Promotion Doesn't Help Oilers
Oct. 15, 1998
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The Tennessee Oilers are still having trouble selling out the smallest stadium in the NFL. This time, not even free Beanie Babies could help.
When Thursday's deadline for a local television broadcast came, the Oilers were about 9,400 short of a sellout at 41,100-seat Vanderbilt Stadium for Sunday's game with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Oilers (2-3) have sold out only two games, their home opener Sept. 13 and Nov. 15 against Pittsburgh.
Don MacLachlan, the Oilers' executive vice president of marketing, broadcasting and tickets, said giving away 7,500 ``Chocolate the Moose'' Beanie Babies was more a reward for season ticket holders than a major bid to fill seats.
``It will certainly boost attendance. We were well over 10,000 for awhile, and we do anticipate, based on the volume of calls, that we will have a big walkup,'' he said.
The Oilers, who had the NFL's worst attendance last season in Memphis with an average 28,028 per game, are doing better this year in their latest temporary stadium. The 34,656 who watched them lose to Jacksonville on Sept. 27 was a bigger crowd than at seven games in 1997.
And they have sold more than 46,000 personal seat licenses, the right to buy season tickets, for the 67,000-seat stadium that opens in 1999.
As for the Oilers troubles selling tickets, MacLachlan said, ``Truthfully, it's a matter of us getting established. We've always looked at this as a bonus year getting to Middle Tennessee and getting to where our fan base is. And we're trying to do the best we can each week.''
The Oilers are a little closer to a sellout for Oct. 25, when they play the Chicago Bears. MacLachlan said tickets for that game have been selling well recently and that about 6,000 tickets remain.