Sorry, Kings Fans

It looks like Seattle will get NBA basketball again.

We are happy to announce that we have entered into a binding agreement with the Maloofs to purchase a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise. The sale is obviously subject to approval by the NBA Board of Governors, and we look forward to working with the League in the coming months to consummate the transaction.

I’m glad for the city, and will probably go to a few games. And while I appreciate the potential problems with the location, there’s something magical about it being in walking distance of Downtown. I absolutely love walking or biking to Mariners games, and while the Sonics will play when it’s colder, it’s still a good brisk walk. The arena deal is about as good as we’re likely to get. So yes, it’s lovely that this happened.

But it’s also tough for Kings fans. We all know it’s tough to have your team taken away. So when you’re celebrating this, just remember the people who had to lose for us to gain.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What’s there to celebrate? Seattleites overwhelmingly voted against paying taxes for yet another sports palace; and, as usual, they have to pony up another $200 million+ for yet another sports palace, with the revenues going into private pockets. More public debt and privatized profit.

  2. 2

    rhp6033 spews:

    The phrase “controlling interest” caught my attention. Does this mean that the Maloofs still get to keep a minority interest, despite getting paid for the entire value of the team? They said before that they wanted to retain a “say” in the team, but generally we expected that to mean that they wanted to have luxory box seats and continue to swagger about town (or Los Angles) bragging about being NBA owners and owners of a casino (both with minority interests).

    Personally, I would think that David Stern would want to nix the deal on that basis – he’s pretty upset at the Maloofs for abanding a deal Stern had worked hard to put together to keep them in Sacramento (contrary to Stern’s actions with regard to Seattle previously).

  3. 5

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Meanwhile, when was the last time this town bought new textbooks for its kids?

    ^ THIS

  4. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 4: My daughter had her “pre-graduation” ocnference with her advisor at the U.W. If she gets credit for a couple of elective classes she’s already taken as having satisfied a couple of her major’s requirements, she may graduate at the end of this quarter.

    She reported that her counselor complained that a third of his students have dropped out without completing there degree, due to substantiallyl higher tuition. He felt that the U.W. was turning into a “rich kid’s school”.

    Textbooks? We don’t need textbooks! The rich kids can buy their own textbooks! What we need are more stadiums!

  5. 7

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Look, sports teams are fun and I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of rooting for my local sports franchise, but this shit really grinds on me.

    Why on earth do professional sports franchises get to be subsidized with tax dollars?

    And this happens while we starve our infrastructure and we begrudge a world class education to our children.

    And its not like the owners of this new team can’t afford to do it ALL on their own. They are some of the wealthiest people on the planet!

    Of all the difficult choices which need to be made in prioritizing expenditures and tax rates, THIS sort of thing is the easiest thing to move to the absolute bottom of the list.

    Other than possibly stoking the egos of city residents, it is huge money sink.

    For crying out loud, how many kids could we give a free ride to UW for what we are spending on Billionaire’s Baubles?

  6. 8

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Good news for Seattlites, your kid may not be able to afford a world class under graduate education but s/he may be able to land a job selling concessions at a Sonics game or waiting tables at a nearby watering hole.

  7. 9

    Very Severe Conservative spews:

    For crying out loud, how many kids could we give a free ride to UW for what we are spending on Billionaire’s Baubles?

    Why should have my tax money for some other kid’s education? They are are just going to move away and make some other taxing district richer. Worse yet, if they are more educated, they are likely to vote liberal.

  8. 10

    spews:

    Re: Husky Stadium

    Q: How much public money is going into the stadium?

    A: No public money is being used, but UW athletics is drawing on a $250 million loan from the school’s internal lending program, which will then sell 30-year bonds to finance the construction. Having more debt on the books does have drawbacks — it could cause the university’s bond rating to be downgraded and could limit the amount UW can borrow for future projects. The UW also could run into problems if attendance at future games is worse than expected.

    Q: Why spend so much money on a stadium when there are so many other needs?

    A: Football is the sport that brings more alumni back to campus than any other activity, says UW booster Ron Crockett, and when alumni feel good about their alma mater, they’re far more likely to write a check for academic programs. Crockett says the UW’s 100 top athletic donors split their donations 50-50 between academics and sports. The football and basketball programs also make enough money to fund the school’s 18 other intercollegiate sports, making the $63 million athletics-department budget largely self-supporting. (The UW does receive state money in tuition waivers for female athletes as part of Title IX efforts; in 2010-11, it received about $2.4 million.)

    http://seattletimes.com/html/l.....qa07m.html

  9. 12

    tensor spews:

    “The arena deal is about as good as we’re likely to get.”

    Yes, that’s a pretty solid argument for rejecting it. Thank you. Let’s now move on to actual civic issues, like schools, roads, and –

    “So yes, it’s lovely that this happened.”

    I put a steak dinner and a round of Seattle microbrews on 3. As in, they’ll be demanding more public money for their private profit in three years. And since their offer will be as good a deal as we’re going to get, we’ll just have to give it to them, won’t we?

  10. 13

    spews:

    This is the first team that our city has acquired through relocation. I do feel for the people of Sacramento, but let us not forget or for many who do not know, Sacramento got it’s team at the expense of Kansas City.

  11. 14

    Steve spews:

    I have had no problem with business-government-community collaboration that brings jobs and opportunity to the poor. That goes back to RFK and Bed-Stuy in the 1960′s.

