With 15 years of sellouts, Titans busy wooing fans

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm •  Published: February 18, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rhonda and Kevin Lawrence have had season tickets for the Titans since their start in Tennessee and couldn't help but notice all the empty seats around them in the upper deck at LP Field.

She said she wants her Titans back.

The Titans are just as eager to get their fans to return.

The team invited season ticket holders to lunch and dinner Tuesday, showing off new coach Ken Whisenhunt as part of fan outreach for a franchise that has sold out 15 straight seasons. They brought in Titans to pose for photos and sign autographs at both sessions, attracting 4,600 fans to Nashville's new Music City Center. Whisenhunt answered questions during each session.

President and CEO Tommy Smith and members of the Adams' family ownership group flew in from Houston for lunch to help make it clear that the status quo is unacceptable for the Titans. Smith said on WGFX-FM 104.5 The Zone's Midday 180 that they had finished studying the franchise from top to bottom, a process that included firing Mike Munchak on Jan. 4 and hiring Whisenhunt.

"You're going to see a marked difference in this organization," Smith said.

Whisenhunt, who was headed for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis after dinner, was making his first public appearance in Nashville since being hired. He said he wants fans to be excited about what the Titans will put on the field this year. Whisenhunt also said he has seen Nashville get behind the Titans before.

"I've played here as an opponent, and I know what a tough place it is to play when that's the case, and that's what I want," Whisenhunt said. "It gives you an advantage, and a home-field advantage in this league is something you can use to win games. I've seen it happen. Look what happened in Seattle. They make it a tough place to play, and next thing you know they're in the Super Bowl. Any little bit that helps we'll take."

The Titans had one of the NFL's best home-field advantages when they opened their stadium for the 1999 season, winning an NFL-record 12 straight games. They have sold out 154 straight games at the stadium, but getting fans to use the tickets has been challenging with the Titans not reaching the playoffs the past five seasons. They went 7-9 last season with a five-game home skid, their longest since leaving Texas for Tennessee in 1997.

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