View Full Version : Sonics begin relocation talks

05-29-2007, 10:52 PM
NewsOK: Sonics begin relocation talks<br/><span class='hl2'>Team's chairman says OKC likely destination if Sonics leave Seattle, but negotiations will include Kansas City</span> (

"Bennett said Tuesday that despite the splendid lottery news of last week the Sonics will pick second in the NBA draft, giving them either Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, both projected superstars he is out of ideas for a new arena in Seattle and has begun preliminary discussions with Oklahoma City and Kansas City about possible relocation."

05-29-2007, 11:30 PM
This is just another part in the PR facade he's put on the whole time.

He's doing a really good job of dancing and spinning, here. He's wanted to come to OKC the whole time, but he's just sticking behind his word to wait til after Halloween to do anything and is starting to slowly drop hints and news that coming to OKC is all but a certainty.

At this point, if the Sonics don't come, I'd be more than shocked.

05-30-2007, 08:35 AM
Looking good Kotter

06-01-2007, 12:46 PM
There are two ways (probably more) to look at this situation. Either Bennett's really serious about moving or he's just increasing the pressure on the Seattle politicians to work something out.

He's maneuvered into a real win-win here.

06-01-2007, 01:49 PM
He also has to do it for the league. He doesn't just get to arbitrarily dictate where a team goes and he has to convince the league that he has done the due diligence and that Oklahoma City is a relatively viable market.

I haven't followed any relocations that closely, but it does seem like he is doing everything he can now, so that when he does apply for relocation, and has to go the the NBA to get approval, he'll be able to demonstrate that OKC is a slam dunk. That is, "slam dunk" of the Shaquille O'Neal vareity and not the George Tenet vareity.

06-01-2007, 01:59 PM
He doesn't just get to arbitrarily dictate where a team goes and he has to convince the league that he has done the due diligence and that Oklahoma City is a relatively viable market.

Not that many weeks ago, NBA commish David Stern said OKC was #1 on the list for relocation franchises. I think that part of the sales job is already done.

Honesetly, I think had the Hornets been owned by anyone other than Shinn, Stern might have let them stay here. Everything I've read indicates Stern loathes him (primarily because of Shinn's antics when he moved the Hornets from Charlotte), and is equally loathe to do anything that would remotely be considered help - and letting him stay in a city where he can make money falls into that category.

Stern is too cagey a player as a pro sports commish - one of the best in my estimation (which isn't worth much) - to say something like that capriciously. From another angle, he was equally willing to inform Bennett "behind the scenes" (and even, to a degree, publicly) that Bennett's vague reference to Las Vegas as a possible relocation city for the Sonics was a non-starter. Heck, Stern wouldn't even let the Las Vegas mayor make a presentation.

The point is that Bennett is in the catbird seat; he can go almost where he wants, and even if he can't, he can sell it to whomever might want to take it. In any event, he's created for himself one magnificent investment.


06-01-2007, 04:52 PM
I think that part of the sales job is already done.

No doubt. That just leaves the owners left to convince.

06-02-2007, 05:40 PM
No doubt. That just leaves the owners left to convince.

Agreed. I wonder what Kansas City is offering, besides a rent free arena. The Sprint Center has 20 more suites than the Ford Center, although 700 fewer seats. They are a small city to have three professional teams, perhaps the smallest if they get a third? I would like to think the entire state of Oklahoma would support an NBA team, at least in terms of viewing games on television, even if not attending most or any. And, can we cobble together a television deal that is competitive? Although we're the 45th market, marketing the team to the entire state would put us above several of the other NBA markets. What can we as a city do or offer to make this happen?

06-03-2007, 09:27 AM
I'm telling all of you sports fans out there...if you to talk Basketball.. there is no better person that 'betts' above.

She knows more than anyone I've ever met about basketball. Amazing.

Betts, what are your latest thoughts on the Sonics? What chance do you give them staying in Seattle, coming to OKC or going elsewhere?

Your thoughts?

06-03-2007, 05:15 PM
Clay Bennett is being interviewed by Dean Blevins tonight. There have been teasers on channel 53 that I've seen. I am hoping it will be informative.