    Such collaboration also gave Seattle two World’s Fairs and Seafair. I’ve never had a problem with that either. When I was a poor kid on welfare living in the subsidized housing projects, I had an incredibly enriching experience attending the Century 21 fair. I was so proud and so glad we did that. The poor are important, but so is cultural enrichment and a vibrant city in which to live, rich or poor.

    It was state money, not city, that originally built the Coliseum which is now Key Arena. Five years after the fair ended the Sonics were playing there. Fed money gave us the Science Center which, among other things, now houses a privately owned theater. Some of the fair property itself was donated to the city by two citizens. Some property came from the demolition of an old neigborhood, now long forgotten. Near there, where the Coliseum/Key Arena now sits, they had to demolish a public school that had programs for the handicapped.

    Do you appreciate having a Seattle Center? If so, I wonder if you ever gave any thought to those handicapped children of long ago who saw their school sacrificed for your pleasure? Just kidding.

  12. 15

    tensor spews:

    “…Sacramento got it’s team at the expense of Kansas City.”

    ‘Two wrongs kinda sorta make it right,’ is just about closest we’ll get to a decent justification for this, isn’t it?

    “Do you appreciate having a Seattle Center?”

    Yes, I appreciate that taxpayers’ money bought a public park we can all use for free. Please stick to the topic at hand, which is giving tax money to the super rich for no civic benefit.

  13. 16

    spews:

    @7
    Mike, this deal does not cost the taxpayers of Seattle anything. It’s paid for by the local tax revenues that the arena itself will generate. If you don’t attend games, your taxes won’t change. Hansen is pouring a ton of his own money into the arena and he’s explained here why it was set up to have both public and private funding.

    @15
    I have no idea how you can say that having an NHL and NBA team in this city has no civic benefit.

  14. 17

    spews:

    There’s been no shortage of times when cities and states have been fleeced to build sports facilities. Hell, look at the agreement to keep the Coyotes in Glendale. But this deal just isn’t one of them. And being able take my kids to NHL games as they get older is a huge bonus to living in this city.

  15. 18

    tensor spews:

    It’s paid for by the local tax revenues that the arena itself will generate.

    We covered this back in the ’90s, when Seattle voted against a new baseball stadium. Professional sports franchises don’t “generate” any revenue. They take dollars from other local forms of entertainment. Those taxes would have been paid anyway, but instead of going into the general fund, they will go towards ensuring profits for the super rich. (And, recall, this is the “good” outcome, if the funding works as planned. As YLB notes, @11, that is hardly certain. If there’s a revenue shortfall, these same players will simply be back for us to throw more of our good money after bad.)

    I have no idea how you can say that having an NHL and NBA team in this city has no civic benefit.

    That’s because I define “civic benefit” as, say, keeping our needed infrastructure from falling down around us, rather than sitting around on my ass, watching other adults play games.

    If we’re going to spend our money on sports, why not at least ensure all of our city’s children can suit up for their favorite forms of team-building exercise, instead of paying adults to entertain us?

  16. 19

    spews:

    @18

    We covered this back in the ’90s, when Seattle voted against a new baseball stadium. Professional sports franchises don’t “generate” any revenue.

    That’s not true. Ask the restaurant and bar owners around Seattle Center how their businesses were after the Sonics left. Consider the additional tourism of people coming in for games and staying at hotels (which is admittedly smaller in remote Seattle, but could be huge for an NHL rivalry with Vancouver).

    They take dollars from other local forms of entertainment. Those taxes would have been paid anyway, but instead of going into the general fund, they will go towards ensuring profits for the super rich.

    Not true at all. The Seattle-Vancouver NHL rivalry would be a good example. The Canadian hockey fans who make that trip aren’t coming here for Sounders or Mariners games. That’s extra money for the city that isn’t being spent otherwise. For me, I know I’ll be spending more of my money in the city if we have NHL and only some of it will go towards the public contribution to the arena. I’ll probably get a ticket package, and I don’t do that with any other sport. People who are particularly geeked about the NBA, but not other sports are going to do the same. It’s not a zero-sum.

    That’s because I define “civic benefit” as, say, keeping our needed infrastructure from falling down around us, rather than sitting around on my ass, watching other adults play games.

    Infrastructure and sports are both civil benefits. Just because one is rightly seen as more important than the other doesn’t mean it’s the only one that can be called a civic benefit.

    If we’re going to spend our money on sports, why not at least ensure all of our city’s children can suit up for their favorite forms of team-building exercise, instead of paying adults to entertain us?

    Because this is what Chris Hansen wanted to do with his money. If he wanted to donate $400 million to the Seattle School District, he’d be awesome. Instead, he’s a guy who’s interested in basketball and bringing the Sonics back, and he’s doing it without relying on anything additional from Seattle taxpayers. And that’s fine. It will still benefit a lot of people and bring a lot of additional excitement to this city’s sports scene.

  17. 20

    tensor spews:

    Cripes, Lee, didn’t you even read the link YLB posted? I cited it for a reason:

    Arena managers can sometimes drive a harder bargain with concert promoters if they’re the only game in town. But that wouldn’t be the case for Hansen’s Seattle arena, which would have not only the Sonics’ former home KeyArena to contend with, but smaller arenas in nearby Everett and Kent. Noll puts it bluntly: “In Seattle, what they need is to bomb some facilities.”

    In other words, this public subsidy will be a net negative for Key Arena. And it will further harm traffic in the Industrial District, which actually has value-added businesses working there. Having government battle government to the detriment of real industry is not an economic winner. Please let me know if you need that explained in fewer syllables.

