View Full Version : HUGE NEWS! Clay Bennett & Co. buy Supersonics!



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Pete
07-18-2006, 12:43 PM
This just broke on the Seattle Times website:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003135221_websonicssold18.html


Sonics sold to Oklahoma City group
By Seattle Times staff


The Sonics have been sold to a group from Oklahoma City led by businessman Clay Bennett, according to multiple sources. A news conference to announce the sale has been scheduled for 3 p.m. today.

The New Orleans Hornets, displaced by the hurricane, played their games last season at Oklahoma City, and are scheduled to play there again next season.

Bennett owns an investment firm and rallied the city's business leaders to attract the Hornets to Oklahoma City. Bennett was previously on the board of directors for San Antonio Spurs.

It was not immediately known if the Sonics would move to Oklahoma.

Copyright 2006 The Seattle Times Company

Pete
07-18-2006, 12:44 PM
Here's another source:

http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/5794972

Sonics' future in Seattle in doubt after sale

Mike Kahn / Special to FOXSports.com
Posted: 14 minutes ago



The Seattle SuperSonics will announce the majority of the team has been sold to a group of investors from Oklahoma City, according to an influential NBA source who spoke with members of the existing ownership group.

The announcement is set for a press conference Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.
Neither side would confirm the sale, however, those sources from within the Basketball Club of Seattle said it is a $350 million agreement with the group from Oklahoma City. And although the announcement will say the new owners will try to make a go of it in Seattle, they could move the team to Oklahoma City as soon as the 2007-08 season. Even though the lease at KeyArena runs through 2010, the city has claimed it loses money every time the Sonics play so some sort of buyout could be made in the near future.

Sonics vice president of communications Karen Bryant confirmed there will be a press conference Tuesday, but would not elaborate on the details.

The Sonics, the flagship professional franchise in Seattle dating back to 1967, have been losing tens of millions of dollars since present majority owner Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz purchased the team from The Ackerley Group in 2001, due in part to an unpalatable lease with the city of Seattle. Led by president and minority owner Wally Walker, they have been trying desperately to get the city and state to approve renovations to the 17,072-seat KeyArena, which had a $70 million facelift in 1995 and was renamed in lieu of the dilapidated old Seattle Center Coliseum.

But after NBA commissioner David Stern joined Schultz and Walker at a special session of the state legislature in Olympia last winter in an attempt to get support from the state of Washington, the wheels began to turn. Rumblings from groups in San Jose and Orange County came into the picture. The general consensus was the Sonics would stay, but eventually move to the east side of Lake Washington in affluent Bellevue, where the majority of the season ticket base resides anyway. Stern also said at an All-Star Game news conference that the league would allow the Sonics to relocate if the team was not given the money it requested.

Nonetheless, the Sonics have had resistance from all sides in search of financial help, and the bloated ownership group which has more than 60 investors has been answering cash calls of late.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City sold out 35 games last season while providing the New Orleans Hornets with a de facto home in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's destruction in the Big Easy. The NBA had already announced the 2008 NBA All-Star game would be played in New Orleans, and has encouraged owner George Shinn to make every attempt to make a go of it in New Orleans despite a struggle with sponsorship and attendance even before the devastation of Katrina.

That success explains why Stern may have brokered the deal between the group from Oklahoma City, essentially delivering the Sonics as a payback for being the cordial and successful host. Especially since the city of Seattle and the state of Washington have showed no indication they would like to help the Sonics financially.

The Sonics won the NBA title in 1979 and lost in the NBA Finals in 1996. But they have been in the playoffs just twice since Schultz bought the team after he promised they would win a title within five years. The Starbucks corporate office is located south of downtown Seattle.

Midtowner
07-18-2006, 12:52 PM
I know one restaurant chain which will be an instant sponsor.

Patrick
07-18-2006, 12:54 PM
From what I've been told Sonic Corp. is planning on buying out the naming rights for the Ford Center. New name: Sonic Center

Pete
07-18-2006, 01:04 PM
ESPN is reporting the group also bought the WNBA franchise the Seattle Storm.

http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/1833/okcsonicsaz1.jpg

Patrick
07-18-2006, 01:09 PM
Sweet! NBA and WNBA all in one swoop. I guess we have the Hornets for one more year, then the Sonics will be ours. And we can laugh at George Shinn as the Hornets do miserably in New Orleans.

