O's pitching club tickets for NFL drive Camden Yards promos push remaining seats

August 21, 1993|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

One day after Baltimore went to the airwaves with its NFL premium-seating campaign, the final push moves into Camden Yards.

It's "NFL Weekend at the Orioles." Starting with last night's game against the Texas Rangers, the Orioles were promoting Baltimore's NFL expansion effort.

Fans can sign up for club seats for a would-be expansion franchise today and tomorrow at two locations at Camden Yards.

Organizers of the expansion bid leased 370 club seats Thursday night during a four-hour special on WBAL radio. As of noon yesterday, there were fewer than 550 of the 7,500 club seats available, according to Ernie Accorsi, special adviser for the Maryland Stadium Authority. Those seats are in the $900 and $1,000 range and are located in the corners of the stadium.

"Basically, it [the radio show] generated about 500 seats, during the show and the morning after," Accorsi said. "That was a big chunk. We had to average more than 100 [sales] a day to get it done."

Addressing the Orioles' promotion, Accorsi said, "We're very appreciative of what they've done."

The premium-seat campaign, designed to show corporate and community support, ends Sept. 3. Baltimore is competing with Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis for two expansion franchises to be awarded in October.

"The fans of Baltimore have been overwhelmingly responsive to our premium-seating campaign," said Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the stadium authority. "Based on the amount of time that we had to prepare for the sale and the low-key manner in which we handled the sale, compared to other cities, the performance of the Baltimore fans is outstanding. There's no better message that we can send to the NFL than the results of the campaign."

At a news conference in Memphis yesterday, organizers

announced they had sold out the most expensive level of club seats. Joining the drive late, Memphis has sold 88 of 100 sky boxes and 5,016 of 8,200 club seats.

In St. Louis, spokesman Al Kirth said that campaign had resulted in the sale of 82 percent of the club seats. "They've been going at a rate of 750 to 1,000 orders a week since the first of August," he said. Kirth said there were 1,100 club seats left.

Charlotte, which says it has sold out sky boxes and club seats, has some 13,000 permanent seat licenses left to sell.

* The idea of letting a Carolinas NFL team play its first season at South Carolina's stadium in 1995 while its own stadium is built in Charlotte, N.C., apparently hasn't been tossed aside yet.

South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee and Mike McCormack, who will become the Charlotte-based team's general manager if Jerry Richardson lands an expansion franchise, met Thursday.

Both said they would meet again to talk about the possibility of renting Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia for 10 home games in 1995.

McGee has said he would prefer an NFL team to play its first season's home games at several college stadiums in North and South Carolina.

McCormack said rotating games among stadiums would be difficult. He said that topic was among the things he and McGee discussed.

McCormack said the Richardson group needs at least a tentative agreement for a 1995 home site when it makes a final proposal to the NFL next month.

Williams-Brice Stadium has 72,400 seats.

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