SBD/12/Franchises

WILL CORPORATIONS SOLVE GRIZZLIES/RAPTORS TICKETS PROBLEM?

     Reports out of Canada this morning indicate corporate help
may soon be on the way for the expansion Grizzlies and Raptors.
Two companies have "confirmed they are currently in negotiations
for significant group corporate ticket purchases."  The groups
involved are Shopper's Drug Mart and the Overwaitea grocery
stores, and it is "believed that if either or both deals go
through, the Grizzlies season ticket goal would be well within
reach."  They are reportedly just under 3,000 tickets short of
reaching the NBA mandated minimum of 12,500 before December 31.
Greg Harmeson, VP of Marketing for Western Canada Shopper's
stores, said "if all this does come to fruition, it is more a
civic-minded task we're performing.  We would be offering them
for sale to our customers."  Raptors Dir of Communications Tom
Mayenknecht would only say that "there are quite a few companies
who are looking at the great potential of basketball in this
country."  If a company does not have a corporate sponsorship
with a team, it can buy an unlimited amount of season tickets.
If the team has a deal, NBA regulations state the corporation can
purchase no more than 500 tickets (Howard Tsumura, Vancouver
PROVINCE, 12/12).
     EDITORIAL HITS THE LEAGUE:  An editorial in today's
Vancouver PROVINCE notes the slow tickets sales in Canada but
targets the NBA-mandated minimum.  "12,500 was a ridiculous
figure from the outset, especially considering Canada doesn't
have the basketball history of the U.S.  The Grizzlies could sell
more season tickets than the Houston Rockets or the Vancouver
Canucks and end up without a team" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 12/12).
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