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HOT ROD
11-01-2007, 10:43 PM
Hi good people of Oklahoma City.

:bright_id Taking Solitude's suggestion for a new thread that could be appended to: I'd like for us to post any and all NBA in OKC issues here. This includes Sonics, Storm, Hornets, what people are saying and/or doing about getting the NBA to OKC and even those who are against.

for starters, I will update everyone on the current deal.

Oklahoma City successfully hosted the New Orleans Hornets for two years, for the 2005-06, and 2006-07 seasons. The Hornets were renamed in honour of their temporary host and the team did very well, as judged by the NBA and most of the nation. David Stern is on record stating his satisfaction with OKC and that the city is at the top of the relocation for NBA franchises.

Clayton Bennett was instrumental in getting the Hornets a temporary home in OKC. He was a former minority owner and NBA board member of the San Antonio Spurs, and receives credit with building a strong franchise in that market. Bennett has consistently expressed his desire to purchase a team and move it to Oklahoma City. Bennett assembled many of the Hornet's corporate sponsors together and the group, known as the Professional Basketball Club, LLC purchased the Seattle Supersonics and Storm franchise on July 2006, with the deal closing in October. As part of the deal, Bennett agreed not to seek relocation of the franchise until after Oct 31, 2007 - giving Seattle some time to work out a new arena deal.

As such is the case, Oct 31 has come and gone and there has not been any movement on the arena situation. Bennett is in town and is expected to announce on Friday, Nov 2 the team's next moves. Most experts expect him to announce that he has filed for relocation, with the date to be as early as 2008 season but could be as late as 2010. This is due to side attempts by the city of Seattle to hold the team to the lease with Key Arena, thereby holding off the relocation for two more seasons. The case has gone to a Federal Judge in Washington state, who seems to be quite apathetic toward the city. He has ruled in favor of hearing the case in his court and not allowing the Sonics case to be settled by a group of arbitrators. Once again, the actual merits of the case still must be worked out and litigation is forthcoming, afterwhich the judge will rule whether the lease is enforceable and therefore must be honored by the Sonics. If he rules against the city, then the Sonics can relocate - however terms would then need to be discussed.

Let us now carry forward with any and all NBA in OKC issues with this thread.

Happy posting and GOOD LUCK to the NBA in Oklahoma City!!

:gossip:

HOT ROD
11-02-2007, 12:54 PM
It's Done!!! :congrats:

Local News | Bennett files to move Sonics to Oklahoma City | Seattle Times Newspaper (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003990107_sonicsmove03m.html)


Friday, November 2, 2007 - Page updated at 11:47 AM

Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or e-mail resale@seattletimes.com with your request.

Bennett files to move Sonics to Oklahoma City

By JIm Brunner
Seattle Times staff reporter

Sonics and Storm owner Clay Bennett announced today he is filing with the NBA for permission to move the Sonics to his hometown of Oklahoma City.

In a written statement, Bennett said the lack of support for a new arena and ongoing financial losses gave team owners "no option but to commence the NBA relocation process."

Bennett's statement was unclear on exactly when the team would relocate. It could be next season if he wins the ongoing court battle to get out of the KeyArena lease, or it could be at the end of the lease in 2010.

Bennett also indicated the Storm might stay in Seattle.

Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628

Copyright 2007 The Seattle Times Company

Nixon7
11-02-2007, 01:00 PM
Yaaa!!

Misty
11-02-2007, 01:03 PM
I haven't really been following the Sonics threads, so this may have been discussed (and if so I apologize) but how do the players feel about coming here? I would think most of them wouldn't want to leave Seattle.

PUGalicious
11-02-2007, 01:05 PM
You mean, Misty, you didn't take the time to wade through 1,000 posts to see if someone happened to mention it?

Misty
11-02-2007, 01:09 PM
I'm lazy. What can I say. I like immediate gratification and answers. So answer me PUG! NOW!

HOT ROD
11-02-2007, 01:34 PM
And now from the PI.


SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
Bennett says he's moving Sonics to Oklahoma (http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/basketball/337871_arena03.html)

Bennett says he's moving Sonics to Oklahoma
Last updated November 2, 2007 12:12 p.m. PT

By GREG JOHNS
P-I REPORTER

Clay Bennett and the Sonics ownership group made it official on Friday, notifying NBA commissioner David Stern that they intend to relocate the team to Oklahoma City as soon as they can get out of their KeyArena lease.

"We notified Commissioner Stern that we intend to relocate the Sonics to Oklahoma City if we succeed in the pending litigation with the City, or are able to negotiate an early lease termination, or at the end of the lease term," Bennett said in a statement.

"We have not made a decision regarding the future location of the Seattle Storm. We appreciate the deep local interest and support for the Storm and have begun to evaluate a future course of action for the team."

Meanwhile, Dennis Daugs, a small investor in the former Howard Schultz ownership group, sent a letter to Bennett on Thursday saying he represents a collection of local businessmen interested in purchasing the team.

Bennett said two months ago that he'd received several inquiries, but the team was not for sale. Bennett's statement on Friday made no mention of selling the team.

Friday's news was no surprise. Bennett said from the time his group purchased the Sonics and Storm from Schultz on July 18, 2006, that he'd file for relocation if a solution for a new arena in the area wasn't in place by Oct. 31, 2007.

Rather than conflict with his team's season opener on that date or Thursday's home debut at KeyArena, Bennett waited until Friday to drop the news. But the results are the same, with the announcement starting the clock ticking on the team's potential departure.

However, there is one large hurdle already in place. The city of Seattle's lawsuit against Bennett's Professional Basketball Club, LLC, currently is in U.S. District Court awaiting the announcement of hearing dates from Judge Ricardo Martinez.

The timing of that suit appears critical now. Under NBA rules, once commissioner David Stern receives the application, he has 10 days to form a relocation committee comprised of at least five NBA Board of Governor members.

That group then has 120 days to file a report to the full board of owners and make a recommendation of whether or not to accept the move.

That time frame gives the league until early May to make a decision, but there's no assurance the federal court case will be resolved by then.

City attorney Tom Carr said last week that federal cases often last 12-18 months and include a discovery period of up to six months, but that the Sonics' lawyers could move for "summary judgment," in which case the process could move much quicker.

Summary judgments can be made in cases where there is no dispute of the facts, but merely a disagreement of interpretation.

"It's going to be an interesting discussion," Carr said.

Martinez overruled Bennett's attempt to take the lease debate to arbitration last week, saying the city has the right to pursue their lawsuit in court. The city has requested a jury trial, but that decision also lies with Martinez.

The threat of relocation has been Bennett's hammer in arena negotiations since his purchase from Schultz, who failed in his own efforts to gain much political traction toward public funding for a KeyArena makeover.

At the press conference announcing the sale, Bennett made his position clear.

"It is not our intention to move or relocate the teams, as long, of course, as we are able to negotiate a successor venue to the current basketball arena and arrangements to ensure the Sonics and Storm can succeed," Bennett said at that time.

He has continued to say the region needs a "world-class multipurpose arena," but his bid to get funding for a $500 million facility in Renton didn't get out of the state Legislature last spring.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P-I reporter Greg Johns can be reached at 206-448-8314 or gregjohns@seattlepi.com.

1998-2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

BG918
11-02-2007, 01:57 PM
I think as a consolation to Seattle the Storm should stay there. When the time is right the city can either build them a new arena/renovate KeyArena or move them to OKC (or another market). Meanwhile the Sonics are playing to packed houses at the Ford Center.

So with all the talk about KeyArena not being nice enough, what will happen to the Ford Center? Do we pump $100+ million into it and make it really nice or start from scratch and build a new arena downtown? The OU 5th Year architecture studio is working on schematic designs for a NEW arena where the Cox currently sits, assuming a new convention center is built south of the blvd. between Robinson and Shields. I think a huge renovation of the Ford Center would be sufficient, and then redevelop the Cox site into something more mixed-use with the Sonics HQ and practice facility across from the Ford Center on Reno. The only problem with that would be when the Big 12 comes back we won't have an arena for the women's games unless they both can use the Ford Center somehow. Maybe OCU (or even UCO) builds a new basketball arena and that can be used?

Karried
11-02-2007, 02:01 PM
Woot Woot!

Pete
11-02-2007, 02:07 PM
I agree that leaving the Storm in Seattle would be a good compromise and might also help with the lease situation at Key Arena.

I doubt many people in Oklahoma care much about the WNBA anyway.


But the decision to formally file for relocation is fantastic news. We all knew it was coming but no all the energy can be placed into making this happen and the owners and others and OKC can finally be above-board with the plans to bring the team to Oklahoma.

