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PHILADELPHIA STORY: ADVANTA CHAMPIONSHIPS STRUGGLES AT GATE
Published March 2, 1998
Total attendance for the Advanta Championships men's tennis tournament at Philadelphia's CoreStates Center was 30,420, "down almost 9,000 from last year," according to Bill Fleischman of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. IMG is in its second year as owner and operator of the event. CoreStates "was about three-quarters full" for yesterday's final in which Pete Sampras defeated Thomas Enqvist. Sampras said after the match: "The (tournament) seems to have lost its luster. The crowds were very sparse, to say the least." Fleischman writes that while Sampras "was the only marquee" player at the event, "what's alarming to IMG and Advanta is, even people who had tickets from sponsors for the seats closest to the court didn't show up." IMG's Barbara Perry, the tournament's Exec Dir, said a decision would be made on the event's future "within a month" (DAILY NEWS, 3/2). More Sampras: "Six, seven years ago [the event] was packed, but it seems like each year it's gotten worse. If people aren't going to come out and support it, I'm sure there's another city that will" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 3/2). ONE TOURNAMENT TOWN? Philadelphia "is the only U.S. city other than New York that hosts both men's and women's tournaments." IMG's Perry: "Maybe it's reached a point where cities can't support both. When we bought this event last year, we knew it would be tough, but we want to try to make it work" (Ray Parrillo, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/28).