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Former Senator Tom Eagleton, the point man for FANS Inc., the group seeking to move the Rams to St. Louis, believes the Rams will decide on a move before Thanksgiving. He also said "tough" differences between St. Louis' recent proposal and the Rams' wish list have yet to be resolved. Eagleton noted the Rams are also seeking more information on St. Louis' Permanent Seat Licensing proposal (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 10/23). ESPN's Chris Mortenson handicaps the Rams' options: "Conventional wisdom points to St. Louis ... [but] if all things were equal, the Rams would: A) Love to stay in L.A. with a new stadium -- not likely to happen; B) Move to Baltimore over St. Louis. But what is hurting Baltimore may not be the threat of litigation from the Redskins, as much as there is a feeling of discomfort among NFL owners that Baltimore point man Peter Angelos is not quote 'one of their types'" ("Sunday Sportsday," ESPN, 10/23). In St. Louis, Jim Thomas offers a rundown of the three bids. ANAHEIM: Plusses: No moving. Minuses: No new stadium, fan apathy. BALTIMORE: Plusses: Perception it's a better football town. Minuses: Redskins; no new stadium until '97 or later; Angelos' insistence on a buyout option from Georgia Frontiere. ST. LOUIS: Plusses: Best deal. Minuses: Perception it's not a good football town (ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH, 10/23).
Raptors officials announced Saturday that the season-ticket drive opened with "nearly 1,200" orders. The club says those orders "should conservatively amount to 2,700 to 3,000 seats." Raptors spokesperson Tom Mayenknecht said the details about the initial group of orders, such as number and price of sales and seat licensing fees, won't be available until next week. The first requests come from a list of 3,800 who bought packages for Toronto's world basketball championships last summer. 15,800 orders from a telephone hotline will be processed Friday. A complete tally will not be finished until the end of the month (Jim Byers, TORONTO STAR, 10/22). In a separate piece, Byers examines the trend toward seat-licensing and reports the Maple Leafs are considering a program similar to the Raptors'. Maple Leaf Gardens Marketing Dir Bill Cluff "said he sees licensing as something to help with one-time expenses, such as a new arena, and not as a scheme to meet day-to-day costs." The Raptors' Mayenknecht says licensing top seats allows the team to "hold our average ticket price to $38.56, which is 20th or 21st in the NBA." 50% of the seats will cost $25 or less and "that wouldn't be possible without the revenue from the licences." The program also gives fans "a tangible asset that can be sold at a later date, potentially for a profit." Panthers' Sales Dir Carl Youtsey, whose team pioneered the concept, calls seat-licensing "the wave of the future": "It's a way of paying for sports that's self-sustaining" (TORONTO STAR, 10/22). IHL INCLUSION: Sources in Toronto say a Raptors' application for an IHL franchise "could come as soon as today." It is unclear whether the frachise would play the '95-'96 season or wait until the Raptors' new arena is built (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 10/24).