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San Diego

In hopes of attracting another National Basketball Assn. franchise to the San Diego Sports Arena, an advisory board of community leaders has been formed to suggest ways to enhance the image of the 19-year-old facility.

Arena operators want to make it “a nicer place to visit,” said Donna Nenow, a spokeswoman for the facility. New, more comfortable seats have already been installed as well as a new roof, box seats and landscaping, she said.

In addition, food is being improved at the vending stands, she said. Popcorn will now be freshly popped, and Philadelphia-style steak sandwiches as well as hot dogs will be served.

The advisory group had its first meeting on Oct. 21. It consists of former City Manager Ray Blair, former Congressman Clair Burgener, businessman Malin Burnham, Councilman Bill Cleator, San Diego State University President Thomas Day and Lee Grissom, president of the Chamber of Commerce.

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“Drawing a professional basketball franchise is one of the most important . . . goals to the general public and elected officials,” said Vincent R. Ciruzzi, president and chief executive officer of San Diego Entertainment Inc., operator of the arena.

Ciruzzi, 56, took over operation of the arena in May from Peter Graham, whose management was blamed for the loss of several professional sports teams, including the San Diego Clippers and the San Diego Rockets of the National Basketball Assn.


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