Over the next five weeks, the Mississippi Hound Dogs indoor pro football team will play four home games at BancorpSouth Arena.
It's a make-or-break stretch for the first-year team.
On Monday, it was first reported that the team had fired its head coach, Martino Theus, after an 0-3 start. Whatever the circumstances, the team lost an eloquent advocate in Theus, who had done a lot of work in the community to promote the young team.
The winless Hound Dogs are home Friday night, in a rematch against the Rome (Ga.) Rampage. The Tupelo team opened its season with a 35-30 loss to the Rampage on March 3.
That'll be followed by another Friday game, March 30 against the Florida Tarpons, then Satuday matchups against the Lakeland Raiders (April 7) and Eastern Kentucky Drillers (April 21, after an open week).
It'll be interesting to see how the 0-3 start affects the crowd at this Friday's game. There was such a walk-up demand at the first game that some fans didn't get seated until the game was well under way. The reported paid attendance was a pleasantly surprising 2,387.
Ticket sales represent the primary souce of revenue for minor-league teams like the Hound Dogs. A strong effort at the box office over the next four games will go a long way toward deciding the viability of this latest effort to establish a pro team in this market.
And nothing will help fan interest quite like a taste of victory.