As far as whether the Sonics will relocate, it's looking more and more like that will be the case. Short of a special session of the Washington legislature being called, I don't know how they can come up with a publicly funded arena. I think some people in Seattle are hoping, since the Sonics will be there for the 2007/2008 season, that the legislature can come up with something in 2008. There are a couple of reasons why that is a dim hope: first of all, I believe I read that the legislative session is going to be considerably shorter there next year, this is not an election year so the members of the legislature will be the same and that puts the timeline for a new arena out as much as four years after the Sonics were purchased. If Clay et al are truly losing 20 million a year, he will be out $80 million before the new arena is completed and move-in ready. I don't know if they are willing to wait that long. I'm starting to think that when he says a decision must be made by Oct. 31, he means it.

As far as private money for a new arena is concerned, Clay has always said there needs to be a significant public component. One of the reasons that is the case is because if the arena were built by a private individual, unless he or she were doing it for philanthropic reasons, all profits would have to be split with that owner. Basketball teams are marginal financial investments to begin with, and although the trend has been for them to appreciate rapidly, the annual profits are typically small relative to investment. So, I don't see them being too excited about a privately funded arena, unless there's some sort of special deal made for them.

Now, if he moves the team, will he move it to Oklahoma City or Kansas City? I would like to think that all the owners are pro-Oklahoma and all things being equal, would like to bring a team here. I believe that was their initial intent, when Clay started talking to George Shinn about keeping the Hornets here. In the interval, he's learned a lot more about the business of basketball, and that's where I think his concern lies. Smaller markets supposedly are less lucrative, and he paid a lot for the team and will need to pay more to move it and get out of his lease...somewhere in the $75 million dollar range. So, he's taking a risk with a large amount of money.

There is a fallacy to the small market concern, though, because market size is not the only determining factor for profit. Seattle, clearly, as a larger market is not profitable, and teams like Golden State, Atlanta and the New Jersey Nets make less than small market teams like Salt Lake City and Memphis. One of the things I've noticed is that teams that make the playoffs tend to make more money, which is not surprising, given the fact that they play more games and the ticket prices are higher. Attendance is another factor. Teams with better attendance make more money, regardless of location. And television contracts have an effect as well. Salt Lake City has a television contract that pays $2 million dollars more than Seattle's, despite the disparity in market size.

Kansas City has a smaller arena, but far more suites than we do. They are probably offering a rent free lease. However, they would have three teams with a population of only 1.9 million, and their prior NBA track record is not good. Also, David Stern has said we will be the next city to get an NBA team, and he doesn't like going back on his word. I do believe the the ownership group would prefer to have the team in Oklahoma City, but I don't think we should assume that will happen without any effort on our part. We will need to put together a television deal that at least equals that of New Orleans ($8 million), and that should be done by showing games throughout the state, perhaps Wichita and western Arkansas as well. We need to give the Sonics an excellent lease with the Ford Center, and perhaps offer parking and concessions percentages. We need to buy out the naming rights from the Ford dealers and sell the naming rights for a nice sum of money (Sonic Corp, perhaps?). And we need to promise to do our best to build a new state of the art arena in the next 5 to 10 years.

Why should we do all this? You hear the argument that the owners are all billionaires and they should build their own arena. But, these men have already spent $350 million dollars on a team which, if they bring it to Oklahoma City, we will all have a chance to enjoy. They will have to spend at least $75 million to move the team. If they are lucky, they will make $15 to $20 million dollars profit a year, after expenses, which is only a 5% return, at best. The Knicks lost $38 million last year, so a season where no profit is made is always a possibility, especially in a smaller market. If they take a chance on Oklahoma City, we need to make the risk worth their while. I sincerely believe having an NBA team will be the biggest factor in growth we could possibly have. And, having your city's name on ESPN at least 82 nights a year is advertising we could not begin to buy for the amount of money we will have to spend.

Sorry this was so long.....

06-04-2007, 01:34 PM
There is a fallacy to the small market concern, though, because market size is not the only determining factor for profit.

Definitely. It's not necessarily the size of the market, it's the size of the sports market. While OKC would be one of the smaller markets with a major league team, I bet it is at least a mid level sports market. There is a huge first mover advantage to any team that comes here.

I also agree with you on the naming rights and TV. The naming rights were sold for chump change, but they also didn't have the exposure of a big league tenant. However, it would be interesting to see of the Ford dealerships would only sell at market value, which would be much higher with an NBA team coming in and could negate any gains by entering a new agreement. It may just turn out that they made the marketing deal of the century.

