SBD/8/Franchises

CANADIAN NEWS & NOTES: RIVALRY DEVELOPING IN TORONTO

     Noting the Maple Leafs are "facing real live competition in
the [Toronto] sports marketplace" for the first time, Stephen
Brunt of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL writes the Raptors and Leafs
are "jockeying" for fan support "right in front of the paying
public."  Brunt credits Raptors Exec VP Isiah Thomas for his
"boldness" and "creativity" in not making "expansion excuses"
last season and buying the franchise more "fan patience."  Brunt:
"The Raptors are trying to get better, fast, which might make
things just a little bit uncomfortable for a hockey team that at
this moment seems on the verge of entering yet another ownership-
driven dark ages" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/8).
     REMEMBER, COTTON SHRINKS:  A "rumor" that the Leafs plan to
"overhaul" their logo and sweater in two years when they hope to
move into a new arena was denied by Leafs Dir of Business
Ops/Communications Bob Stellick, according to Lance Hornby of the
TORONTO SUN.  Hornby writes the "classic" Leaf currently featured
on the shoulder patch could become the "dominant crest," with the
new team logo moved to the shoulder.  The change could also see
the color black added to the current blue and white.  The Leafs'
Stellick said, "Not true.  We're told by the league our sweater
is already in the top four or five sellers. ... We have a sweater
that's never gone out of style and we're happy with it" (TORONTO
STAR, 10/8).
     EXTINCT IN HALIFAX? The Raptors are "threatening" not to
play any more pre-season games in Halifax because of "sluggish"
ticket sales for Friday's game with the Hawks, according to Bill
Harris of the TORONTO SUN.  Harris adds ticket sales are also
"very slow" for pre-season contests against the Knicks in Ottawa
and the Heat in Buffalo.  Raptors VP/Events & Operations Brian
Cooper, on sales:  "We're perplexed.  It's one of the hotbeds of
basketball in Canada."  Only 7,000 tickets have been sold for the
Knicks game and "whispers" suggest the Heat matchup is in the
"worst shape of all" (TORONTO SUN, 10/8).
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