Brewers to rally support in IL before 2004 season hits

MILWAUKEE: Hoping to capitalize on the baseball frenzy created by the Chicago Cubs' improbable and exciting playoff run, the Milwaukee Brewers are developing PR plans to reach out to potential fans in Northern Illinois for next year's baseball season.

MILWAUKEE: Hoping to capitalize on the baseball frenzy created by the Chicago Cubs' improbable and exciting playoff run, the Milwaukee Brewers are developing PR plans to reach out to potential fans in Northern Illinois for next year's baseball season.

The Brewers expect to do more community relations work and PR in the far Northern suburbs of Chicago to draw fans next year to their home stadium, Miller Park. Milwaukee is a two-hour drive from Chicago. The city's suburbs along the Illinois-Wisconsin border are about midway between the two cities.

"That's an area we'd like to hit more. We don't believe that there's any area we should avoid," said Jon Greenberg, director of media relations for the Brewers.

The team has hired a staffer to find charities and other groups in Northern Illinois that might be candidates for group ticket sales, Greenberg said.

It also wants to reach Little League and softball teams in the area, offering packages that allow them to play games at a field on the site of Milwaukee's old County Stadium, adjacent to where the Brewers now play.

A major message point will be the relative ease of reaching Miller Park for people in Northern Illinois, Greenberg said.

Next year, the Brewers play nine home games against the Cubs, which are likely to draw many fans from Chicago.

"We want to sell them on not only coming up for Cubs games, but on making Miller Park their second home," Greenberg said.

The average attendance this year at seven games against the Cubs in Milwaukee was 32,572, 55% higher than the Brewers' overall season average attendance of 20,992 per game.

The Brewers drew only 1.7 million fans in 2003, the least since Miller Park opened in 2001. The team has only 9,000 season-ticket holders for a stadium with a capacity of 42,400. The club finished in last place in its division, the National League Central, 20 games behind the division-champion Cubs.

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