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NCAA FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME LOOKS TO SECURE FINANCIAL FOOTING
Published November 19, 1997
The College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN, "is struggling" with attendance, as Exec Dir Bernie Kish said that early projections were "overly ambitious" and corporate sponsorship "hasn't approached the levels officials had envisioned," according to Teddy Greenstein of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The Hall recorded an operating loss of "more than" $660,000 in '96, its inaugural year. Although city officials originally promised that no taxpayer money would be used, the city has already contributed "about" $1.6M. The National Football Foundation (NFF) has also provided $1M, which Greenstein writes "may be just a start." The Hall is projecting '97 attendance at 65,000 -- down from the 120,000 visitors in its first year (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/18). CORPORATE ISSUES: The Hall had "hoped to line up seven major sponsors" at $1M each, but deals were made with Alka- Selzer, Coca-Cola, Burger King and the U.S. Postal Service, totalling just $1.725M. Kish: "It has been surprising. The feeling was that corporate sponsors were going to be a piece of cake." With a $400,000 marketing budget, the Hall will advertise on billboards and in Chicago newspapers and radio stations. Officials are seeking NCAA approval for an annual Hall of Fame game to be played in August. Greenstein added that "despite all the effort, the Hall shows no sign of breaking even anytime soon," and that without a "dramatic increase" in sponsors, taxpayers will see the annual contribution rise from $1.2M to $2M (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/18).