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Subcommittee Report on KeyArena Contradicts Licata

City Councilman Nick Licata has said that KeyArena and Seattle Center will be perfectly OK without the Sonics. Today's story in the Times hints otherwise.

A suburban facility would join arenas in Seattle, Everett and Tacoma vying for many of the same concerts, trade shows and other large events.

The 15th-largest market in the country probably isn't big enough for four facilities, said John Christison, president of the Washington State Convention and Trade Center and a former head of arenas in Portland and Orlando, Fla.

A major suburban arena, with a large capacity and brand-new amenities, would probably do just fine, experts say. But the new facility would "spell disaster" for KeyArena, according to a recent Seattle City Council subcommittee report. The old facility would struggle financially, says the report, and a "major rethinking" of its future use would be necessary.

That scenario has already played out in other cities across the country. In 16 of 26 cases of an NBA team leaving an old arena, the old facility was demolished or converted for an entirely different use, the report notes.

After the Memphis Grizzlies moved into the new FedEx Forum in 2004, business plummeted at the 21,000-seat Pyramid Arena down the road. Plans were recently announced to convert the old arena into a giant fishing store and boat showroom.

In Dallas, the new American Airlines Center was given the right of first refusal to any events that come to the city, dealing a major blow to Reunion Arena.

Where is this subcommittee report which appears to directly contradict Licata's claims and why has it not been reported until now? I invite Mr. Licata to both refute the claims in that report and also to explain how his proposal asking for nearly $200 million to study ways to replace revenues generated by the Sonics is in any way different from the Sonics request for the same money. At least with the Sonics proposal something tangible gets done. $200 million is a lot of money for studies.

The point in the last paragraph of the pull quote is one I tried to make last week in a different thread. It is not unusual to see such clauses for new 10K+ arenas. Put simply a new suburban arena would be the death knell for the Key and it is laughable to think that revenue from 41 home dates a year can be made up by trade shows and concerts.

So what is the truth?