Pete
07-18-2006, 01:12 PM
I'm sure the Sonics deal was payback to Bennett & Co. for solving the short-term Hornets problem.

The Hornets have to go back. The NBA has way too much of a political situation on it's hands with New Orleans.


But this couldn't have worked out better for OKC. The Sonics are a much better franchise, we get true local ownership, Shinn is out of the picture, etc.

Simply awesome development.

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 01:15 PM
I JUST heard on the local Seattle media that, the Seattle Supersonics have been SOLD!!!! to an Oklahoma City investment group..



LOOK FOR THE SONICS to become OKLAHOMA CITY'S PERMANENT TEAM SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

escan
07-18-2006, 01:21 PM
The only downside for me is that I don't want to lose my awesome season ticket seats...dang!

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 01:43 PM
yo wont lose your tix, Im sure the Sonics will move to OKC after the Hornets lease is up

(or perhaps some shuffling with NO??? Maybe OKC would retain the Hornets and give the Sonics to NO??????)

escan
07-18-2006, 01:47 PM
I know I'll keep my Hornets tix, but I want the SAME tix for the Sonics.

soonerliberal
07-18-2006, 01:57 PM
It looks like the Sonics are at least a few years away from actually making the move. I have a feeling the city of Seattle will play hardball and try their hardest to keep the Sonics from breaking their lease, which expires in 2010. Who really knows though? Regardless, this is incredible news for the city and fans of NBA basketball.

sweetdaisy
07-18-2006, 02:00 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=25229 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2522944)44 (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2522944)

To back soonerliberal's story...

Pete
07-18-2006, 02:01 PM
They could always just continue to pay on the lease and still move the team.

OKC would probably give them free (or almost free) rent to offset any short-term issues.

I'm sure Bennett and his partners have this all worked out but they might not be able to talk about it until after next season.

Remember that Bennett formed his LLC with the express goal of getting a pro franchise for OKC, and he's very tight with Mick Cornett and all the city leaders.

fsusurfer
07-18-2006, 02:20 PM
It looks like the Sonics are at least a few years away from actually making the move. I have a feeling the city of Seattle will play hardball and try their hardest to keep the Sonics from breaking their lease, which expires in 2010. Who really knows though? Regardless, this is incredible news for the city and fans of NBA basketball.


Seattle loses money every time the team plays in their arena. The city is ready to unload the sonics and will be happy to break the lease.

Easy180
07-18-2006, 02:20 PM
anyone seen their roster??...pretty sad outside of Ray Allen who is getting up there....let's hope they get a star by the time they head down here

For more fun check out the Seattle Times Sonics forum...lots of well wishes and praise for OKC : )

metro
07-18-2006, 02:22 PM
You beat me to it!

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Sources with the NBA's Seattle Supersonics have confirmed that a group of businessmen from Oklahoma City had purchased the team.

Discuss

According to a wire report from The Associated Press, the WNBA's Seattle Storm was purchased also. The Oklahoma City group leading the purchase efforts is headed by Clay Bennett.


There is no word as to whether Bennett would move the team to Oklahoma City.

A news conference is scheduled for 5 p.m.

BricktownGuy
07-18-2006, 02:27 PM
You would think the team would move... his goal was to get okc a team... rite????

Karried
07-18-2006, 02:34 PM
WHOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!

This is great news any way we look at it... who would have thought this could happen a few years ago?

OKC an NBA city.. Big time baby! This is all over the news... nationwide coverage.. you can't pay for positive exposure like this.. I'm so excited!!!!

scotplum
07-18-2006, 02:37 PM
anyone seen their roster??...pretty sad outside of Ray Allen who is getting up there....let's hope they get a star by the time they head down here

For more fun check out the Seattle Times Sonics forum...lots of well wishes and praise for OKC : )

I'd say Rashard Lewis is a pretty big name.

