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Volume 24 No. 155


The MLS Dynamo are "on the clock in a race to sell out the first playoff game in BBVA Compass Stadium history," according to Jesus Ortiz of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Sunday's 2:30pm CT MLS Eastern Conference Semifinals match against Sporting KC is "in many ways a test of the team's popularity in a town that loves the other football's Texans." Under "any circumstances, less than 72 hours wouldn't give the Dynamo much of a window to sell out a game." In a way, Sunday's match is "a referendum on the Dynamo's -- and MLS' -- popularity, and their match in Chicago was proof that Major League Soccer still has a long way to go." The crowd of 10,923 was "embarrassingly small, especially on national television." Dynamo F Brian Ching said of BBVA, "To have a playoff game there, it's just a great opportunity to reward our fans with a meaningful game and a great game. We're hoping that even though it coincides with the Texans' game, our fans will still come out." Dynamo President Chris Canetti had his sales force "busy with a social media and email campaign even before the final whistle blew Wednesday night." Canetti said, "It's basically all hands on deck. Whatever it takes in terms of manpower and hours. If there's 72 hours until kickoff, many of those hours will be used working (to sell the game)." He added, "Good news is we've been through this before several times. We pre-sold around 10,000 tickets over the last month or so because we've had a campaign going for people. It's pretty amazing" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 11/2).

: In N.Y., Jaime Uribarri notes Hurricane Sandy "forced a change of venues for the Eastern Conference semifinals after power was knocked" out at Red Bull Arena, the intended site of Saturday's DC United-Red Bulls match. MLS Commissioner Don Garber said, "I'd like to impress upon everybody that when we made the decision, we took into consideration all the issues that will impact all involved and made the best decision we believe is in the best interest of all parties." Uribarri notes on a "competitive level, the venue swap favors the Red Bulls." DC United President & CEO Kevin Payne said, "Our club worked very hard to try to earn home-field advantage in the playoffs and we're proud that we've achieved that. But there are times in which circumstances override competitive concerns, and this is clearly one of those times" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/2).

Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan "during a wide-ranging, 23-minute interview" discussed changing the team's culture and "whether the franchise might eventually bring the Hornets' nickname back to Charlotte," according to Rick Bonnell of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Jordan said of his ownership role, "I'm in it for the long haul. You're not going to run me out that easily. Losing is not something I take well, but it's not something I run from, either. ... So when people say we can't win here, it drives me nuts and gets me motivate to do everything I can to bring a winner here." Jordan, when asked if the Bobcats will ever be a desirable destination for a difference-making free agent, said, "I do. I also understand we've got to get our house in order, so that it becomes attractive to certain people. ... At the same time, I can't sit back and wait -- we have to nurture what we have." He said of his relationship with Bobcats players: "I don't have direct dialogue with them as much as I used to. I created a little bit more of a distance. ... I send subtle messages. I try to." Meanwhile, Jordan said that he is "open to a name change, but it's premature to say much more." Bonnell notes a "grass-roots campaign to return the Hornets' nickname to Charlotte picked up steam" when Tom Benson purchased the Hornets. Jordan: "It's definitely an interest down the road. But right now it's still the New Orleans Hornets. We're really not at liberty to discuss something owned by someone else" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/2).

In Pittsburgh, Ed Bouchette notes the Steelers are “left without a place to stay Saturday night because their hotel in Jersey City, N.J., has no power.” The team will “fly to New York Sunday morning for their 4:25 p.m. game that day against the Giants.” The Steelers “checked area hotel rooms and were unable to find one close enough with enough vacant rooms.” An NFL rule “mandates that visiting teams arrive in the host city a day before a scheduled game, but that rule obviously had to be bypassed in this case as it has on other similar occasions” (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/2).

ROUND 'EM UP: SI’s Michael Rosenberg cites a Harris Poll as showing that the Cowboys were the NFL’s “most popular team in each of the last five years, and this cuts across demographics.” They are “ranked No. 1 among women and No. 1 among Hispanics.” This would “all make perfect sense if the Cowboys were, you know, winning.” They have 3-4 record so far this season, yet the team remains “an enormous television draw and a persistent topic of national conversation.” Rosenberg: “Even if you can’t stand them, you can’t ignore them” (SI, 11/5 issue).

GREEN WITH ENVY: In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes, “Hard as it sometimes is to admit, the Celtics ownership group is doing a pretty good job.” This current Celtics group “has given us little to challenge,” as Managing Partners Wyc Grousbeck and Steve Pagliuca “are fans, but they aren’t calling plays from the bench.” They deliver “a pretty good product,” and they “haven’t insulted or pandered to their fans.” Shaughnessy: “We were skeptical about them in the early days, but as owners go, they have ranked surprisingly low on the buffoonery scale” (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/2).

FULL HOUSE: In N.Y., Marc Berman wrote, “No matter what happens, the Garden is expected to overflow with fans this season.” A Knicks spokesperson said that season tickets have “sold out for the second straight season, despite an average ticket price hike of 4.9 percent.” Last season was the “first time they sold out of season tickets" since '01-02. The Knicks credit "new amenities from the second phase of the MSG transformation with a new upper deck” for the season-ticket sellout (, 11/1).