Hello Followers. Hope you’ve had a great week.
As for me, well, I’ve been sick as all holy heck. But, that didn’t stop me from closely following news about the forthcoming arena deal. For my thoughts on whether professional basketball will soon arrive in the Emerald City, then read on..
Followers, before we get to the issue of the arena and the Seattle Supersonics, a quick word about our Cougar hoopsters who I watched last night. While it was hard to watch Motum miss six consecutive FTs in the games final five minutes (including missing two of three when down 3 with a minute left), the fact of the matter is that this basketball team is completely different than the one that started the year. They play bigger, they play faster, and for the most part, they play with more purpose. While I still have resigned myself that Reggie Moore is never going to be the player that many of us thought he could be, the fact of the matter is the Motum is a LEGIT POY candidate on a winning team and Shelton is emerging as a capable AND athletic big man. And frankly, the way this team is playing right now, they could win 4 of their next 5 games. And that would put them squarely in the CBI discussion. And that would be fun...
Now, back to the Arena.
So, as all of you know, the big news coming out of Seattle yesterday was the announcement of Chris Hansen’s proposal to build a professional sports arena in (South) Downtown Seattle. As highlighted by the King County Executive as well as the Mayor, the proposal met all criteria set forth by local government: Namely, NO NEW TAXES.
On top of that, apparently Hansen will assume burden for all cost overruns and will even go the extra mile by making the incremental step toward having the City assume ownership of the building as time moves forward!
In response to the Golden Goose being laid on their laps,
the Mayor and County Exec promptly appointed a committee of “experts” to review the feasibility of the proposal. While there were certainly some names which one might consider to be “experts” on reviewing such proposals, most of the committee members represent diverse stakeholder groups throughout the region. Meaning: Most of the committee members are not experts on anything related to contract law or massive construction projects, they’re people that can help the City and County gain the needed political cover to fast-track this proposal through the approval process.
So, where does this all go from here?
Well, as I noted on Twitter last night, this thing is either going to explode in a moment’s time or it is going to go nowhere in a hurry. While most of the news last night was old hat, one golden nugget/snag reared its head immediately following the presser. And that nugget was as follows:
The Arena financing will work ONLY if franchises from BOTH the NBA AND NHL are secured.
Yep, the Arena will only be built when Hansen can secure two franchises to fill his building. And really, this news adds a host of moving parts that are pretty difficult to follow. So, let’s quickly unpack them.
Moving Part 1: NHL and NBA will not relocate without new Arena.
This one is the most basic, but is not trivial. NONE of the parties we would like to hear from (e.g. NBA/NHL folks/francises) are going to say anything of substance on record as long as the Seattle arena is a hypothetical. So, if you’re looking for Phoenix of the NHL or the NBA to make a statement on Seattle, it isn’t going to happen until the Arena deal is done.
Moving Part 2: Chris Hansen wants to own an NBA team.
While this point may not pose a problem for Seattle sometime in the near future, it does pose difficulty for Seattle’s ability to secure the Sacramento Kings. Why? Well for one, the Maloofs are not selling their team. You see, those boys sold their father’s beverage distribution business—the business that build their family’s fortune—in order to be able to keep the Kings. They also sold nearly all interest in the Palms Casino so they could keep the Kings. And on top of that, there’s this thing called history. You see, in the early 1980’s, the Maloofs owned the Houston Rockets, and after they sold that franchise in the 1980’s, they vowed that if they ever got back into the league, they would never sell again.
On top of that, the Maloofs and the Kings currently carry a sizable debt. And so, part of the allure of the Arena deal in Sacramento is that the Maloofs would gain revenue not only from basketball-related events, but NON-basketball/sports related events as well. And the same type of $$ incentives remain with the City of Anaheim who promise to pay off the Maloofs debt as a condition of moving the team to Southern California.
So unless Chris Hansen plans on altering his entire financing plan by helping to pay down the Maloof’s debt and becoming a minority owner with the Maloofs, we can all forget about the idea that Sacramento is coming to Seattle.
Moving Part 3: Key Arena may not accommodate the NHL.
Perhaps the most disturbing news that emerged last night concerns the rumor that Key Arena may not be able to accommodate the NHL for any period, let alone two years. While I am not sure I buy that, neither the Mayor or the County Executive were able to confirm that both an NBA and NHL franchise could be supported by Key Arena. And if true, this would seem to be a potential the deal breaker.
