San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer called off a plan to hold two hearings and have a city council vote on her $43.5M plan to bring the Warriors to San Jose Arena by early next week, according to this morning's SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Hammer also expressed "displeasure" over the pace of talks between the Warriors and Sharks on reaching a deal to share the Arena. The Warriors have said they needed a decision by October 31, or they could be required to have exclusive negotiating rights with Oakland (Mary Anne Ostrom, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/25). In Oakland, Robert Salladay reports that San Jose's delay could give Oakland "an important bargaining tool" in their dealings with the team. Oakland officials said yesterday they will wait until October 31 before deciding on an extension of the Warriors' lease at the Oakland Coliseum. The Warriors would want an extra month or two to negotiate without having to commit to Oakland for '96-97. Oakland officials could grant an extension in exchange for an exclusive negotiating agreement, "which would effectively shut San Jose out until Oakland has completed its deal" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 10/25).
In an effort to boost "sluggish" sales of PSLs, the Raiders will announce two new programs today -- one enlisting companies to buy blocks of tickets and sell them to their employees through payroll deductions; the other would allow only PSL owners to buy extra tickets for the November 19 Cowboys game (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 10/25).... The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court decision which restricted access to bank documents by the Public Trustee in its civil suit against Maple Leaf Gardens Chair Steve Stavro and his company, MLG Ventures. The Trustee is suing Stavro over his acquisition of 60% of MLG from the estate of former owner Harold Ballard. The trial starts in February (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/25)....USA TODAY profiles the Whalers' quick start and how it may affect the team's long-term standing in the small market of Hartford (USA TODAY, 10/25)....The WINNIPEG FREE PRESS notes that the official closing date for the sale of the Jets is July '97 -- not '96 as widely believed. Provincial Finance Minister Eric Stefanson called the date a "technicality" and assured taxpayers they will not have to cover the team's losses for an extra year (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 10/25).
The Greater Houston Partnership launched a drive yesterday to sell 12,000 additional Astros season tickets in a bid to keep the team from relocating to Northern VA, but Astros VP Bob McLaren questioned whether that number would be enough. According to this morning's HOUSTON CHRONICLE, McLaren said the team probably needs to sell 14,000 more season tickets annually "in order to dig itself out of its deep financial hole." McLaren also said to anticipate a ticket rate increase for next season, if they stay, and higher premiums on luxury seating. Randall Onstead, the Partnership member who is spearheading the ticket drive, said the Astros could net $12M off 12,000 additional season tickets. McLaren stressed they want to make sure fans don't feel blackmailed. McLaren: "We're afraid this could leave a bad taste in people's mouths. Astros Owner Drayton McLane has scheduled a meeting with Houston Mayor Bob Lanier and Harris County Judge Robert Eckels. The three spoke by phone yesterday (John Williams, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25). READY AND WAITING: Virginia Baseball, the group trying to lure the Astros to the Metro DC area, may have a lease at RFK Stadium in DC within a few days, according to District Sports Commission Dir Jim Dalrymple. Dalrymple said there are already plans in place to reconfigure the stadium for baseball. The team, which would be called the Virginia Fury, would play in RFK while a new stadium is built in Northern VA (Thom Loverro, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/25). HOUSTON'S OTHER PRODIGAL TEAM: The Oilers and Astrodome USA, the company owned by McLane that manages the facility, will go to an arbitrator over the financial losses from the preseason game canceled due to the condition of the Astrodome's turf. Astrodome USA President Carl Marsalis: "My personal opinion is that arbitration won't work and the judge will have to settle this." Officials claim losses from the game could top $2.5M (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/25).
Getting Paul Allen to purchase the Seahawks would be the team's "greatest acquisition," writes SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER columnist Art Thiel this morning. But the "Seattle sports question of the moment" is whether Ken Behring would sell the team. Last week, Allen -- owner of the Blazers, Starwave and 80% of Ticketmaster, a co-founder of Microsoft and No. 4 on the Forbes 400 list -- said he "might take a look" at the Seahawks if they were available. Seahawks President David Behring has said the team is not for sale, but Thiel notes two things in response: "Everything is for sale," and, lately, Behring Sr. and Behring Jr. have been "at some odds." While Ken Behring is upset at King County over the handling of the ceiling tile episode and at the fact the Kingdome was not included in recent baseball stadium legislation, David enjoys running the team. As for moving the team to the vacant L.A. market, Thiel notes the legal problems in breaking the Kingdome lease and the fact the NFL likes the Seattle market. Thiel writes, "Rather than going up against the hostiles in Seattle and the hostiles in the NFL, it may occur in the coming months to the Behrings that the hassles of continuing ownership simply aren't worth it. Thus, Paul Allen." Allen not only could write a check for the team, but also guarantee construction loans with his wealth as collateral (SEATTLE POST- INTELLIGENCER, 10/25).