Monday, April 30

Bennett Changes Tactics

After receiving a bit of a reprimand from David Stern - issued through intermediary Jim Gary - Clay Bennett - using his intermediary Jim Kneeland - is no longer using Las Vegas as an option for the Sonics. (The best quote was from Stern when Gray prompted him to comment on Bennett's Las Vegas comments. "I don't think he said that," sayeth David. When Gray pressed further, Stern revised his Moses-on-Mt.-Sinai attitude to one of, well, maybe he'll take it back.).

I never really believed Vegas was a likely choice; for the simple reasons that they don't have an arena and they haven't yet buckled under on eliminating betting on basketball. It's clear that Bennett was simply using Vegas as an excuse to extort the city/state into giving him what he wants - a beautiful stadium in King County, in which his only "investment" will be the money generated by naming rights.

The more I read about this story(ies), the more I begin to believe that Bennett might be between a rock and a hard place. His only real option at this point is Kansas City, and I can't imagine the league would rather have a team in K.C. rather than Seattle. While the legislature deserves some of the criticism it has been receiving for its Pollyanna attitude re the stadium, it warms my heart no small amount to think that a professional sports franchise is being forced to call its bluff.


Mr Baker said...

They don't want to leave the 15th largest media market for the 54th, or the 31st television market in Kansas City. Having a team drop in value, due in part by it's value of local media, is bad for the NBA. The Commish will protect the league's overall value, that can have an impact on the national television value.

Anonymous said...

Bennett's only real option is Kansas City, one of the most overextended sports markets in the country? Even the Key might be a better option. Oklahoma City happens to be the 45th biggest television market, so Mr. Supersonicsfan's data is inaccurate, but Bennett will take a financial hit in terms of team value if he moves the Sonics. Thing is, the only time team value matters is if you're selling. The Sonics were worth more if they could have been moved to San Jose than in Seattle, so it's scarcity, not home market that determines value. As to whether they can make more money in Seattle in the Key Arena or in Oklahoma City in a free arena may be a question for their accoutants.

Mr Baker said...

I sit corrected, 45th, thanks Anonymous.

I didn't say they should stay in the Key Arena.

Being locked in a lease in OKC vs the Seattle market (or the KCity market) after 2010 and for how long influences resale value too.

the 30 million dollar relocation fee paid the the league, another little factor.

Mr Baker said...

Study says King County has 68,000 millionaires
the newspaper story:

the report listing King county as #10:

I know, buy the Sonics and then move them away from 68,390 millionaires as soon as possible, what a great idea.

Anonymous said...

$30 million relocation fee? More like $50 million, at least, as there is no set fee for relocation. And if he wants to trade out Seattle for OKC, they are going to make him pay for losing the Seattle market in favor of his home town.

And to the other Anonymous about a "free" arena? Sure they'll get a sweetheart deal, but OKC would be insane to offer anyone free rent. Especially when Bennett is already saying that the arena in OKC isn't good for long-term NBA success and will need expanding as well.

Seriously, taking the emotion out of it, is the NBA really this dumb? Forget the shortcomings of the Key for a moment. How anyone can analyze trading Seattle for OKC and think it's good for the league? Doesn't the commish and the board of governors realize the kind of bottom-line damage this will do to their league? How is a move from Seattle to OKC viewed as a good one? Will they trumpet Bennett for standing up to local government and taking his toy back home when the state didn't want to play along? Do they want to use Seattle as an example of what happens when you don't cower to ownership demands of a new building?

I know they'd spin it as rewarding the great fans of OKC who came out and supported the Hornets for all of two years, but is it worth destroying over 40 years of history in Seattle in the process, a place with a still-flourishing economy in a metropolitan city that is also viewed as a gateway to Japan?

Anonymous said...

I agree with just about all of your points. I think the only logical argument you can make on the NBA's behalf for why they would let the Sonics move from Seattle to Oklahoma is to enhance their hand when dealing with other municipalities. If Bennett were to spend more of his own money to build a facility, then the NBA and its teams would not be able to negotiate as tenaciously with other areas (e.g., Sacramento). Yes, the league would suffer a backlash in the media for a short period of time for letting the Sonics leave Seattle, but they would make up for that short-term negative firestorm a thousandfold when negotiating stadium deals in other areas.

Joshua Blevins Peck said...

I'm in Oklahoma--Tulsa--and hope he doesn't move the team here to be honest. The Ford Center is a couple of years old and Bennett is already acting like it's about to fall down and not suitable for his long term goals. OKC might bend over backwards to get a team but I'd rather it be one w/ less history than the Sonics. Like the Hornets. I was a huge Colt fan as a kid and was heartbroken when they skipped town in the middle of the night for Indianapolis. Hope it doesn't happen to the Super Sonics. I lived in Seattle for 6 years so followed them a bit there too...

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