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CFL ROUND-UP: IS THE HONEYMOON OVER IN CHARM CITY?
Published June 1, 1995
Jim Speros and the Baltimore CFL franchise are featured in this morning's Baltimore SUN, but Ken Murray writes that "beyond the football revival, there were problems." Although the team "boasted a league leading average" of 36,377 fans/game, Murray reports that as may as 10,500 fans a game were given tickets free of charge. In addition, despite revenues of $7.9M, Speros says the team lost $1.1M. The team was also sued by two local companies for non-payment of bills. Murray writes, "Those developments have raised doubts about the future of the team -- and the league -- in Baltimore." Among other obstacles, the team has less corporate support this season, as last year's $1.1M figure is only $850,000 this season. Season tickets are only being renewed at 73% (Baltimore SUN, 6/1). CFL Commissioner Larry Smith blamed the drop in Baltimore's season ticket sales on "shoddy journalism" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/1). Headline over SUN columnist Ken Rosenthal's piece this morning: "CFL is joke, and even we can't laugh." Rosenthal writes, "The simple fact is, the Baltimore Football Club peaked in its first year of existence. Sadly, this team is in trouble." Rosenthal notes factors that brought success last year are "gone," calling the fight for the Colts name and the city's hatred of the NFL "exhausted." He continues, "The ragtag CFL -- a joke. This is the league that drafted a dead man. It is also the league that tried to move a team to Jackson, Miss. -- and couldn't get it done" (Baltimore SUN, 6/1). RIDIN' FOR REDEMPTION: The Ottawa Rough Riders, saved from extinction during the offseason, are trying to regain the trust of the local business community after the previous ownership's bankruptcy filing left creditors regaining only C$.14 on every dollar owed by the team. Commissioner Smith is "confident" new owner Horn Chen can "quickly build back business support" (Ken Warren, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/1).