    Ask the restaurant and bar owners around Seattle Center how their businesses were after the Sonics left.

    Yes, those dollars were spent in other restaurants and bars, perhaps ones closer to the homes of those patrons. Thank you for helping make my point.

    Consider the additional tourism of people coming in for games and staying at hotels …

    Care to run a cost/benefit analysis on that expenditure of public funds? Didn’t think so.

    The Canadian hockey fans who make that trip aren’t coming here for Sounders or Mariners games.

    It’s a law in the Great White North: only one professional sport per fan. No exceptions. (Also, curling.)

    That’s extra money for the city that isn’t being spent otherwise.

    Cost-benefit analysis, how does it work?

    For me, I know I’ll be spending more of my money in the city if we have NHL…

    Like Carl, it’s all about you, because you generalize to everyone.

    Infrastructure and sports are both civil benefits.

    Because one consists of enabling value-added economic activities, and one consists of watching adults play games.

    Just because one is rightly seen as more important than the other doesn’t mean it’s the only one that can be called a civic benefit.

    But we can direct tax dollars to one and not the other, based upon the returns we expect to get.

    …and he’s doing it without relying on anything additional from Seattle taxpayers.

    In the most generous possible interpretation, and without precluding additional public begging in future, after “his” team has established an emotional following. Again, please read YLB’s link to Slate, above.

    It will still benefit a lot of people…

    How many? At what expense? Is there some reason you’re speaking in vague generalities, instead of concrete costs?

    … and bring a lot of additional excitement to this city’s sports scene.

    Yippee.

  18. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 “Worse yet, if they are more educated, they are likely to vote liberal.”

    Yeah, that’s a problem for you Galtians.

  19. 22

    Steve spews:

    “Yes, I appreciate that taxpayers’ money bought a public park we can all use for free.”

    So you appreiciate the loss of a neighborhood and a school for the handicapped so Seattle could have one more park, only one with upscale private restaurants, theaters and museums? Free? Those restaurants, the glass museum and theater aren’t free, Tensor. A museum glorifying a very rich, living artist? It was my impression people mourned the loss of the Fun Forest or at least the space itself, but never gave one thought to the loss of neighborhoods and schools that allowed for the creation of the Fun Forest in the first place. Century 21. Created by Seattle’s elite rich using City, state and federal goverment funds. As an attendee of that fair, I don’t recall getting a discount for being poor.

    “Please stick to the topic at hand, which is giving tax money to the super rich for no civic benefit.”

    OK. An arena paid for by business and government is bad. A park that increasingly caters to the Seattle elite, paid for by business and goverment, is good, and so what about the loss of a neighborhood and a school. Is that your point?

    Odd, I thought this was more or less the topic,

    “it’s lovely that this happened”

  20. 23

    Steve spews:

    Just what is there to do at the Seattle Center these days for a poor kid with no money, Tensor?

    It’s the Sonics that were free for the poor. The poor could watch them on TV or listen to the games on the radio. It was the Sonics who gave both Seattle’s rich and poor cause for the biggest celebration in this city’s history which, by the way, was also free. That was quite the day. I recall hoisting a poor black kid up on what were my now fairly wealthy white man’s shoulders so he could see the parade go by.

  21. 25

    tensor spews:

    So you appreiciate the loss of a neighborhood and a school for the handicapped so Seattle could have one more park, only one with upscale private restaurants, theaters and museums?

    Here’s a tip for you: when you’re reduced to putting words in the mouth of your opponent, you’ve lost the argument. You’re welcome.

    “the glass museum and theater aren’t free, Tensor”

    I don’t know how you got from my strong opposition to public funding of rich people to equate to my support of public funding for rich people, but that helps me to understand how you could possibly believe this Kings deal is good for Seattle. (Hint: I was talking about the public aspects of Seattle Center, not everything ever done there since it was built,)

    I continue hoping this is just a scam by the super rich, to extract a Kings’ ransom (ha ha ha) from their current city. After all, it’s not like McGinn will ever figure out he was just a patsy.

  22. 26

    spews:

    I think this is one of the best debates that I’ve seen on this blog in some time. Excellent points being made on both sides, except for the poster that says education turns people Liberal. Wonder why?

  23. 27

    Steve spews:

    Here’s the point, Tensor, seeing as how you fail to grasp it. If people like you had had your way there would have been no World Fairs and no Seafair. No Sonics. No Mariners. No Seahawks. No Husky football. Seattle would still be a cultural backwater if people had listened to to the likes of you.

    “Yes, I appreciate that taxpayers’ money bought a public park we can all use for free.”

    My other point, to be more direct, is that you don’t give a fuck about what was sacrificed for your free, elitest, yuppified park. Schools, neighborhoods, a piece of Seattle’s heritage lost forever – and you apparently don’t care. And just what the fuck do you mean by “all”? I ask because you don’t seem to give a shit that there’s nothing much there for poor people. It’s your park, Tensor, not theirs, and you don’t give a fuck.

    “Here’s a tip for you: when you’re reduced to putting words in the mouth of your opponent, you’ve lost the argument.”

    Oh, you mean like this, Tensor?

    “but that helps me to understand how you could possibly believe this Kings deal is good for Seattle”

    Um, I never said that. For some odd reason, I can’t help but notice that you’re putting words in my mouth, Tensor. What was it you said about that again?

  24. 28

    spews:

    I think this is one of the best debates that I’ve seen on this blog in some time.

    I agree.