You see, because ground will not be broken on an arena until BOTH franchises are secured, then the process of getting an NHL team appears particularly muddled if Key Arena can’t support it. After all, is any owner—especially since Hansen has said that he will not own that franchise—be willing to entertain two years as a lame duck in another City. Is it a good business decision to let a relocation sit out there for two years while political pressures, law suits, and the emergence local buyers may threaten to derail the process?
These are tough questions. And since the NHL does not generate the type of revenues that the NBA does, I can’t imagine someone taking the risk of being a lame duck for two years in another town. I also can’t imagine that Hansen et al. would take the risk of building an arena without the assurance of knowing that their new NHL franchise is already playing up the Street at Seattle Center.
Moving Part 4: There are no moving parts, everything is already done.
And this is the big one. From my VERY limited experience with these types of business workings, most of the time these types of deals don’t become public unless they are already signed, sealed, and delivered. And while Hansen seems to be Joe Humble, we should not mistake his humility with a lack of ego. In fact, one would bet that Hansen NEVER steps forward unless he already has very clear promises from the higher powers that all of these moving parts have already been secured, making his elaborate and generous business model not only tenable, but eminent.
And so, as we look forward, we need to only look as far as April 1st.
At that time, Seattle and King County will have already approved the Arena deal. Sacramento will have passed their parking proposal and will have secured financing for their NBA Arena. And the Maloofs, the NBA, and AEG will have convened following a 30 day extension to figure out their ability to add 250 million to Sacramento’s public money. And that’s when things will get really, really interesting.
In the end, I believe Sacramento will stay put with the Maloofs at the helm. Seattle gets either Minnesota or Memphis in 2014-2015 with the hope that news of a lame duck status will facilitate negotiations that will release those teams to Seattle in time for the 2013 season. And the NHL? Well, that deal has to already be in place. So, if its not the Phoenix Coyotes heading to Seattle, then you can pencil in that some other NHL team will be playing in Seattle in 2013, if not this Fall.
One thing is for sure: This is all going to move really quickly, or will slowly sink into oblivion.
But, my mind, this is a done deal, folks. The only question now is “What has been done?”
All for now. Go Cougs.
Is there some reason the NHL franchise would have to play at the Key while the stadium is being built? It seems the Tacoma Dome could fill the bill.
Saw in the police log that Shelton got arrested again. Wonder how Bone will handle this.
Davon D. Shelton (DOB: 04-04-1991) was arrested for DWLS 3rd.
Since no one is commenting on the Coug blowout of ASU, I will contribute.
How about holding the Devils to 8 first half points?! Lowest since the advent of the shot clock for them. I never heard if it was the lowest ever for them in a half. Then they come out and score 42 points in the second half--outscoring us by 6 and definitely outplaying us in that half. It was funny that they scored 8 points in the first 20 minutes of the game, but it only took them the first 2:00 of the second half to score 8 more.
Was just over at probasketballtalk and they say that the Maloofs have to come up with 85M to cover their share of the proposed arena deal. With their recent money problems, there is no certainty they can do that. The article also said the Maloofs still owe 70M to Sac-town from the last arena deal, and owe 100M to the NBA's credit facility. Good times....
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As a long time Sonic season ticket holder I say "screw the NBA". I don't ever want to see them here again. But I'd love a hockey team!
I didn't mind watching Brock clank those Free Throws because I parlayed Arizona and Stanford at -2.5 and got paid!!
Good stuff Sutra. The hard part is getting the majority of King and Seattle city council(s) to grasp the reality that the 200 million of public money is only coming from taxes generated because of the arena itself. No new taxes, no stealing from the general fund and laying off teachers, police and firemen. No arena, then the taxes don't exist. But build an arena, the taxes go back into the building. AND the city will ultimately own the property and the arena, which can house so many other things other than the NBA/NHL? AND the public contribution is capped at 200 million, period, and the public won't be asked to cover cost overruns or maintenance costs down the line?? AND it appears to satisfy I-91, the initiative that was passed several years ago to only approve deals where the city can make a profit?? It seems too good to be true, and I sure as hell hope this all works out!
One thing to consider is that while they said that it will take the NBA and the NHL yesterday, Mitch Levy tweeted this information yesterday after the big press conference:
mitch levy @kjrmitch Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
I have been told that while the model works best with both, an NBA team would be good enough to put construction into motion.