As for TV, hopefully the track record of the popularity of the NBA in the market will help. I have no idea how good the ratings were for the Hornets, but I really believe that a permanent team will draw much more committed viewership regionally. Sure, they drew well regionally as far as attendance goes, but I would say that, outside of the metro, you had less regional TV support than you’ll get with a team permanently located in the region.

if they bring it to Oklahoma City, we will all have a chance to enjoy.

I see what you're saying, but that's not entirely true. I'm not arguing against subsidizing a team in some ways, but only tickets holders will get to see them and they will still have to pay. So, we all share in the subsidy, but we still have to pay to see them and that will be limited to 19.1k per game of the people who can afford it. A tangible way in which the city or state could actually assist in public access to such a publicly subsidized venture would be to help out in the TV package, directly or indirectly.

The justification for economic incentives really isn't there when you look at just the direct dollars and revenues. I mean, I'm not sure that anyone would look at those numbers for any company and say that it's obvious we should subsidize that business. A lot of the benefits are once removed and not easily as quantifiable: Increased quality of life, tangential investment due to the centralized commerce traffic created by games, and increased visibility that mitigates marketing costs and strengthens marketing dollars. I think it would be hard to convince anyone that a business should be subsidized just because they only net a 5&#37; return, especially when the 5% amounts to 15 million dollars. It truly is the visibility factor that is the unique leverage of major league sports used against states and municipalities to garner public assistance.

06-04-2007, 04:06 PM
I agree completely that tangible revenue from a sports franchise is probably a fallacy, especially a basketball team. And I agree that by buying tickets we help subsidize the team. But I disagree that a $15 million dollar profit annually (which is close to the best a team here will do) is a great return on a $425 million dollar investment. What we are doing by buying tickets is subsidizing a percentage of a team's expenses. Were the owners to build their own arena, their profit margin would plummet. I see it in a similar vein to a college or university. Colleges cannot operate on the money generated by tuition alone. They have to receive public subsidies or private donations. People could not afford to pay the tuition a college would have to charge if there were no public subsidy or donation. Similarly, were an owner to charge the prices for tickets it would take to build, own and operate both an arena and a team, most people would not be able to afford them. A basketball franchise too needs assistance to make even a reasonable profit, which is still not a guarantee. There are teams in publicly funded arenas losing money.

But, and it may be related to my love of basketball, I see an NBA team as a city symbol, something many people can enjoy, similar to public parks and art museums. If marketed properly, it could be a state symbol and a source of pride for all our residents. Teams frequently give tickets to the underprivileged, and almost anyone can watch their team on television, so it does not have to be only for the elite. And, I do believe in the the fact that people are more likely to want to stay here after college, or move their business here, or relocate here, that it's good for your city to be mentioned on ESPN. I personally am willing to give up some of my personal income, be it sales tax or hotel and restaurant tax, to make that happen.

06-05-2007, 09:11 AM
At this point only a blockbuster proposal would keep Bennett from moving the team...And this ain't it folks!

The Muckleshoot Tribe is actively crafting a proposal that could move the Sonics to a new arena on tribe-owned land in Auburn.

The idea has attracted interest since Sonics owner Clay Bennett met with tribal officials in February at former NBA star and Sonics coach Bill Russell's home on Mercer Island, said Bob Santos, the longtime civic and International District activist who arranged the meeting.

The tribal council last week directed its staff to examine a potential partnership with Bennett, and how a new arena would be financed, tribal spokesman Rollin Fatland said.

There has been no formal proposal, and Bennett has reportedly voiced concern about the distance fans would have to drive from Seattle if the team relocated from KeyArena to a site adjacent to Emerald Downs racetrack, which sits on property owned by the Muckleshoots.

The site is 24 miles from downtown Seattle.

"It's a heckuva lot closer than Oklahoma City," Santos said Monday when reached at home.

The idea started with Santos, who said he thought it up while driving by Emerald Downs on state Route 167 and seeing all the open space around it.

"I said, 'Jesus, that's a parking lot there' and I wish we could transfer all that property downtown. And then it hit me -- that's the site of the arena," said Santos, retired director of the Inter*Im Community Development Association who is known in the community as "Uncle Bob."

Santos suggested the idea to former Muckleshoot tribal Chairman John Daniels Jr. while the two attended a Seahawks game together last fall. The tribe also owns one of the state's most prosperous casinos and a bingo hall and is a partner in the White River Amphitheatre.

Santos said he then called Russell, a family friend, who thought he could get Bennett to agree to a meeting.

