Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sonics Stay in Seattle But Team Goes To Oklahoma City

Every once in a while, I may express some opinions more then just one or two lines here and there and this is one of those times. It's been reported that the Seattle SuperSonics team will move to Oklahoma City in exchange for Seattle to retain the rights to their name and colors along with cash payments and the NBA agrees to help them find a replacement. Sounds like a fair deal huh? No because Seattle still loses out in the long run and let me explain why David Stern got his way yet again.
In his statement, Commisioner Stern stated that if Seattle builds a state of the art arena, the NBA will be glad to help them with either a relocation if a team is considering such options or possibly expansion if that's something the NBA wants later down the line. That's right Seattle, not only did you lose your team but now they want you to build a top of the line arena in exchange for maybe getting a team back someday. And who will pay for this new, multi million dollar arena more then likely? Of course, it will probably be the tax payers in one form or another. Is it just me or am I getting sick and tired of hearing this line about building new arenas and stadiums and you will be rewarded.
Yes, I understand corporate money for boxes and suites help fund a team and with the cost of rising salaries, they need all the money they can get. But what about your average fan who maybe is still sporting a Shawn Kemp jersey because money is tight but loves his team, think he will be able to afford seeing his favorite team in this new arena. Or maybe they can take one of the countless $8 an hour probably with no or limited benefits jobs that will be available because I am sure with the funding of such an arena, they will emphasize how many jobs will be available now. If your lucky, maybe they will only do a luxury type tax similar to what we have in Charlotte where it comes from visitors to our city taxed onto tourism dollars, which I am sure gives many incentive to visit. In the end though, it is still the people in the area who will pay one way or another.
Please, spare me the whole we must pay salaries to maintain a winning team environment for our fans speech. Owners helped create the escalating salaries and can't blame anyone but themselves. But to be competitive, we had to offer more is what they will sell you and can defend that with what I am sure is actual logic. I am here to tell you that paying a guy $25 million a year is excessive and asking fans who are scraping by to help fund it is ridiculous. When did a couple hundred thousand or even $1 million a season become so unreasonable? Hey, offer me $1 million to play sports and even with bad knees, my butt is there in a heartbeat. No I don't blame a person for doing what they can to make as much money as they can to provide for them and their family but where does it end when we pay for it with rising taxes, ticket and concession prices?
And we come back to the two headed horse as the owners say they have to do it to provide the best team possible and players do whatever they can to make as much as they can. And yes, if it is me and my family and I have a chance for a raise, I would probably do it as well but I also know that sometimes you have to also look at the whole situation and decide what is best for everyone in this situation. If I can make a decent living for my family and still be able to keep the company profitable that is paying my wages, they I can be content with that because one day, that well may run dry and I will have nobody to blame but myself.
Seattle, build the arena if you want but the message I would send the NBA is simply, give us an owner who will build it or help fund the majority of it or stay where you are now. Seattle is a great franchise and anyone who follows the NBA can spot the uniforms from a mile away with all that green and I think Sonic fans should be proud of what your team accomplished. I would also consider what is in it for you before going forward with anything. Yeah, build it with your funds and maybe you get an expansion team or one who burned bridges in another city and the NBA will award you an all star game in return. So then what? What happens in 10-15 years when they realize that arena is outdated again? Are you ready to lose another team or spend millions of tax payer dollars to retain them this time? Welcome to the endless cycle of business in our current sports markets but truly who pays for it all in the end? I say its the fans who lose teams they have a heartfelt bond with and many times is placed highly in their life or millions of dollars a year to help fund all of this. Maybe its just me but I think the title of the Seattle newspaper this morning should have been "Seattle Screwed."

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