While I am not a Mitch listener anymore and haven't been for several years, I have followed his reporting on this arena stuff since it first surfaced. I don't know who his source(s) are in this case, but when you look at the timeline of what he has been reporting, it's clear he is in the know/insider/whatever. Someone has been feeding him the details all along, so, if he says that an NBA team could be good enough to break ground, then it could make this much more of a reality.
I love the idea that the public 1) won't have to vote on it, 2) won't see any money taken from schools, police, fire, roads/bridges, etc, and 3) the deal meets I-91. Joe Taxpayer who hates sports won't be on the hook for one penny of this thing. He can rant and rave about subsidizing billionaires, but as the mayor and county executive pointed out yesterday, this is a "self-funded" arena. And when you see the kind of business that will occur in the area once this arena is built and you see bigger ticket events like concerts, conventions, NCAA tournament games, etc....and when people travel from out of town to spend money in the city, rent a hotel or a car? Everyone comes out ahead! We'll see what happens, and this is the time for people to come out of the woodwork to fight it. But in the end it is hard to imagine a better deal coming along than this.
@excitablerooster You are totally correct about this.Didn't hear this option thrown out until Fri afternoon. The main thing is the approved arena. That happens and the chips fall...quickly we hope
@Tuel Time!!! Cheez and rice. Shelton is one of the reasons I'm starting to like the future prospects of this team.
@WallaCoug A win is a win is a win is a win. The UW game figures to be a real barn burner. This group still has a realistic shot at 8 conference wins which was unthinkable a few weeks back.
@FireMikePrice You're right that the 150-200 million needed to complete the private side of the Sac deal feels like a stretch especially for a Maloof group that's already bleeding. so, if the NBA blocks a move to LA, then the Maloofs will be forced to sell. BUT keep in mind they have a SC buyer who wants to keep Kins in Sac
amen to that
@ragtopman Totally understand where you're coming from, especially after I watch the Thunder play...(man are they good).
And in some ways, when I look at that Hornets roster, I think, "How fun would it be to land a team that might struggle to win 30 games for 3 or 4 years?"
But on balance, even when your team isn't very good, seeing guys like CP3, D-Wade, LeBron, Blake Griffin et al. fly around is stinking awesome.
And its not really Seattle without the Sonics, is it?
@LucasNurmi Seriously?? Win money or not, dude, that was painful (and it's strange, but couldn't you just "feel" that he was going to miss the bulk of those? Maybe it's body language but man, I could have turned the channel and told my wife right then and there that he was going to miss all/most of them).
@SeanHawkins@kjrmitch I think this thing is way past the naysayers since (a) they won't be paying for anything; (b) its not going up for public vote; and (c) there's this thing called 'jobs' that are at stake here.
Again, I was thrown off yesterday when I heard about needs for TWO franchises as well as the lack of feasibility of the Key hosting an NHL team. Got to figure that Hansen et al. have those contingenies all laid out.
Otherwise, the emperor my not have a full closet...
@SeanHawkins@LucasNurmi I thought it was horrible. While we were never going to make a run at one of the good tournaments this year, a win last night against AZ would have gone a long way at giving this group a CBI shot. Plus, Bone's boys need some good signature wins to use as a spring board to next year. Remember, in Dick Bennett's last year, we finished last but swept the league winning Dawgs + beat Arizona. We all know what happened the following year..
@Sutra@kjrmitch Never underestimate the naysayers! They lie in wait for just these moments, and then they pounce. The worst thing is that the moment they see "arena" and the word "tax" in any way in the same story, they are automatically against it. Never mind the jobs or the increased revenue that the arena will help create for local businesses in SODO, or the increase in taxes when people spend money in the city, or that taxes used for the arena are capped and will only come from taxes generated from the arena. Arena and tax are potentially poison, details be damned!
@Sutra@SeanHawkins There's just no way I saw us beating them, and that spread was tiny. It was painful to watch Brock clank them as a Cougar fan, truthfully bc the guy has been as close to perfect all season as you possibly can be. There's just no excuse for this team to be so shitty in the Pac 12. I've said it before, this team has as much talent as at least half the other teams in the conference and we BLOW!
@SeanHawkins@kjrmitch I do say naysayers be damned. Its that foolproof. Politicians tend to buckle when they think that they can be harmed by an issue. In this case, they can't. They can only be helped by a boon to the construction industry. Its really that simple. The big issue remains the teams.....if its not already set in stone, then...