    I don’t have much to add other than:

    1. Check out Wiki for reasons the Kings moved from KC. Pretty much one disaster after another. There’s this line about their GM:

    Axelson became the first general manager in the history of sports to fail with the same franchise in four different cities: Cincinnati, Kansas City, Omaha and Sacramento.

    Ouch.

    2. I was in the Sacto area when the Kings arrived. New arena – Arco Arena – was referred to by McClatchy’s Sacramento Bee as ‘King’s Arena’ in print.

    3. We used to do practice criteriums on summer weeknights on the parking lot roads around that arena. Totally flat, totally square. Only time I ever won a race.

  25. 29

    Steve spews:

    @28 I was lucky enough to watch Cincinnati and Oscar Robinson play a game at SPU in 1965. A poor kid, we got free tickets for that one. For the life of me, I can’t remember who the other team was that they played. Two years later we had the Sonics playing in an arena paid for by the state that stands on the site of a school for the handicapped. It’s still not too late for Tensor to birth a goat over that one.

  26. 30

    Steve spews:

    “Yes, those dollars were spent in other restaurants and bars”

    No concern for the businesses lost when the fair was built and now no concern for businesses suffering after the Sonics left. Thanks, Tensor, for giving a measure of credibility to how the right characterizes liberals as elitists who are uncaring about business and jobs.

  27. 31

    tensor spews:

    Seattle would still be a cultural backwater if people had listened to to the likes of you.

    As a native New Yorker, I will altruistically provide you with some much-needed help on this point. If you’re ever wondering if you’re in a “cultural backwater,” you may consult the following brief checklist:

    1) People around you seriously refer to watching overpaid adults play children’s games as “culture”;

    2) See No. 1, above. :-)

  28. 32

    kakumeiji spews:

    @30 Well, Steve, I had written a long novel in reply to you, but it basically boils down to this. I, at least, do care a lot about business and jobs… I just happen to care more about business and jobs at the Port of Seattle and the industrial area that surrounds it. It seems rather cavalier and illogical to say that these jobs and businesses do not matter, or somehow matter less than jobs and business at restaurants and bars. Why do I care more about jobs at the Port and the industrial area? Because they usually pay more than jobs at restaurants, and are actually the sort of thing that one could raise a family on. Would it be nice if we could have both? Sure. But for now we should worry about preserving what we already have and building upon that, rather than haring off and building something new that might not even work out.

    And this isn’t even going into the possibility of the team relocating, or the owner trying to jerk more money out of the city for renovations or a new arena when we’re still working on paying off the old one. Both scenarios have happened in Seattle in the past. I think we can be forgiven for being skeptical and expressing reservations.

  29. 33

    ArtFart spews:

    There was an editorial–well, more of a rant–in the UW Daily by a staffer who’s from Sacramento. His take on all this was, “Oh, please Seattle, relieve us of our terrible team”…which in fact it is after years of the Maloofs doing an even worse (and stingier) job of running it than Howard Schultz/Wally World in the last few seasons the old Sonics were here. Their arena’s location really screws up the local traffic on game nights and the whole enterprise continues to consume funding that could be better used for things like fighting inner-city crime. He’d also be fine with our adopting their ex-shitty player who retired to become an even shittier mayor.

  30. 34

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    sigh…

    Let me start by saying that I don’t argue that there are benefits to a community in having a local professional sports franchise.

    My point is that the cost/benefit analysis does not pencil out.

    There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a luxury, when you’ve got the money. It is a rather silly move when you neither have the money for the luxury nor your necessities.

    If the hosts of this blog would want detailed analysis with footnotes, I can do that, but let me just offer the following from a quick google search.

    Pro sports stadiums don’t bolster local economies, scholars say

    And remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

    Now, let’s raise some money to pay our teachers like we pay pro athletes. :-)

  31. 35

    tensor spews:

    And remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

    I will go further, and speculate that the professional gambler pushing this is gambling we’ll have to bail him out if the revenue stream creates a shortfall. I further speculate that our local big-money boys and politicians remain none to happy with our 2006 vote to ban public subsidies for pro sports. For them, this deal can’t lose, because if it fails to provide revenue, and the city bails the project out, the big-money boys will have rendered our law meaningless.

    Democracy, how does it work?

  32. 37

    tensor spews:

    Oh noes! Now our local hacks are just going to HAVE to override the results of our 2006 election on this very topic!! With all of those great cultural and financial benefits now threatened, we’ll have to pony up!! Schools and roads will just have to wait (again).

    When the dust clears, the NBA will have eased the Maloofs out of majority ownership, the Kings will still play in California, and Seattle’s naive and dim political leaders won’t even know they were mere patsies in this shadow-play.

    Pro sports may or may not be cultural events, but they sure are entertaining! :-D

  33. 38

    czechsaaz spews:

    While everyone is all up in arms about a not taxpayer supported arena construction and what else that money could be used for and citing dubious slate pieces (so, you can project the revenue of the arena without knowing a single thing about what the naming rights fee is, what Root sports is willing to pay to broadcast all non-national games, not knowing what the price point of tickets will be, not knowing if the NHL is coming, hint, they desperately want out of Phoenix and Nashville and knowing that a state of the art, acoustically decent arena doesn’t exist around here…sidebar, there’s a reason why no Arena acts play at L.A. Sports Arena, The Forum, Santa Monica Civic, Long Beach Pavillion anymore. They sound like shit an everyone knows it, hi Key, you sound like shit…)

    I can authoritatively tell you that the Olympic had the contract to host visiting NBA teams. That was 10 player suites, 1 head coach suite, 3 assistant coach rooms and three rooms shared by other staff and personel multiplied by 41 games a year. Then they sold the team three meals at approximately $2500 per plus A/V services for team meeting rooms, etc. I can also tell you that when the last NBA game was played here the Fairmont laid off 12 positions.

