Sometimes the most random things bring a smile to my face. Tonight it was very petty. I try hard not to get personal in this matter. I seriously believe that this is not about Clay Bennett or the state of Oklahoma. However sometimes an "us against them" mentality is just unavoidable. Besides I'm an OSU Cowboy fan.
Great news out of Oklahoma City today. The Bar has been set.
Seriously people may question my eternal optimism(I try not to post on down days, but believe me I have them.) but really, a big part of the puzzle became official today.
I believe strongly that Seattle has always, and will have for a while longer, the ability to check a move by the Sonics at any time so long as this region puts a competitive arena deal on the table. If we do that, and the revenues speak for themselves, everybody involved in this process has a tough time advocating a move.
The obvious questions are, will we put a plan out there, and what do we have to do to make it competitive?
That picture got clearer yesterday because Seattle waited out the situation, allowing Oklahoma City to clarify their bid. In the end this is all about documented revenue streams. According to Forbes the Sonics were last in the league last year with a revenue of $81 million. This compares to teams like the Phoenix Suns who brought in nearly double the revenue. Of course the Suns were good...
The Cleveland Cavaliers play in an old arena, circa 1994(1 year older than the Key) and were a league leader in revenue because of a certain #23. Other teams like the Houston Rockets are middle of the road on the court, but their buildings provide them alternative revenue. Also according to Forbes the Rockets brought in over $40 million in premium seating compared to $2 million for the Sups.
Oddly enough Oklahoma City, the mecca of basketball interest that is talking about stealing our team was 4th lowest in the league at only $91 million in revenue.
Lets assume that via their $100 million arena upgrade the Ford Center revenues could be increased by 50% to $135 million. I think that is really, really pushing it. The city of Seattle now has a target. They need a plan that generates $135,000,001. That is the deal plain and simple. Had Seattle issued their plan months ago for an arena that generaged $135 Million you would have seen Oklahoma City come out with a plan for $145M. Imagine the league trying to explain to their broadcast partners, corporate sponsors, the union, and their fans how they left a 41 year large market for a small market when the large market had more money to offer. The "We didn't like how their mayor treated us!" defense seems pretty lame when you are talking about hundreds of millions per year.
Knowing that Oklahoma City are the ones with a deadline our leaders did a good job holding their cards as the game of poker continues.
The Oklahoma City Arena plan should be available via public disclosure and we're pushing for a request to review it. From the Seattle end this could be a turning point after which you see more public disclosure of their current arena plans. The revenue analysis on this plan has been done for some time, the majority of the work is done, now perhaps they will compare it to the Oklahoma City version and tweak it, maybe they will just release the details. Knowing our city they could just keep it quiet forever.
Without a new building nothing gets done, but in the quest to get a new building I don't think anybody should freak out about todays news. It is really pretty good.
I find it quite odd that Clay Bennett announced in advance that he will be in Seattle this week(after watching the Sooners lose to Oklahoma City). He he has been in Seattle several times lately and never let the papers know. Hopefully the mayor takes the time to offer a sit-down although I doubt it would be accepted.
For goodness sakes I hope I can talk about hoops instead of arenas soon.