Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hamptons Optimistic about Season for 89ers despite New Competition

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hamptons Optimistic about Season for 89ers despite New Competition

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma City 89ers have two new opponents this season for entertainment and advertising dollars.

But owners Patty and Bing Hampton are optimistic about the 1989 season.

"This is the first year we have ever been faced with so much competition," said Patty Hampton, president of the 89ers. "But we're very pleased as we are ahead at this point going into the season."

New on Oklahoma City's sports scene, and competing for many of the same advertisers, sponsors and fans, are Remington Park, which opened in August, and The U.S. Olympic Festival, scheduled July 21-30.

Patty Hampton said the "hangover effect" of the Professional Golf Association 1988 Championship at Oak Tree Country Club also has eroded available advertising dollars. Patty Hampton said her professional sports franchise lost two major advertisers this year, but the club will still break even in 1989. Preseason ticket sales, advertising, sponsorships and promotions are strong.

"We already have $1 million on the books. . .before our first game," Patty Hampton said. "That's excellent in light of the competition.

"We know we will come out with a profit this year, but how much will depend on the team."

Patty Hampton expects a successful season as the team, a Triple A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, is "more stable than ever."

The 89ers also have a new "proven and successful manager" - Jim Skaalen, who managed the Rangers AA farm club in Tulsa in 1988.

Hampton said even if the team does attract a stong attendance, the club still needs other sources of revenue to survive. She said the club cannot break even on ticket sales alone.

"We cannot depend on our walkup gate," Hampton said. "We must presell enough tickets and advertising to know we can make it through the season."

Costs to operate the team in 1989 are estimated to be about $1 million, said Jim Weigel, general manager and vice president.

Patty Hampton, who has been president of the 89ers for 12 years, said beside gate sales, the club generates revenue through stadium billboard and program advertising; public address and electronic message board spots; group and sky box sales; corporate sponsorships and group sales; and from renting its parking lot for various activities. It also sells radio commercial slots during its live broadcast over KXY Radio.

"We're a great vehicle for advertising, particularly with our family image," Hampton said.

The club currently has 42 billboard advertisers which pay $2,750 for a 10-foot-by-25-foot billboard for the entire season. …

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