Pete
07-18-2006, 02:50 PM
I'm absolutely sure the Sonics will move for the 07/08 season.

They won't say so because they still have sell tickets in Seattle for this season and the Hornets have to seel tickets in OKC, too.

But of course that's what will happen... This group has the OKC market completely primed for NBA basketball... Do you really think they would spend $350 million if this wasn't already worked out?

MadMonk
07-18-2006, 02:56 PM
Just heard about this. Great news. Let NO have their Hornets back and we get the Sonics. Everyone's happy and it makes OKC look good by keeping our promise to return the Hornets when possible.

metro
07-18-2006, 03:14 PM
Here's what USA Today has to say:

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/sonics/2006-07-18-sonics-storm-sale_x.htm?POE=SPOISVA

mranderson
07-18-2006, 03:46 PM
EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is what the media is saying about the future.

Three scenerios.

1. The Sonics stay in Seattle after the state agreeing to build a new arena (a condition of the sale is to negotiate for the team to stay in Seattle). The Hornets go back to New Orleans and Oklahoma City is teamless.

2. The Sonics move to Oklahoma City and the Hornets back to New Orleans in 2007-2008.

3. The ownership of the Hornets and the Sonics trade teams keeping the Hornets in Oklahoma City and the Sonics move to New Orleans.

I do not think Bennett is stupid enough to buy the team if it stays in Seattle. I think the condition was just so he could get the team.

Look for the new and improved Oklahoma City Sonics and the Oklahoma City Storm (WNBA) in 2007.

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 04:51 PM
on the tv talk shows here in Seattle, most callers are saying: Pack up and leave. We have other pressing issues here in Seattle"

Over 75% of the fans/residents here say "GO". Its inevitable they are gonna go to OKC", caller.

"Stern promised OKC a team one way or another.... Hornets going back to New Orleans, so the Sonics are gonna go to OKC." Ron, Caller

NW Cable News (paraphrased)

wsucougz
07-18-2006, 04:52 PM
Let's hope they do terrible next year so we can get some decent draft picks.

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 04:52 PM
OKC WILL HAVE TWO TEAMS OUT OF THIS

NBA: Oklahoma City Supersonics AND

WNBA: Oklahoma City STORM

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Clay Bennett !!!!!!!! :tweeted:

writerranger
07-18-2006, 05:19 PM
Great news! But, Clay, please be honest with the people of Seattle. They are pissed at your saying it is merely "coincidental" that OKC wants a team and your purchase of the Sonics. That REALLY is wrong and if I lived in Seattle, I would be pissed at that kind of blatant lying, too. Let's all hope Clay Bennet will be more honest with the people of OKC than he is being with the people of a great city like Seattle. That aside, this is great news!

-----

fromdust
07-18-2006, 07:34 PM
that is good news, but could we support the sonics AND storm? anyones thoughts

soonerliberal
07-18-2006, 07:46 PM
that is good news, but could we support the sonics AND storm? anyones thoughts

I think it could be done, but I imagine it would be tough. I have no idea what the attendance averages are for the WNBA, but I think we could manage. The problem would be 3 or 4 years down the line when the "new" wears off of the teams and people lose some interest (i.e. Charlotte, Pre-Katrina New Orleans).

Pete
07-18-2006, 08:04 PM
As someone else put it so eloquently, can *any* city support an WNBA franchise?? :)

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 08:14 PM
yeah, the WNBA does not get that much fan support up here. They have gotten better of late, mainly because the younger kids and families can see major league talent for a cheaper dollar.

that being said, WNBA begins after the NBA regular season is over - there is no regular season overlap. OKC's Ford Center would have basketball dates all year long - which would bode well not only for the city and its businesses downtown - but also for the OKC fan base in general.

You all can enjoy basketball all year long, and I'd predict that the STORM in OKC would be the MOST profitable and Most supported of all of the WNBA teams, given the NEW family market available in OKC as well as the lack of competition during their season!!!

If nothing else, Im sure Bennet and company can put together season tix which incorporate WNBA (and vice versa) and Im sure that OKC can be the best single sport *dual team* market in history!

