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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Rams Home Opener? Packed

    Rams home opener? Packed
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/23/2009

    Even if the economy were bullish, the Rams would be facing a bear of a challenge to fill seats at the Edward Jones Dome. The team has lost 29 of its last 34 games including 12 in a row and fans are increasingly unwilling to dig deep into their pockets to support it.

    Stadiums packed with energized, enthusiastic fans aren't a given in the NFL these days. League commissioner Roger Goodell recently estimated that 20 percent of this season's games could be blacked out on local television by not selling out.

    The Rams won't reach that nadir, at least for the first week. The home opener on Sunday vs. Green Bay is only a few hundred tickets away from a sellout, thanks in large part to Green Bay fans who flock to other cities to watch the Packers because they can't get tickets at home.

    The second home game, Oct. 4, vs. Minnesota, probably will fill the house, too, thanks to the presence of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

    "We appreciate Mr. Favre's contribution," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams executive vice president of football operations.

    After that, it's anyone's guess for the last six home games.

    Demoff declined to say how many season tickets the club has sold for the season. "We have a very solid base, but it's not where we want it to be," he said.

    As for the percentage of renewals they received, Demoff would say only that the Rams are "slightly above the league average," where renewals are down significantly. Jacksonville, for example, lost about 17,000 of its 42,000 season-ticket holders from last year.

    "And we'll have other markets that'll have those challenges," Goodell told reporters earlier this month. "Our clubs have been working hard in the offseason to create other ways to try to get people in the stadiums."

    For the Rams, that has meant not raising prices and overseeing $30 million in upgrades to the stadium, including high-tech scoreboards; new paint schemes and lighting intended to brighten the building; a large sports bar open to all; upgrades in the suite areas; and more high-end accommodations.

    "Everything we've done this year has been driven by the fans," Demoff said. "From the changes at the dome to the changes on the field to the changes in the coaching staff all have been focused on providing a better experience on the Sundays when our fans are in the dome."

    Selling tickets wasn't always a problem. The team's first 100 games regular season and playoffs after moving to St. Louis from Los Angeles in 1995 were sold out. But at the end of the 2006 season, as the Rams were finishing up their third straight year without a winning record, the team failed to fill the house for a Christmas Eve contest against the Washington Redskins.

    Since then, five other games haven't sold out, almost a third of the last 16 games at the 66,000-seat dome. Corporate ticket buy-ups prevented several others from being blacked out.

    Two of the eight home games drew less-than-capacity crowds last year, when the Rams posted their worst record 2-14 in their 14 seasons in St. Louis. The average attendance for those two contests was 55,535.

    Rams quarterback Marc Bulger said sellouts are "a reward for playing well." The Rams reaped those benefits during their "Greatest Show on Turf" run, when the dome was regarded as one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, as well as one of the most difficult venues for visiting teams.

    Conversely, the punishment for playing poorly is a depressed fan base, resulting in diminished ticket sales and empty seats.

    But does a filled stadium have an impact on what happens on the field? It sometimes depends who they are cheering for. When nearly 30,000 Packers fans came to the dome in 2007, many Rams players complained it was like playing in Green Bay.

    That could be the case again Sunday.

    "Whether we play away or we play at home, I tell the players just to worry about what happens between the white lines. If you have to have all the other things, then something's wrong," first-year coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "But do you get a little bit of extra juice? Yeah. That's just how it works. (The players) like to hear a little bit of support."

    Said Bulger: "You can definitely feed off the crowd."

    A sellout helps in other ways, too, because it means the games can be televised locally. NFL rules require that a game sell out 72 hours before kickoff to avoid the local blackout. "There's no better advertisement for the Rams than putting games on live TV," Demoff said.

    Yet the best seller will be if the Rams come out on top on those glitzy new scoreboards.

    "When we start winning games," Bulger said, "our fans will be back."


  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    Hmmm...no mention of the CLAN being at the home opener?!

    Very disappointing...

    GO RAMS!!!!

  3. #3
    eldfan's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    Rams home opener? Packed
    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/23/2009


    The home opener on Sunday vs. Green Bay is only a few hundred tickets away from a sellout, thanks in large part to Green Bay fans who flock to other cities to watch the Packers because they can't get tickets at home.


    But does a filled stadium have an impact on what happens on the field? It sometimes depends who they are cheering for. When nearly 30,000 Packers fans came to the dome in 2007, many Rams players complained it was like playing in Green Bay.

    That could be the case again Sunday.

    "

    Well I hope it would be different than 07 it looks like GB may have just as many fans at the game than the rams.
    :ramlogo:

  4. #4
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    I think it's obvious what needs to happen: Green Bay fan beatdowns outside the Ed!

    Ok ok, I'm just kidding... or am I?

  5. #5
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    Quote Originally Posted by TekeRam View Post
    I think it's obvious what needs to happen: Green Bay fan beatdowns outside the Ed!

    Ok ok, I'm just kidding... or am I?
    After the Rams win, I don't think I'll be able to stop the verbal beatdowns from popping out of my big mouth!

    Who could blame me though since the last time I walked out of a Rams home game with a win was October 16, 1994, a 17-10 victory over the Giants at Anaheim Stadium.

  6. #6
    AlphaRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    "You come to Rams town, you get a beat down!'
    'You come to Rams town, you get a beat down!'
    'You come to Rams town, you get a beat down!'

    Back in 2003, the Packers fans still comprised 25% of the crowd at the game. There is even a Packers Backers club in Tulsa....

    They have quite the fan base...but they are usually pretty cool...unlike fans of a number of other teams...

  7. #7
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    What a shocker our stadium has become how the old Cardinals stadium used to be. Half visiting teams fans and half Rams fans,nice.
    Just Fix It

  8. #8
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    How I wish ... this first game at home for 2009 would be special. No, not only because Deacon's jersey is being retired (an event which in itself should attract quite a bit of older fans), but because it would indeed represent a new era, with a new coach, with many new players. With much needed hope and encouragement.

    Come on, city of St. Louis, get in there, make NOISE and support the RAMS to this 1st 2009 WIN!

  9. #9
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    Looks like our home games may turn into away games quickly if we can't sell tickets to rams fans. I remember watching the Rams v Bears on monday night a couple years ago and our stands were packed with bear fans. Hopefully we don't have a repeat of that throughout this year.

  10. #10
    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    Anyone bringing a fondue pot to the game?

  11. #11
    MrBean is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams Home Opener? Packed

    I'll be there in Rams gear while my lovely bride will be with me in Packers gear. Oh the looks we got when the Pack was here last time but it was all good because Packer fans are actually pretty cool. I would know since 90% of the section we sat in were Packers fans and they were quite friendly. Rams will win the home opener and shock the NFL world.

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