Wednesday, September 14

Tacoma Sonics? Oh, Please

The Tacoma City Council, seemingly intent on getting their names in the newspaper this week, have put out the question: What would it take to make the Tacoma Dome an acceptable arena for either the NHL or the NBA?

Of course, the correct answer is lots of strippers, but the council isn't interested in that, they're more interested in how much money it would take to get the 29-year-old building into something resembling pro-sports-ready status. $45 million? $145 million? $3.1 billion?

Anyone with a nickel's worth of common sense would tell you that there is no way 17,000 people are going to make the drive down I-5 at 6:30 to watch a basketball game (Anyone out there remember what it was like in 1994-95? Care to re-enact that fiasco? I didn't think so.).

And that's what it boils down to. It's conceivable that the NHL would give it a look, but even that's pushing it. Any professional sports team in this region that wants to be successful is going to need to draw people from the greater Seattle area, which means either a team in downtown or on the eastside, not Tacoma, no how matter how much money they put into renovating the Tacoma Dome.

(via Bellingham Herald)


jason said...

Total news cycle grab by the council. It's possible the NHL bites, but there's no way in hell the NBA even considers Tacoma. Just a non-starter.

Anonymous said...

instead of bitching that a team could potentially be in tacoma. how about we be happy that theyre actually trying to do something about bringing a team back to this region.

PN said...

Don't think anyone's bitching, just saying that it's unrealistic. If Tacoma can pull it off, hey, good for them, but do you seriously think the NBA would want a team in Tacoma, no matter how good their arena is?

As for bringing a team back to the region, I think having the Tacoma city council talk about re-doing the Dome advances that situation about 3/8" along. Any discussions not involving Bellevue, KeyArena, or Ballmer are just wastes of time, in my opinion.

david said...

I can see both sides here - I totally agree that we should support anyone who wants to bring the NBA back, even if their plans are "unrealistic" because at least it gets people talking about bringing the NBA back to the area.

On the other hand, the idea of the NBA succeeding in Tacoma is veeeeerrrry unrealistic to me. Sofa, you're right, south sounders do plow up that mess every day, but the problem isn't getting the Tacoma population motivated to go, it's to get the Seattle-area population motivated to go.

Think about it; what's the % of people at a Sonic game that are from Greater Seattle? 70%? 80%? At minimum, it's 50%, and that's being kind. Now, what time would you have to leave Seattle or Bellevue to reach Tacoma by 7 pm on a weeknight? 5:45? It's about a 30-mile drive , so you've got to figure, what, 45 minutes if things are going well? I'm sorry, but I just don't see alot of people committing to driving 45 minutes in heavy traffic to go to a basketball game 40 times a year. From what I remember, the largest percentage of season-ticket holders was on the eastside, and since a lot of them work in downtown, it makes sense to have the arenas either in downtown or the eastside. Driving from Bellevue to Seattle for your commute, then driving from Seattle to Tacoma to watch a game, then driving from Tacoma to Bellevue to get home means like, what 100+miles on your car every time you watch the Sonics?

Sorry, guys, I wish Tacoma nothing but success, and will do whatever I can to help them move this thing along, but I just don't see how this is even REMOTELY likely to happen.

Paul said...

All I remember about the Sonics in Tacoma is going down there with you and Chunk ( late 80s?) to watch the Atlanta Hawks with Moses Malone and being STONED OUT OF MY MIND but not telling you guys. Judging by the way Moses was staggering around mid-court all game, I'm pretty I wasn't the only one.

nuss said...

You must have been stoned, because that game was at the KINGDOME, not the T-Dome. I know, because we were at the top row of the 3rd deck, and I got to touch the ceiling of the dome. Oh, and that Moses and Alton Lister made some sort of pact that they would only play defense on alternating possessions. That way, they didn't have to run all the way down to the court on every possession.

Oh, and Pete Rose was sitting at half court. I think he had the Sonics +3.

Paul said...

That's right. Now that I think of it, the only time I remember going down to the T-Dome was to see Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy in a steel cage match. Well worth the drive!

Kingdome said...

Tacoma certainly has the population to support one or the other (NHL/NBA). There are 1,650,000 people between Southcenter and Olympia, Port Orchard and Eatonville. What it lacks is the corporate base. It just lost its biggest recently to Seattle (Russell Investments). Weyerhaeuser in Federal Way, a former Tacoma company, is the only heavy hitter down there until you venture into Kent.

I would love to see Tacoma land the NHL and either Bellevue or lakeside in Renton land the NBA.

PN said...

I could see an NHL team surviving there only if the NBA didn't come to Seattle. Remember, one of the key reasons the Sonics struggled was the inability to sell out their luxury boxes after the M's and Seahawks improved their stadiums. An NHL team in Tacoma would have to compete with the M's, Hawks, Sonics, and the Sounders (not to mention the Huskies). In this economy, or, heck, even a good one, that's a huge mountain to overcome.