The Raptors "quietly" signed a lease agreement with the
SkyDome for the '98-99 season, which "virtually confirms"
that the proposed new arena will not be ready until "at
least" '99 (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/14)....In Dallas, Tim
Cowlishaw writes on the Stars under the header, "Fans Yet To
Embrace Stars." Team President Jim Lites: "With a (season-
ticket) base as small as we have now, about 7,500, that just
leaves a ton of tickets to sell. What's going to happen is
that the weekends are going to sell out. But the weeknights
will be tough" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/14).
NationsBank CEO Hugh McColl, whose bank is leading the
campaign for a new arena in Charlotte, says Nashville is
"courting" the Hornets, although Hornets Owner George Shinn
and Nashville officials have denied it, according to Bonnell
& Alexander in the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. McColl: "I do know
there are cities, like Nashville, that are wooing him and
who will write him a check to come over there and give him a
stadium as a side deal." Shinn: "I don't know where the
hell that came from" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/14).
In Houston, Harris County commissioners have agreed to
a $5.25M buyout with Oilers Owner Bud Adams that would allow
him to move the team to TN this fall and the county to begin
"searching in earnest" for a replacement team, according to
John Williams in the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Commissioner El
Franco Lee said the agreement, which the team accepted, is
for $3.75M plus the team's $1.5M practice facility. The
deal will be voted on at Commissioners Court on February 25,
and still must be approved by the city of Houston and
Astrodome USA. A representative from Mayor Bob Lanier's
office said Lanier "does not intend" to block the deal, but
he said the team must reimburse the city for legal fees, as
much as $500,000, incurred the past two years dealing with
the team (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/14).
Mavericks' Owner Don Carter's sale of most of his
remaining stake in the team to Fort Worth billionaire and
MLB Rangers part Owner Richard Rainwater "could become a
factor" in the team's negotiations to build a new arena,
according to Todd Gillman in the DALLAS MORNING NEWS.
Mavericks' Majority Owner Ross Perot, Jr. said the sale,
announced yesterday as part of a $300M real-estate deal,
creates "many options" outside Dallas. Perot, who "repeated
his commitment" to trying to cut a deal in Dallas: "He
acquired a lot of Don's land. Which means that he has the
Lewisville site, which is a great arena site. He's involved
in the Arlington site with the Rangers, which is also a
great arena site. So it brings many options to the table --
if we decide to go that route" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/14).
A survey conducted by the Behavior Research Center of
AZ revealed that women's basketball is the third most
popular sport in AZ, "well ahead of baseball," according to
Jeff Metcalfe of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The survey asked 711
AZ residents to name their two favorite sports to watch.
Football was first, 54% named pro, 52% college, followed by
men's basketball, 38% pro, 47% college. Women's basketball
received 37% and MLB drew 19%, two points higher than
pro/college volleyball and four points above figure skating,
gymnastics and track (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/14).
DON'T CALL ME DAUGHTER: The WNBA's Phoenix companion to
the Suns is called the Phoenix Mercury (ARIZONA REPUBLIC,
2/14). In Sacramento, the WNBA team is the Monarchs (Kings).