Bennett has said he plans to move the team, most likely to Oklahoma City, unless he can get public financing for a new arena. A plan to build an arena in Renton died when the state Legislature took no action on a King County tax package that could have provided as much as $300 million for the project by extending existing stadium taxes, including hotel/motel, rental car and restaurant taxes. Russell had lobbied with Bennett for legislative support.

Bennett couldn't be reached Monday for comment.

The Muckleshoot Tribe bought the 185-acre Emerald Downs property for $73.6 million in 2002, property records show. It filed an application with the Bureau of Indian Affairs last year to place the land in federal trust for a potential casino.

The area would be close to hotels, restaurants and the SuperMall of the Great Northwest in Auburn -- and South King County expects population growth in the next few years, Santos said.

Tribal Chairwoman Charlotte Williams declined comment Monday, but Fatland, the spokesman, said Muckleshoot staff has been directed to "take a look at it."

He said the analysis would include whether "the location is conducive to basketball given where the fan base is and the traffic infrastructure."

Santos said he spoke last week with Bennett, who told him the door was "still open" on the tribe's interest in an arena, but that other options were on the table. Bennett reportedly planned to visit Emerald Downs, Santos said.

"My job is to bring people together," Santos said. "I don't want to lose another franchise."

06-05-2007, 09:14 AM
Muckleshoot? What the heck is a Muckleshoot?

OKC vs Muckleshoot

I think you're right.. 'this ain't it folks!'

06-05-2007, 09:17 AM
SuperMall? Muckleshoot? Fatland? "Uncle Bob"?

Is this some sort of joke?

06-05-2007, 09:23 AM
lol - Are we on Candid Camera?

06-05-2007, 10:47 AM
Muckleshoot. Isn't that from Harry Potter?

06-05-2007, 10:53 AM
Muckleshoot? What the heck is a Muckleshoot?

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Home Page (

06-05-2007, 10:54 AM
And then there's this from everyone's favorite web site, Wikipedia:

The Muckleshoot are a Native American tribe descended from the Coast Salish people of the Pacific Northwest. Traditionally, the Muckleshoots lived along the eastern shores of Washington State's Puget Sound region and the adjacent rivers of the Cascade Range. They spoke Whulshootseed ( xwəlšucid ), a local form of Lushootseed; most Muckleshoots today do not speak their ancestral language, but some do and the tribe has an active program for its preservation and resuscitation. Most Muckleshoots now live on or near the 15.871 km&#178; (6.128 sq mi) Muckleshoot Reservation, between the White and Green rivers southeast of the city of Auburn. With an approximate population of more than 3,000, the Muckleshoots are one of the largest Native American groups in Washington State. The 2000 census reported a resident population of 3,606 on reservation land, although more than 61 percent of these were of Caucasian heritage only, and 28.65 percent reported solely Native American heritage. The city of Auburn extends onto much of the reservation's land, and includes 72.6 percent of the reservation's population.

Muckleshoot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

06-05-2007, 11:10 AM
Muckleshoot. Isn't that from Harry Potter?

If it's not, it should be. :-)

Actually, I have great respect for the tribes.

Kayaking through the Inside Passage we were able to see many of the Native American tribe's location and former reserves. It was fascinating. The totem poles were awesome.

I'm just having fun with the name.. I like it.

Muckleshoot, Muckleshoot, Muckleshoot

06-05-2007, 12:11 PM
It just doesn't sound like a real indian name. It sounds like something made up for a Disney movie.

06-05-2007, 02:35 PM
I cant believe that Bennett would want to attach his franchise to that location and identity. Who knows what is going to happen- which is typical. Some knucklehead has to come up with a way to save the sonics using casino money at the last second. Private money definitely spells success in puget sound. Location stinks and I believe it will have a lower profile for fan support. Bennett has to look it over especially when someone cries out "we will save the sonics with private investment". I dont feel he we go for it because it will give the team an ugly image. But if they come up with a good design/private money for an arena la de da da then they will stay because of PR. Someone put me on some meds to keep me stable until Oct. 31st

06-05-2007, 11:47 PM
Muckelshoots are an Indian (Native American) tribe here in the Puget Sound area. They have a very successful and long standing casino operation and are considered one of the most successful tribes financially. They build quality in their buildings and are spoken of highly in the local Seattle scenes.

