Although the Devils and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority were granted a 30-day extension on their September 15 deadline to come up with a lease agreement to keep the team in New Jersey through the 2006-2007 season, there is still no agreement and it "appears" both sides will seek another extension (N.Y. POST, 10/13)...."Frustrated by low attendance" the Florida Panthers are adding more seats to their "Panther Pack" tickets. The "Panther Pack" seats were the last three rows behind the nets and now will include the last six rows. The additional seats were originally priced at $20, and now will cost $9. The prices will run through Oct. (Dave Joseph, Ft. Lauderdale SUN SENTINEL, 10/13)....The $113.25M sale of the Kings to Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz officially closed Thursday (L.A. TIMES, 10/13)....The Stars drew only 13,491 fans Thursday, "well below" last year's 16,729 average (Tim Cowlishaw, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/13)....San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer said she believes the city's $43M offer to lure the Warriors from Oakland is enough to "close the deal -- but she refused to rule out a higher cost to the taxpayers" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/13).
Minneapolis City Council President Jackie Cherryhomes said yesterday she will convene a group of "key players" to "wrestle" with the notion of moving the Jets to Minneapolis and the Target Center, according to Jay Weiner of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Among those she hopes to bring together are prospective Jets Owner Richard Burke, Target Center Manager/Ogden Corp.'s Dana Warg, representatives of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission and the Timberwolves. Cherryhomes noted NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's Nov. 15 deadline for a decision on whether the team could move into the Target Center was "unrealistic," adding a Dec. 14 deadline was possible. Cherryhomes: "We (the Minneapolis Community Development Agency) happen to own the building. The city has no money. And we have seen no numbers. But we have the responsibility to talk, if there's anything to talk about." Cherryhomes also said of Burke's request for additional revenue from the Target Center: "The city has contributed. It's now time for the state or region" (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/13). An editorial in today's STAR TRIBUNE says that "finding a way for taxpayers to support the Jets financially may not be the critical issue. More important may be whether enough fan and corporate support can be generated to maintain four major-league franchises in the Twin Cities area, plus a full slate of University of Minnesota sports programs" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/13).
A compromise plan to finance a new stadium for the Mariners and renovate the Kingdome for the Seahawks "has fallen apart," according to this morning's SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. House Speaker Clyde Ballard (R) and Senate Majority Leader Marc Gaspard (D) decided not to hold a vote on the plan yesterday because "too few lawmakers were willing to support it." Michael Paulson notes lawmakers are scheduled to continue their special session to debate the issue today, "but a deep divide appears to have opened between lawmakers who negotiated the deal." Ballard on the proposal: "The biggest red flag of all is that there are going to be state dollars out of the state budget. You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that was going to be a problem," but he added, "We're going to work on ways to get the votes" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/13). BREAK IT ON DOWN: Paulson writes 55% of the House Democrats and "more than" 50% of the Senate Democrats support the measure. "No more than" 33% of House Republicans and 25% of Senate Republicans support the financing plan (SEATTLE POST- INTELLIGENCER, 10/13).