Letters, phone calls and visits from people bearing messages . . .
First comes Peter Gruenstein, the executive director of FANS, the Ralp Nader-inspired organization that seeks to protect the ordinary sports fan against abuse by the sports Establishment.
Gruensein says the Washington Redskins, among others, have turned taxpayer-financed stadiums into "exclusive clubs from which the average fan is virtually barred."
Gruenstein says the Redskin sell their 55,031 seats at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium - a facility built with federal funds - to only 14,800 parties, many of them corporations, law firms and lobbyists who control up to 50 tickets.
The Redskins, the New York Giants, Denver, Oakland and Pittsburg sell almost all of their seats to season-ticket purchasers, Gruenstein said. "These teams . . . are, in effect, shuttong out families who cannot afford to shell out a couple hundred dollars for tickets." he said. "They might as well put 'Average Fanss Need Not Apply' signs around the stadiumz."
In a letter to Cecil Andrus, Secretary of the Interior, Gruenstein has pointed out that RFK is part of the national park system and as such its use should not be limited to a "relatively few privileged persons . . . The RFK situation is analogous to the Interior Department leasing all the overnight concessions at Yellowstone to a hotel chain that charged a minimum of $40 per night for a room. Imagine the howls of protest."
Gruenstein has a solution to the problem.
The NFL expands its regular season ticket next year from 14 to 16 games, giving each team eight home games instead of seven. Teams now selling out season tickets would simply limit season-ticket purchases to seven games, the same as now, with the tickets covering randomly rotated games. That would free up one-eighth of all tickets Gruenstein said, and those tickets could be sold to the general public on an individual game, first-come, first-served basis.
Commet: A nice idea.But what about those season-ticket holders whose designated stay-at-home game happens to be the Cowboys? Talk about howls of protest.