Stern to Seattle: If you can’t take care of your team, we’re not getting you another one

Apparently unsatisfied with the response to his grumbling over Seattleites lacking the “heart” for Sonics arena subsidies, NBA commissioner David Stern upped the ante yesterday, telling reporters in Phoenix:

“I’d love to find a way to keep the team there. Because if the team moves, there’s not going to be another team there, not in any conceivable future plan that I could envision, and that would be too bad.”

And telling reporters in Oklahoma:

“If the Sonics do move, that would be too bad, because the NBA would be very unlikely to have a team in Seattle again.”

Needless to say, Stern would be cutting off his nose to spite his face if he followed through with the threat: Seattle is the nation’s 14th-largest media market, which isn’t something you leave vacant lightly. Seattle deputy mayor Tim Ceis, who has been one of the most vocal local critics of the Sonics’ arena funding demands, certainly seemed in no mood to play Blackmail, replying:

“If his strategy is to increase pressure on the city and state, it’s not working very well. He’s creating an exact opposite reaction. My suggestion is that Mr. Stern stop with the verbal airballs and talk to us directly instead of taking shots through press conferences.

“We hope he isn’t trying to aid and abet Mr. Bennett’s strategy for trying to break the lease. We’d like to take him at his word that he wants to keep the team here, but it’s hard to believe that with all this verbal nonsense being thrown at us. It’s getting a little old.”

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4 comments on “Stern to Seattle: If you can’t take care of your team, we’re not getting you another one

  1. Seattle is getting a new MLS team primarily owned by former-Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen. It would be sweet irony if Seattle lose their NBA team, but gain an MLS team. As a Seattleite, I will dance on the shores of Puget Sound!!!!

  2. This is all very amusing of Stern, but once his dead body hits the dirt & starts rotting in the ground, You bet your ass the NBA will put a team in Seattle, and start this whole process all over again, with different politicians in most likely.

  3. I don’t buy the whole media-market size argument. I say that because the majority of a team’s money doesn’t come from local media. Unless you’re in a really large media market (Chicago, LA, NYC), then, okay, it matters; on the other hand, if you’re comparing the 14th largest market with the 24th largest market, the local revenues are probably pretty close.

    They’ll probably get less local media money in OKC, but that’ll be overwhelmed many times over by a far more favorable arena deal.

    It really is the same situation in Sacramento, where we have the 19th-largest media market, but if some other city offers a better arena deal, the arena deal there would be so much better it wouldn’t matter if the new media market was the 30th largest in the country (especially if they end up being the only game in town, which the Kings currently are not; they compete with the Bay area pro teams).

  4. Moving from Seattle to OKC you’re going from the 14th largest media market to the 45th. That better be one hell of an arena deal.

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