SBD/Issue 238/NFL Season Preview

Falcons Challenged With Michael Vick Fallout

Falcons Entering Season With
Over 60,000 Season Tickets
The Falcons enter the '07 season with season-ticket sales at a 42-year high of over 60,000, new or expanded sponsorship deals including those with Russell Athletic and Verizon Wireless, all but six of 164 Georgia Dome suites leased, and all but 100 of 4,600 club seats sold, according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  But "virtually all of those sales" were made before former QB Michael Vick's indictment, and more recently, an "unusually large number" of ticket holders have been trying to sell their seats on the Internet.  Owner Arthur Blank said that "'very, very few' have insisted on cancelling" their tickets and that the team has accommodated them.  Sports Business Group President David Carter said of Vick, "One player can never bring down a franchise unless that franchise allows it to happen." Tucker noted the Falcons have sold out every home game since both Blank and Vick joined the franchise in ’02. Bob Hope, President of Atlanta-based PR and marketing firm Hope-Beckham, said that Blank “has vastly enhanced the NFL experience in Atlanta.” Falcons VP/Marketing Dick Sullivan said that the team “is not planning any major marketing initiative right now” to deal with the Vick fallout (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/2).  In N.Y., Gary Myers notes in '03, then-Falcons coach Dan Reeves warned Blank “about giving Vick special treatment” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/2).

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