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Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer and his family purchased full-page ads in today's ST. PETERSBURG TIMES and TAMPA TRIBUNE with a banner headline that reads: "Here to Stay in Tampa Bay." The text of the ad thanks the Tampa Bay community for supporting the Bucs and the Community Investment Tax, part of which will be used to help fund their new stadium: "To all Bucs fans... Thanks for hanging in there with us! Sincerely, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers" (ST. PETERBURG TIMES, 9/6) BUBBA FOR BUCS: While campaigning in FL yesterday, President Bill Clinton visited the Bucs practice facility. Bucs head coach Tony Dungy: "I thought at 0-1 he probably wasn't looking for advice from me" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/6).
As the Bills prepare for their home opener this weekend, Rick Maloney of BUSINESS FIRST OF BUFFALO examines the team's "enhanced marketing approach" to promote both the club and Rich Stadium in the Buffalo area, upstate NY, Ontario, and PA. Maloney writes that the team is "expanding their pregame agenda" by scheduling rock concerts; continuing a successful version of the NFL Experience, which was started last year; and by offering out-of-town rail service to the November 24 home game against the Jets. For the first time, the Bills are also tying in-stadium sponsorships into fan services by dividing 80,000-seat Rich Stadium into four quadrants. Maloney writes seat back stickers and signage for the sponsors -- Frito Lay, Sprint, Fleet Bank and Miller/Molson Beer -- are being used to identify the four sectors. Stadium parking lots are also identified in a similar way and the team is considering using such "identifiers" on tickets next season (BUSINESS FIRST OF BUFFALO, 9/9 issue).
The Expos are on the verge of losing C$4M this season, according to Marty York of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. York notes that only an "unusually long playoff run" will enable the club to have "any chance" of finishing in the black, adding that despite being in the thick of the NL Wild Card race this year, attendance is the third lowest in the league. Last year, the Expos turned a profit of C$40,000. Expos VP of Finance Laurier Carpentier: "I'm extremely disappointed. ... We're looking at a bad loss. I think it would be safe for us to use the figure of C$4 million. And that's hard for us to take." Carpentier added that besides the '94 strike year, '96 is the "worst season" the Expos have had financially. He did call the subject of potential relocation from Montreal "too premature at this time," but noted the club's partnership will meet after the season to determine the team's future. Citing club sources, York writes the Expos could recover about C$1.8-6.5M if they qualify for the playoffs and make it all the way to the World Series (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/6).
SI's Tim Kurkjian notes the Pirates' financial prospects look "bleaker than ever," but he adds that Owner Kevin McClatchy should not be blamed as much as MLB for "bending over backward to allow [McClatchy] to buy the club when it was clear he didn't have the capital to make it work" (SI, 9/9 issue)....Atlanta columnist Steve Hummer examines how "quickly" the Falcons have "squandered the drawing power" of the 71,104-seat Georgia Dome in just four years, noting that a crowd only in the 40,000 "range" is expected for Sunday's home opener against the Vikings. Hummer: "A vicious cycle is in play. The Falcons get run over on the road, and the fans squeamishly turn away. Ticket sales plunge for the home games, the television blackout is invoked, and only a few see the team at its best. The impression created is bleak and incomplete" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/6)....Calling him "Gerald Ford on AstroTurf," BASEBALL AMERICA's Alan Schwarz profiles the "tremendous" job new Reds CEO John Allen has done since taking over the club from Marge Schott. Allen: "The support for the change has been most rewarding on a personal basis. This shows if you do what's right from a fan's perspective, things will work out" (BASEBALL AMERICA, 9/16 issue)....The CISL has assumed operational control of the Indianapolis Twisters (CISL)....The ECHL awarded a franchise to New Orleans to be called the Brass. They will begin play in '97 (SPORTS TICKER, 9/6).