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Pirates share lead in lottery sales

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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies might be farther apart than the miles between them on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when it comes to odds of winning the next World Series.

The only even playing field for them exists in the form of state lottery tickets.

The franchises are tops among the state's professional sports teams in the amount earned through lottery licensing fees: about $2.45 million each. New $5 games begun this week by the Pennsylvania Lottery mark the second go-round for each club.

"As the only lottery in the nation that exclusively targets all of its proceeds to programs for older residents, our partnership will help support that mission as well as promote Pirates baseball," Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said.

The Pirates -- with 18 consecutive losing seasons -- and Phillies -- the 2008 World Series champions -- shared an instant-win game in 2008, the lottery's first foray into games featuring professional franchises. The game sold $28.9 million in tickets, lottery officials said.

The Steelers and Eagles had $5 games in 2009 and 2010; sales over the two-year period were $53.8 million for the Steelers tickets and $38.9 million for the Eagles'. Both National Football League franchises earned a little more than $2 million each through licensing fees.

The Penguins and Flyers entered the fray in 2009. Their shared $2 game sold $11.1 million in tickets, and the teams split $360,000 in licensing fees.

No game ever has been introduced for the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers, the state's only other major pro team.

States nationwide are cashing in on the games.

"If you add up all the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and NASCAR lottery games, it would most likely be well over 100 games with an approximate retail value approaching $2 billion, although we couldn't say how much of that translates into team revenues," said Aimee Reney, a spokeswoman for MDI Entertainment, the company that sells pro team licenses for lottery games.

The four major professional teams in Massachusetts -- the New England Patriots and Boston's Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins -- collectively have produced more than $1 billion in lottery ticket sales since 2006.

On-field success can impact a team's lottery ticket sales, said Kirstin Alvanitakis, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Lottery.

"We did see Steelers sales tick up a bit in the playoffs and around the Super Bowl," she said.

Additional Information:

That's the ticket

The $5 Pirates lottery ticket was released regionally this week.

-- More than $10 million in cash prizes are available, including six winners ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.

-- Second-chance prizes, selected during five drawings throughout the season, include season tickets, a spring training trip, an away-game vacation, a fantasy camp invitation and team merchandise.

-- Odds of winning are 1 in 4.53.

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