    Stop and ponder the 16% occupency tax on that and any travelling journalists, fans etc… That doesn’t exist without the NBA and will continue to exist long after the loan is paid back. And there certainly won’t be a boom in construction jobs for 18-24 months to build the thing.

    And the metric of stadiums is different now. PacBell and TheJerryJonesMahall were built without significant public funds allowing their team owners to realize total profit on all sales within the facility. It works like this. HMS Host, you want to be the sole concessionaire for the next ten seasons? That will be 95 million dollars and BTW, we don’t give a rip if you can’t sell volume to turn a profit on $12 beers and $8 nachos. We, the stadium owner,s take zero overhead risk on that 95 million. Take it or leave it, Delaware North is on the other line and they want it.

  34. 39

    czechsaaz spews:

    @34

    Deep sigh…

    We aren’t purchasing a luxury. We are using the good credit rating of the City of Seattle to help secure financing in a manner that is as safe as any municipal investment ever is. Yes, there is some risk to the city’s investment if the arena goes bankrupt but not much.

    These claims start to sound just like the NRA. Absent of any facts, “They’re coming to get your guns!” But in this case, “The billionaires are robbing the taxpayers!”

  35. 40

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @34 czechsaaz

    We are using the good credit rating of the City of Seattle to help secure financing

    You seriously think ponying up that good credit rating is a no cost item?
    Do you think the prospective owners can’t get a credit line for $200M on their own?

  36. 41

    kakumeiji spews:

    Okay then. Here are some questions that I want answered before I support the arena. How is the city and county taking out loans (that’s what bonds are, right?) not going to add to a lot of red ink to budgets that have already been strained to the breaking point? How are we sure that the team isn’t going to fly the coop like the old Sonics did, or that the owners aren’t going to try and get the city to pay for renovations or a new stadium only twenty-five years down the road, like what happened with the Kingdome? How is traffic on the roads and highways in that area, already very bad, going to be mitigated? And finally, can someone reassure me that the Port and the industrial area down there will not be damaged by the building of this arena and the entertainment district that will surround it? Or if they cannot assure me of that, then can they explain why it does not matter and I should not care?

    I’m being serious here. I don’t think these are unreasonable questions to ask. If I could get a realistic, honest, genuine answer to these questions, then maybe I’d be excited about the arena too. But all I ever seem to hear in the Seattle Times and elsewhere is “Trust us, it’ll work out.” Forgive me if I do not immediately go along with this.

  37. 42

    spews:

    @31

    As a native New Yorker, I will altruistically provide you with some much-needed help on this point. If you’re ever wondering if you’re in a “cultural backwater,” you may consult the following brief checklist:

    1) People around you seriously refer to watching overpaid adults play children’s games as “culture”;

    As a native New Yorker, you should know how much the Yankees, Yankee Stadium, and the Knicks/Rangers at MSG contribute to the culture of that city.

    Most of my family still lives in NY so I certainly know.

    @20

    In other words, this public subsidy will be a net negative for Key Arena. And it will further harm traffic in the Industrial District, which actually has value-added businesses working there.

    That’s certainly true, but it might also impact the Kent and Everett arenas even more. This is definitely one of the biggest drawbacks to the deal, especially since the Kent arena has failed to bring back expected revenues. This might make it harder for them to do so.

    The arena will actually be quite a bit south of the international district. If you park in the international district, you’ll have to take light rail to get to the arena.

    Yes, those dollars were spent in other restaurants and bars, perhaps ones closer to the homes of those patrons. Thank you for helping make my point.

    Not necessarily. No one woke up one day and said, “hey, if the Sonics were still here, there’d be a game and I’d be going to Seattle Center, so I’m going to go out and spend money at a restaurant to make sure I’m still spending that money!”

    Care to run a cost/benefit analysis on that expenditure of public funds? Didn’t think so.

    If bringing in tourists were the only reason to do this, that would make sense. But that’s not what I’m arguing. I’m merely debunking the idea that sports dollars are zero-sum.

    Like Carl, it’s all about you, because you generalize to everyone.

    Once again, missing my point. Was merely pointing out the error in believing that sports dollars are zero-sum.

    But we can direct tax dollars to one and not the other, based upon the returns we expect to get.

    Not in this case, because the person providing the money is providing it for a specific purpose. You don’t actually believe that McGinn should pester Hansen to give his money to schools instead, do you?

    How many? At what expense? Is there some reason you’re speaking in vague generalities, instead of concrete costs?

    Because civic pride and the enjoyment of sports aren’t measurable in that way. How much money does a park generate vs the cost of maintaining it? If that were the only criteria, we’d have no parks. Not everything we have in our world has to be justified by whether it makes a profit. There are things in this world that exist for our enjoyment and we as a society sometimes pay for them.

    I’m totally with you that we often pay far too much for sports venues, but this is hardly a good example of that. And arguing that building a nicer, newer arena detracts from older, smaller facilities is a drawback, but too minor of one for me to be too concerned with it.

    We have a huge problem in this state with the underfunding of schools. I’m pissed about it too. But being angry at Chris Hansen is a dumb way to direct that anger.

