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Old 07-03-2008, 12:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors to play exhibition games in Buffalo?

An exhibition game or two? Maybe.

But will the Toronto Raptors play regular-season games in Buffalo? No chance.

“We're not thinking home games. No, no, no, no. We're not giving those up,” said Richard Peddie, president of Raptors owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. “We have our fan base here we want to service.”

Peddie was responding to a report in Wednesday's Buffalo News in which local officials and the News publisher suggested the Raptors could be looking to expand their presence in upstate New York by playing preseason and perhaps even regular-season games at HSBC Arena.

“They're very eager about having some of their games played in Buffalo,” New York Senator Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday.

Buffalo News publisher Stanford Lipsey said the Raptors are “very interested, and I would expect us to get a preseason game in 2009.”

How about regular-season games? Said Schumer: “I wouldn't say it's done, but I think it's on the table.”

To which one MLSE insider said in response: “He's at a table set for one.”

The Raptors have a history of moving their training camps to different markets and holding preseason games beyond the Air Canada Centre in an effort to expand the NBA team's footprint beyond the Greater Toronto Area.

The Raptors have previously held a training camp in the Buffalo area and, two seasons ago, played a preseason game in Rochester, N.Y.

“We're booked for this year and we're probably in the process of being booked for next year,” Peddie said. “We like to take those games coast to coast, but that being said that [Buffalo] is a market that has been good to us and if the arena is right and the economics work, we'd look at it.”
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