Just got back; I couldn't stay any longer without getting in trouble at work.
Wally Walker was there ... the council had 4 guest speakers talking about the economic impact of all 3 major sports teams in the region ... A consulting firm estimated the direct economic impact (including inter related jobs and additional sales) of the Sonics and Storm in 2004 was $160 mil and about $234 mil statewide compared to $177.4 and $270 mil respectively for the Mariners and $147.7 and $218 mil for the Seahawks. That's a pretty far cry from Nick Licata's estimate to Sports Illustrated earlier in the year.
All in all, I thought the vibe was cautiously positive. Pete Von Reichbauer spoke rather glowingly I thought of how pro sports do bring intangible benefit to the region, not just the City of Seattle. There were seemingly many more sports fans there than anti people but I simply didn't have time to hang around & listen to public comments. Thanks to all those who showed up to be part of the presence.
I'm optimistic that the Regional Council realized that sports has a definite economic impact on the region. Hopefully that translates into a willingness to work with new ownership on a new arena deal supported by existing user fees and taxes on hotel/motels, rental cars and restaurants. I would also be OK with a special license plate and a scratch ticket game as revenue sources.