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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Possible New Arena in Seattle, but Does Anyone Want the NBA Back?

It's been a while since I've posted. Since the Blunder are doing so well I can't goof on them anymore. But now there is movement in the Seattle arena situation and it's getting interesting.

There is a buzz around Seattle after confirmation that a new arena deal is being discussed, for real this time. Christopher Hanson, 44, a former Seattle native and current hedge fund manager, is behind the project. Hanson bought a piece of land in the SODO area (South of Downtown) and is targeting it for an arena location. This provides any proposed arena with a real location and gives this proposal a chance at success. Details of the financing are still being worked out, so there is a long way to go.

Hopefully, Hansen and his group will avoid asking for any public financing assistance, a topic that will roil the blood of Seattle residents, still bitter about the loss of the Sonics three years ago. In the grim economic reality of today, it's not a good time to be asking for public money for arenas that are used to lure professional sports franchises to town, especially the NBA, run by David Stern - public enemy number one to Sonics fans after his involvement in helping Clay Bennett take the team from it's home of 40 years.

Three years after our beloved Sonics were ripped from the city that supported them for 40 years, the NBA is now beginning the courting process. In Stern's arrogant fashion; he won't dare admit his huge mistake, nor will he acknowledge how the league desperately needs a city like Seattle back in the fold, not the other way around. No, instead he goes his usual route of arrogance by saying the league 'is open to discussions'.

What a douchebag.

Three years have gone by and I don't miss the NBA at all. I really don't. Without a team to root for I find myself seeing the league in a different light. It's really just a business. That's what they said as the team was leaving town. It's how they justified it. The message was loud and clear - don't get attached to your teams. Come and support them blindly, spend all your money to support them, but do not get emotionally attached.

Is there any other way to support them, other than emotionally? It's that exact passion that drives the fans - to connsume. The NBA wants it both ways; be passionate about spending your hard earned money, but don't complain when we want more and take your teams away. You can't have it both ways. This vaccuum the leagues (Mostly the NBA) are creating is alienating fans. Making the league's demand of 'come and spend more' expopnentially more obnoxious, is the perception that the NBA's product has become weak and uninteresting.

Supply and demand anyone?

Some fans may come back; many, like me, won't. Color me bitter, jaded and uninterested. I'm not the only one. If you read the fans' comments in the Seattle Times article, the vast majority had no interest in the NBA returning - and Seattle was a huge basketball town for many years. Could it ever return to it's glory days? It's possible, but it'll never be the same. We'll always be the city that lost the Sonics.

I get it. It's a business. But that business model took our team of 40 years away, alienating the fans, like me. I didn't look for another team to follow, or jump on the Heat bandwagon, or look for a way to get my basketball fix. I simply lost interest. Putting a team back in Seattle will make neat headlines, paint Stern as some kind of make-good icon and put Seattle back on the NBA map, as it should be. Sure it'd be nice, but it'd be false and hollow. The NBA needs Seattle, not the other way around.

Make no mistake, Seattle now becomes the threat and the leverage the NBA will use against other franchises that don't toe the NBA line by offering billion dollar palaces up to the commissioner. See Sacramanto as exhibit A. The only way Seattle gets a team is via location. There will be no expansion with the league already losing so much money.

Unfortunately, I don't have an NBA appetite anymore, and righting a wrong by bringing a league as messed up as the NBA to Seattle, won't erase the bitterness, create an appetite for the game, or heal the wounds it created. My interest in the league is long gone and I don't see it returning, even if it returns to Seattle. Too little, too late.

More to come.

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