Pete
07-18-2006, 08:20 PM
Mayor: Sale doesn't mean Sonics coming to Oklahoma City
By The Associated Press

Mayor Mick Cornett cautioned Tuesday that the purchase of the Seattle SuperSonics by an Oklahoma City businessman does not necessarily mean that the NBA franchise will relocate to the city.


"I think it's presumptuous to assume that Clay Bennett and his ownership group won't own that Seattle team for a long, long time in Seattle or somewhere else. It's presumptuous to assume they're going to move that franchise to Oklahoma City," Cornett said. "I understand that people are going to say that seems to be a likely scenario, but that's just speculation."

Bennett was the leader of a group that sought to buy a minority stake in the New Orleans Hornets, who temporarily relocated to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina.

Upon the formation of his investor group in February, Bennett said: "The bottom line is, we want a team for this market."

But on Tuesday, he had a different message. He told a Seattle news conference that he would keep the team in Seattle if an agreement could be reached for a new arena. In a news release, Bennett said he hoped the Sonics would succeed in Seattle for "decades to come."

"Owning an NBA franchise and a world-class facility in this market is a good place to be," Bennett said. "That said, as you know, I certainly hope that in time, Oklahoma City gets a team, and I think we will."

Bennett said the new ownership group has a "12-month commitment" to Seattle, in which it will attempt to negotiate for a new arena. He said the group was "sincere" but would evaluate its other options if an agreement for a new arena wasn't reached in that time frame.

"I think everything's on the table after that year, and if we run out of all our options, I'd love to have the team in Oklahoma City," Bennett said.

"Certainly Oklahoma has become clearly a viable NBA market."

Bennett, the president of Oklahoma City investment firm Dorchester Capital, was vital to the city's effort to bring the Hornets to the city. He led a group of investors who provided one-third of a $10 million promise to the Hornets if they did not meet surpass their revenue from 2004-05 by at least 5 percent last season.

Instead, the Hornets easily exceeded their revenue benchmark, and the city will share some of the profits.

"Clay is smart. He's got the means to make things happen, he's got good connections, he's trustworthy," Cornett said. "I have high expectations of him and he meets them."

Ed Evans, who was part of another group that unsuccessfully tried to purchase the Washington Nationals baseball team, said Bennett's group met earlier this year and decided that Bennett would pursue buying the Hornets while Evans looked into the Sonics.

Eventually, the group decided it wanted a controlling stake in a franchise, something Hornets owner George Shinn was unwilling to offer.

"The goal is we want to own an NBA franchise. We're not overly particular about where it is, frankly," Evans said. "It'd be great to get a team in Oklahoma City. If it's this team, wonderful. If it's not, another team at some point in time, that will be fine."

Evans said he was "pretty confident" that Oklahoma City would have an NBA franchise within the next five years.

"I don't know if it's this team, I don't know if it's the Hornets. I don't know if it's another team or an expansion franchise, but I will tell you that the way the city of Oklahoma City has responded to the Hornets in that city clearly indicates the ability of that town to support an NBA franchise," Evans said.

The Hornets, who will play 35 games in Oklahoma City this season before returning to New Orleans in 2007-08, don't anticipate the announcement having any impact on the team.

"It doesn't change anything," said Michael Thompson, the Hornets' director of corporate communications. "Our goal, our plan from day one has been to return to New Orleans."

Thompson said season-ticket sales in Oklahoma City are projected to exceed last year's totals, when the team sold out half of its 36 games at the Ford Center, and the Hornets are working on extending agreements with sponsors in the city.

"One of my concerns about what's happening today is that it will take our focus off of the Hornets and all of the great things that have been going on here, and it shouldn't," Cornett said.

The Hornets provided the city's first chance to prove it could succeed as the host of a major league franchise and now "we have proven that we are an NBA city," Cornett said.

"We need to continue to support the Hornets franchise with everything we've got," he added. "That hasn't changed."

