SBD/July 31, 2014/Facilities

Raptors Exploring New Practice Facility, With Announcement Coming As Soon As September

Toronto city officials "are in negotiations" with MLSE about "creating a new practice space" for the Raptors at Exhibition Place, a mixed-use district just west of downtown, according to Don Peat of the TORONTO SUN. MLSE is hopeful that if the negotiations "prove fruitful, an official announcement could happen" in September. MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke has made "no secret of his desire for a new, state-of-the art practice home" for the club. Leiweke has hinted that talks on the practice facility were "connected to negotiations about the BMO Field expansion." The Raptors’ current practice court is at the Air Canada Centre, and it is expected that MLSE will work with rapper and team ambassador Drake to "turn the third-floor practice facility at the ACC into a nightclub" (TORONTO SUN, 7/29).

TIME AFTER TIME: In Toronto, Doug Smith reported there are all kinds of whispers that "changes are afoot" for weeknight start times at Raptors' home games this season. Smith: "How would 7:30 p.m. weeknight starts suit you as opposed to the traditional 7 p.m. tips? It's not official but I’m hearing it from too many places and too many people to think it could be scuttled at this point." But the move just seems "far more of an inconvenience to all kinds of people than a solution to some perceived problem." It could "give the TV and radio guys a chance to do an extended pre-game show to fill the time but it also pushes back the end-of-game programming and that would preclude any kind of post-game" show (THESTAR.com, 7/30).
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