Thursday, July 3
drawin': Raf / writin': Pete
Amount of money spent by Clay Bennett to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City:
City of Seattle, June 2008: $45 million
Additional money, 2013: $30 million
Relocation fee: $30 million
Losses, 2007-08 season (est.): $20 million
Losses, 2006-07 season (est.): $20 million
Moving fees (est.): $15 million
Legal fees (est.): $2 million
Add it all up and you come to a total of $162 million.
Why is this important? Because the cost of renovating KeyArena is now pegged at around $300 million, but, back when the team was sold, Howard Schultz was looking to spend about $225 million to renovate the building. After purchasing the team, Bennett indicated – repeatedly – that he had no interest in contributing any of his own money to the project (which eventually morphed into a completely new arena in Renton, at a price tag of $500 million).
And yet, Bennett has now committed more than half of that total just for relocating his new toy to Oklahoma City. If Bennett had just offered two-thirds of that figure - $100 million – while in Olympia fourteen months ago, yesterday would never have happened, and the state would have easily passed the bill to either build a new facility or renovate KeyArena. Further, by indicating that he was interested in helping the team, the miserable attendance figures of the past two years would have been considerably better.
Instead, Bennett kept his money in his pocket, because all along he had no interest in doing anything to keep this team here and a major interest, obviously, in getting a team for Oklahoma City.
$162 million goes a long, long way in this world. Apparently, though, just not in Seattle.