  38. 43

    spews:

    Oh, and as far as the Slate link goes, you might want to read to the end, since it discusses how the Seattle deal is likely to be different from the horror stories in other cities, primarily because Hansen was willing to provide various assurances regarding re-location and the public-private funding agreement.

  39. 44

    spews:

    The only thing Seattle should have to do with the NBA should be the public tarring and feathering (if not trial and execution) of Darth Stern, Clayboy & the Redneck Mafia, and Howard Schultz for bringing Seattle the IRL Major League (missing only Charlie Sheen with coke-bottle glasses). Now the NHL on the other hand…. I’d be interested in that.

  40. 45

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @43

    I read the entire slate piece. It’s a crap piece of ‘journalism’. It spends 700-800 words talking about how arenas are never moneymakers and other cities horror stories and implying that every bit of the deal that Chris Hansen negotiated with the city is re-negotiable later. And then tosses off the final paragraph of, “but of course we don’t know cause…”

  41. 46

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @40

    You seriously think ponying up that good credit rating is a no cost item?
    Do you think the prospective owners can’t get a credit line for $200M on their own?

    Arguing from assumption doesn’t work. It’s just something to say. No, a private citizen or investment group can’t get a loan for $200M at terms that are even close to what a municipality can offer. I’m betting you didn’t buy Romney’s argument that GM could have found capital without the bailout.

  42. 47

    Czechsaaz spews:

    BTW, just ’cause I was curious, Miami (K, they’re the marquee franchise right now but it’s TV market 16 to Seattle’s 14) has a local television deal for $100m a season with Fox Sports. So it’s safe to assume that Hansen will get a deal for at least $75m a season without selling a single ticket.

    But I’m sure everyone who asumes Hansen will lose his investment and have to stick the city with the bill is totally right.

  43. 48

    tensor spews:

    How much money does a park generate vs the cost of maintaining it?

    We’re not talking about a civic amenity we can all enjoy without paying an admission fee. We’re talking about directing scarce public resources *away* from things like parks, and toward subsidizing the private profits of already-rich people.

    “Not everything we have in our world has to be justified by whether it makes a profit.”

    Try telling the NBA they should locate a team here without regard to their profit. Then tell us the responses they give you. I’m willing to wager it will be far more entertaining than watching overpaid sweaty guys in long shorts. :-)

    Oh, and “civic pride” is a rather poor euphemism for “willingly getting fleeced by a rich gambler.”

  44. 49

    czechsaaz spews:

    @48

    But the staium isn’t publically owned so the city isn’t paying the maintenance. Its being paid solely by the users, unlike a park.

    Hi apple, nice to see you. You look just like my friend Orange.

    Hmmm…civic pride. How much in sales tax do you imagine the city made from the sale of Russell Wilson jerseys this season? You could buy a Seahawks fleece if you want.

  45. 50

    Rob spews:

    Today’s sacbee reports the KJ has lined up a couple deep pockets to match the Seattle offer. I’d be tempted to say that I have a hard time believing the NBA will approve moving the team to Seattle if there’s an equal offer to keep the team in Sacto, but after the fiasco with the Sonics? Even though I wasn’t a Sonics fan, that was the point where I stopped really caring about the NBA. Regardless of moving or not, I won’t be spending any money to watch ‘em.

  46. 51

    Steve spews:

    “I’m willing to wager it will be far more entertaining than watching overpaid sweaty guys in long shorts. :-)”

    My Dear Ms. Wingnut and I were season ticket holders. We didn’t go to many games. We had good seats so it was easy to sell most of them even when attendance was down. The season tickets gave us great playoff seats. Anyways, we were there at the last game screaming “SAVE OUR SONICS!!!” with the rest of the fans.

    I was a fan as a teen from Sonics day one but I didn’t go to any games until a decade later when a client, Jay Jacobs, let me go to games using their season tickets. That run of good fortune for me included the championship season.

    The players back then made pretty good money, but not ridiculous. While a pro sport, it wasn’t nearly as popular as football and baseball. It was easier to be a fan.

    I loved my city. I loved my Sonics. I was far from alone in this. There is a reason why people by the hundreds of thousands of people walked, drove, or took buses downtown, poured out of office towers and then celebrated like this city has never celebrated before or since. If you were there you will never forget that day for as long as you live.

    The years passed. There came a time in the 1990′s when I started giving thought to the guy on the bench who made $80,000 that night and didn’t play. Someone who hung with Black Panthers, my eyes were glazing over with this new fusion of gansta, sports hero, tattoos and shoes. WTF?

    And then came that coffee fucktard, the rich oil and gas hicks from OKC and David Stern. I think I’ve had enough.

    The Sonics aren’t coming back. Not for me. It goes a little deeper than the Sonics leaving. But now somebody is trying to buy the Kings and move them here. They put together an arena deal and it looks like there were some lessons learned from the two stadiums.

    I say go for it. I hope for other fans that the Sonics really are back. I hope that they win a championship someday and thump the Thunder on their way there. I hope hundreds of thousands of people gather downtown to celebrate like we did all those years ago. If you do, you’ll never forget it as long as you live. I may not be the fan I used to be but I hope to be there too.

  47. 52

    spews:

    @ 47

    I’m sorry, but did someone just compare viewership interest ($$) in the Miami Heat (Lebron, Wade, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Chris Bosh) to that of the Sacramento Kings, with only a 33% premium given to the Heat?

    Seriously?

  48. 53

    czechsaaz spews:

    Yes, I did. The Golden State Warriors, who until this season have been one of worst franchises in sports have a deal for $50m up front and $25m for this current strike shortened season to be renegotiated for a full season next year.

