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Tennessee Titans - St. Louis Rams: Your guide to the game

January 25, 2000|By AL DITZEL

Can you imagine a sports bar not televising the Super Bowl?

Well, not that the Ground Round on Wesel Boulevard is your typical sports bar, but it made a major stride this year when it bought the NFL Ticket from a satellite provider. On Sunday afternoons, the restaurant now can show as many as three NFL games not found on local television.

cont. from lifestyle

"I'd say business picked up between 25 and 35 percent,'' says Bill Mechan, Ground Round service manager.

"We were trying to bring something in that the patrons wanted,'' says Mary Hoffman, Ground Round general manager. "We had a lot of requests for football, and we got the go-ahead from corporate to get the NFL Ticket.''

Mechan and Hoffman researched the investment first, finding out that, to their knowledge, no one in the area offered the NFL Ticket.

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"I worked before in Germantown, and I knew the NFL Ticket would do very well,'' Mechan says. "We had a bunch of fans who would come in just to watch the games.

"For us, the NFL Ticket was all or nothing,'' Mechan says. "If we did not have the NFL Ticket, we could not show any football games on Sunday.''

Still, not all of their football worries were solved by buying the NFL Ticket. Because of FCC regulations, those with satellite dishes were unable legally to televise the major networks like CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox through their satellite provider.

"It's funny, when we got the satellite dish, we lost our antenna,'' Hoffman says. "We used to be able to show the major stations with the antenna, but now we can't. We tried to do something with it, but we simply couldn't.''

Cable television could not answer the call either because no cable service is available in the Halfway Boulevard area.

What this meant was that this year's Super Bowl, televised on ABC, would not be available at Ground Round.

Now, that's changed.

"The FCC changed the rule in late November,'' Mechan says.

So, Ground Round will host a Super Bowl Party afterall.

Ground Round will show the game on its 64-inch television, offer some drink and food specials, as well as raffle off numerous items on Super Bowl Sunday, Jan. 30.

The FCC rule change will greatly impact the Ground Round next year as well. Because of the former law, the Ground Round could not show Monday Night Football for most of this past season.

"People would come in and ask about the game, and when they found out we couldn't show it, they sometimes would leave,'' Hoffman says.

Nationwide, Ground Round advertises MNF specials.

"We were the only one within the chain that could not offer the specials,'' Hoffman says. "We didn't put out any of the fliers or advertisements that corporate sent us because we couldn't offer the specials without the game.''

With national television in place, Hoffman and Mechan say they also hope they can increase their NFL Ticket.

"Right now, we can show any three games at a time,'' Mechan says. "We'd like to show five.''

"That's very expensive,'' Hoffman says. "We hope we can, but we'll see.''

Mechan says that with the NFL Ticket, it's nice that some folks refer to the Ground Round as a sports bar.

"That's really not our intent,'' he says. "We're still a family restaurant. We want the tempered sports fan to come in, enjoy the games and have fun, but we still want families to be able to come in and enjoy a good meal.''

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