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STAR TRIBUNE LOOKS AT MINNESOTA SPORTS MARKETPLACE
Published January 4, 1995
A piece in Sunday's Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE examined the upcoming year for the Minnesota sports marketplace. A roundtable of five local sports figures discussed the issues including: the relationship between fans and their teams and players, ticket prices and fears and challenges for 1995. The panel: Univ. of Minnesota's Asst AD Pat Forciea; Twins VP of Marketing Bill Mahre; Univ. of Minnesota Women's Asst AD Karen Smith; Vikings VP of Marketing and Business Development Stew Widdess; and Timberwolves' VP of Sales and Marketing Chris Wright. Excerpts from their discussion -- Forciea sees a generational "breaking point" down the road: "It's more and more difficult for young people to come to all of our games. The cost of all the ancillary parts of the game is becoming more expensive, like merchandise. Everything about sports is more difficult to acquire. What I don't know, 10 or 15 years from now, this next generation of kids, I don't think they will feel the same way about sports that I did when I was 12." Wright: "We're not in the sports industry anymore, we're in the entertainment industry. Everything that happens in this marketplace that competes for the entertainment dollar is competition to the professional sports teams." Mahre: "What's changed over the past 10 years, stadium revenues more than TV revenues, have now become a driving force for a lot of teams. If you look at Baltimore, Texas or Cleveland, the stadium environment has created revenues -- people through the turnstiles, suites included, signage -- that has become a significant source of revenue. That's where the Twins have lost a piece of that competitive opportunity. Because we don't control the revenues (at the Metrodome)." Widdess: "One of the revenue streams we have is corporate America. We need revenue streams over and above ticket prices to support a fairly substantial cost of doing business." Also included in the feature were updates on possible NHL expansion to the Target Center and the sale of the Timberwolves and Target Center (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 1/1).