Suite NFL view may be call away Hot line opens here for luxury seat sales

June 25, 1993|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer

Starting today, you can let your fingers do the walking into the best seats at Baltimore's proposed football stadium.

Organizers of the bid to bring an NFL expansion team to town have established a hot line for fans seeking applications and information about club seats and sky boxes: (410) 539-4NFL (or 4635).

Leases for the pricey accommodations will be sold from Thursday to Sept. 3 as part of a market test in the cities seeking a team. Baltimore is competing with St. Louis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., for one of two franchises the league will award in October.

Local boosters hope the seats and suites will sell briskly, demonstrating the city's football fanaticism. Regular-season and game tickets will not be sold during this drive.

The hot line was scheduled to start up this morning, with ex-Colt Tom Matte taking some of the calls this afternoon at a phone bank set up at the Baltimore Arena.

Operators will be on duty between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. After hours and on weekends, callers can leave a recorded message to have an application mailed to them.

Applications -- necessary for all orders -- can be mailed or faxed or picked up at a special information center that will open Thursday at the Gallery at Harborplace, 300 E. Lombard St. Fans must put down a deposit, equal to half the first year's rent, by check or money order.

If Baltimore is not awarded a team, the deposits will be returned in December with interest.

Applicants will be asked to list several seats in order of preference. Fans can rent club seats or sky boxes for three, five or seven years. Seats will be assigned on a first-ordered, first-assigned basis with priority going to those signing up for longer leases. For applications received on the same day, a lottery may be held to distribute seats.

Completed applications received before Thursday will be held and dated July 1.

The 100 sky boxes are priced from $45,000 to $105,000 a year,depending upon size and location. The rent includes tickets. Club seats, a special mezzanine section with access to exclusive clubs and lounges, cost $700 to $1,700 a year, not including the tickets that probably will be another $300 to $400 a year.

Meanwhile, St. Louis' NFL organizers yesterday announced the prices of their premium seats: 100 sky boxes will range from $51,500 to $121,000 a year and 6,252 club seats will go from $700 to $2,200. Both the private suite and club seat prices include the season tickets.

Jacksonville is charging $1,500 each for its 10,000 club seats, including ticket price, and from $45,000 to $75,000 for its 68 sky boxes.

Charlotte's 8,314 club seats will range from $975 to $2,975 with tickets, and its 102 sky boxes from $40,000 to $296,000. Charlotte club seat buyers also must pay a one-time, up-front fee of $600 to $3,600 to help defray the cost of stadium construction.

Of the five expansion cities, all but Memphis have announced a premium seat campaign. Memphis organizers are seeking new investors for their bid and have delayed committing to a sales drive.

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