SBD/16/Franchises

IN TORONTO, ARE RAPTORS VANISHING INTO A LOST WORLD?

          The Raptors announced their smallest SkyDome crowd in
     franchise history as 14,562 attended their game against the
     Pacers, a "testament to the team's struggles on the court
     and its wretched record," according to Doug Smith of the
     TORONTO STAR.  The team is 2-21 (TORONTO STAR, 12/16).  In
     Toronto, Steve Simmons: "Toronto is a fragile basketball
     market and has been from the start.  But the beginning seems
     so long ago, and what was once fragile is now even more
     tenuous."  Simmons adds that the city is "rapidly losing
     interest in the rancid Raptors, with all their stories and
     all their excuses and all their ownership fights and all
     their whining" (TORONTO SUN, 12/16).  Also in Toronto, David
     Israelson wrote on the Raptors under the header, "Raptors
     Need Some Better Marketing."  Season-ticket sales this year
     are in the 9,000-10,000 "range," down from 12,000 in the
     team's inaugural season (TORONTO STAR, 12/15).

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