SBD/17/Franchises

NBA & NHL EXHIBITION CITIES MAKE THEIR CASES FOR EXPANSION

     St. Louis' new Kiel Center attracted 14,153 to its opening
night NBA exhibition game between the Bullets and Bulls.  House
Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, who represernts St. Louis: "We
need an NBA team here.  St. Louis is a major sports town.  And a
major sports town deserves an NBA team. ... [But] we've got to
get football first"  (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 10/15)....But St.
Louis NBA exhibition promoter Joe Yates said fewer than 10,000
tickets had been sold the day before the game.  The game didn't
have the "drawing cards" the two previous preseason sellouts had,
including a '92 game with Magic Johnson and the Lakers, and last
year's game with the Bulls.  Yates:  "This is not good if you
want to put the best face to the NBA," especially as the only
sport playing in St. Louis.  St. Louis Sports Commission's
basketball subcommittee Chair Barry Cervantes said he recently
met with NBA Operations VP Rod Thorn to "keep the city's foot in
the door in case of expansion or relocation."  Perkins and
"sports officials unanimously agree" St. Louis has "situated
itself as a potential basketball mecca" (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH,
10/16).
     DENVER A POTENTIAL HOCKEY HOTBED?  Noting the IHL Denver
Grizzlies' 16,215 sellout-crowd in McNichols Arena,  Boston
hockey writer Kevin Paul Dupont suggests it might be time for the
Devils to return to CO (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/16).
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