    Miami’s deal extends way beyond the current group of players contracts.

  49. 54

    tensor spews:

    That’s certainly true, but it might also impact the Kent and Everett arenas even more.

    This deal just keeps getting better! Now we’re screwing our neighboring municipalities as well as ourselves! Luckily, that’s totally not an elitist position for Seattle to take.

    BTW, we were told in the 90s that spending our money on renovating Key Arena would keep the Sonics in town. We spent the money, so why are you guys talking like the Sonics no longer play there?

  50. 55

    czechsaaz spews:

    @54

    The Kent and Everett arena are roughly a third the capacity of the proposal. They are the preferred size for the Disney on Ice type events that rarely fill a venue.

    But it’s a nice sidebar once all your other theories on how bad a deal this is fall apart.

    Admit it, if a magic parcel of land existed and the cost to the city was zero and people could be teleported to their seats sans cars you’d find a reason to be against it.

  51. 56

    czechsaaz spews:

    @50

    It would be great if Sacramento can save their franchise. I well remember the day I found out the great love of my sports fan life was saved from moving to a crappy dome in St. Petersburgh.

    It remains to be seen if Sacramento can come close to.Seattle’s proposal. They’ve got about 60 days to make the purchase offer, get the Mallofs to agree to that offer, get a new arena site approved, find financing for that arena…

  52. 57

    Steve spews:

    “BTW, we were told in the 90s that spending our money on renovating Key Arena would keep the Sonics in town.”

    It’s one of the many reasons why I’m no longer an NBA fan. Really, pro sports in general. But just because I don’t like it much doesn’t mean I want to spoil it for everybody else.

    We each want to see different things done with the limited resources the city has at its disposal. For my part, I’d like to see the city spend all of it’s park, library, HOV and bicycle lane, and low-income housing for the poor money turning High Point, Rainier Vista and Holly Park into golf courses, with the Jewels of our city’s new golf courses being championship-level courses where Discovery, Seward and Lincoln parks used to be. I know those parks well and I’ve lived in those housing projects. They’d all make wonderful golf courses, especially the parks. Instead it’s all NBA, infrastructure and textbooks for kiddies. Fuck that shit. What Seattle needs is more golf courses!

  53. 58

    tensor spews:

    “… and the cost to the city was zero…”

    Then I couldn’t possibly care less. But yes, financial cost and other impacts should be considered. It’s not my fault that consideration of them sinks all hope of you getting what you want.

    (It is comforting to know you know so little about me. What were you saying about assumptions, again?)

    Oh, and the success of the Key Arena renovation in keeping the Sonics here is your best bet for getting the rest of us to agree with this proposal. Mention it all of the time. Trust me on this.

  54. 59

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @58

    I feel pretty safe in assuming you don’t know how the deal is structured as the potential cost to the city is, actually, zero with a potential for profits. But like all investments, past performance is not a guarantee of future returns, due dilligence, etc.

    Seattle will provide 200m in bond issues. Those bonds and the interest will be paid over 20 years by the team ‘renting’ the facility from the state. That 20 year bond can be retired early if the Hansen group desires. And if the team tries to leave the only method for the Hansen group of investors to get out of full repayment is Bankruptcy which I assume you aren’t aware makes the city the priority creditor if the NBA tries to move the team and emerge from Bankruptcy. After the 20 year period the city can execute the option to sell their share of the arena, presumably at a profit as the principal and interest on the bonds are already paid, or they can maintain an ownership stake and continue to collect rent. Maybe in 20 years we can debate if renting to a team that now has avenues to re-locate without penalty is a better deal than selling and letting the Hansen group have full ownership.

    The straw you have to grasp to keep your objection alive is your gut feeling that the agreement isn’t a binding contract.

    I agree that I can’t deal the Tarot and say for sure what will happen. But if I were being asked to risk 5% of my 2013 budget, roughly what 200m is to the Seattle budget, in an investment that was half as solid looking as this one, I’m in.

    I didn’t live here when the Key renovation happened. Sounds like it was a bad deal. Funny though, it seems like the city spent 75m to keep the Sonics from leaving in the late 1990s and the team stayed for another ten years. On some level, spending the money kept them here, just not long enough to cover the terms the city negotiated. Some city councils make bad deals. Some investors bought MySpace. Sucks for them.

  55. 60

    rhp6033 spews:

    One thing worth mentioning:

    Sacramento and the areas surrounding it are still in the throes of recovering from the George W. Bush “Great Recession”. While they will do just about anything to attract potential jobs and economic activity, they don’t have any money (currently) to pay for it. When it comes to stadium remodels, they would have to sell bonds and pray that they can pay for them as they come due.

  56. 61

    tensor spews:

    The straw you have to grasp to keep your objection alive is your gut feeling that the agreement isn’t a binding contract.

    A much better objection, just one of many, is that the city will have spent $200M of authority to issue bonds. That authority is a finite resource, which has many other uses, such as the critical maintenance backlog I mentioned. Your pitiful attempt to hand-wave this away, describing an obvious reality as an “assumption,” shows just how weak your arguments for this deal really are.

    As you inadvertently noted, in your incorrect statement about how I would oppose this deal no matter what, there are many costs we should consider, and you rightly identified consideration of them as potential deal-killers. So, I flip it back at you: how bad would the deal need to be for you to oppose it? Or would you accept it, no matter what?