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 08:22 PM
Great news! But, Clay, please be honest with the people of Seattle. They are pissed at your saying it is merely "coincidental" that OKC wants a team and your purchase of the Sonics. That REALLY is wrong and if I lived in Seattle, I would be pissed at that kind of blatant lying, too. Let's all hope Clay Bennet will be more honest with the people of OKC than he is being with the people of a great city like Seattle. That aside, this is great news!

-----

You are absolutely right. We are a little pissed by that. It would be easier to swallow if they would tell the truth (the team would stay in Seattle thru 2007 then move on to OKC, something like that). But its all politics and marketing.

Consider this fact. OKC already has the Hornets for 2006-2007 guaranteed and there is no promise that NO will be ready in 2008. Also, Bennet and all just bought an ACTIVE franchise - so certainly they will SAY the team will stay, so they can get as much support and season tix as possible (to try to "convince" the OKC owners to leave the team in Seattle). Its the EXACT SAME THING that Shinn and company did to OKC (and NO), promise both - so as not to limit profitability/support of the team whilst it is in transition.

Im sure if the Hornets were not in OKC, there would be a buyout announcement of the Sonics contract with the city of Seattle, immediately following the announcement today that the team ownership now in-fact resides in downtown Oklahoma City. :sofa:

Of course, as a Seattle resident, that would be easier to take - hey, its a business decision no offense to OKC. Good luck. And many Seattleites are saying that while at the same time criticizing the "former" owner, who just so happens to be a very rich business man and owner of Seattle-based Starbucks.

If nothing else, now we all see that OKC does indeed have major league status and that no major market is safe - with lackluster performing teams and fans, any purchase/move is possible.

Portland is probably next.

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 08:26 PM
Mayor: Sale doesn't mean Sonics coming to Oklahoma City
By The Associated Press

Mayor Mick Cornett cautioned Tuesday that the purchase of the Seattle SuperSonics by an Oklahoma City businessman does not necessarily mean that the NBA franchise will relocate to the city.




He's saying that so you all will continue to support the Hornets this year. That's all.

You have to read between the lines of these political and marketing type of statements.

Its very much like Bennett saying "We are looking to keep the team in Seattle", YEAH - until 2007* when the Hornet's lease is over* that is.

Bennett said that so Seattleites wont vacate support of HIS team, until he decides to move on. One thing for sure, WE WILL NOT BUILD AN OUTSIDE INVESTOR GROUP A NEW ARENA. WE DIDNT EVEN DO IT FOR A LOCAL OWNER. :fighting4

NO WAY IN HELL THE TEAM WILL STAY IN SEATTLE PAST 2010, PERHAPS EVEN 2007.

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 08:27 PM
One more point of note, I bet all of the NO Hornet fans are just plain elated with the news that OKC now owns the Sonics/Storm org.

That's for sure.

Pete
07-18-2006, 08:30 PM
Yes, all political posturing and pretty transparent.

And Bennett is already setting it up so that when the new arena in Seattle doesn't materialize (which is the whole reason the team was on the block in the first place) then, what can he do? We tried, Seattle, but it's clear you don't want to keep the team. Now, it's off to a place that really wants us, and it just happens to be my hometown.

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 08:37 PM
Yes, all political posturing and pretty transparent.

And Bennett is already setting it up so that when the new arena in Seattle doesn't materialize (which is the whole reason the team was on the block in the first place) then, what can he do? We tried, Seattle, but it's clear you don't want to keep the team. Now, it's off to a place that really wants us, and it just happens to be my hometown.

Right.

And most of us up here in the know (so to say) already know that the team is destined to be known as Oklahoma City SONICS/STORM just as soon as the NO/Oklahoma City Hornets no longer call OKC home.

There is NO WAY in hell that Seattle would build an arena for the SONICs now, no matter what the Governor or Mayor of Seattle say "politically" to sooth the pain of long time fans and current tix holders. The team is as good as "temporary" located in Seattle, from the NBA standpoint.

Tough to swallow for Seattle, but then again, if we supported the team and cared that much and built them a stadium - we still be talking about Shinn' and company's most probable efforts to keep the Hornets in OKC.

okcpulse
07-18-2006, 08:49 PM
This is definetely Oklahoma City's decade, and certainly not its last. This news was definitely a jaw-dropper, and I was speechless. Way to go OKC!!!!

