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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Did Seattle Get it Right This Time?

The Sonics are gone and it sucks. But that collective groan from the economy may shine some sunlight on Seattle and their decision to let the team walk. Had Seattle rushed into a new arena deal to appease Der Kommisar David Stern and his idiot puppet Clay Bennett, the situation could be much worse. With the stock and real estate market disasters, it’s hard to justify public funding of stadiums at this point in time. It seems the timing actually favored Seattle, who just escaped having to walk that slippery slope. We can look at Seattle's leadership and say they bumbled the whole Sonics situation, and it's true. But from another perspective they nailed it perfectly based on the current economic climate. Hindsight is always 20/20.

The economic crisis is sweeping into sports. The Cowboys, Jets and Giants new stadiums are finding difficulty securing the lucrative naming rights teams demand as quick, easy money. Maybe it is a good thing as some of these stadium names have become absurd. With the average U.S. consumer deciding between necessities and entertainment, I think we know which will win out. This is not about choosing between a movie and a game. This is about putting food on the table and gas in the car. More guns = less butter. It’s economics 101.

The move of the Sonics comes on the eve of the worst economic downturn in decades. OKC fully carries the burden of supporting this team financially while families must decide whether spending $200 to go watch a very bad team is a prudent move. Plenty can afford to, but to many in the middle, that’s a costly expenditure. Even the owners of the team are taking a beating, watching helplessly as their stocks and net worth plunge. Can OKC and its tiny market support a team through this? A much larger market, like Seattle, could likely do it with its large metropolitan area and entrenched fan base. But a new stadium at this time? Huh uh.

Even as Stern announces plans to help fund stadiums in China, the NBA is purging nearly 10% of its employees stateside. Stern's cockeyed dream of global dominance via a world-wide NBA presence fails to recognize there are already well-established leagues in the preferred world markets. Stern seems to ignore the NBA woes here where staff are losing jobs and revenue is down, while he dreams of overseas market share. Shouldn't it be fixed here first? Perhaps the NBA’s braintrust that urged uprooting a team from Seattle's 12th market to OKC's 50 market and also is pushing financial aid for stadiums in China, should be part of that staff purging. Oh, I guess that would include Stern, now wouldn't it?

Maybe Seattle got it right this time.

Last Blunder loss: LA Clippers
Next Blunder loss: Phoenix.
Preseason record: 1-4.
Team outlook: Blunderful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting point of view. I never thought about it this way. I still hope NBA does badly in OKC. Whjat they did to you guys in seattle is BS. There's room on the Mav's bandwagon. Here in Dallas we think Okc is total bush league, btw.