In an era when media revenue is vital for any franchise, Pittsburgh's TV market is downright tiny, the 63d largest in the U.S. (Philadelphia's is No. 4). Pittsburgh is also among the smallest NHL and baseball cities.
Last April, when the champion Red Knights were feted with a parade along 13th Street, consciously or not mirroring a route Reading-born author John Updike famously described in a short story about 1940s' high-schoolers here, the population of this red-brick city joyfully amassed, as if drawn by an unseen force.
Just as with the painstakingly slow improvements to the team's roster, this marketing surge, club officials said, was the result of a process - a plan implemented four years ago to enlarge the sales and marketing staff, to tap into technology trends, and to incorporate 76ers history and traditions into the efforts.
Wilt Chamberlain, the gifted and graceful giant from West Philadelphia who established statistical records as breathtakingly imposing as his 7-foot-1 physique during a near-mythic basketball career, was found dead on Oct. 12, 1999 at the age of 63.
Frank Fitzpatrick has been an editor and writer at the Inquirer since 1980. A onetime beat writer for the Phillies, Eagles, and Penn State football, he also has covered nine Olympics. A 2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist, he now focuses on sports projects for the Inquirer and Daily News and writes a Sunday column.