BFizzy
07-18-2006, 09:54 PM
I thought this was interesting...

http://www.seattlest.com/archives/2006/07/18/is_this_basketball_eden.php

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 10:18 PM
One thing's for sure. OKC wont STAY the nation's 33 largest metro area for long.

SoonerDave
07-18-2006, 10:23 PM
. The ownership of the Hornets and the Sonics trade teams keeping the Hornets in Oklahoma City and the Sonics move to New Orleans.

I'm glad I'm not the only one seeing this possibility - franchise trade. Didn't something similar to this happen a few years ago - perhaps not in basketball, but some major sports franchises swapped owners (or something similarly uncommon)?

I think it's a brilliant business maneuver on Bennett's part, and it has dramatically lowered Shinn's leverage.

I don't have much insight in the WNBA, except it is perhaps the single biggest joke in professional sports - by any measure, it's an insolvent (to be generous) organization that is propped up purely for public compensation. That said, if they actually make a go of it here, Oklahoma could establish a positive reputation for being a groundbreaker in high-profile women's sports. We got some great publicity during the softball world cup games this last week, IMHO.

-SoonerDave

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 10:31 PM
Everyone.

I was on SSP (where this is also headline news) and got to thinking after another poster had an interesting point:

why dont Bennett change the name once he moves it to OKC.. My first reaction was, Oklahoma City Sonics and Storm fit.

Then again, I started thinking - he might have had a point. Seattle has a HUGE tradition with the Sonics, it was their original and first major league team. If the legendary Sonics were to move, it would be a huge blow to sports fans - whether they reside in Seattle or not. BUT, if the team were "retired" and OKC moved the team and started anew with a "new name", well then,

that might be a whole lot easier to swallow. I mean, we'd put a very courteous end to a sports tradition in the legendary Sonics. Could you imagine if the Bulls were to move away from Chicago (for one thing) then the name Bulls move with it??? Kansas City Bulls or Las Vegas Bulls???

Even Kansas City Sonics or Las Vegas Sonics wouldnt be any better to bear. I know in this region, Oklahoma City Sonics has a catch - due to the fact that Sonic is hq here (i mentioned this on SSP) but it would be sort of honourable if we were to tip our hat to Seattle and rename the team. In fact, Im sure Seattle would "give up much more graceously" if we announced the team would move to OKC and be known as the Oklahoma City ____ (anything but SONICS).

Seattleites would probably say, ok - that's better to swallow. An end to a Seattle era/tradition, Seattle history could be preserved and OKC's stake in the major leagues could start "fresh".

I know the same does not necessarily hold true for the Hornets, and they weren't really in Charlotte for long for them to develop the branding that Seattle, Chicago, LA Lakers, and NY Nicks have.

I think it would have been nice if the Jazz could have done the same for NO, and the Kings the same for KC. Those teams also had long tradition in the old leagues, just Seattle's is the most recent to fold - and it may be hard for them to take "Oklahoma City Sonics".

WNBA Storm, I'd say we could keep that name (since OKC is the Severe Thunderstorm/Tornado capital of the world - everyone knows that). We could even name the men's team STORM and the WNBA team something else, like OKC prarie or something like that (all WNBA teams other than the STORM have goofy names anyway that refer to the region or some derivation of the men's team). How about

NBA - Oklahoma City Storm
WNBA - Oklahoma City Rain

(not to interfere with the Seattle Reign minor league soccer - i think).

What do you all think? :gossip:

Bobby H
07-18-2006, 10:40 PM
Sonics or Hornets, I'll still drive 100 miles up I-44 to watch a few games. I know the Hornets will go back to New Orleans, but I'll enjoy having them here in Oklahoma for the time being.

On whether Bennett will move the Sonics to OKC early (if at all), that will be up to Seattle basketball fans. The lease is officially up in 2010. If residents in Seattle don't want the team to move then they need to do like us Oklahomans did when the Hornets were here: buy enough tickets to sell out some games. The fans have to work to make the team profitable to stay there. I don't think that's going to happen.

