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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Amy Richter, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, hits home runs for the Atlanta Braves front office.

Richter, the team’s first female advertising director, is helping the Braves rebound from the longest strike in baseball history and renew fans’ passion for the game.

“What baseball has to do…is create a new generation of baseball fans,” Richter said. “One way to do that is to make it as entertaining as we can when they come to the ballpark.”

The Braves are trying to do that by building on their tradition of rapport with the fans and by being involved in community service, Richter said.

But the strike “took a lot of fun out of this industry, and we’ve all come to realize that we have to be patient,” she said. “We can’t expect that after putting the fans through an extended period of conflict, they’re going to come right back.”

Average attendance at Braves home games this season is down 10,000, although fans are returning to the stadium in the wake of Atlanta’s surge into first place in the National League East, she said. Major league owners say attendance overall is off about 22 percent from before the strike.

Richter, 30, a native of Oak Ridge, graduated from UTC in 1987 with a double major in English and journalism. At UTC, she was a Brock Scholar, secretary of the UTC Student Government Association, president of the Student Alumni Council and a sports writer for the student newspaper.

Richter made her initial mark with the Braves by increasing group ticket sales. She did it by making groups aware of the fund-raising available by buying discounted tickets and selling them for full price to supporters.

“We made a point of the fact that Atlanta was the only major league team in the South,” she said.

Contact: Amy Richter (404-614-1328)