SBD/20/Franchises

BARRACUDAS SEEM TO BE SWIMMING IN UNFRIENDLY WATERS

     The CFL "is bracing itself for yet another potential
disaster," according to Marty York in today's Toronto GLOBE &
MAIL.  The Birmingham Barracudas have "generated virtually no fan
interest" since being granted a franchise this past winter.  Team
officials "were embarrassed" yesterday because, aside from the
2,000 season ticket holders, no tickets have been sold for their
inaugural home opener, scheduled for July 15.  Barracudas Owner
A.L. Williams:  "I'm worried.  We have 83,000 seats at our
stadium.  So far, only 2,000 are spoken for.  I have no idea how
many more we'll sell."  In an effort to increase interest -- "in
a hurry" -- Williams has decided to pay $40,000 himself so that
the team's exhibition game Saturday and its regular-season opener
in Winnipeg on July 4 can be televised in Birmingham.  Since it
is a last-minute decision, there are no TV sponsors and all the
commercials will be Barracudas commercials.  Williams is
reportedly paying to broadcast the games "just to advertise"
(Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/20).
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