Speros got 'negative spin'
We must express our disappointment with the June 1 skewering of Jim Speros and the Baltimore Football Club by Ken Murray and Ken Rosenthal. A "negative spin" is an appropriate phrase to describe how the facts in Murray's article were presented. Rosenthal was downright rude. Yes, let's publish the facts -- the CFL is a shaky league -- but, exaggerated negativism simply costs Baltimore jobs.
Jim Speros has put his money, time and heart into giving Baltimore professional football. Give the man time to get a successful franchise running before complaining about a lack of community involvement. Of course, he wants to make money. There have yet to be any nonprofit sports teams. The article painted the business picture with a very broad and slanted brush. Most start-up or small businesses pay their bills in the 30- to 60-day range -- rarely indicative of a financial crisis. Promised help from the state did not materialize until recently, and a city loan is still partly held up.
Rosenthal's attendance numbers seem inflated given the facts in the article. Still, so what if 10,500 people got to see great entertainment for free and then tell their friends about it. Nothing wrong with bartering for exposure. If an average of 26,000 paid to see the CFL in '94, that is a fantastic start. Yes, the Colts alumni draw fans, too. Indianapolis doesn't care about the old Colts -- but we practically throw a party for them at every game. What is wrong with that?
At each game, we saw only high-quality athletic execution with fast-paced excitement -- never a minor-league product. Sure, it is different from the NFL. Many people bad-mouthing the CFL finally admit they haven't seen a game.
Tim and Linda Pyle
Other side of BFC story
It is a good thing that Ken Rosenthal is supposed to be a sports writer and not a business writer. Yes, most of what he says in his June 1 column on the Baltimore Football Club is true. The BFC and the CFL have had their problems.
How many businesses can start up their first year, have large start-up costs like renovating a stadium and fighting for a name as well as the usual costs of putting a business together and still make a profit? I would be willing to wager not many.
With the CFL, you are talking about an organization that is more than 100 years old but has just started dealing with growth and expansion on a large scale. It is not surprising that it has had some problems and made mistakes, but it is very unfair to call it a joke.
On the issue of attendance, Rosenthal seems to think it was a bad thing or misleading to give out a large amount of free tickets last year. This is called marketing. The BFC had a new product to sell.
I had the opportunity last year to talk to a lot of people at shows, fairs, etc. At no time do I remember talking to anyone who saw this team play who did not enjoy it. This is good football. People have a misconception that this is minor-league football. From a football point of view, which was the better and the more exciting game last year, the Grey Cup or the Super Bowl?
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