The Michigan Daily-Thursday, May 15, 1980-Page 19
I Au I I MAJOR LE AGUE ROUNDUP
Sox power by Twins
The audience seemed awe-struck as the short, stocky man with rather
thick glasses took the podium and delivered what amounted to a quasi-
evangelistic sermonette on a totally non-religious topic - the marketing and
promotion of college athletics. -
"Empty seats do nothing for you. I hate empty seats. If you have empty
seats, you're also not going to sell as many hot dogs, and you're not going to
sell as many souvenirs." said Russ Potts.
"You have to create excitement," he continued, his words piercing the
minds of the spectators. "You have to get people talking about it. We had a
theme for every ballgame and a different corporate partner."
Potts' accomplishment of doubling Southern Methodist University's
football attendance from 26,000 to 52,000 in two years is considered only
slightly less than miraculous. Just three years ago, sports fans in Dallas
used Saturday afternoons in autumn to rest up for the events of the following
day. That was when the Dallas Cowboys would be donning the pads to
square off against the best of the National Football League. But Potts' crafty
salesmanship has paid off to the point where he filled Texas Stadium to
capacity for the SMU-Baylor game, the very same day Texas and Oklahoma
were playing in the Cotton Bowl (and for more than just pride).
Potts is not the first athletic director to receive such saintly accolades
from his colleagues. Don Canham has been labeled one of "the greats" in
college athletics for some time, and largely on his ability to jam 105,000
people into Michigan Stadium for every home football game. During the
Friday session, Michigan's "super salesman" even divulged the secrets of
his success - it involved direct mass mailing and extensive advertising in
But wait a minute! We all know about Saturdays in autumn, the "great-
ness" associated with Michigan football, the frenzied crowds, and the car-
Let's shift our focus to Crisler Arena, the home of the Michigan basket-
ball team. The Big Ten season is winding to its usual high-strung conclusion,
as frontrunner Purdue invades Ann Arbor for yet another key contest.
Michigan is definitely in contention for a post-season tournament bid, and
optimism seems to have returned to the plush, theatre-like dome for the first
time in three years.
We would expect to see this reborn optimism translated into a large,
vocal crowd, so let's look around the arena for some empty seats. Hmmmm.
Not so difficult. A thousand at one end, a thousand at the other end, and a few
hundred in between. Seems a bit surprising, doesn't it? Or is this not the
team which boasts of electrifying players like Mike McGee, Johnny Johnson,
and Thad Garner? Is it not the team which stunned Marquette in Milwaukee,
then returned home and knocked Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio State off their
The answer to both questions is yes. But the Athletic Department has yet
to answer the question which occupied the minds of media members and
fans throughout the year: If you can cram 105,000 fans, into Michigan
Stadium for a laugher of a football game (Michigan-Northwestern provides
a good example), why can't you fill an arena one-eighth that size for a
basketball game which promises to be worlds more competitive?
At Missouri, Athletic Director Dave Hart executed a tremendous sell-job
for a team which in the pre-season was labeled a Big Eight also-ran. Using
the slogan, "Missouri Basketball is Big Stuff," he took his sales campaign to
businesses as far away as Kansas City and St. Louis, and urged them to join
in a co-operative venture. The results were immediately visible: increased
attendance and a new wave of enthusiasm for a team which was dominated
by several freshmen.
Hart's successful marketing technique could be applied here, and with
even greater success. Ann Arbor, with a population of more than 100,000, has
nearly four million people living within 50 miles of it. Columbia, Missouri, on
the other hand, hasa population of about 60,000, and is located 125 miles from
both Kansas City and St. Louis. The Detroit area could respond to
promotional efforts on behalf of Michigan basketball, if Canham were to
take heed of Hart's strategy.
With the arrival of Tim McCormick this fall, those empty seats we've
become so accustomed to seeing over the past couple of years will probably
become occupied - at least for the conference games. But past conditions
are certain to return somewhere down the road. That's when Canham will
want to take some pointers from Potts and Hart.
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Soft and hard* contact lenses $178.50
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Offer expires April 18
Dr. Paul C. Uslan, Optometrist
545 Church Street
769-1222 by appointment
Red Sox 7, Twins 6
BOSTON (AP)-Pinch-hitter Jim
Dwyer drew a bases-loaded walk to
force in the deciding run with one out in
the ninth inning last night, lifting the
Boston Red Sox to a 7-6 victory over the
Minnesota Twins behind the relief
pitching of rookie Keith MacWhorter
and veteran Tom Burgmeier.
Minnesota rooKie Doug Corbett,
appearing for the 14th time this
season, retired nine batters in a row
until Butch Hobson lined a single to
center in the ninth.
Jerry Remy followed with an infield
hit off first baseman Danny Goodwin's
glove and Carl Yastrzemski walked,
filling the bases.
Dwyer then walked on five pitches,
the fifth walk issued by Corbett, 3-1, this
Jim Rice drove in four runs for the
Red Sox with his fifth homer and a
Angels 13, Indians 7
CLEVELAND (AP)-Dave Skaggs,
making his first appearance in a
California Angels uniform, drove in five
runs with a home run and two singles to
lead the Angels to a 13-7 thrashing of the
Cleveland Indians last night.
Skaggs, who was purchased from the
Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, singled
home a run in the Angels' four-run first
inning and drove Cleveland starter Dan
Spillner (2-2) from the mound with a
two-run single in the third.
The Angels scored seven times in the
third to build an 11-4 lead after the
Indians had tallied four runs in the
bottom of the second to tie the score 4-4.
Cleveland cut the lead to 11-7 on Toby
Harrah's fourth-inning home run, his
second of the season, and Tom
Veryzer's first homer, a two-run blast
in the sixth. Skaggs then hit his first
home run of the season, a two-run shot
in the seventh, to build the margin to
Chris Knapp (1-2) gained the victory
in relief of starter Dave Frost, and
reliever Jim Barr picked up his first
Mariners 7, Blue Jays 0
TORONTO (AP)-Willie Horton and
Bill Stein each hit two-run homers to
back the five-hit pitching of Glenn
Abbott as the Seattle Mariners defeated
the Toronto Blue Jays 7-0 last night.
Abbott (3-2) struck out five and
walked two in pitching his third
complete game. The only hits he
allowed were three singles by Roy
Howell and one each by Rick Bosetti
and Damaso Garcia.
Seattle jumped to a 3-0 lead in the
first inning. Julio Cruz walked on Jim
Anderson's single. Two outs later,
Leon Roberts singled home one run and
Horton followed with his first homer of
the year, just inside the left field foul
The Seventh Annual C.S. Mott
Children's Hospital Golf Classic will be
held Saturday, May 17 and Sunday,
May 18. The first round will be played
on the University of Michigan Golf
Course, with the second round at
Radrick Farms. The entry fee is $60.
Proceeds from the tournament will
benefit the Pediatric Cardiac Service at
Mott Hospital. Contact Herb Black, 663-
9307, or Dean Ligard, 764-1260 for fur-
you move too fast.