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Nightclub ends deal with Buccaneer's Alstott

The owner of Harpo's in Carrollwood is displeased because the popular fullback refuses to sign autographs.


© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000

CARROLLWOOD -- The A-Train won't be stopping in Carrollwood anymore.

Harpo's nightclub, where Mike Alstott co-hosted a radio show on Mondays last season, has chosen not to renew its deal with the popular Tampa Bay Buccaneer fullback. Harpo's plans to bring former Buccaneer greats to the club instead.

Last season, Mike Alstott appeared at Harpo's each Monday night to tape the Steve Duemig Show on radio station WDAE-AM 1250. Harpo's owner Jeff Hatjioannou said he paid Alstott $30,000 to do the one-hour show and that this year Alstott asked for $35,000.

"Even if he'd offered to do it for $10,000 I still would have said no," Hatjioannou said, "because he wouldn't sign autographs for little kids or for anyone else. I got tired of seeing little kids go home crying.

"If the fans can't even get an autograph, why would they keep coming to see his show? I don't have any doubt that the former Buccaneers we have this year will sign autographs for the fans."

Retired players Kevin House, James Wilder and Steve DeBerg have all agreed to mingle with patrons and sign autographs on Monday nights, Hatjioannou said.

There may also be a decidely garnet and gold decorating scheme around Harpo's on fall Saturdays. Hatjioannou said some Florida State University alumni have asked Harpo's to host all of their parties for this season's Seminoles games.

"It's an excellent place to watch football games," said Tyler Harkness, membership coordinator for the Tampa Bay Seminoles Club. "They've got numerous televisions, big screens and they can accommodate large crowds."

Harkness said there are 400 active members in the club and he expects at least 100 will attend the parties at Harpo's to watch the Seminoles play road games. Last year they held the Seminoles parties at Beef O'Brady's downtown, he said.

With all the excitement about the Buccaneers' prospects this season, and the fact the Super Bowl will be played in Tampa this year, Hatjioannou said he expects Sunday crowds to average more than 500 people. Because the Bucs now sell out all their home games at Raymond James Stadium, they can be shown locally on TV.

Hatjioannou said that there will be live bands each Sunday on the patio, and that fans can eat barbecue from an open grill outside or order chicken wings, burgers or pizza from the club's regular menu.

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