By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Phillies are hoping to extend their fan base to out-of-town tourists by offering tickets at the Independence Visitors Center.

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Eleven-year-old Christian Cobo, of Orange County, Calif., walked into Independence Visitors Center with his family just in time for a midday spectacle that featured a fife and drum corps, the Phillie Phanatic wearing colonial garb, and a brief Phillies’ highlight video.

It turned out to be a life-changing moment for young Christian.

“I really like the Angels,” he says, “but when I came here I said, forget the Angels!  The Phillies is awesome.”

(Christian Cobo, left, and his brother Elijah got balloons shaped like the Phillies' logo.  Credit: Paul Kurtz)

(Christian Cobo, left, and his brother Elijah got balloons shaped like the Phillies’ logo. Credit: Paul Kurtz)

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The big buildup today was for the announcement that tourists can now purchase Phillies’ game tickets at the visitors’ center.

IVC president Jim Cuorato says out-of-town demand has been surprisingly high for the past couple of years.

“What this will do is give our visitors another option for evening activities,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “Summer tourism season is the height of the season for us, and we get a lot of people come in in the afternoon and are looking for evening activities.  And now we’ll be able to say, ‘How would you like to see a ball game?’ ”

And with the team struggling, tickets are now more readily available.

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