So with the Muckelshoots now trying to craft something, lots of Seattle fans are holding hope that something will be accomplished and the Sonics will stay here. Even those of us who want them to leave town and head for OKC there are some who would like for private investment like this to step in.

However, there was a somewhat similar attempt by a former Sonic minority owner to offer land in S Seattle for an arena which led to nowhere, and I believe this attempt by the Muckelshoots will do the same. Why?

1) Bennet has said all along that the arena deal would need to be approved before Oct 31 of this year. This means, the funding plan would need to be in place and all approvals would need to be complete before Oct 31.

2) Bennett said that the funding must include significant public package. He came up with a plan for the state to fund up to $320M+ and the city of Renton to fund $100M+. The private sector would contribute the remaining $80M or so.

3) Bennett said he wants the arena to be in Renton, which is centrally located in the Puget Sound (population wise).

4) Bennett said that the arena would be publicly owned but managed by the Sonics who would also receive the majority of the proceeds and concessions, making the Sonics a profitable venture.

These four articles MUST BE MET for the Sonics to stay in Seattle - OR a private deal trumping this must be presented.

From item 1), Oct IS THE DATE. Bennett will NOT move it to wait for the 2008 session nor will he give them another chance. Bennett must have known that an Oct 31 date puts him at a disadvantage because if a deal woundn't have been reached by the end of the WA session - then why wait for 6 more months twiddling your thumbs. Former owner Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, must have inserted this into the sell agreement with Bennett - so that Schultz could appease public opinion in Seattle - otherwise we'd surely boycott all Starbucks locations here in the Puget Sound. But because the chosen date is a disadvantage to Bennett he WILL NOT MOVE IT.

From item 2), Bennett made it clear that there would need to be substantial public funding for the arena plan. The private portion should be less so sothat the Sonics would not have to share any of the arena proceeds. Bennett layed out a portfolio of funding and that was not even voted on by the legislature this year. There is no way he will give them "another chance" at it, they can ONLY go into special session and approve in the next 4.75 months OR no deal! And those legislators are long gone now, even if the governor wanted to call a special session she could not even do so.

From item 3), the chosen location of Renton was in response to the city of Seattle's passing of I-91 - which prohibited the city from building a new arena or expanding Key Arena without the sports teams (the Sonics more specifically) consenting to a profit sharing of all proceeds. There is no way Bennett would agree to such terms, so the city of Seattle is out - but Bellevue and Renton were likely candidates. He chose Renton over Bellevue because Renton (similar to the old Midwest City by comparison) is centrally located in the puget sound and has lots of industrial land owned by Boeing that the company is getting rid of. It was announced in Feb that the Sonics had got the land for the arena but that was a false deal in reality that was only an agreement in principal should the legislature approve the funding. This didn't happen, so no land in Renton. But Renton is STILL Bennett's preferred location!!!!!

From item 4), as I discussed earlier - Bennett wants a public arena so that the Sonics would not have to compete with other interests on the proceeds from events held there. Certainly, Bennett wants a cut from the concerts and other teams that would play in the arena and Im positive that the state/city would have some problems up here with that anyways. Nonetheless, without the public funding this is a null issue altogether.

So as you can see, regardless of what the Muckelshoots come up with - their arena would not be in Renton (so item 3 is not met), their arena would be majority private financed (so item 2 is not met), and they would have significant problems with the Sonics taking all of the proceeds of the arena as I seriously doubt the Muckelshoots would build Bennett an arena for free and then give him all of the concessions. This is the ONLY way the Muckelshoot idea would win support with him and they have 4.75 months to decide if they want to give that to keep the team here.

As you can see, Bennett was very smart in wording/crafting his arena plan. He put in specific terms on the funding plan/location/terms and a specific date (that was forced on him) that will not change without a significantly unfair expenditure to any private financing. Why would someone build an arena for Bennett AND give him control of the events and majority proceeds from it?

Im sure the Muckelshoots will not do this for the sake of keeping the team here, and even if they did Bennett would still not agree because Auburn is not Renton!! (Muckelshoot, Auburn WA is some 20 miles S. of Renton). And the South King County population is less than 1/3 of the county's total (of roughly 2M in total). Also, S. King county is significantly different demographics to that of E. and N. King County, ie S. King county is more similar to a very big Del City and Midwest City whereas the N and E King County is like a very big Edmond and Nichols Hills.

Renton itself is not desireable but Bennett chose it due to its proximity to Seattle, Tacoma, and the wealthy Eastside. Auburn is significantly away from this and does not have significant access either (nor does Renton for that matter, but Renton has better access than does Auburn).