I would bet good money the Sonics will be playing in Oklahoma City next season. And Kevin Durant could be the league's next superstar!

HOT ROD
11-02-2007, 02:46 PM
* agree Midtowner.

But I dont think we OWE seattle any consolation. just because OKC might not be interested NOW in the WNBA, that might change in a few years as OU players graduate (and assuming they'd get snapped up by the Storm), it could be very very successful! Who cares that Lauren whoever from Aussie doesn't want to leave Seattle. She can stay, she just wont be playing basketball - that's what i say. You wanna play bball, ,then yougotta move - you wanna play for the Storm, you gotta move to OKC.

As for Ford Center, dont get too bent out of shape on that right now. Clay will work with the city to get the improvements in place. Im sure Clay will use all means necessary to make it happen, including substantial private investment.

Of course, he would not do the same in Seattle, since we are so full of millionaires and billionaires - we should be able to fund this stuff ourself; Im sure was his thinking (and mine). But OKC is his home, so Im sure he'd do whatever it took to help make it happen and Im sure the NBA will be successful in OKc with that type of ownership.

Go OKC Sonics!!!

Karried
11-02-2007, 03:23 PM
Front page CNN.. I wonder what the fallout is going to be like?

Karried
11-02-2007, 03:35 PM
The Seattle Times | Seattle Times Newspaper (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/home/index.html)

Here we goooo........

The Seattle Times: View Forum - Sonics (http://forums.seattletimes.nwsource.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=44)

HOT ROD
11-02-2007, 04:19 PM
OKC, this was posted on the SeaTimes forum. I think WE need to counter and let Stern know that OKC is ready to support the Sonics!! See the corrections I made!


This is the phone number for NBA Commisioner David Stern, 212-407-8300. Do your civic duty and give him a call to let him know that the Seattle Supersonics belong in Seattle, and not in Oklahoma City with a bunch of .......

I.P.

The NBA belongs in Oklahoma City. PERIOD!

:beaten_fi

Seattle is yesterday's news. They'll get over it!

Kerry
11-02-2007, 06:02 PM
$100 say the Storm goes to the new BOK Center in Tulsa.

HOT ROD
11-02-2007, 06:51 PM
Kerry, I'd probably win that bet.

Im thinking Bennett probably might use the Storm to get out of the lease. In his audio, it looks like he might leave that as room for negotiation, along with the name.

First and foremost, he wants to move the Storm to OKC along with the Sonics - a package deal. I hope and want this to be the case. I hope Bennett doesn't get 'suckered' into thinking that he OWES something to Seattle and therefore leaves the Storm. I dont give a crap that two of the WNBA players said they wouldn't leave Seattle - if they want a job, then they will have to leave Seattle (either to OKC or some other market). ..

Now, Bennett might arrange a home game (or i definitely think exhibition game[s]) in Tulsa;s BOK. I can see that, both teams having exhibition games up there in fact. Probably also an exhibition game in Wichita, and wherever else OKC's expanded market will be.

But the teams will either be in OKC or Seattle, during the regular season.

I hope OKC really shapes up, so the NBA All-Star game comes to town. Wouldn't that be something!!!!! And hopefully the team gets better and OKC makes it into the playoffs!!!!!!!!!

Good times ahead!

Intrepid
11-02-2007, 09:14 PM
From an ESPN.com blog:

ESPN - Save Our Sonics: This Game is FAR from Over - TrueHoop (http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-28-263/Save-Our-Sonics--This-Game-is-FAR-from-Over.html)

Save Our Sonics: This Game is FAR from Over

November 2, 2007 5:57 PM

By Henry Abbott

I just got off the phone with Steven Pyeatt, who is the co-founder of the Save Our Sonics and Storm movement.

I wanted to get his reaction to Clay Bennett's announcement that he is applying to the NBA to move the team. His reaction was very interesting.

For starters, even though this man has been living this project for ages, and knows all the key players, he was so unconcerned by today's news that he hadn't even bothered to read the press release.

"Clay Bennett is like the guy robbing the convenience store," says Pyeatt. "He has to convince the clerk that he has a real gun, it is loaded, and he's willing to use it. Otherwise, he's not going to get any money out of register. This is just one more step in that process."

Pyeatt is convinced that while this might be a big public relations moment, nothing has changed in assessing the power stuctures at play. And he thinks there is an excellent chance Seattle will hold onto its team.

"People have been talking like this is crunch time," he explains, "but I don't even think this game has reached halftime yet. The way I describe it is that we have a lot of hand grenades in the bucket. And we keep lobbing them at Clay Bennett, and he keeps throwing them out the window. But eventually, one of them is going to blow up in his face."

Pyeatt and I talked for the better part of an hour, during which time he recited countless reasons for Seattle basketball fans.

--- The local political situation has shifted dramatically. The comments of Aubrey McClendon, a report showing that the Seattle Center development without an NBA team, and the discovery of the "specific performance" clause in the lease -- seemingly a legal way to bind the team to Seattle into 2010 -- have made it so that on the Seattle City Council, according to Pyeatt, there is now unanimous support for the efforts of Save Our Sonics.

--- The region itself is booming in such a profound way that the NBA can't really want to leave. Pyeatt cites a study saying the population in Seattle region -- which includes, by one estimate, 70,000 millionaires -- will grow by as many people in the next decade as live in all of Oklahoma City. Also, as Clay Bennett pointed out when he first bought the team, a lot of those people will be high wage-earners working for Microsoft and the like. What's more, Seattle is a gateway to the Pacific Rim and Asia -- the key growth area for the NBA overseas.

--- The state-wide political scene has changed dramatically, too. Pyeatt: "The governor of Washington won or lost her office -- depending who you ask about the recount -- by about 130 votes. Sonic fans have let her know that there are more than 130 of them who would like her to keep the team here. And if the team is playing its first game in Oklahoma City next November 2, that won't be good for her re-election effort on November 4."

--- Pyeatt has not heard specifics, but has heard through back channels that the city and state governments have agreed in principle to a plan that they are both happy with to fund an arena.

--- A dark-horse candidate to build an arena, the Muckleshoot Tribe, has the land, the cash, and the will to get a stadium done, and has contributed mightily to Washington state politics.

--- It is very expensive for Clay Bennett and his co-owners to keep fighting for this team, against the obstacles they are now facing. They paid, says Pyeatt, more than the team was worth. They are losing millions a year. They are facing a class action lawsuit from shareholders, and another lawsuit enforcing the lease. Relocation fees would be in the tens of millions.

The people at Save Our Sonics have a lot of angles left to work. Pyeatt outlined some of them. For instance, Pyeatt and others from Save Our Sonics are traveling to New York next week to meet with David Stern, and Pyeatt hopes, Billy Hunter.

They have messages for each. To Stern, they want to recommend that the NBA and its relocation committee not act on Clay Bennett's request until pending litigation has resolved, which could be the better part of a year from now. "If David Stern and the NBA votes to allow relocation, by our understanding of the law, the NBA and its owners who vote for relocation could be named as defendants in the lawsuit to enforce the lease," says Pyeatt. "That would be a big mess. On the other hand, if the NBA sits this one out, then they can wide in wearing their white hats to encourage some kind of compromise deal when this is all over."

If the people from Save Our Sonics can meet with Billy Hunter, they will ask the head of the Players Association to examine the current collective bargaining agreement. "We believe there is a clause stating that if NBA revenues decline, the Players Association can re-open negotiations of the CBA," says Pyeatt. "Believe me, no one wants that. But if you move a team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, guess what, revenues are going to decline."

Pyeatt is also aware of some conditions of the sale from Howard Schultz's group to Clay Bennett's group. Apparently Schultz and his partners could have sold for more money to a group from California, but took less with the condition that the new owners would make a good faith effort to stay. (The terms are expressed, Pyeatt says, in a confidential "side letter" that has not been made public, but may be part of discovery in the upcoming trial.) If Bennett's group does not make a good faith effort to stay, one of the possible remedies, Pyeatt speculates, is that the previous owners may be entitled to buy the team back -- and while Schultz may not be interested, many from that group are.

Pyeatt also suggests that the local government might flirt with using eminent domain to simply claim the team. It's bold and has never made it to a court before. But in cases where it has been threatened, it has prompted negotiations. "No way any sports league wants that case to make it to court," explains Pyeatt. "They might say it's 99% likely they'd win, but once it gets to court, you never know what's going to happen. And if that 1% prevails, no team in any league can ever strongarm a city again."

