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THE STATE OF THE NBA'S CANADIAN EXPANSION TEAMS
Published November 21, 1994
In Toronto, Randy Starkman compares the progress of the Grizzlies and the Raptors: "Vancouver seems to have the leg up." ARENA: GM Place is half built and should be finished on schedule; the Raptors' future home? "The much ballyhooed plans for an arena by the Eaton Centre that helped the group led by John Bitove Jr. win their franchise bid have been shelved." TEAM MANAGEMENT: The Griffiths family has a "long tradition in sports ownership"; The Bitove group, "by comparison, is unproven on the sports ownership scene." SEASON TICKET SALES: As of last week, the Grizzlies said they were close to 8,000; the Raptors are at approx. 6,500 (TORONTO STAR, 11/19). In Vancouver, Mike Beamish writes of the Grizzlies, "If we've made a mistake, it may be that we've become overly smug in believing this basketball team is a sure thing" (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/19). From an editorial in the Vancouver PROVINCE: "The proposed NBA franchise for Vancouver is clearly deserving of support and attention, particularly in the next six weeks. To not do so could mean the end of Vancouver as an emerging major league sports market in North American" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 11/21). Both teams have until December 31 to sell 12,500 season tickets. RAPTORS NEWS: "Apparently concerned about undermining the credibility of its own mandate," the NBA yesterday ruled that "Basketball 101" -- a planned Raptors' promotion to sell the lowest priced season-tickets at the SkyDome for $101 -- would not count toward the 12,500 season ticket mandate. Raptors VP/Communications Tom Mayenknecht: "Basketball 101 will be rolled out somewhere down the line" (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 11/21).