Here's an excerpt from a Jeff Holtz column, 7-1/2 years ago. After
the initial announcement, it was off, on again, on hold, etc.
Now I can't find anything - it just seems to have fizzled.
Maybe it's just a well-kept secret.
INSIDE JAI-ALAI FOR SUNDAY MAY 5TH, 1996 //BY JEFF HOLTZ
JAI-ALAI COMING TO PARIS, FRANCE
-----Jai-Alai is scheduled to be coming to Paris, France late in 1997 when
construction is completed on a 2,500 seat fronton that will be attached to
the grandstand at the city's Auteuil horse track.
-----The project has been started by French businessman Andre Cessart, who
is from the construction company Lefevere. He's working in conjuction with
the French Federation of Pelota and officials from both the fronton in St.
Jean De Luz and the Biarritz Athletic Club.
----Ultimately, the jai-alai operation will be headed by France Galop, the
pari-mutuel firm that provides the steeple chase races at the track, which
it rents from the city. It's begun negotiating with the Paris City Council
regarding the remodling procedures and a revised agreement for the future.
----Sources tell us the company plans to aggressively pursue the top stars
in the game. It wants to have a set roster of around 20 to be complemented
by a rotated, visiting contingent of 20 others in a circuit built through
agreements with frontons from all over the world.
-----Current Fronton Mexico Players' Manager Jean Sales, who is French, is
said to be the early frontrunner for that same position in Paris. One-time
Milford and Bridgeport backman Elorza might be one of first the players he
-----Cessart is flying to the United States this week to visit Milford and
the frontons in Florida and see how the quiniela/Spectacular Seven version
of the business is handled. Early speculation is that the complex in Paris
will go predominantly with that system.
----Betting on jai-alai at the Auteuil fronton would require a revision in
French law, which has always prohibited action on humans and forced all of
the tournaments and partidos in the Basque country to be held as spectator
events only. Through interviews we did for this column, it wasn't clear if
that change had taken place. Although, a number of people believed it had.
----The Auteuil Race Track is located on the western side of Paris. It has
a capacity of nearly 10,000 and is usually jammed on weekends and at about
50 percent for its two weekday performances. All of the slates are held in
the afternoon. The average handle wasn't available. However a spokesperson
for France Galop said "the track does very well".