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The Ultimate Sports Fan’s Tour

Matt Malm’s yearlong trip, conceived by his employer, is scheduled to end at the Super Bowl in Tampa.

By SCOTT PURKS

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2001


TAMPA -- Matt Malm said he worked hard the past year, but man, his schedule could make you wonder: Since last year's Super Bowl in Atlanta, Malm has attended 385 sporting events, at least one a day, hitting all 48 continental states along the way.


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It is called "The Ultimate Sports Fan Tour" and is scheduled to conclude at Sunday's Super Bowl.

Is Malm crazy? Is he independently wealthy? No and no.

The scheme, which cost about $250,000, was conceived by Malm's employer, Pro Performance Marketing, based in Charlotte, N.C. The idea was to network, make contacts, get on the radio, television and in the newspapers.

"I'd have to say it was worth it," said Malm, 32. "It was also a lot of fun, except for some of those long baseball games in the middle of the summer. Jeesh, some of those were so long."

In the end, he saw 110 baseball games, went to the Final Four, dozens of NASCAR, motocross and open-wheel races, PGA, Senior PGA, LPGA tournaments, dozens more NBA, CBA and NHL games, and bull-riding, wrestling, oxen-pulling and horse-racing events.

The weirdest one?

"That would be the Kentucky Derby," Malm said. "I had seen the Derby on television where everybody is wearing these ties and looking sharp. But I got this general-admission ticket and ended up on the infield.

"You have never seen so much drinking and partying in your life. I never even saw a horse except on the television monitors out there."

He traveled in a 35-foot motor home to everything, often buying tickets on the fly, sometimes slipping by gates to get in, which he did at the Monday night Tampa Bay Bucs game in Minnesota.

"I absolutely could not get a ticket to that game," Malm said. "So I just found a gate that was barely open and got myself in. You know, I had to get in. I couldn't snap the streak."

Now he might be facing his biggest obstacle: Getting a ticket to the Super Bowl. The cheapest price he has found is $1,750, more than the $1,000 he paid for last season's game.

"I'm starting to feel a little pressure," said Malm, who is taking February off for vacation. "Time is running out."

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