Charlotte apparently is off to rousing start in its ticket sales . . .


Charlotte, N.C., one of Baltimore's competitors for an NFL expansion franchise, apparently is off to a rousing start in its ticket-selling campaign.

An exact count isn't available, but based on the volume of mail and the projected average number of ticket requests per mailing, between 40,000 and 45,000 of the 60,000 available seats have been accounted for, said Mark Richardson, a member of the group spearheading Charlotte's effort. This is part of Charlotte's plan to sell charter rights to season tickets. "A permit seat license," Richardson called it.

Richardson's estimate is based on the returns of the first day of the campaign, Thursday, that came in mail deliveries Friday and Saturday.

"We're overwhelmed with the volume of mail," Richardson said yesterday, noting that he expects another avalanche today. "We were optimistic we'd have a good start, but not this strong. This is far more than we anticipated." Richardson said Charlotte's goal is to sell all 60,000 tickets before the NFL evaluates each city's situation on Sept. 3.

Walt Gutowski, NFL coordinator for the Maryland Stadium Authority, said Baltimore ticket sales "are going very well," but "no exact numbers" were available yesterday. He declined to provide estimates.

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