Tuesday, October 21, 2008

USAToday.com : Seattle mayor still eyeing NBA's return

Reported by AP reporter Gregg Bell, Seattle mayor Greg Nickels stated that he has sent a proposal to Washington state lawmakers requesting funding for a renovation of Key Arena. The request should be part of the next legislative session in January.
"We'll be going to the Legislature in their next session" beginning in January, Nickels said Monday at a ceremony inside KeyArena to announce Seattle University will be using it when the school returns to Division I basketball this season for the first time since 1980.
Nickels said Seattle will ask for state authorization to divert 1 percent of the existing hotels tax in Seattle from the convention and visitors bureau to the city. He said the convention center no longer needs that revenue and the city should get it.
"Those funds (would be) available for an NBA franchise," he said.
They potentially could generate enough money to back $75 million in bonds - the missing piece in a $300 million arena renovation plan proposed by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. Ballmer's group would contribute $150 million, and another $75 million would be culled in city dollars from other sources.
In a statement immediately after the Sonics and Seattle settled their lease dispute in July, which allowed the team to move to Oklahoma City, NBA commissioner David Stern said the league would assist in helping Seattle acquire a new team if state lawmakers approve a KeyArena remodel before the end of 2009.
"We think the door is open there," Nickels said Monday. "We feel like there's a working relationship possible there."
. . .
Even though Seattle's latest plan asks for far less, legislative leaders aren't thrilled the NBA and now Seattle officials are trying to force a 2009 deadline upon them.

"It's not going to work, with these 147 individually elected members of the state Legislature, to threaten them and bully them," House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, said in July. "God love the fans, but we have a state to run. And I think the city of Seattle, they have to go out and make their case to the state."

The city, as I have been saying forever, has to educate and communicate with people like Kessler that are existing in a low information world.

The Seattle mayor feels "the door is open" to the league returning to what would be a remodeled KeyArena.

From the Seattle Times, in the story about Seattle U playing basketball games in key Arena:
"We're beginning that process of getting back to exciting basketball at KeyArena," Nickels said. "Seattle has been a great basketball town for a long time even before the Sonics. So we think this will keep that tradition alive, and we'll see what happens in the next couple of years."
Since agreeing to a $45 million settlement with the then-Sonics' owners, Nickels said the city hasn't had contact with the NBA about returning to Seattle. He also said there's been no significant progress toward a proposed $300 million KeyArena renovation.
"We've had some conversations with [state lawmakers], but obviously they're all focused on the elections that's two weeks from [Tuesday]," Nickels said. "We'll really be veering up between then and when the session begins in January.
"We're going to do everything we can to educate the legislators to the importance of this arena and the importance of having that dedicated revenue available should another NBA team become available."

Seattle University off on fast break
, Percy Allen, Seattle Times.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker
Sent from my iPhone


Anonymous said...

Well it looks like they heard you over in City Hall. How about Lynn Kessler's comments? Nice.

Mr Baker said...

If you can sell Kessler then I think it is a done deal.
You would have to get Ballmer to commit to a 20 year lease.

Make this a 20 year lease and the state gets all of its money back, and more, 90 million.

Accoding to Rossi:
The county's share of the cost would be $75 million. Much of that money would be recouped by the state:

· Over $20 million would be collected in state sales tax from the $300 million renovation of the Key Arena.

· Approximately $25 million over 10 years through sales and B&O taxes on Sonics-related operations.


Anonymous said...

That is the rub unfortunately---Selling it to Kessler. She's another Chopp disciple. This is a very feasible plan and she always seems to discredit everything out of hand. She really annoys me.

Anonymous said...

I just noticed something. The article in USA frames Kessler's statements with a qualifier as to the city having to state their case. The PI article basically cuts her statement off at "were not going to be bullied". Freaking amazing....I'm done with the PI.

Anonymous said...

I'm still amazed with the comments of people that are FOR bringing back an NBA team when I look at other blogs. Especially KJR's and the Times. SOS has been getting the word out on the issues yet people seem to continue to tune it out regardless if they're for or against the renovation. It's perplexing. It aint that complicated.

Mr Baker said...

you follow this much more closely than the average person (or I wwould have a lot more traffic on my little blog).

I am not part of SOS. I write stuff that SOS often agrees with, and have written much less at SonicsCentral in port to show how little they are communicating.
Tell me where SOS have communicated facts and positions that would be counter to those at the Seattle Times and KJR that could convince others to support them?

UW put out a 16 page proposal, the city had comments buried in a Seattle U story or written by the AP writer. Any comment for SOS there.
Any talking points by either of those parties?

Do not expect the general public to change their minds without changed communication that empatts new facts in a convincing way.

I have just laid that out to Brian at SonicsCentral.
Keeping everything a secret limits his power.

Anonymous said...

I realize that you're not part of SOS/SC. The point I was making was that you, SOS, and at a lesser extent KJR and the dailies are distibuting the facts, but nothing seems to be sinking in with my fellow sports fans. It's disappointing. Whenever I brought up the issues regarding the Sonics, the Key or the plausibility of having an NHL team here its usually "yeah that's great, but I aint paying for it" or "the Sonics suck" that old saw. And don't get me started on Storm fans. It was great to see Karen Bryant at Sonics events and the current ownership quietly supporting the effort but I what comes of it this time around will be seen. I follow this closely because I grew up in Seattle and even though I don't live there any longer I still would like to have a reason to come to town on occasion watch a game on a February night and hang out in Queen Anne. People like Nick Licata and a host of others don't see the value in that and that's beyond myopic. I'm sports fan living in Tacoma, working in Renton who's passion for sports started with the Sonics and Huskies---So you can probably imagine what kind of year I'm having as far as my hobby is concerned. You're putting out good info and strong facts. I'm trying to do my part and energize some folks that could consider the plausibility of having a multipurpose sports and entertainment facility in Seattle. Because quite frankly the focus on bringing the NBA back is going to turn people off, including myself (a little) since Stern is still the commishioner. But he doesn't sound like he's leaving anytime soon. It is what it is. I want to see the Center get redone and the Key re-booted. I dealt with the ECC people and they're good folks but I just don't see it going anywhere in this economy and with their insistance to build in the city limits when Mayor Nickels pulled and end around on them with when he cut his deal with Bennett and the NBA. And I don't necessarily have a problem with that. He had to protect the city's investment and the future of a potential white elephant. So I'm drinking the Kool-Aid for now. Come spring time '09 I may be singing another tune but I'm not going to quit Seattle, not yet.

dead ball foul said...

You're right, it's Nickels’ ship right now. B2 is smart to wait to see if Nickels will be steering the ship for the next year or the next five. The City limits may be fair game for B2 as soon as Dec 31, 2009. I expect they’ll probably wait in the wings until then.

As for fan interest… I work on the eastside in a company of around 70. After Bennett bought the team, there were only 3 I could find that were still interested in talking about the Sonics or their plight. Now that they are gone, it seems as though I am the only one left that cares if a team will ever come back.

Mr Baker said...

that people fighting the Key Arena remodel, because they just do, were just told there is very little standing in the way, that includes the usual suspects.
A better case on the return on revenue must be made to the public.

About B2, they, or somebody like them will have a clear path if this fails. This market is too big, and full of money to not try.

Ownership will mean a lot, watching the construction will mean a lot. This is thevlow point for any fan. The day funding is in place I think you will see people let themselves really think about this.