SBD/22/Franchises

RAPTORS FACE FINAL SIX WEEKS 'TIL DEADLINE

     The NBA's decision that the Raptors "Basketball 101" season-
ticket plan would not count against their season ticket minimum
is the "latest evidence the NBA's arrival in Toronto is no sure
thing." In the "quiet corners of the league head office, those
putting the pieces together must be getting concerned," writes
Stephen Brunt in the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  The team "figured
that selling season tickets would be the least of their
concerns," but when sales slowed, the "team was forced to rent
additional office space to house telemarketers to hustle tickets
-- obviously something they didn't originally anticipate having
to do."  David Stern "has been unequivocal: deadlines are
deadlines, minimums are minimums.  The NBA is cutting the new
franchises in for a share of TV and properties revenues.  And for
that the league wants something solid in return.  That is the
real Basketball 101" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/22).  Columnist
Craig Daniels praises the idea behind "Basketball 101": "The team
has been publicly hammered for selling expensive tickets, and now
has been pummeled for selling cheap tickets, too" (TORONTO SUN,
11/22).
     HOCKEY AT FAULT?  NBA spokesperson Jan Hubbard believes the
NHL lockout may be working against Toronto & Vancouver:  "People
are so turned off to sports right now that it might hurt them.
They are selling an unknown product and for people to fork out
that amount of money can be difficult" (Angelo Bruscas, SEATTLE
POST-INTELLIGENCER, 11/21).
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