Sonics madness

The Seattle Sonics‘ Oklahoma City move threat is getting crazier and crazier. Over the last few days:

  • Oklahoma state legislators announced they’re working on a proposed lease for the team that would offer tax breaks to the team, on top of the $122 million in arena upgrades (to an almost brand-new arena) they’d already be getting. The Sonics would pay $1.7 million a year in rent, but the city would pay arena operating costs, which could easily eat up that entire amount. And the team could opt out of the lease entirely if attendance fell below certain thresholds – but with a huge metropolitan arena like OKC and a successful team like the Sonics, that could never happen.

  • The Washington state legislature said it won’t consider a $300 million KeyArena renovation plan until next year, whereupon the local billionaires who proposed the deal (and pay for half of it if the state and city pay the other half) declared that if it isn’t approved by April 10, the deal is off the table.

  • NBA commissioner David Stern called the plan to renovate Seattle’s KeyArenaa late PR stunt,” and blamed local elected officials who supported a ban on public sports subsidies for the team leaving: “When Seattle does move, whether it’s the end of this season or two more seasons, what the mayor has managed to do was have a building that’s still going to have $26 million of bonding left without a major tenant. It’s a terrible situation. It’s not very fair for the fans of Seattle, but that’s the situation we got put in.”

  • Oklahoma City councilmember Pete White questioned whether the $20,000 a year the city has set aside for maintenance to a new team practice facility would be enough. Yeah, you read that right, $20,000 a year. I think we can guess what their intended capital improvements look like.


2 comments on “Sonics madness

  1. David Stern, asshat extraordinary, has said that [I’m paraphrasing] is that if you leave a building with 26 million in bonding empty that is MUCH worse for the city than adopting another 150 million in bonding on top of the 26 million and then heaping on top of that ongoing maintenance costs and “team hostage fees.”

    Let ’em move. If every city decided that they would no longer be held hostage to these billionaires whims then they wouldn’t be able to move the teams. And they wouldn’t be able to stick us with the bill for their buddies skyboxes and valet parking. Sports used to be fun. I used to go to games. I don’t even watch anymore.

    Maybe they could outsource the teams to India like our jobs. Hey Paul, you asshat, how does the Mumbia Sonics sound to you?

  2. My advice to Seattle: Let them go.

    My advice to OKC: You fools. A $127 million gift from the taxpayers wasn’t enough, now you also want them to play there rent-free? If you’re not incredibly angry, you’re not paying attention.

    My advice to Sacramento: PAY ATTENTION. You do NOT want to bend over like OKC is. We acted in a very mature way when we rejected Q&R, let’s not get all small-town rube and imitate OKC. Please, prove to me you’re smarter than that.

    End rant.