Ultimatum: Sonics, Sonics owners, NBA -- Step up to a little responsibility your own selves. Millionaire owners and millionaire players want taxpayers to pony up $200 million for another re-do of the Coliseum, this one mostly so the team can seal inside whatever economic benefit there is to having them in town.
Hello, NHL, as Omir the Storyteller suggested in his comment to our last Sonics post.
David Stern, Sonics GM Wally Walker, and Sonics principle owner Howard Shultz have been playing tag team wrestlers on the city council, with governor Chris Gregoire officiating. So far it's been lots of flaming leotards and smack vs. a brick wall.
Fix your own house. And I'm not talking about Key Arena. I'm talking about the financial mess of a league that requires an annual payroll for 12-15 players of $80 million, generates a business you need $200 million to buy into, gives tax breaks of three times operating losses, and still requires extorting more from the citizens. It's a monopoly run amok. Come up with something that gives us some choices or protects us from you having no competition.
The NBA proved itself a methodical monopoly when it absorbed women's basketball. It started its own league, then ran the competition into the ground via the television contract. But enough is enough. It's time for these guys to clean up their own business so teams compete on the court, not in my wallet.
And if they don't?
I'll do nothing.
Which is exactly what the Sonics ought to do for the remaining three years on their lease.
David Stern, NBA Commissioner, refuses to take any responsibility.
"I would say that the city is making it pretty clear of what they want us to do, and we'll accommodate them."
What I mean is they're not interested in having the NBA there. We understand that, we understand that there are competing issues, and the mayor is free to make whatever decisions he needs to make and I support that. But that's a pretty strong signal and I think that the existing ownership has said they don't want to own a team that's not in Seattle, so I know what they're in the process of doing. So we'll just see how this play ends."
It's a weird strategy for the NBA to throw away Seattle, because that's what they're doing if they insist on a price that is this ridiculous structure and its gametime-only amenities. If the national economy turns down, it may be that Seattle has the only lights left on outside the oilfields. It would be a good place to have a sports franchise.
[We really ought to look into these tax rules. According to the Seattle Times, a kind of depreciation on player contracts is allowed "for the first several years after they buy a team" which can be used against other tax liabilities.(?)(!) Could it be the "losses" are soon going to become losses, as in real money, and this is what is generating the interest in new revenue?]
The suite owners are already writing those costs off their corporate taxes. The bonds that financed the last remodel are tax exempt. Since Washington has no state income tax, the players (several earning over $5 million per year) pay more into the general funds of other states than they do into Washington's.
So the citizens are doing their fair share.
Thanks to the Mayor and Council for not caving in.
We'll see how the play ends.
# Posted by Alan : 8:33 AM