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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No New Teams? No Problem.

It looks as though, at least for now, that Seattle will be without the NBA and the NHL for a bit longer. The Kings have allegedly figured out a way to stay in Sacramento by, among other things, giving up parking meter revenue for the next 50 years.

The Phoenix Coyotes have also apparently found a local buyer that wants to keep them in the area, even though they are floundering there and have been for some time. Last but not least, there are allegedly multiple buyers interested in buying the Hornets with designs on keeping them in New Orleans.

A couple of things to consider in these situations; first, no owner is going to come right out and say publicly that they want to move the franchise – something we learned from Clay Bennett who, with the help of David Stern, created the perfect blueprint for uprooting and removing of a franchise; say the right things publicly, but do the opposite privately. Stern will not publicly support or acknowledge the desire to move franchises. He will play them for all her can and then use the possible threat of relocation as the carrot on the stick to get what he wants.

Secondly, no smart exec is going to go public with their interest in selling or moving a local team to another market. That will only serve to piss off and alienate the local fan base and support will quickly erode. You can’t afford to do that if you want to maximize your current market’s resources. Do the Kings, Hornets or Coyotes really have interest in Seattle? Who knows. It appears not, but those that are really in the know aren’t going to go public with their intent while trying to close a deal close to home. Remember; Bennett pretended to go through the motions in Seattle, albeit clumsily. We all knew his intent was to move the team, so while commiserating about possible available franchises for the Seattle market – and even the reality of an arena deal – the real intentions will be known only by a very select few – not the general public.

So, in the meantime, sit back and let the chips fall where they may. Let Seattle’s opportunities arise organically. If cities like Sacramento want to keep a team by overpaying, leveraging their future, and over valuing the franchise – let them. That’s bad business. It certainly makes for feel-good headlines for Kevin Johnson in the short term. But the price will be paid for a long time after those feel good headlines are memories.

No teams? No problem. Wait for the right opportunity at the right price. This is not Seattle’s loss, it’s the NBA and the NHL’s loss. They need to earn their way into the marketplace, not be treated like they are a gift to the community. There are football, baseball and soccer to pin your hopes on.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Boycott Seattle Times' Steve Kelly

In the latest article by Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelly, "It's Time to Forgive David Stern", Kelly urges Seattle fans 'to forgive NBA Commissioner David Stern', who's involvement was paramount to the theft and relocation of our Supersonics. Stern is not the only villain, there's plenty of blame to go around, but his involvement and influence were key factors in making it happen.

It's one thing to ask the average fan to forgive Stern because of his many failings; the bumbling CBA debacle, the failed business models, the meddling in a legitimate trade between the Lakers and Hornets, the revolving door of franchises under his watch, etc.

But to ask Seattleites, who supported the Sonics for 40 years only to have it ripped away because of his influence, to forgive Stern, is simply unconscionable. Steve Kelly is out of touch with the wants and needs of the Seattle sports audience and has been for some time. This piece of shameful, self-serving propaganda is too much.

In the comments section of the article the overwhelming sentiment against his position is staggering; I would conservatively guess it is north of 95% against his point of view. Stern neither warrants nor deserves 'forgiveness.'

Kelly does not represent the fans in Seattle, at least not when it comes to basketball. It's time for him to go. It's time to bring in someone who is in touch with the pulse of Seattle's sports wants and needs, someone who reflects the consensus, not someone who wants to make friends with the villain, and that is exactly what Kelly is doing. It serves his needs well as it leads to NBA coverage and a holiday card from the Commissioner. Well, there's an old saying, Steve; "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Stern is public enemy #1 in Seattle.

Where is Kelly's column calling out Howard Schultz to pitch in for an arena? Hmmm?

Seattle does not need to extend an olive branch to David Stern. It’s the other way around, Kelly. Figure it out on your way out the door.

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS ON KELLY AND HIS COLUMN HERE! They will be forwarded to the Seattle Times.

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.