When you put it all together, though, what is Pyeatt's best guess as to what will happen? He points out that the Mariners and Seahawks were way further down the road to leaving than the Sonics are, but similar forces conspired to keep them in town. He's betting the same thing will happen this time: the NBA will not want to abandon the burgeoning Seattle market, and some kind of compromise will be reached. Perhaps Bennett and company will take the team to Oklahoma and another franchise like the Grizzlies will come to Seattle, or perhaps the Grizzlies or another team will be given to Bennett and company to take to Oklahoma City.

One way or another, he suspects there will be NBA basketball in Seattle for years to come, and Clay Bennett's announcement today did nothing to dissuade him.

solitude
11-02-2007, 11:18 PM
I don't know about that SOS guy, He sounds like he has some major problems with accepting what appears to be the inevitable. However, I found two things of interest:


Pyeatt is also aware of some conditions of the sale from Howard Schultz's group to Clay Bennett's group. Apparently Schultz and his partners could have sold for more money to a group from California, but took less with the condition that the new owners would make a good faith effort to stay. (The terms are expressed, Pyeatt says, in a confidential "side letter" that has not been made public, but may be part of discovery in the upcoming trial.) If Bennett's group does not make a good faith effort to stay, one of the possible remedies, Pyeatt speculates, is that the previous owners may be entitled to buy the team back -- and while Schultz may not be interested, many from that group are.

I find that that interesting and makes McClendon's comments look like a true gaffe.


Pyeatt also suggests that the local government might flirt with using eminent domain to simply claim the team. It's bold and has never made it to a court before. But in cases where it has been threatened, it has prompted negotiations.

That's just nuts. While they're at it, why not invoke eminent domain and take Microsoft while they're at it? Oh, they're in Redmond. But I think Boeing is in Seattle proper aren't they? Heck, grab 'em and run! That idea is just so ludicrous that this Pyeatt guy lost all credibility with me.

betts
11-03-2007, 07:25 AM
I'm with Mick Cornett and still only "cautiously optimistic", but I think we're past halftime here. The Muckleshoots were willing to donate land, not money for an arena. Clay Bennett said he not only has to have arena plans shortly in Seattle, but "acceptable" lease terms, which makes a private arena agreement difficult. It's hard to believe if the legislature were to approve a tax measure for a new arena, it would not have to pass a vote of the people. And the piece de resistance is that David Stern seems only mildly interested in this issue. He's clearly annoyed with Seattle, and I'm beginning to think he thinks moving the team may be the only way to ultimately get an arena there. Leave the name and the Storm there and the Sonics will have technically never left Seattle.

HOT ROD
11-03-2007, 09:08 AM
Solitude,

Boeing WAS in Seattle, now our hq is in downtown Chicago in a skyscraper we bought.

It's funny that Seattle didnt use eminent domain on our (Boeing) Hq, oh - wait, that's because they can't. Boeing, like the Sonics, is a private business.

Oops, I guess this Pyeatt guy is stretching, sounds like a disgruntled fan. I agree Solitude, very ludicrous and very preposterous were his suggestions!

Betts, I agree. But I dont agree that Bennett should leeave the WNBA Storm. OKC is a growing market and surely it can support the WNBA, especially with promising local talent that will become available after the 2008 WNBA season. If the Storm were to pick up one or both of the Paris girls from OU and other talent there, IM positive OKC would embrace the WNBA at a level higher than Seattle has. Furthermore, it only makes sense to have entertainment options year round in Oklahoma City, to cement the major-league ness of the city and 'jump' the citizens into believing that they and the city ARE major league. Having major league sport options year round is a big covet and look how easy it is with pro basketball to lay this claim.

OKC would be in effect a two team city overnight, not many places could lay this claim (Portland, Salt Lake, Memphis, and New Orleans - all OKC's closest competition as far as market size is concerned; none of them have WNBA). And only New Orleans has competition for the entertainment dollar. So in effect, with the WNBA, OKC would move ahead of Portland, Salt Lake, and Memphis as far as major-league capacity/ability just like that instead of being tied with them. I definitely think it could work but I will be assured if/once the Storm signs the hometown favourate players from OU. The WNBA can grant Seattle another franchise should they chose to do so, it's not OKC's or Bennett's issue (unless he thinks he can make money here by leaving the Storm, of course).

I think the Sonics and Storm are a one package deal and both should come to OKC. I do agree, however, that it would be classy of Bennett if he were to retire the Supersonics name/colors/championships in Seattle when he leaves. That would be extremely classy and would allow OKC to start frest while at the same time 'pay respect' if you will to Seattle's 40+ year history.

dalelakin
11-03-2007, 11:16 AM
It should be the case in any pro sports that the name stays with the city. It just makes sense on so many levels. New jersey sales new brand identity for the new city and the old city benefits from the fact that they keep the heritage of the team and lessens the blow of the loss.

CrimsonOberon
11-03-2007, 02:06 PM
Well, that Pyeatt guy does come across as a disgruntled fan. He also comes across as someone who knows that the aces are all in Clay Bennett's hand, and he probably won't be able to do anything about it, in the end.

bretthexum
11-03-2007, 04:12 PM
'Cash-Us Clay' tries to KO Seattle fans
By Jim Caple
Page 2


It's official. Art Modell, Robert Irsay, Donald Sterling and Jeffrey Loria are off the hook. The worst owner in sports history is Clay Bennett.

I know, I know. There is a lot of competition for that distinction. Why, to even achieve the honor of worst owner in Seattle sports history you have to beat out Ken Behring, George Argyros, Jeff Smulyan and Howard Schultz. But Bennett, or as my friend Rod calls him, "Cash-Us" Clay, accomplished it in a little more than a year. Just consider his most recent move.


David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The minute he was welcomed as an NBA owner in 2006, Clay Bennett, center, started asking for a new arena.
Showing all the public relations and marketing savvy that has marked his tenure as owner so far, Bennett formally announced his intention to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City less than a day after the tip-off to the team's home opener. "Welcome to the 2007-08 season, Sonics fans! And will the owner of a Prius hybrid please move your car -- you're blocking the owner's U-Haul vans." Cash-Us Clay released a statement declaring he will move the team as soon as he can break his lease at Seattle's KeyArena or when he next sheds his skin, whichever comes first.

"From the beginning," Bennett says in the release (we assume with a straight face), "it has been my absolute hope and expectation that we would be able to secure the necessary governmental commitments to build a successor venue to KeyArena."

This would sound a lot more convincing had his partner and minority owner, Aubrey McLendon, not already revealed to an Oklahoma paper earlier this year that: "We didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle; we hoped to come here." (McLendon, by the way, was a big donor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which gives you some idea of this group's tactics.)

Bennett's whole beef with Seattle is that so far the area has declined to agree to build him a $500 million arena to replace KeyArena, which was renovated before the 1995-96 season for more than $100 million (which at the time, seemed like a lot of money for a basketball arena). This is a pretty typical reaction for an owner. Pay far too much for a team -- Bennett's group paid $350 million, the fourth most ever for an NBA franchise -- then blame the taxpayers when you don't instantly make as much money as you would like. What is needed is not better players and a winning team but a new arena.

I'm not sure how Bennett determined the $500 million price, but I do know he has carved it in stone. Now, if you were going to remodel your home or build a new one, I think you might take bids from several contractors and consider all sorts of options in order to get most of what you want at the lowest price. And that's how sports owners would do it as well if they actually had to pay for the construction. But since they simply stick the taxpayers with the financing, they don't care what the cost is. In fact, the more it costs the better, because then it allows the next owner to ask for an even more expensive arena and on and on until everyone is playing in $2 billion stadiums built by Halliburton.

"The region is still in need of a modern building," Bennett goes on in his release, laying it on even thicker, "not just for the Sonics and Storm, but also for the broad commercial and quality of life benefits such facilities provide."

He's right, it has been soooooo difficult living in a city without a modern performance venue. When local residents paid for the Seattle Center renovations a decade ago, I knew they should have insisted on indoor plumbing rather than outhouses. And the tar paper roof, which must have had some appeal at the time, turned out to be a mistake. No wonder the only acts that have played the arena in the past couple years are such B-list, puppet-show opening acts as U2, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, The Police and Elton John.

The point is, the area doesn't need a new arena, the Sonics do not NEED a new arena, and they certainly do not need one that costs $500 million. What the Sonics do need is an owner who is willing to honestly and realistically negotiate.

(And while I'm venting, how about a little venom for Howard Schulz? Here's a guy who built a worldwide coffee empire from Seattle and he rewards the city by selling the Sonics to an out-of-town buyer. Thanks a lot. This was pretty much Schulz's attitude at the time of the sale: "I am committed to finding a local owner who will keep the Sonics in Sea... -- WHAT? $350 MILLION!!! DON'T LET BENNETT OUT OF THE OFFICE WITHOUT HIS SIGNATURE ON THE BOTTOM OF A BINDING CONTRACT!!" Good grief. You own Starbucks! How much money do you need?)