The Muckelshoots are probably the last effort to save the team for Seattle but like I said, I am certain that it will not proceed to the satisfaction of local Puget Sound fans.

Get ready OKC.

06-06-2007, 12:01 AM
What OKC needs to do is put together a plan that leaps ahead of that of KC and offers from Seattle. Like was said, a crafty regional tv/radio package for the OKC, Tulsa, Wichita, AR, SW MO (hey KC is we can get them). Ford Center needs to be upgraded and offered to Bennett as the primary tenant. Oklahoma City needs to come together is support of Bennett and the Sonics, corporations and citizens - to make this happen. And I think there needs to be some tourism packages assembled for regional cities, which will be a boom for Oklahoma City anyways!!

this all needs to happen quickly, can you imagine - Bennett rules on the Muckelshoots and by July he announces he's out of Seattle this year and that the NBA has given up on the region until they change their attitude. OKC needs to move quickly just like we did for the Hornets (I say we because I did come to the city and attended a number of games). We need to be ready, to trump any offer from KC (which surely Bennett would share with OKC officials anyways to ensure OKC would beat them).

I honestly think Bennett wanted all along to come to OKC but he wanted to give Seattle ONE LAST SHOT at it (to appease the league and Stern). but now, he's only proven Stern correct, that Seattle does not care about the NBA or being part of it anymore. And for that, Stern and the league surely would let Bennett move the Sonics to OKC; and probably by the 2007 season!

Get Ready OKC!

06-06-2007, 10:08 AM
Sounds good to me.

I won't be really convinced until that first game is played though. There's still quite a bit of money in Seattle. That town has a history of saving these things at the very last moment.

06-09-2007, 02:15 PM
I disagree that a $15 million dollar profit annually (which is close to the best a team here will do) is a great return on a $425 million dollar investment.

Oh, I wasn't trying to qualify the return on their investment. I was just saying that we don't generally dole out subsidies to businesses just because it looks like their ROI isn't that good. The real problem is the opportunity cost of the initial investment. He could easily take the 425 and make more than 5&#37; on it.. of course, he could also loose his butt. :) But generally, most peope don't feel like the city needs to protect businesses in such a way (although that's kind of changing).

I see an NBA team as a city symbol, something many people can enjoy, similar to public parks and art museums.

Which is really what it comes down to, imo. I know some need to fudge the numbers a bit to make the whole thing gel with their personal fiscal principles (think how many "conservatives" in this town have no problem with government being involved with something like this, but when it comes to the sick and the poor... well, that's "their" fault), but at the end of the day these teams get their subsidies because of the stature and quality of life they bring to a market, either real or perceived.

06-12-2007, 03:14 PM
So here are my questions...

If this Sonics are being bought by the tribe in WA, what is the status of the Hornets and OKC?
I think it's a pretty fair bet that they wont survive in NO but what does that mean for OKC?
Will OKC be forced to build a new arena if the Hornets want to come back?
Will Shin sell the Hornets or will he want to come to OKC?

Or the worst of all, will the hype of OKC being an NBA venue die back down to where it was 3-4 years ago?


06-12-2007, 04:12 PM
There are a lot of possibilites.

06-12-2007, 05:19 PM
We won't ever be thought of in terms of NBA like we were 3-4 years ago. If the Sonics stay in Seattle, then we will get the Hornets back. I just hate being patient.

06-12-2007, 07:46 PM
Oklahoma City is a great city right now for business. It's also a great city to invest in. There are few cities with such a positive, no questions asked attitude toward public investment in public-private ventures. The fine people of Oklahoma City will vote 'aye' for anything with the word "MAPS" attached to it. We've seen our pennies go to some incredible project which we can all look to and be proud.

When friends come in from out of town, they always leave impressed -- OKC is turning heads.

Prospectively, I think that as time moves on and we have MAPS III, IV, etc., Oklahoma City will become known as an even better place to live AND do business.

I think some of our biggest hangups are in what former radio host Ron Black used to refer to as the "Methane filled dome." (y'know, the big building with the dome on 23rd and Lincoln?). We need to figure out how to eliminate the state income tax and indeed revitalize the entire tax structure. This is being hailed as one of the chief reasons big business is averse to locating corporate headquarters and the like in this state.

I could even deal with fair tort reform (not the B.S. they tried to sell us with SB 507). Our neighbor to the south has a lot of great ideas. Our legislature needs to go out and do a little fact finding on their own (rather than relying on industry lobbyists to do the hard work for them). I think only then can we realize what a great gift we have in Oklahoma and what rare opportunities exist in Oklahoma City.

06-13-2007, 08:08 AM
So here are my questions...

If this Sonics are being bought by the tribe in WA, what is the status of the Hornets and OKC?
I think it's a pretty fair bet that they wont survive in NO but what does that mean for OKC?
Will OKC be forced to build a new arena if the Hornets want to come back?
Will Shin sell the Hornets or will he want to come to OKC?

Or the worst of all, will the hype of OKC being an NBA venue die back down to where it was 3-4 years ago?


First of all, I don't believe the Muckleshoots can or will buy the Sonics. David Stern would have to approve that sale, and I suspect he wouldn't. And I'm not sure they have the cash to buy the team anyway. Which means I'm not sure they have the cash to build an arena either. The other person who's been making noise about a new arena has a net worth of $400 million, so he's not building one. And even with an offer to build a new private arena, you've got to have a profit sharing agreement that nets the Sonics' owners more money than they're making at the Key. So, I wouldn't assume the Sonics are staying in WA just yet.

As far as the Hornets go, so far they've sold 5,000 season tickets, and 60% of their suites. If they can't improve those figures, it's pretty pitiful, although they have hopes of making significant improvements in season ticket numbers between now and the start of the season. They have two sponsors, one from out of state and no minority owners at this point in time. If those things don't improve and attendance isn't stellar, I suspect George Shinn will petition to relocate. The other wild card is Benson, the owner of the Saints. Rumors have been flying for a while now that he doesn't like the Hornets as competition, and there has been some talk that he might ask for them to be released from their contract in return for signing a long term contract with the city of NO to keep the Saints there. I have heard nothing on that for a while. But it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Hornets move here in a couple of years, if the Sonics don't.

I think OKC is the only place David Stern would let the Hornets move if it's available. The Hornets are the gypsies of the NBA, and moving them back here would mean they've at least only been in 3 cities. George Shinn would be delighted to move back here, and he knows he can make money here. Shinn will sell the Hornets over his dead body. He sold his businesses to buy the Hornets and they are his pride and joy, as well as only major source of income. In one of his interviews, he said the day he was given the Hornets expansion franchise was the happiest day of his life (and he has three kids!). He will not sell.

Regardless of what NBA team we might get, I think we have to look at building a new arena within the next ten years. The Ford is just too marginal for a full time NBA team.

And, if we don't get the Hornets or Sonics, will the hype die down? I don't think so. Kansas City will get an NHL team between now and then, I believe. Right now, they're our major competition, and they're a suboptimal market, IMO. Oklahoma City is one of the biggest cities to not have any major league teams, and we're going to be used as leverage for any team wanting a new arena. If someone doesn't get a new arena, David Stern has already said, and I believe him, we're next in line for an NBA franchise. Just being used as leverage will keep us in the public eye all the time. And Mick Cornett will be even less likely to stop pestering the NBA for a franchise.

06-13-2007, 10:08 AM
I think I am still worried that the Muckleshoots will buy or build something. Even if their leader is worth only 400 mil there are other private investers in the tribe and in Sheattle. Stern wants to keep that team in the region and if something comes up Bennett has to take a hard look at it. A good sign is that he has yet to visit the possible land that would be used for the arena. He is usually more enthusiastic about a possibilty. I want to believe this is all PR/make OKC step up and provide a better venue. But I feel Bennett (of course) wanted to move here all along by giving an impossible demand and timeline. I imagine he feels very frustrated with sterns demand to keep them in the region. He doesnt want to come out of this deal with a corny tribe attached to the franchise and it not being associated with seattle. He might start pushing on stern a bit for relocation when he seemingly has been his right hand man thru all of this drama. I hope some sweat starts to drip for Bennett so we can get a clearer understanding of what he really wants for christmas.

06-13-2007, 10:16 AM
I have a feeling Stern is on board with Bennett relocating if a deal isn't in place or at least in process before Oct 31st...His recent statements of Seattle going nowhere is all PR especially since Stern has been upset at the city for several years and has made that publicly known on several occasions

Sure he isn't excited about moving out of a much larger market, but he is also fine with them leaving given their city leaders' lack of interest in building a new arena with public money...It being such a huge mess up there with little chance for a positive outcome makes it a much easier decision to ok the move to OKC

06-13-2007, 11:27 AM
:congrats: :congrats: I personally would like to see the Sonics work out to stay in Seattle. I would love and still believe that the Hornets had to go back to NO to show support after the hurricane etc.... However, it is still a matter of economics as to if they stay there. Pre-Katrina there attendance was what 8500-10000 per game. Now with about 40&#37; of the population gone from NO I think they will play this next season in NO and realize ~Damn this aint gonna work~ Then Shinn will petition Stern to relocate permanently to OKC where they are loved and it was proven. IMO

06-13-2007, 12:25 PM
:congrats: :congrats: I personally would like to see the Sonics work out to stay in Seattle. I would love and still believe that the Hornets had to go back to NO to show support after the hurricane etc.... However, it is still a matter of economics as to if they stay there. Pre-Katrina there attendance was what 8500-10000 per game. Now with about 40% of the population gone from NO I think they will play this next season in NO and realize ~Damn this aint gonna work~ Then Shinn will petition Stern to relocate permanently to OKC where they are loved and it was proven. IMO

I hear ya jman...Would much rather have the Hornets players....But not Shinn...The dude is just too shifty and eccentric...Would MUCH prefer Bennett's group to own and operate the very first major league team in OKC

06-13-2007, 12:40 PM
There are a lot of ways for this to work out. Hopefully, when the dust settles, we have a franchise.

My biggest fear is that Oklahoma City is just going to be used by the league as a threat with their current host cities to sweaten whatever deals they have.

07-21-2007, 12:44 AM
I wonder how much easier this would've been had they just gone and bought the LA Clippers or something. Nobody would've even noticed and OKC would have a team already with almost no resistance. Sure the clippers suck but so do the sonics. I don't know if they were for sale but I can't imagine how the owner wouldn't jump at a chance to cash out and actually make a profit.
I wonder if the Sonics wind up in OKC then maybe in a few years the Clippers wind up relocating to Seattle.

07-21-2007, 08:25 PM
Chuck, that is a very very true possibility!! Although the Clippers does have a following in LA, I really dont think any market is big enough for two NBA teams. I dont think it would work in Chicago and I even dont think it would work in NY (which is why the Nets now sport NJ). LA is without question a Laker market, so the Clippers moving to Seattle (with a new arena) is definitely an "expected" move.

What I dont understand is why LA still doesn't have an NFL team? I know the RAMS are a huge draw and so are the Raiders in their "new" homes, but you would think that the NFL would have expanded or relocated a team to LA LONG AGO since it is one of the big 5 markets (NY, Chicago, LA, DC/Baltimore, and SF).

I guess LA dont care about NFL??? This is an anomaly, since the big 5 markets all have sports teams in every major league (and NY, Chi two in MLB).

LA is the only big 5 without a team in every league (but the ONLY with 2 in the NBA). Weird.

07-21-2007, 08:32 PM
Oh, one more thing about the Clippers.. ...

Im sure Bennett bought the Sonics due to OKC's support of the Hornets, Stern's love for OKC's market potential, and the fact that Bennett is a good friend and has long been asking for a NBA franchise for OKC. Stern (no doubt) pointed Bennett to Howard Schultz and Seattle; as an opportunity to either make a huge profit in Seattle (by cleaning it up) OR 'I grant your wish for a franchise in OKC.'

If Stern would have thought the Clippers were in trouble or needed relocating, Im positive Stern would have put Bennett in touch with the Clippers. And like you say, a move probably would have taken place immediately at the end of the 2006 season.

I hate that Bennett had to play this charade with Seattle, it doesn't make business sense at all when Seattle failed to come thru for even local ownership, why would they do so for a 'carpetbagger' who ultimately wants to move the team to OKC, his hometown OR make a ton of $$ off of us (Seattle).

Like I said, Stern knew what he was doing and between him and Schultz they probably MADE Bennett agree to a year's search for a Seattle solution, otherwise, Im sure Bennett would have move the teams to OKC right after the NBA finals, just like would have been the case if Bennett owned the Clippers.

I think, In OKC, Bennett doesn't care about profit, just as long as he owns the team and it is IN OKC. Im sure profit or break even will get worked out, but unlike Seattle where he would NEED PROFITABILITY for the Sonics to stay, in OKC it doesn't matter.