Very likely, the Sonics and the City of Seattle will work out some early buyout on that money-losing lease. Once that happens the Sonics will come to OKC after the Hornets return to New Orleans. Whether the Hornets stay there remains to be seen. I think that team could be on the move again.

On the issue of team names, I'm not so sure I'd change the Sonics name to something else.

There's brand name recognition in that the Sonics are a long established NBA team, not a new expansion unit. Of course you have the obvious sponsor tie-in with Sonic, an Oklahoma originated fast food chain that seems to be growing like a virus in some places (I noticed more of them popping up in Colorado Springs). Oklahoma City doesn't have something like Boeing, but we have a lot of military aerospace stuff happening around here.

One thing's for sure the name "Utah Jazz" has to be the most ironic name for just about any pro sports franchise.

HOT ROD
07-18-2006, 10:46 PM
I'm glad I'm not the only one seeing this possibility - franchise trade. Didn't something similar to this happen a few years ago - perhaps not in basketball, but some major sports franchises swapped owners (or something similarly uncommon)?

I think it's a brilliant business maneuver on Bennett's part, and it has dramatically lowered Shinn's leverage.

I don't have much insight in the WNBA, except it is perhaps the single biggest joke in professional sports - by any measure, it's an insolvent (to be generous) organization that is propped up purely for public compensation. That said, if they actually make a go of it here, Oklahoma could establish a positive reputation for being a groundbreaker in high-profile women's sports. We got some great publicity during the softball world cup games this last week, IMHO.

-SoonerDave

Oh most definitely. I totally agree this could happen. In fact, Im sure there is something creative going on - especially since OKC is so in love with the Hornets.

Maybe NO would be willing to accept a renamed SONICs team, just as long as they get a team - who cares? Are they that in love with the Hornets? Well, so is OKC.

As far as the WNBA, its true - its not very profitable and hardly a league. Yet, as you indicated - it does offer an opportunity for women in major leagues and is certainly a more affordable option for the many "families" (no offense anyone) that they say exist in Oklahoma, not to mention the "poor" or less NBA tix price fortunate.

Also, it gives another sporting option for Oklahoma City, giving the city "something to do" year-round. This is something that most cities actually envy, as only the big three cities (NY,Chicago,LA) and big 3/4 major league markets (Seattle [was], MSP, Denver, Dallas, Houston) enjoy. With only the NBA, we'd have "major league sports" year-round in OKC.

And you also mentioned that OKC has a tradition for women's sports. You forgot about the womens football teams as well as roller hockey and other minor league sport offerings that were successful (ok, somewhat) here in OKC. The WNBA would do just fine here, in fact - I'd imagine OKC would probably be their best market given the demographics and the "successes" of women's sports in the city.

jbrown84
07-19-2006, 12:03 AM
Maybe NO would be willing to accept a renamed SONICs team, just as long as they get a team - who cares? Are they that in love with the Hornets? Well, so is OKC.

If so, they sure didn't show it like we do.

HOT ROD
07-19-2006, 12:47 AM
very true, which is why I think such a swap might happen. OKC keep Hornets with Bennet becoming new owner group, NO get Sonics with Shinn becoming new owner group.

I also see Seattle getting the Clippers! If the three deals could work out at the same time (pre 2007), then Seattle actually could keep the Sonics name/tradition - something Seattle actually values moreso than the team or NBA franchise.

SoonerDave
07-19-2006, 12:46 PM
HAH, Just heard Craig Humphreys on The Sports Animal pose this very scenario - franchise swap - to an ESPN NBA writer and he said it was "entirely possible."

He (Humphreys) made the additional point that a swap makes it a win-win for everyone; a franchise would be available for New Orleans, the Hornets stay in OKC, and Shinn can either go back to NO with the Hornets or sell to local NO investors who think they can make it work. Heck, if Bennett wanted, he could tell the world the whole idea was Stern's and make him look like a genius to all parties...

-SoonerDave

brannonterry
07-19-2006, 01:25 PM
did anyone read that maybe the wnba team might play in tulsa?