Anyway, that's where David Stern comes in. I know the NBA commissioner is employed by the owners and part of his job is to help secure these ridiculous arena deals. But in this case Stern needs to step up and tell Cash-Us Clay that the league has enough problems already and has no interest in moving a successful franchise in the 13th-largest media market to the 40th-largest market. That Bennett knew the financial layout when he bought the team for $350 million. That he has been going about this poorly. That if he wants to stay in the league, he'd better take some responsibility and clean up his mess here.

Because despite what Cash-Us Clay would have you believe, the problem is not a city where the team has successfully operated for 40 years but rather the carpetbagger owner who has been around for barely a year.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached here. His Web site is jimcaple.net, with more installments of "24 College Avenue." His new book with Steve Buckley, "The Best Boston Sports Arguments: The 100 Most Controversial, Debatable Questions for Die-Hard Boston Fans," is on sale now.

solitude
11-03-2007, 06:32 PM
OK, I'm ready for the flames.

I can't really bash Caple's column on ESPN. The fact is, Bennett has handled this whole thing horribly. It's been a marketing disaster and just because he owns a team that's heading our way doesn't mean he gets a pass. If I was in Seattle, I would be furious. Let's all be honest, we KNOW that this ownership group had one goal in mind and that was bringing the Sonics to Oklahoma City. We ALL know that. Yet, Bennett strung them along with a straight face, assured defeat of various measures that might have got him the arena, and basically has been a jerk to the people of Seattle. I think Caple is right about that. And if we all took three or four steps back, and looked at it objectively, I can't help but think most of us would arrive at a similar conclusion. It's been handled horribly from day one. I just hope he doesn't come here and jerk our chains the same way he's jerked around the people of Seattle. He's always been a steamroller type of businessman in everything he's ever done. He feels entitled. To be honest, the only nice thing I can say about Clay Bennett is that he married well. Very well, indeed. He would be nowhere without marrying into the Gaylord family, and yes, I honestly believe that. He's certainly nothing special as a businessperson, except his very super-special-sized bank account.

dismayed
11-03-2007, 07:22 PM
Sounds like he should run for Oklahoma elective office. He'd be right at home with all the other 500 lbs. gorillas running loose in the capital dome.

Kerry
11-03-2007, 08:24 PM
It is funny how little some sports writers know about sports. Reading this BLOG on ESPN you would think that Seattle Sonics fans went to bed two nights ago dreaming about lollypops and chocolate streams, and then woke up to a nightmare. The fact is, the events of yesterday were 4 years in the making and the blame for the relocation lies at the feet of Seattle officials. The previous owner tried for over 3 years to have the Key arena lease changed and also asked for new arena that could generate additional revenue streams. Seattle officals said 'No' to EVERY request. So Schultz sold the team and he did Seattle a favor by selling them to Bennett. The only other offer was from Larry Ellison and he was going to move the team to San Jose the day the sale closed. This so-called good faith effort Bennett agreed to was only a side letter to Schultz - AND NO ONE ELSE! For crying out loud - it wasn't even part of the purchase agreement.

The entire NBA world new Bennett wanted to move this team to OKC - Crap, the mission statement of the PBC says right in it "To Bring an NBA Team Oklahoma". What part of this didn't anyone understand. Would Bennett have kept the team in Seattle if they had built a new arena. Yes he would of. That doesn't mean he would have wanted to. People do stuff all the time they don't want to do.

HOT ROD
11-04-2007, 12:24 PM
agree Kerry. It's laughable the 'delayed' response of some of these people.

Where were their stories last year, where was the 'reaction' then, when something could have made a difference. People are crying over spilled milk - like the saying goes 'you have to live in the bed you made.!'

HOT ROD
11-04-2007, 12:25 PM
The following was posted on the SeaTimes board by "seattle seasparrow".

I suggest Oklahoma Citians also do a campaign to support your right to the NBA and YOUR major-league team!!!

:


Atlanta Hawks: Owner - Michael Gearon

owners@atlantaspirit.com

Boston Celtics: Owner - Wycliffe “Wyc” Grousbeck

Boston Celtics
226 Causeway Street
Fourth Floor
Boston, MA 02114

Charlotte Bobcats: Owner - Robert L. Johnson, Michael Jordan, Cornell "Nelly" Haynes

info@bobcatsbasketball.com

Chicago Bulls: Owner - Jerry Reinsdorf

Chicago Bulls
1901 W. Madison Street
Chicago, IL 60612

Cleveland Cavaliers: Owner - Dan Gilbert, Gary Gilbert, David Katzman, Gordon Gund

Cleveland Cavaliers
One Center Court
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-4001

Dallas Mavericks: Owner - Mark Cuban

Dallas Mavericks
The Pavilion
2909 Taylor Street
Dallas, TX 75226

Denver Nuggets: Owner - E. Stanley Kroenke

nuggetsmail@pepsicenter.com

Detroit Pistons: Owner - William Davidson

PISTONS: Contact The Detroit Pistons (http://www.nba.com/pistons/contact/contact_detroit_pistons.html)

Golden State Warriors: Owner - Chris Cohan

Golden State Warriors
1011 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94607

Houston Rockets: Owner - Leslie Alexander

fanear@rocketball.com

Indiana Pacers: Owner - Herbert Simon, Melvin Simon

PacersInsider@Pacers.com

L.A. Clippers: Owner - Donald Sterling

Los Angeles Clippers
1111 S. Figueroa St. Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90015

L.A. Lakers: Owner - Jerry Buss

LOS ANGELES LAKERS
555 N. NASH STREET
EL SEGUNDO, CA 90245

Memphis Grizzlies: Owner - Michael Heisley

Memphis Grizzlies
FedExForum
191 Beale Street
Memphis, TN 38103

Miami Heat: Owner - Micky Arison

Miami HEAT
AmericanAirlines Arena
601 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132

Milwaukee Bucks: Owner / President - Herb Kohl

Milwaukee Bucks
1001 N. Fourth Street
Milwaukee, WI 53203

Minnesota Timberwolves: Owner - Glen Taylor

TIMBERWOLVES: Contact Us (http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/wolves/contact_us.html)

New Jersey Nets: Owner - Bruce Ratner

New Jersey Nets
390 Murray Hill Parkway
East Rutherford, NJ 07073

New Orleans Hornets: Owner - George Shinn

New Orleans Hornets
1250 Poydras Street, Floor 19
New Orleans, LA 70113

New York Knics: Owner - James Dolan

Madison Square Garden
Two Pennsylvania Plaza
New York, NY, 10121-0091

Orlando Magic: Chairman - Rich DeVos

MAGIC: Contact Us (http://www.nba.com/magic/community/Contact_Us.html)

Philadelphia 76ers: Chairman - Ed Snider

Philadelphia 76ers
3601 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Phoenix Suns: Owner - Robert Sarver

SUNS: Contact Us (http://www.nba.com/suns/contact/contact_us.html)

Portland Trail Blazers: Owner - Paul Allen

Portland Trail Blazers
One Center Court, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97227

Sacramento Kings: President - John Thomas Senior VP - John Rinehart

thomas@arcoarena.com
rinehart@arcoarena.com

San Antonio Spurs: Owner - Peter Holt

SPURS: Contact The Spurs Organization (http://www.nba.com/spurs/news/club_directory.html#)

Toronto Raptors: Chairman – Larry Tanenbaum

Toronto Raptors
Air Canada Centre
40 Bay Street, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2X2

Utah Jazz: Owner - Larry H. Miller

Utah Jazz
301 W. South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Washington Wizards: Owner - Abe Pollin

Washington Wizards
MCI Center, 601 F Street NW
Washington DC 20004

solitude
11-04-2007, 12:42 PM
Nothing wrong with being a little proactive. Great idea, Hot Rod!

HOT ROD
11-04-2007, 12:49 PM
thanks solitude.

I figure, as long as Seattle fans are doing this - OKC fans need to counter!

There should not be JUST one message coming on this (and certainly NOT ONLY from Seattle). You might assume that could sway their vote in Seattle's favor.

But we want the owners to KNOW that OKC iwll support the franchise and DESERVES to be major-league!!!!

