SBD/24/Franchises

RAPTORS SWIFT START TO SEASON TICKET DRIVE

     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).
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