SBD/30/Franchises

IN A SHARP TURNAROUND, PATRIOTS BOOST TICKET SALES TO 59,000

     The Patriots plan to announce by the end of the month that
every ticket for their ten home games next year, including two
exhibitions, will be sold out.  This is an "amazing" turnaround
for a team which ranked last in the NFL in season-ticket sales in
'91.  Patriots Owner Robert Kraft said they could have sold
everything on a season-ticket basis, but "I didn't want to do
that.  I have letters from people saying they can't afford a
season-ticket but they would like to be able to buy seats for a
game or two games."  The Pats had 17,634 season-ticket holders in
'91, and jumped to 39,850 when Kraft bought the team in '94.
They now will have 59,000 guaranteeing that every game will be
televised locally, and boosting hopes for a Monday night
appearance on ABC.  Kraft: "It would be great for our team, and
our area, to have that kind of exposure.  You can't pay for that"
(Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/29).
     BEHIND THE TURNAROUND: Patriots Dir of Public and Community
Relations Don Lowery spoke to THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY yesterday
about the team's resurgence.  Lowery said one focus was to make
Foxboro Stadium more "fan friendly."  The facility has long had a
reputation of rough fan behavior, not ideal for families.  Lowery
said the team set up an entertainment and food area outside the
stadium aimed at children, "so families would feel they could
come to the game."  Lowery also stressed tougher standards on
crowd control and alcohol rules: "If there are unruly people, we
have a security system now where we can focus a video camera on
any seat in the stadium, and if people are disruptive, we have
the ability now with over 60 security staffers that we've added,
to ask them to leave.  So the atmosphere in the stands is a lot
better."  Lowery said the team revoked over 100 season-tickets
last year due to disruptive behavior, and that policy will
continue (THE DAILY).
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