BDP
07-19-2006, 02:18 PM
Then again, I started thinking - he might have had a point...

Yeah, I hear what you'r esaying, but it rarely happens. think of the Dodgers, The Colts, The Rams, The Raiders, etc. These are all teams that have moved markets and kept their name despite the tradition in their original market.

It costs money to change a name and it affects merchandising. Some fans may even stay loyal to the team, at least as long as it has the name and the players they like. I think most like to keep the brand name and whatever value it has for the organization intact.

And, secretly, I'm terrified they'd give it some hillbilly name... ;)

BDP
07-19-2006, 02:22 PM
did anyone read that maybe the wnba team might play in tulsa?

Rhode of the DOK prophesized that, but, as of now, it's only a product of his imagination. I actually kind of like the idea. I have nothing against the WNBA, but I would hate for it to tie up the Ford Center and prevent other events from visiting the city. Now I guess they could play in the Cox arena any time some other event wanted the arena, like the Blazers do.

mranderson
07-19-2006, 02:26 PM
Yeah, I hear what you'r esaying, but it rarely happens. think of the Dodgers, The Colts, The Rams, The Raiders, etc. These are all teams that have moved markets and kept their name despite the tradition in their original market.

It costs money to change a name and it affects merchandising. Some fans may even stay loyal to the team, at least as long as it has the name and the players they like. I think most like to keep the brand name and whatever value it has for the organization intact.

And, secretly, I'm terrified they'd give it some hillbilly name... ;)

With Oklahoma and Oklahoma City just now coming out of the redneck image, that would be a disaster to name it something rednecky.

In any event, Mr. Bennett... Change that outdated logo... Please.

BDP
07-19-2006, 03:03 PM
With Oklahoma and Oklahoma City just now coming out of the redneck image, that would be a disaster to name it something rednecky.

You'd think, but our new airport shuttles have horsies on them and say "giddy up" (it's even unclear what they're for, unless you know that "giddy up" is Oklahoman for "Parking Shuttle"), so there's still some goofy minded marketing people in the market.

mranderson
07-19-2006, 03:06 PM
You'd think, but our new airport shuttles have horsies on them and say "giddy up" (it's even unclear what they're for, unless you know that "giddy up" is Oklahoman for "Parking Shuttle"), so there's still some goofy minded marketing people in the market.

I forgot about that. And the bad thing is that is the first thing a lot of people see when they arrive in Oklahoma City. How lame. And shameful.

BDP
07-19-2006, 03:30 PM
I forgot about that. And the bad thing is that is the first thing a lot of people see when they arrive in Oklahoma City. How lame. And shameful.

Hey, well maybe soon they can paint them green and yellow and name them Sonic Shuttles...

mranderson
07-19-2006, 03:35 PM
Hey, well maybe soon they can paint them green and yellow and name them Sonic Shuttles...

Not bad. Only I hope they change the colors. Plus, they could give everyone on the shuttle a free Sonic Blast.

okcpulse
07-19-2006, 04:52 PM
HOT ROD, people in Seattle are calling us a cultural wasteland. Please talk to them.

Redneck Cabbie
07-19-2006, 06:29 PM
With Oklahoma and Oklahoma City just now coming out of the redneck image, that would be a disaster to name it something rednecky.

Hmmm... wasn't the down home, "rednecky" atmosphere of this city that made it so attractive to begin with?

mranderson
07-19-2006, 06:37 PM
Hmmm... wasn't the down home, "rednecky" atmosphere of this city that made it so attractive to begin with?

Not to most people. Most are quite ashamed by it.

thecains
07-19-2006, 08:34 PM
Congrats from Tulsa OKC!!!

This is great for the state and OKC...It certainly looks like OKC will have a permanent team within 2-4 years. I would prefer the Hornets in OKC and Sonics in NO but as long as you get one ill be happy!

It would also be great if the WNBA Storm came to Tulsa what with the BOK Center and all. Tulsa certainly has the population to support the WNBA (Metro population around 1,000,000.


Again, CONGRATS!!!!!:kicking: