie Yow:
This is a well deserved and very coveted award in the broadcasting field. I commend you for your many years of hard work and have represented NC State University very well, and I thank you for being a great ambassador for the athletics program.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remnants of Winter

Durham could have hosted the NHL Winter Classic. We still have a coating of ice from Monday night's storm.

This spot behind home plate doesn't get direct sunlight. It may be in this same condition next week.

Skates or home plate?

This will be a good memory in August when the humidity is 99% and the game time temp is 101 degrees at 7:05pm.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New York Times: VISIT DURHAM!

The year is off to an especially good start in the Bull City…
  • NC Central University’s Marching Sound Machine band was in the Rose Parade on New Years Day
  • Smart phone maker HTC is opening an R&D shop at the American Tobacco campus
  • Duke announced that has received a record-setting 29,500 applications for 1,700 freshman class slots
And the big item from January 7th…

The New York Times placed Durham on its list of 41 Places to Visit in 2011…yet another foodie accolade:

A decade ago, downtown Durham was a place best avoided after sundown. But as revitalization has transformed abandoned tobacco factories and former textile mills into bustling mixed-use properties, the city has been injected with much-needed life. In the heart of downtown, a crop of standout restaurants and cafes has recently sprouted… (
CLICK HERE for the article)

This is much more than a prestigious restaurant review. The article is aimed at serious travelers. While Durham is 35th on the list, number 34 is Iraqi Kurdistan
(Safety, history and a warm welcome in a stable corner of Iraq) and numero 36 is Kosovo
(Mountains, medieval architecture and unexpected night life.)

Far be it from me to discourage your trip to Kosovo or Iraq, but you don’t need to renew your passport for a Durham visit. Come for a ballgame and visit our downtown restaurants. It will be an unforgettable trip!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Facebook: "You Got to Have Friends"

We're cutting a check for $2,000 to the Durham Literacy Center. The DLC helped us grow our Facebook fan base. We offered a bounty (a donation to the Center) for each new Fan of the Bulls' Facebook page.

We added over 800 fans in the run-up to Christmas. That pushed the Bulls to almost 10,500 Facebook fans, and it puts us in the Top Ten of Minor League ball clubs.

Charity or bribery? I'm calling it a contribution!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lions Roaming in Durham

The musical version of Lion King debuted in 1997. I'm late to the party...saw it for the first time Wednesday night...but what a party it is!

Sensory overload: the costumes, the dancing, the's a brilliant, exuberant show! I felt fifty years younger leaving the Durham Performing Arts Center, so take your kids!

Lion King is here for 32 shows through January 30th, and the musical is expected to attract 75,000 people to downtown Durham.

DPAC website: Get your tickets ASAP. They are going fast...