Ticket depositors offered refund

January 06, 1995|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

Football fans who put down deposits on club seats and sky boxes at Baltimore's proposed NFL stadium will be offered their money or another six months of waiting in letters being sent out today by officials of Baltimore's failed NFL expansion effort.

The fans put down more than $8 million in deposits on 100 sky boxes and 7,500 club seats as part of an NFL-designed test of market strength that ended in August 1993. Similar drives were conducted in the other four cities vying for the two expansion teams awarded a year ago: Memphis, Tenn., Charlotte, N.C., Jacksonville, Fla., and St. Louis.

The deposits were placed in an interest-bearing escrow account, and the depositors have twice before been given the opportunity to get their money back or leave it on deposit. More than half the money is still on account, said Herbert J. Belgrad, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority.

He said he did not know how many suites or seats were still reserved.

The latest extension on the deposits expired Dec. 31, and the letters going out today will give fans the opportunity to keep the money on account until June 30.

Club seat renters will find checks enclosed with their letters, representing their deposit and interest. They can cash the checks or return them in a self-addressed envelope, preserving their seats.

Sky box customers will be offered an opportunity to notify the bank that they don't want their money; otherwise checks will be mailed out to depositors who have not responded by Jan. 12.

For the first time, the letters will carry Peter Angelos' signature, representing his commitment to abide by the rates and seat reservations established in the test-marketing campaign, Belgrad said.

"More than likely, this is it. If we are not successful we will not cut back our efforts, but we intend to let people have their money back and let the [team] owner decide on seat location and price," Belgrad said.

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