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Sports Biz Padres hope to add to their coffers with fantasy camp



Callaway Golf Releases Clubs While Joint Venture Debuts Graphic Alloy Shafts

For one week, anyone 30 years and older can be a member of the San Diego Padres organization.

The new members will train at the team’s spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz., beginning Sunday, Feb. 4 and continuing through Feb. 11.

Members will be coached by Padres manager Bruce Bochy and get extra tips from former pros, including pitchers Mark Grant and Randy Jones, and slugger Nate Colbert.

But there is a small fee.

The Padres fantasy camp costs $2,800 per person. That’s a small price to pay compared to the fees of other teams, which average about $3,500.

The New York Yankees’ camp is reported to cost $5,000, the Milwaukee Brewers camp costs $3,100 and the Seattle Mariners offer two packages of $3,300 and $4,700.

The camps are said to be money-making mechanisms for many clubs. The Padres, however, are not looking to make a profit from the first camp.

“This is just to get it started,” said Charles Steinberg, the Padres’ executive vice president of public affairs. “We want to make sure that people enjoy it.”

The $2,800 package includes round-trip airfare, ground transportation, seven nights at a Peoria hotel, daily lunch, personalized trading cards and an awards banquet.

Steinberg said the time is right for the Padres to host the camp because the team has built a loyal fan base.

“After winning the division in 1996 and the pennant in 1998, we’re doing more and more things,” Steinberg said.

Last year, the team offered a Padres cruise for fans.

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Out Of The Woods: There’s a lot going on at Callaway Golf. The Carlsbad-based manufacturer has been in the spotlight since introducing their first non-conforming driver, the ERCII, in October.

Callaway released the Big Bertha Hawk Eye VFT Pro Series titanium drivers and fairway woods two weeks ago at the PGA show in Orlando, Fla. The series consist of three driver lofts and two fairway woods.

Each features design specifications geared for professional and low-handicap amateur golfers. The Pro Series woods conform with regulations set down by both the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews in Scotland.

The Pro Series drivers and fairway woods are expected to retail at $525 per individual titanium wood, and are expected to be in stores in April.

Also unveiled at the show was the CB1 Red golf ball, the newest addition to the company’s line of golf balls. The distance oriented, two-piece ball joins the three-piece “Rule 35” ball.

The new ball will be available in early spring in a three-ball sleeve for $7.85 and by the dozen for $31.25.

Since releasing the new products, Larry Dorman, Callaway’s senior vice president of global press and public relations, said the company has witnessed an increase in their stock price.

Although no sales figures on the products will be available until the company releases its first quarter earnings, Dorman said the non-conforming ERCII driver has been selling well despite the USGA ban.

Graphite Design International, located in Otay Mesa, and Acushnet, the parent company of Carlsbad-based Titleist and Cobra Golf, recently combined for the market launch of the Graphite Alloy Technology shafts.

Both companies completed a joint venture agreement that will offer the shafts to consumers as well as professional golfers. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The design and manufacturing standards required more than 12 months of development time by both companies.

Kicking It Off: The San Diego Spirit of the Women’s United Soccer Association recently announced its inaugural schedule that will feature 11 home matches at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium. They also released their ticket prices.

The Spirit, backed by Cox Communications, will play a 21-game regular season schedule facing each of their seven opponents three times. Their season opens April 22 against the Philadelphia Charge.

Tickets are offered on four levels. Category I seats are between the 40-yard lines and cost $16 for a single game, or $160 for season tickets. Category II seats are sideline seats (not between the 40-yard lines) and cost $12 per game, or $120 for season tickets. Category III seats, in the end zones, are $10 per game, or $100 for season tickets. VIP seating costs $25 per game and $250 for the season.

Cox Communications invested $2.5 million into the franchise for operating expenses and stadium improvements. By opening day, Torero Stadium should seat 7,000 people.

Local and national television schedules for the Spirit matches are being finalized.

Channel 4 San Diego is the local broadcast partner of the team. TNT and CNN/SI will broadcast WUSA games nationally.

Before the season begins, however, San Diego will be the playing ground for all eight WUSA teams for 10 days this spring. The first WUSA Spring Training will be held from March 22-31 at the ARCO U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

The deadline for the next Sports Biz column is Feb. 7. Send related items to dward@sdbj.com.

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