History Is Finally Upon Us But Where Are Some 17,000 Folks?

By Gregory Moore
Updated: September 26, 2005

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — In a matter of days the city of San Antonio will have its first ever NFL regular season game played in the Alamodome. Come this Sunday at 11:00 a.m., some 47,000 fans will be pouring into the building to watch the New Orleans Saints versus the Buffalo Bills. History should be made but there’s seems to be one glitch in the grand plan…17,000 tickets are still unsold.

This is one of those snafus that many in San Antonio didn’t think would happen. For the NFL, to lift a broadcasting blackout of a game, there has to be a sell out by Thursday of that game week. In this case, 17,000 tickets needed to be purchased by Sept. 28th, which was Wednesday. Now many may wonder, why Wednesday for the cut off date but the logic is simple.

If the blackout rule has a deadline for that Thursday, if all of the tickets are sold 24 hours prior to that deadline, you don’t need to worry about the game not being televised in that viewing market. This is an argument that I have constantly tried to convey to various individuals as the basis of what the sports business practicum of the NFL truly was. The mindset of people buying walk up tickets on Saturday still rings very clear in the citizenry’s collective heads right now.

Yet I want to also take a different approach on why this may not be such a bad thing after all. As great as it may be for this game to be sold out, if this is less than such, maybe it can serve as evidence to the numerous individuals and corporations who are trying to push for an NFL team.

Right now we already know that the 17,000 tickets may not have been sold or they may be in the process of being snatched up by some corporation here in town. Now what company has 17,000 employees willing to go to a Saints game is beyond me and only a few thousand evacuees remain in the city. If this game is not a sell out, then maybe we can all look at this game being our learning lesson so that on Oct. 16th, the marketing from the local standpoint would be better.

In the meantime let’s just all go out and support this first regular season game in San Antonio and look to making the other two a better showing.

SAINTS’ FOUNDATION RAISES $300,000 FOR VICTIMS One of the media coordinators for the Saints, Paul Corliss, told me that the hurricane relief fund for victims of Katrina has almost reached $300,000 and they expected to reach that plateau by the end of the week.

A lot of ‘relief’ funds have been set up since that disaster took place. According to the NFL, some $5 million was raised just last Monday night. Locally, the Saints will present an $8,000 check to one of the shelters for their efforts.

It goes without saying but when tragedies such as this strike, it is nothing but the grace of the man upstairs that allows everyone to come together and help each other. If you are interested in donating to the Saints’ relief fund, go online at www.neworleanssaints.com.

TEXAS OPEN NEEDS ONE MORE SPONSOR TO BECOME MAJOR TOURNEY This past weekend I did my yearly homage to the local golf scene and attended the Valero Texas Open and I heard a conversation that just rocked me to the core.

For the Texas Open to become a major event, about $1.5 million more in purse money needs to be added and possibly another $2 million needs to raised in charitable contributions for this tournament to become one where Tiger Woods would be playing every year. Now what’s astonishing is the fact that I heard one corporation’s name that could actually help this process get along but it seems that they are unwilling to make such a commitment; Clear Channel.

As I understand the conversation, if a company like Clear Channel stepped in and gave the roughly $3.5 million in purse money and in helping raise the extra charitable monies, the Texas Open would have a purse of almost $6 million. Right now the tournament gave out $5 million charitable contributions this year, putting it near the top of all PGA events in charity giving.

By adding another $2 million to that total and making sure that $7 million was raised each year, the tournament would bring such notable players like Tiger Woods, Ratif Goosen, and Phil Mickelson to San Antonio, Texas. Ironically this could happen with the opening of a TPC course slated for San Antonio before 2010.

But why Clear Channel Worldwide? Why not USAA or SBC Communications being that secondary sponsor? Well SBC is already committed to the Seniors’ tourney at the Dominion and many players like those dates. USAA just isn’t strong enough, in my opinion, to be that type of sponsor on a regular basis. Clear Channel is perfect because it has the diversity necessary to help generate the type of dollars needed to keep the Texas Open in San Antonio.

But how would you get Tiger and his friends to come to San Antonio on a regular basis? Well if Clear Channel made such a commitment in helping Valero even in 2007, the tournament would have it’s pick of spring dates. Instead of 100-degree weather that we had this past weekend, we would have 80 to 90 degree weather and bigger crowds.

It was just something that I thought was an interesting topic while munching on some free food at the tournament.

JAMES HENRY SELECTED FOR U.S. ARMY ALL AMERICAN BOWL The U.S. Army All American Bowl selection committee made a stop in Schertz, Texas this week as the committee selected Samuel Clemons’ James Henry to take part in the upcoming game that is slated for January 6, 2006 in the Alamo City.

Henry is a senior at Clemons. Last year Clark’s Gerald Wilkerson was selected to play in front of his home crowd. Wilkerson is a red-shirt freshman at the University of Texas this season.