Despite disappointing crowd, Ravens see Terp games in future Team, stadium authority expected 35,000 or 40,000

Maryland notebook

November 03, 1998|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland Stadium Authority and the Ravens expected 10,000 to 15,000 more fans for Saturday's Maryland-Georgia Tech game at Ravens stadium, but there are still plans to pursue future Maryland games at the stadium.

A crowd of 25,183 attended the noon game on a perfect 61-degree day, even though Georgia Tech came to town with a No. 23 ranking.

"Georgia Tech was not our first choice," said Ravens vice president of sales and marketing David Cope, who said he will call Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow in a month to discuss next year's game. "Our top three choices were Clemson, West Virginia and Florida State because they travel well [bring crowds on the road]. But we couldn't get any of them."

Maryland played Clemson and West Virginia on the road this season, and Cope said Maryland did not want to give up its home game with Florida State.

Cope was hoping for at least a crowd of 35,000, and stadium authority deputy director Ed Cline said he was anticipating 40,000 fans.

Besides Georgia Tech instead of his top three choices, Cope thought the game did not live up to crowd expectations because Maryland is having a down season.

"There isn't a lot of heat on Maryland football right now," said Cope. "I was working for the Orioles when Maryland played at Memorial Stadium and drew sellout crowds because they were a good team and played attractive opponents like Penn State and Clemson."

Cline disagreed with Cope on the reasons for the small crowd.

"I think the game could have been promoted better," said Cline. "The publicity started to happen too late. I just know from watching Maryland football over the years that Maryland could have drawn better. We needed a big walkup and didn't get it despite a good-weather day."

Cope said $300,000 was invested in the Ravens' first attempt at marketing a Maryland game, and they learned a lot.

"We discovered a lot about when and where the game should be marketed," said Cope. "We're going directly to our PSLs the next time, and we're going to give Maryland more of a role in the selling of tickets."

Maryland sold its allotment of 18,000 tickets for the game.

Neither Cope nor Cline would comment on speculation that Saturday's game might result in a loss of $450,000.

"Those figures aren't in yet, and we won't go public with them, anyway," said Cope.

It was thought that Maryland received $800,000 to play the game and would clear around $500,000 after expenses.

Let's go to the videotape

In an attempt yesterday to show how close the 2-6 Maryland football team is to beating a team such as Georgia Tech, coach Ron Vanderlinden went to the videotape at his weekly news conference.

He showed extensive replays of several near-misses in the 31-14 loss to Georgia Tech Saturday, pointing out all the excellent scoring opportunities the team failed to capitalize on by having one untimely breakdown after another.

Heckler follows

A red-haired man who has been on Vanderlinden's case most of the season at Byrd Stadium was at Ravens stadium Saturday.

The man yelled at Vanderlinden as he was leaving the field after the loss to Georgia Tech, telling the coach he should resign.

Vanderlinden retaliated briefly with a few words before heading into the locker room.

When asked after the game about the incident, Vanderlinden said jokingly at first, "Actually it's my brother."

Then he said: "Yes it bothers me because people have to have realistic expectations. I don't know, I shouldn't even dignify the guy. You know it's just part of the game."

Pub Date: 11/03/98

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