So recently, I've been thinking a lot about the NBA as a business, largely due to the news that Chris Hanson backed a group apposed to the new arena in Sacramento. My first reaction to this news was a mixture of disappointment and understanding. It's strange really, I'm not at all surprised that he would try something like holding up the arena deal; he has at least 30 Million reasons to be bitter about how this whole situation went down. But still, its a move that makes me feel almost as dirty as if we would have actually gotten the the team. The only difference is that with this bad move does not come a team. If anything it may have hurt our chances to get a team. This is basically a perfect case study of when a fan tries to consolidate the worlds of being a huge fan and the business world of sports. In a lot of ways this is like attempting to mix water and oil.
The interesting thing about Chris Hanson is that he resides in that weird area where the oil and water try to mix. I firmly believe that throughout this whole situation he has acted as a sincere fan of the Sonics that attempted all he could, as a fan, to get a team he loves back to the Seattle. However, the NBA is a business and businesses don't necessarily cater to every fans fancy. Without some outside force, businesses will do whats in the best interests of the business. I think Hanson realized this and went full on business man mode and tried to thwart the Sacramento plan. It was a mad tacky move, but a business move nonetheless and can we really fault him?
Personally, as this whole saga has gone on I have become more and more pessimistic about the possible return of the Sonics. So much so that I do not think it will happen unless we buy another city's team. It makes to much business sense to keep Seattle team-less. It has been written about before, but the more I think about it the more my fledgling business mind agrees. With the threat of a great ownership, market area, and fan base, the NBA basically holds all the chips in any arena negotiations with all of its teams. This is not new (See Los Angles and the NFL), but we are just seeing the effect with the Golden State Warriors value increasing to $800 Million dollars.
Before the then record sale of the Golden State Warriors in 2010, Forbes had valued the team at $341 million in December of 2009. Now of course there are multiple reasons for franchises to appreciate in value, but I believe it comes down to the demand outweighing the supply. If you didn't take Econ 101, this means that the price of this commodity will be pretty high for as long as the supply of teams is scarce and the demand for these teams is present. This is of course a very basic way of viewing this, but it makes the most sense to me personally. As crazy as it sounds, I'm not sure the benefits of expanding into the 13th market in the U.S outweighs the current appreciation of their current teams. Isn't that appreciation the point of the NBA as a business?I believe that Chris Hanson realized this and figured that this Sacramento situation was the best chance that Seattle had to get a team.
I think that's what led to the desperate move of trying to throw a monkey wrench into Sacramento's arena plan. He figured that being a fan with all the desire and the money would not be enough to get a team back in Seattle; He figured he would have to get dirty and make some sort of ugly business move. This is what happens when fans attempt to mix the business side of the sports world with the fan side. Its like trying to mix oil and water, it just doesn't work. Luckily for most of us fans we will never get the chance to try.