Whenever I see anything like this pop up on the Seattle forums, I will post them here so that at least we can match and/or make sure the OKC message also exists.

betts
11-04-2007, 03:06 PM
"I can't really bash Caple's column on ESPN. The fact is, Bennett has handled this whole thing horribly. It's been a marketing disaster and just because he owns a team that's heading our way doesn't mean he gets a pass. If I was in Seattle, I would be furious. Let's all be honest, we KNOW that this ownership group had one goal in mind and that was bringing the Sonics to Oklahoma City. We ALL know that. Yet, Bennett strung them along with a straight face, assured defeat of various measures that might have got him the arena, and basically has been a jerk to the people of Seattle. I think Caple is right about that. And if we all took three or four steps back, and looked at it objectively, I can't help but think most of us would arrive at a similar conclusion. It's been handled horribly from day one. I just hope he doesn't come here and jerk our chains the same way he's jerked around the people of Seattle. He's always been a steamroller type of businessman in everything he's ever done. He feels entitled. To be honest, the only nice thing I can say about Clay Bennett is that he married well. Very well, indeed. He would be nowhere without marrying into the Gaylord family, and yes, I honestly believe that. He's certainly nothing special as a businessperson, except his very super-special-sized bank account."

No flames, but I disagree entirely. I've been told by friends of three separate owners (remember, Aubrey is only one of eight) that said owners were open to the team staying in Seattle with a new arena, because it would be a great business deal and having a team there also opened up a new market for them, since it allowed them to make contacts in the region. I think they purchased the Sonics because it was a win/win situation for them, unlike the Grizzlies or the Trailblazers. Get a new arena in Seattle and you'll make money; if not, you can move a team to Oklahoma City. From everything I've been told, Clay Bennett has told the truth from day one. Build a new arena and we will stay; don't build an arena and we will go. If that is the case, Seattleites can blame the media for how horribly the whole problem has been handled. They assumed he was lying, and twisted everything to drive a wedge between him and the city. What has he done that proves he lied? I've seen nothing contradictory except for Aubrey's statement, and even Aubrey in the same interview said that if Seattle built an arena the team was staying there.

If the Sonics move here, Clay and the group are going to expect a very nice practice facility, and they will expect a new arena to be in the works at some point during Core to Shore development. He's going to want us to buy season tickets and go to the games. Seems pretty reasonable to me. I am one of the people that think the benefit of having an NBA team here is pretty high, and I'm willing to pay for the privilege because of how great I think the return will be.

I know nothing about his business acumen, but I think Clay did a very nice job hiring Sam Presti. PJ Carlesimo didn't thrill me, but he may be the best that was available. They handled the draft nicely. I've seen nothing that makes me worry about his ability to hire the right people to run a team.

solitude
11-04-2007, 04:19 PM
"I can't really bash Caple's column on ESPN. The fact is, Bennett has handled this whole thing horribly. It's been a marketing disaster and just because he owns a team that's heading our way doesn't mean he gets a pass. If I was in Seattle, I would be furious. Let's all be honest, we KNOW that this ownership group had one goal in mind and that was bringing the Sonics to Oklahoma City. We ALL know that. Yet, Bennett strung them along with a straight face, assured defeat of various measures that might have got him the arena, and basically has been a jerk to the people of Seattle. I think Caple is right about that. And if we all took three or four steps back, and looked at it objectively, I can't help but think most of us would arrive at a similar conclusion. It's been handled horribly from day one. I just hope he doesn't come here and jerk our chains the same way he's jerked around the people of Seattle. He's always been a steamroller type of businessman in everything he's ever done. He feels entitled. To be honest, the only nice thing I can say about Clay Bennett is that he married well. Very well, indeed. He would be nowhere without marrying into the Gaylord family, and yes, I honestly believe that. He's certainly nothing special as a businessperson, except his very super-special-sized bank account."

No flames, but I disagree entirely. I've been told by friends of three separate owners (remember, Aubrey is only one of eight) that said owners were open to the team staying in Seattle with a new arena, because it would be a great business deal and having a team there also opened up a new market for them, since it allowed them to make contacts in the region. I think they purchased the Sonics because it was a win/win situation for them, unlike the Grizzlies or the Trailblazers. Get a new arena in Seattle and you'll make money; if not, you can move a team to Oklahoma City. From everything I've been told, Clay Bennett has told the truth from day one. Build a new arena and we will stay; don't build an arena and we will go. If that is the case, Seattleites can blame the media for how horribly the whole problem has been handled. They assumed he was lying, and twisted everything to drive a wedge between him and the city. What has he done that proves he lied? I've seen nothing contradictory except for Aubrey's statement, and even Aubrey in the same interview said that if Seattle built an arena the team was staying there.

If the Sonics move here, Clay and the group are going to expect a very nice practice facility, and they will expect a new arena to be in the works at some point during Core to Shore development. He's going to want us to buy season tickets and go to the games. Seems pretty reasonable to me. I am one of the people that think the benefit of having an NBA team here is pretty high, and I'm willing to pay for the privilege because of how great I think the return will be.

I know nothing about his business acumen, but I think Clay did a very nice job hiring Sam Presti. PJ Carlesimo didn't thrill me, but he may be the best that was available. They handled the draft nicely. I've seen nothing that makes me worry about his ability to hire the right people to run a team.

I respect that. We have differing opinions on how its all been handled, but we're both - I'm sure - excited about the NBA in Oklahoma City. And one way or another, it WILL happen.

BG918
11-04-2007, 09:59 PM
I just hope instead of building a new arena we instead renovate and expand the Ford Center. I'm thinking completely renovating and expanding the team locker rooms and making them as lavish as possible, renovating the suite and club levels and also the concourses. Also the main entrance and lobby areas should be reconfigured especially as the Ford Center will have prime blvd. frontage across from the new convention center and convention hotel. It would be great to see the lobby areas expanded along Robinson with lots of glass and two main entrances: one at the current Robinson and Reno and another at Robinson and the blvd. This is also important because of the proposed mixed-use retail area that would stretch from the blvd. to Reno in between Robinson and Walker. You would want the best frontage to open up to that with a strong presence along Robinson as well as the blvd.

Then build the practice facility/team HQ in a new facility across the street (Reno) where the Cox is. Why? That place will be torn down once the new much larger and nicer CC is built to the south and that's prime redevelopment land, maybe the best downtown. Any practice facility/HQ would be integrated into a mixed-use development there. Imagine how cool it would be to have retail/shops/residential/office/etc. located all around the Ford Center? That area of downtown will be unrecognizable in the next decade if everything comes together.

betts
11-05-2007, 06:20 AM
I think the Cox will become the new arena. There's more space available for restaurants and retail, and if we're down to only one arena we have very little chance of continuing to be one of the cities in consideration for the Big Twelve basketball tournament.

BDP
11-05-2007, 01:58 PM
I can't really bash Caple's column on ESPN. The fact is, Bennett has handled this whole thing horribly. It's been a marketing disaster and just because he owns a team that's heading our way doesn't mean he gets a pass. If I was in Seattle, I would be furious.

He definitely shouldn't get a free pass, and he obviously isn't going to get one. The reality is that any owner that moves a team is vilified by that market and, usually, the press in general. I am in no way a Clay Bennett fan and I think Aubrey's statement has turned out to be the biggest liability of them all. These guys typically operate with unchecked hubris and their political backgrounds do nothing to help their credibility, but the real problem is the fact that these sports teams are so heavily subsidized in the first place. It's very much a case of dancing with the devil. Once those deals are made, the people of the city feel they are owed unconditional loyalty beyond what would be expected in any other normal business agreement. This happens even in non-athletic agreements with municipalities or states.


Let's all be honest, we KNOW that this ownership group had one goal in mind and that was bringing the Sonics to Oklahoma City. We ALL know that. Yet, Bennett strung them along with a straight face, assured defeat of various measures that might have got him the arena, and basically has been a jerk to the people of Seattle.

You may be right, but as shifty as they are, I can't in anyway imagine that this ownership would leave the Puget Sound if they got what they are asking for. In fact, no NBA owner would approve a move if Seattle built a new facility. The NBA wants to be in Seattle, but Seattle doesn't like their terms. It's really not as complicated as the emotional reactions make it out to be. The onwers want the money of a market like Seattle, but they aren’t going to stick their neck out to take a stand against demands that they themselves have either made or very much want to reserve the right to make.

I do believe they want a team in Oklahoma City, but they are not going to give up the hundreds of millions they would stand to make in Seattle with a new arena and, again, neither would the NBA. If anything, they'd sell the team and invest those proceeds in the next NBA opportunity that came along. People can whine about the group and what they have done, but Seattle and Washington were very clear from the beginning: They did not want to sign any checks and they did not want to help in any real way. They didn't even vote on it. In fact, all they did was pass a measure that made it HARDER to make money in Seattle, not easier. They took a principled stand and now, faced with the results of that stand, they want to force a money losing business to stay. This would be like Oklahoma City placing performance requirements on GM and then suing them to stay when it became too hard for GM to make money operating in Oklahoma City.


And if we all took three or four steps back, and looked at it objectively, I can't help but think most of us would arrive at a similar conclusion. It's been handled horribly from day one.

I can't say that. Objectively, a market went stale and a business in that market is trying to move into a new up-and-coming market with more market potential. That is the only objective outlook, really. The real problem is the issue of public subsidy. Seattle wanted out of that game, and I 100% respect that, but, unfortunately for Seattle, that didn't stop the professional sports industry (or many large industries to be fair) from still playing by those rules. Seattle said they were done with the racket, so the racket said they were done with them. End of story. It's not Oklahoma City's fault that that happens to be how the story goes or that it happens to be a pretty ugly story to begin with.




I just hope he doesn't come here and jerk our chains the same way he's jerked around the people of Seattle. He's always been a steamroller type of businessman in everything he's ever done. He feels entitled.

Well, if by jerking our chains you mean demanding public assistance, get ready to have your chain jerked. This is the nature of this businesses. Very few markets don't bend to the requests of owners and there are several markets, some larger, that would jump at the chance to give them more than what they'll ask from us (Kansas City... Las Vegas maybe...). We don't have the luxury of being a slam dunk market, like Los Angeles, that can get this stuff done privately. And even some of the the slam dunk markets help their teams out. Again, Seattle has drawn the line with Football and Baseball. They are done playing the game. That leaves the NBA out and, naturally, they're going to go market shopping. Bennett's group’s desire to move to Oklahoma City is only partially emotional. They see a chance to be a huge fish in a small pond. This is not a failing model, but they will use their leverage for sure.


To be honest, the only nice thing I can say about Clay Bennett is that he married well. Very well, indeed. He would be nowhere without marrying into the Gaylord family, and yes, I honestly believe that. He's certainly nothing special as a businessperson, except his very super-special-sized bank account.

Well, he did marry well, but I can't say that it's the only reason for his success. The reality is that he fits the mold for a professional sports team owner. He has no problem throwing his weight around. But I do think they know the value of the team in Seattle with a new facility and there is no way they would sabotage that directly. They set the bar very high, probably too high, but we have to remember that Seattle's answer was not "that's pretty rich, can we come down a bit", it was "you'll get nothing and like it".

It may be gross, and it may be a reason to avoid professional sports or large cap industries altogether, but if you're going to indict Bennett's group, like Capel did, he will have to hand out indictments to most of the league and almost all of professional sports, which, when I think about it, he probably should. Taking it out on one owner though seems misguided and uninformed, and certainly less than “objective”.

HOT ROD
11-07-2007, 01:43 AM
Pretty quiet Sonics wise up here lately guys.

I should tell you that we had elections today, and we passed an initiative which now requires 2/3rd majority for any tax proposal, be it voters OR the leg.

This will significantly affect the arena situation, thereby guaranteeing that we WILL NOT build one. there is NO WAY there would ever be 2/3rds majority approve an arena here, not the leg and certainly not in the voters.

I imagine Stern would have his committee selected soon. Im guessing it will be compiled as follows:

Spurs rep
Hornets rep
Mavericks rep
Grizzlies rep
Jazz rep

whatever the case, I bet the following WONT BE a rep

Portland
LA Lakers
Golden State/Oakland
Boston
Washington Wizzards

okclee
11-07-2007, 07:22 AM
It looks like with the elections that the city of Seattle had a chance to speak with their votes in regards to the Sonics and the city spoke loudly with the new initiative.

Kerry
11-07-2007, 09:08 AM
I gotta say - I applaude them for opposing taxes. If OKC leaders were spending money the way their politicans do I would want it stopped also. They don't have money for a new Sonics arena but they approved $240 million for 10 miles of bike paths.

metro
11-07-2007, 09:19 AM
What's wrong with bike paths? If OKC were more pedestrian/bike friendly, we'd probably have a better economy.

JWil
11-07-2007, 10:20 AM
What's wrong with bike paths? If OKC were more pedestrian/bike friendly, we'd probably have a better economy.

OKC can never be like that because it's too spread out.

okclee
11-07-2007, 10:28 AM
I gotta say - I applaude them for opposing taxes. If OKC leaders were spending money the way their politicans do I would want it stopped also. They don't have money for a new Sonics arena but they approved $240 million for 10 miles of bike paths.


Seriously $240 million for 10 miles!! Wow!!

For the last few years Okc has been building bike paths all along the metro areas. We are spending estimated $23 million for 200 miles of bike paths.

City of Oklahoma City | Trails Master Plan (http://www.okc.gov/trails/key_recommendations.html)

JWil
11-07-2007, 10:47 AM
I just hope instead of building a new arena we instead renovate and expand the Ford Center. I'm thinking completely renovating and expanding the team locker rooms and making them as lavish as possible, renovating the suite and club levels and also the concourses. Also the main entrance and lobby areas should be reconfigured especially as the Ford Center will have prime blvd. frontage across from the new convention center and convention hotel. It would be great to see the lobby areas expanded along Robinson with lots of glass and two main entrances: one at the current Robinson and Reno and another at Robinson and the blvd. This is also important because of the proposed mixed-use retail area that would stretch from the blvd. to Reno in between Robinson and Walker. You would want the best frontage to open up to that with a strong presence along Robinson as well as the blvd.

Then build the practice facility/team HQ in a new facility across the street (Reno) where the Cox is. Why? That place will be torn down once the new much larger and nicer CC is built to the south and that's prime redevelopment land, maybe the best downtown. Any practice facility/HQ would be integrated into a mixed-use development there. Imagine how cool it would be to have retail/shops/residential/office/etc. located all around the Ford Center? That area of downtown will be unrecognizable in the next decade if everything comes together.

I disagree. Here's why:

-- The convention center needs to stay close to hotels. I realize moving it a block or two wouldn't be that big of an idea, but I'm much more in favor of razing Cox for a huge convention center (without an arena) in its spot.

-- OKC will eventually need a new arena. It's no secret the plan for the then-MAPs Arena was to "build it and they will come... we'll figure out something else if someone does come." Well, the NBA came and loved it. While the Ford Center is a very nice arena, it's designed off the previous generation's arena setup. What do I mean? Look at the Ford, the Savvis Center in St. Louis or the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim and you'll see what I'm talking about. Then, look at Staples in LA or AAC in Dallas or KC's Sprint Center. In another 15 years, the Ford will look downright prehistoric. My hope is that a new arena will be built on the south side of the new surface street that will replace I-40. There's a ton of open area there already, and having it south of that new street would mean people could filter out of downtown both on that avenue and the new I-40, since it would only be 4-5 blocks south. Then there's room to attach team offices and a practice area for the team within or next to the arena (I think Phoenix's US Air Center has that).

-- The Ford is still a solid place. There's no need to tear it down, as it's paid for and has a long life ahead of it. Keeping the Blazers in there, holding concerts and hosting the Women's Big 12 Tournament are reasons enough to keep from razing it. Having two new multi-purpose arenas would be a great thing for OKC.

That's my take on things, anyway. At the end of the day, we already know that the Ford is a great place, but not viable for the next 70 years. That's what we're looking for here and I fully expect a new arena to be part of a Core to Shore/MAPs3 project. I think we'll see the new arena by 2016. After the freeway moves, we'll see tons of new construction south of Reno. I'd love to have a new convention center, Ford Center and new arena all in a row. Then connect that skyway to them all and all three places are joined to downtown.

JWil
11-07-2007, 10:57 AM
This is something I would usually post in its own topic on other boards, but in the tradition of 45-page threads, here's something loosely-based to the Sonics situation that will generate its own talk.

Here's the ultimate reason to keep the Sonics name: Oklahoma City sonic boom tests - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_sonic_boom_tests)

Pete
11-07-2007, 12:15 PM
I mentioned the sonic booms and the Tinker tie-in with the name in that long thread. :)

I was a little kid when that was going on and remember them well.

metro
11-07-2007, 12:23 PM
I gotta say - I applaude them for opposing taxes. If OKC leaders were spending money the way their politicans do I would want it stopped also. They don't have money for a new Sonics arena but they approved $240 million for 10 miles of bike paths.


Seriously $240 million for 10 miles!! Wow!!

For the last few years Okc has been building bike paths all along the metro areas. We are spending estimated $23 million for 200 miles of bike paths.

City of Oklahoma City | Trails Master Plan (http://www.okc.gov/trails/key_recommendations.html)


okclee, I don't think you understand what bike LANES are. The bike paths you are referring to are TRAILS that currently connect Lake Hefner to Lake Overholser and eventually with the Oklahoma River and Lake Stanley Draper.

http://www.fotosearch.com/comp/pds/pds023/paved-bike-trail-~-tr000739.jpg

Bike LANES are dedicated lanes for bicycles that run in the road next to the lanes of traffic.

http://www.fotosearch.com/comp/phd/phd168/recycling-bin-~-31069.jpg

http://www.fotosearch.com/comp/thk/thk254/businessman-riding-bike-in-bicycle-lane-~-e00005448.jpg

Big Difference. Bike Lanes are what commuters want when deciding to give up driving to work. This is what bikers get to work safely on through city streets.

okclee
11-07-2007, 03:45 PM
^^ Either way $240 million for 10 miles is the point.

Kerry
11-07-2007, 05:13 PM
Yes, $24 million per mile cost more than rail! However, most of the money is going to advertising and raising awarness. The citizens also voted down a $3.5 billion transit plan. Seattle - like San Francisco - is now a dead city. They simply can't raise the money they need to continue to function. Their expenses far out-weigh their residents ability to pay. This is why OKC needs to plan 20 years out for highways, rail, airport, and other transit needs.

solitude
11-07-2007, 08:03 PM
We're getting a little off-topic here, but, San Francisco is hardly a, "dead city.' I don't know about Seattle, but San Francisco is doing just fine. In fact, they are on a rebound. Tourist money, tourist money, more tourist money and a tax base that benefits from a continued renewal in the high tech industry has brought back San Francisco to the point where they are again trying to spend money on all the silly things San Francisco likes to spend money on. San Francisco - a "dead city?" Late eighties I would have worried about SF, but today? Not on your life.

Kerry
11-07-2007, 08:58 PM
Yes we are way off topic but let me explain what I mean by dead. Places like Seattle and San Francisco have reached their maximum size. Infrastrucutre improvements are almost cost prohibitive and that will greatly reduce their ability to attract new business and residents in the future. In these cities the only growth will be in the suburbs. Compare them to some place like Atlanta or Phoenix that are experience simultanious city proper and suburban growth.

I am not sure about Seattle's student population but San Francisco only has 50,000 K-12 students. Compare this to say OKC Public Schools that has 40,000 students but has nearly half the population. Throw in the other school districts inside the OKC city limits and OKC has way more children. Where is San Fran's next generation going to come from? The city simply won't have the next generation of wage earners and business to support the tax expenditures.

This is the same reason Seattle will not be able to build a new arena. They just don't have the money available. Their leadership either made bad decisions in the past or punted on tough choices. They can't even afford to replace a bridge that everyone says is a top priority.

Luke
11-08-2007, 05:23 AM
This is something I would usually post in its own topic on other boards, but in the tradition of 45-page threads, here's something loosely-based to the Sonics situation that will generate its own talk.

Here's the ultimate reason to keep the Sonics name: Oklahoma City sonic boom tests - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_sonic_boom_tests)

How about a nod to our states's history in a couple of ways:

Sonic Boomers.

:)

metro
11-08-2007, 07:31 AM
^^ Either way $240 million for 10 miles is the point.

Keep in mind Seattle is a hilly and also wet city in addition to things costing more on the West Coast. Therefore, their cost per mile is greater than say OKC would be since they have to pave/grade roads and bike lanes up and down hills as well as have more drainage systems than we do. If you read the Seattle Times article explaining the bike lanes, etc. it will go more in detail.

HOT ROD
11-08-2007, 12:31 PM
Kerry, the Seattle Public Schools ahve 55,000 kids in it. the district covers the whole city of Seattle. OKC, by comparison is 40,000 in half of the city; so OKC has more kids than SeaPub as well.

I agree that Seattle has reached its maximum size. Unlike OKC, we can't pass anything unless we tap into the rest of the metro area. That is why almost everything fails here.

That transit plan, which I voted down also, was ridiculous. it was to set up a slush fund, where many projects lumped together would 'disappear' and all of sudden that money would be used to kee the 737 production in this state.

We ALL saw through the government, and even had a key leader (King County Executive Ron Sims) flip sides against it (even tho he was a primary proponent initially and IS in general for mass transit). The problem with it is, it has highway stuff yet we have already seen HUGE gas tax increases over the last 7 years - so why do we need more $$ for highways is the thought???

I dont like the light rail alignment from the initiative. makes no sense.

But yes, this is way way off topic. Maybe Ill start a new thread regarding quirky Seattle.

BDP
11-08-2007, 03:03 PM
Places like Seattle and San Francisco have reached their maximum size. Infrastrucutre improvements are almost cost prohibitive and that will greatly reduce their ability to attract new business and residents in the future. In these cities the only growth will be in the suburbs. Compare them to some place like Atlanta or Phoenix that are experience simultanious city proper and suburban growth.

San Francisco has been growing and building like crazy and they are in the final planning stages to build the largest building on the West coast as part of a major overhaul and reinvention of their transbay terminal:

'Aggressive schedule' for proposed Transbay transit center, tower (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/09/21/BAO7S9J2H.DTL&hw=transbay+terminal&sn=004&sc=865)

http://www.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2007/08/12/ba_transbay001_pelli.jpg

I think this qualifies as major growth in terms of infrastructure. The leading firm offered $350 million for the rights to develop the site, which is helping to pay for a new 900+ million dollar transbay terminal. Just think if we could get OCURA to award some land for development and use those proceeds to help our public transit! If anything, the city is growing and the peninsula is stagnant (although it's been rebounding as well). I also know that they put in new muni lines from third down the embarcadero in the last few years. South of Market has gone verticle with even more condos coming online. If that's dead, here's to hoping Oklahoma City catches a terminal condition soon! These infrastructure improvements are expensive, yes, but they serve soooo many more people than similar improvements would here. So, despite their prices tags, they are actually more efficient.

As for Seattle, it doesn't seem to be a case of not having the money, it seems to be a readjustment to their priorities. I think OKC and Seattle are in different places and it makes sense for them to spend money on things that improves the quality of life for all residents, while OKC still needs to spend money to raise its profile. I think it's great they're spending money on public infrastructure instead of subsidizing sports teams. Right now OKC needs to do both. I just wish Seattle would also graciously conceded that such a shift in priorities may just result in losing the team they no longer want to give additional subsidy, instead of suing them out of spite.

okclee
11-08-2007, 03:26 PM
Let's get this thread back on track, more news about the NBA in Seattle / Okc.

ESPN - Stern: NBA won't return to Seattle if Sonics leave - NBA (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3100691)


Stern criticizes city, state governments in Sonics dealings
Associated Press

Updated: November 8, 2007, 5:00 PM ET

PHOENIX -- NBA commissioner David Stern warned on Thursday that if the SuperSonics leave Seattle he sees no way the league would ever return to the city.

"I'd love to find a way to keep the team there," he said, "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."

At a news conference following his announcement that the 2009 All-Star Game would be held in Phoenix, Stern criticized the city of Seattle and the Washington legislature for its handling of the issue of funding a replacement for Key Arena.

Stern repeated earlier criticism of the mayor and city council for promoting a measure, overwhelmingly passed by voters, that requires any funds to help build an arena earn money at the same rate as a treasury bill.

That measure simply means there is no way city money would ever be used on an arena project, Stern said.

He also lamented that the state legislature refused to consider continuing a tax that helped fund Seattle's baseball and football stadiums.

"To have the speaker of the house say, 'Well, they just spend too much money on salaries anyway, so we need it for other things,'" Stern said, casts aspersions on the whole league's operations. "We get the message. Hopefully, maybe cooler heads will prevail."

He was referring to a remark by House Speaker Frank Chopp last February when funding for a new arena in the Seattle suburb of Renton was proposed.

"They ought to get their own financial house in order when their payroll is over $50 million for, what is it, 10 players? I think that's a little ridiculous," Chopp said at the time. "They need to get their own financial house in order and if they did, they wouldn't have to ask for public help."

Stern's comments were much tougher than the ones he made last June, when he said he believed the issue was "just going to work itself out."

SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett told the NBA last Friday that he plans to move the team to Oklahoma City. When that move would occur depends on outcome of litigation with the city over the franchise's Key Arena lease. The lease calls for the team to play in Seattle through the 2009-10 season, but Bennett wants out sooner.

As the issue becomes more and more contentious, Stern said he hopes "that a white knight that hasn't existed before, somebody who has a building plan of how to keep the team there, will step forward."

The commissioner's comments came at the end of a news conference where he spent most of his time rehashing the one-game suspension of Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for leaving the bench after San Antonio's Robert Horry slammed teammate Steve Nash into the scorer's table in last season's conference semifinals.

