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The Raptors have "issued a deadline" of next Wednesday for the Maple Leafs to decide if they're interested in a joint arena deal, according to Craig Daniels of the TORONTO SUN. If the Leafs "can't make up their minds by then," the Raptors "claim they'll go at it alone" at Air Canada Centre. Daniels notes that the deadline is "being driven" by a C$40M payment that Raptors Majority Owner Allan Slaight has to make before January 18 to commission construction of the proposed Air Canada Centre (TORONTO SUN, 1/9).
Over 1,300 attended a two-hour meeting in South Boston to discuss the possibility of building a football stadium in the neighborhood, according to Tina Cassidy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Throughout the meeting, residents and politicians "expressed loud opposition" to the Patriots' bid to build a $200M stadium in South Boston and "not one" person spoke in favor of Patriots Owner Robert Kraft's proposal. Kraft was called a "coward" for not attending the meeting, during which local leaders "spent most of the night calling the team owner dishonest as well for saying he would not build the stadium if the community is against it." Cassidy reports that while Kraft said he had committed to other business obligations before receiving an invitation to the meeting, sources said the Pats' owner was concerned that "a hostile audience would make it difficult for him to explain the proposal in detail" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/9). Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, on the Patriots playoff run putting new focus on the stadium issue: "It's getting a little crazy. ... Because of all the excitement, Kraft sees an opportunity and thinks he'll play on the emotions of the people. And he's doing it" (Brian Mooney, BOSTON GLOBE, 1/9). Tina Cassidy reported in yesterday's BOSTON GLOBE that RI Gov. Lincoln Almond called Kraft to say the state was willing to help the team find a new home "within it's borders" if a new stadium deal cannot be sealed in MA (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/8).
A reported deal between Seattle and the Mariners is "on the skids again amid growing signs of opposition by City Council members." A news conference to announce a proposal for the city and the M's to share game-day costs was canceled by Mayor Norm Rice late Tuesday (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/8)....In Houston, at Mayor Bob Lanier's request, the City Council unanimously approved a contract Wednesday to hire lawyer Richard Caldwell for $40,000 to "represent the city's interest in [Rocket's owner Les] Alexander's lawsuit to get out of the Rockets' lease of the city-owned Summit" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 1/9)....Developers Jim Bradley and Tom Bradley will head the building of the $6M Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, FL -- a twin-rink ice-skating facility that will become the practice home for the Lightning (Lightning). ...Renovations at the Rose Bowl include the selection of a Panasonic Astrovision Giant Video Display Screen. The Astrovision purchase is part of the $22M Rose Bowl Improvement Project currently underway (Rose Bowl).