SBD/August 3, 2012/Franchises

"Tebowmania" Forces Jets To Relocate Scrimmage To Larger Football Venue

Tebow's popularity is forcing the Jets to relocate their weekend scrimmage
The Jets’ Green and White scrimmage normally is played on the natural grass practice field at SUNY-Cortland, but “small stands” and the expectation of a large crowd to watch QB Tim Tebow is “forcing the Jets to move” Saturday’s scrimmage to Cortland's football stadium, according to ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. Jets coach Rex Ryan “normally wouldn’t like” to play on the synthetic turf because he “doesn’t want to be susceptible to extra injury.” However, because of “Tebowmania” the Jets have "got to have it." Sixty-five hundred fans can “fit into that stadium and they’re expecting big, big crowds” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 8/2). In Syracuse, Sean Grogan noted “admission is free” for the scrimmage and parking “is $5.” Ryan said that he expects a “large turnout and that he likes the turf on the stadium field.” Ryan said, “This turf is brand new. It’s in great condition. Will it be more accommodating for the fans? Absolutely” (SYRACUSE.com, 8/2). ESPN’s Paolantonio said of "Tebowmania" at Jets camp, “It is like going to a Grateful Dead concert. The crowds have been enormous. The faithful have been ravenous to get any kind of Tim Tebow action they can get. It’s a fascinating thing to watch. It’s a fascinating dynamic on so many different levels” (“Mike & Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 8/3).

REACHING OUT: In Oakland, Jerry McDonald notes over the next three days the Raiders will “welcome more than 3,000 fans onto the grounds of Redwood Middle School to watch practice.” McDonald writes, “Except for an annual meet-and-greet that was discontinued in 2001, this is the Raiders' only major interaction with the public during training camp since the team returned from Los Angeles in 1995. The open sessions are representative of an organizational transformation that began with the death of Al Davis last October.” In past years, the “only fans at practice were sponsors or special invitees, and they were directed to refrain from cheering.” Even a “smattering of applause would draw a reprimand from the Raiders security staff.” More than 1,000 “free tickets were distributed at Raider Image stores” for this weekend’s practices. The team’s “change in public relations has extended to the media.” McDonald added, “Columnists who for years were blacklisted suddenly are receiving team emails again.” On the business side, Chief Exec Amy Trask was “able to put ticket plans in place to sell out all eight games last season and was gaining ground in terms of community outreach.” There is “more freedom to generate new ideas and the Raiders website has evolved into something more than a promotional arm of the club” (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 8/3).
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