NBA rules require a one-game suspension for any player who leaves the bench in such incidents.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press


ESPN - Stern: NBA won't return to Seattle if Sonics leave - NBA (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3100691)

HOT ROD
11-09-2007, 06:53 PM
BDP, I dont disagree with your sentiments about SF but just because they are finally building a new skyscraper does not necessarily translate into the city being alive or dead. Without the tourism aspect, I'd say both downtown SF and Seattle are dead whereas OKC is improving; perhaps in a few years with residents in downtown SF things might liven up, but I digress.

Sorry for changing the topic, now back to the NBA in OKC.

It is funny that Seattle thinks they're all that (except me and a few other grounded people) and yet the city is about to completely lose out - and the city will still have it's nose in the air and ego in the clouds; coming up with excuse after excuse and slam after slam on OKC or about OKC being viable or not.

What about Seattle's viability??? To me, that is the question; and this article proves it. If Seattle were so desireable and the NBA couldn't live without it, then why would the NBA say they'd never come back WHEN the Sonics leave???

Notice I said, WHEN... There are reasons for that.

I-91 - the city passed this initiative which all but makes it impossible to build a new arena in Seattle unless there is a profit sharing agreement (hence new lease) in place. Bennett will NOT sign a new lease with Seattle and there is NO WAY that an arena could be otherwise built in the city; given all of the hurdles and lack of land/infrastructure.

Key Arena - the city wants to rebuild Key Arena to suit the Sonics. They are talking about either razing it altogether and starting from scratch (which is what should have happened in 1994 by the way, per the lease/contract; which is IM sure what will get Bennett out of the lease, but I digress) or a remodel of the existing structure, again. Of course, this would certainly mean a NEW lease for Bennett and therefore Definitely a dead idea. Too little too late, since Howard Schultz would have accepted this had the city been so kind back when he owned the team (H.S. offered significant dollars and wanted the city to match and have Key Arena rebuilt, the city said 'hell no' at that time and took the stance of not caring that they've continued to date).

New Initiative - I forget the number, but we JUST passed a new initiative which will require ALL tax increases, whether they are passed by the leg or voted on by the people, all new tax increases will require a 2/3 majority to approve. In the past, they only required a simple majority vote or of the quorum (sp?). This all but guarantees that there will be NO NEW ARENA in Washington state. There is NO WAY that 2/3 of the leg or populous will approve a new arena or even a portion of it. It aint gonna happen.

So, we're back to square one. Private funding. And so far, NOBODY has stepped up with a funding plan for an arena. Muck's offered land, so did Sabey; but in reality those plans only served THEIR interests.

And yes, the former minority owners would like to buy the team back and let them keep playing at Key Arena regardless of the losses; but too little (since they wont make it worth Bennett's while [see greater than $350M]), too late (since they should have stepped up when Schultz was seeking local buyers, prior to Bennett's entry). Besides, Bennett has said he will not sell the team; he's wanted the franchise forever and finally has it. There is no way I see that he'd sell to appease Seattle's ego.

So, the LAST thing that would keep the team in Seattle is if some rich person out of the goodness of his heart, built a palace for Bennett. But even then, the state/county/city would have to fund infrastructure which likely would not pass. Furthermore, I highly doubt this person exists; there is a reason why we have so many rich people (relatively speaking), they hold onto their wealth here; so don't look for an arena announcement from private investors EVER.

Besides, once Bennett gets NBA approval to move (say pre-March 2008) - I'd imagine he'd immediately sign a conditional intent to play/lease with Oklahoma City officials with the date being the condition of litigation results, either Oct 1, 2008 or by Oct 1, 2010. So, either the board approves first (and Bennett gets a conditional lease with OKC) or the fed court rules (and Bennett gets an actual lease with OKC); either way - once this happens,

Seattle might as well concede. I'd prefer that we concede already and try to get as much as we can from Bennett. In doing so, perhaps we'd plead to the NBA that we desire a new franchise which could resurrect the Supersonics. We'd also plead that we'd work on an arena and in the future would like to be considered/promised.

See, Seattle had a lot of leverige (sp) but failed to utilize it due to pride and stupidity and being pompass. Instead of working with the NBA (one way or another, an arena or a concession agreement promising to do so later and having first dabs on the next franchise while letting Bennett in 2008), our stupid leaders want to 'stick-it' to Bennett and the NBA like we are 4 your old kids. The analogy above is perfect, Seattle doesn't play with it's toy yet cops a fit when somebody else who'd love to play with it comes in.

I call all of this laughable, and kudos to Oklahoma City. I hope the city uses this as an opportunity to finally improve the image and the city!!!

OKC has gone through lots of improvements and even has civic pride of its own now. The city needs to continue and keep getting better, and use the Sonics and other avenues to enjoy the limelight and build on that success.

BDP
11-10-2007, 08:26 AM
BDP, I dont disagree with your sentiments about SF but just because they are finally building a new skyscraper does not necessarily translate into the city being alive or dead. Without the tourism aspect, I'd say both downtown SF and Seattle are dead whereas OKC is improving; perhaps in a few years with residents in downtown SF things might liven up, but I digress.

Liven up? That's weird to hear someone say that. I have friends who live in SF and I visit there every couple of years. The building just doesn't stop and this is only one skyscraper out of many south of market that have recently come online or are being built. SF has gone even more verticle the last few years. I can't imagine anyone who has been there recently calling it dead. It's urban landscape is actaully expanding and growing taller. Many areas that were 'dead' when I was in college are now seeing life brought into them. What's happened and continues to happen just south of San Francisco's financial district is like OKC's little resurgance times 20. It's hard to even compare what's planned in OKC to what's alredy happened and what is planned in SF. That's not to say what's supposed to happen in OKC isn't great, but it has already happened in parts of SF and continues to expand. I just hope that we can have that kind of development in OKC when and if these initial smaller projects are a success. Again, if SF is dead and needs livening up, OKC is in real trouble.

CCOKC
11-10-2007, 09:27 AM
Hot Rod, can you tell me what the season ticket sales are for the Sonics this year? I have heard before that they are some of the worst in the NBA. If this is true the fans need to show their support with their own dollars and stop whining that the rich owners need to build them (the citezens of Seattle) a new arena. As I have stated before, in a typical year an NBA team will only use the arena for 41 regular season games, a handful of preseason games and hopefully some playoff games. That makes a nice base for an arena but certainly does not make sense to spend that much money for one tenant.

Intrepid
11-10-2007, 01:36 PM
Hot Rod, can you tell me what the season ticket sales are for the Sonics this year? I have heard before that they are some of the worst in the NBA. If this is true the fans need to show their support with their own dollars and stop whining that the rich owners need to build them (the citezens of Seattle) a new arena. As I have stated before, in a typical year an NBA team will only use the arena for 41 regular season games, a handful of preseason games and hopefully some playoff games. That makes a nice base for an arena but certainly does not make sense to spend that much money for one tenant.


Here's a link to the ticket prices:

SONICS: Season Tickets (http://www.nba.com/sonics/tickets/season.html)

CCOKC
11-11-2007, 11:32 AM
It's hard to tell from that how many season tickets have been sold although it does seem that there are a lot of good seats still available in the lower bowl. That tickets were completely sold out in OKC. The prices seemed like they were a little higher in Seattle although it is hard to tell because the arena is configured differently.

HOT ROD
11-11-2007, 09:46 PM
Hot Rod, can you tell me what the season ticket sales are for the Sonics this year? I have heard before that they are some of the worst in the NBA. If this is true the fans need to show their support with their own dollars and stop whining that the rich owners need to build them (the citezens of Seattle) a new arena. As I have stated before, in a typical year an NBA team will only use the arena for 41 regular season games, a handful of preseason games and hopefully some playoff games. That makes a nice base for an arena but certainly does not make sense to spend that much money for one tenant.

cc, I honestly dont know. I am not a season tix holder and I don't want to inquire either. I dont want to give Seattle any edge on this, esp since I am from OKC. I think you could peruse the NBA however and determine the season tix ranges online tho.

Sorry cc but I think you understand. wink wink :)

As for the amount sold, I think the Sonics have sold more than the Hornets did but certainly well below 10,000 (probably more like 7,000). I dont know for sure, but I am very aware that there was a HUGE drop from past years and you'd figure that if the Sonics are forced to stay two more years - they'd probably have lower sales than the Hornets (like less than 5,000). ... For that reason alone, I hope that Bennett/OKC wins this OR the NBA will adjust Seattle's home games - I really dont like what 'my city' is doing regarding the Sonics. ...