  57. 62

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @61

    The bond authority of Seattle is limited strictly by what can be sold to investors. As long as there are no defaults by the city on existing bonds or credit rating downgrades claiming that the city won’t be able to issue additional bonds for future projects because $200m is “used up” isn’t a real world situation. Or maybe you haven’t noticed that the city or county puts a new bond on almost every general election ballot?

    How bad would the deal have to be? If the best the city could hope for was to break even, I doubt I’d support it. But as I pointed out, just breaking even is as close to a guarantee with this deal as you can get in these transactions. The near guaranteed return of the bond issue doesn’t take into account a single dollar from any generated economic activity. Nothing from the jobs created to construct. Nothing from Hotel taxes when the team is operating. Nothing from sales taxes selling team gear….

    In this deal there is very, very, very small risk to principle with a potential balloon return and modest dividend in perpetuity.

  58. 63

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @62 Czechsaaz,


    In this deal there is very, very, very small risk to principle with a potential balloon return and modest dividend in perpetuity.

    Wow. You’ve swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
    When I pencil out a deal, risk & reward are numbers, not adverbs, adjectives and mumbo jumbo.

  59. 64

    tensor spews:

    “… As long as there are no defaults by the city on existing bonds or credit rating downgrades…”

    The latter would make it more costly for the city to repair infrastructure, a task to which a competent government would prioritize far, far above subsudizing private profits for the already-rich. Our “benefit” in return for running this risk is “civiic pride,” which apparently emanates from running the city’s finances in a suboptimal fashion.

    “Or maybe you haven’t noticed that the city or county puts a new bond on almost every general election ballot?”

    Yes. We should do that with this bond issue as well, don’t you agree? After all, it should pass easily:

    “In this deal there is very, very, very small risk to principle with a potential balloon return and modest dividend in perpetuity.”

  60. 65

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Let’s discuss “small risk”.

    The arena that the city of Seattle will obligate $200M of limited bond authority to build shall generate revenue with an NBA team and possibly an NHL team. These are the stated primary tenants.

    Less than 2 years ago the NBA had a 161-day lockout which began on July 1, 2011 and ended on December 8, 2011. It delayed the start of the 2011–12 regular season from November 1 to December 25, and it reduced the regular season from 82 to 66 games. The previous lockout in 1998–99 had shortened the season to 50 games.

    The NHL also had a recent lockout this 2012-2013 season.
    The lockout shortened the 2012–13 NHL season, originally scheduled to begin on October 11, 2012, from 82 to 48 games, a reduction of 41.5 percent.

    Would anyone of you boosters care to show me where in the financial plan the risk of a revenue ending season stoppage is mitigated?

    Don’t bother looking. It is not there. It is like it never happens, even though it happens with surprising regularity.

  61. 66

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @65

    I’ll admit, I don’t know if the Hansen group is off the hook for scheduled payments if the season is cancelled. If the city negotiated away guaranteed payment based solely on the decision of the tenant to cancel use of the facility, that’s a bad deal and the city attorney who reviewed it certainly is a crappy lawyer. But isn’t that how we squeezed a few dollars out of Clay Bennett? He was free to move the team but not free to break the lease at Key? The current CBA carries to 2021 mitigating that possibility a bit.

    @64

    If private profits for the already rich is your complaint, can I assume you think all construction bonds in South Lake Union should never have been offered? I mean Bezos and Gates are already rich and they’re the sole benefactors of the road improvements? I can see clearly that there’s zero economic activity in that area that would be there even without action by the city for infrastructure improvements. None. No new B&O taxes. No sales taxes. No increased property values reassessed. Nothing going on there. The city shouldn’t have done anything at all in SLU.

    Obviously the city is losing money on that deal since absolutely no one is paying them back directly the full value of the bonds plus interest?

  62. 67

    tensor spews:

    “If private profits for the already rich is your complaint, can I assume you think all construction bonds in South Lake Union should never have been offered?”

    I suggest you learn the difference between real industries, which provide real products and services, paying good wages and benefits to most employees, from watching overpaid adults play a children’s game, while the majority of workers in the facility earn low wages and few benefits on an uncertain schedule. (Notice that however large the public subsidy, no matter how rich the Team’s owners, ticket prices are high and service wages are low? Why on earth should we subsidize that?)

    “I can see clearly that there’s zero economic activity in that area that would be there even without action by the city for infrastructure improvements.”

    See Mike’s comment about numbers being a really, really useful tool for economic analysis. But hey, when you can “see clearly” what might have happened, who needs data, right?

    “… I don’t know if the Hansen group is off the hook for scheduled payments if the season is cancelled.”

    Then we can conclude you don’t really know how the deal is structured.

  63. 68

    wharfrat spews:

    Rulers of ancient civilizations understood the need for entertaining the mob. So much so that some of the oldest remaining structure are stadiums used for games, racing and spectacle. We would not have such overt public spectacles these enlightened days but we still understand the need to keep the masses fed and entertained. Over here on the dry side we had a “Firearms Appreciation Day and 2nd Amendment Recognition” at a gun store in CdA. Drew about a thousand people, same as Spokane’s MLK celebration. How many of the gun guys would have shown up if this event were held at the same time as the Super Bowl? Or at the same time as the first reconstituted Sonics game?

    I am poor, living on Social Security, on the rez, yet I am an unrepentant intellectual and cultural snob. So long as I get my parks, libraries, symphony and Furthur shows I will vote to spend some public funds to keep the proles entertained as well. It keeps them off the streets scaring the horses.

  64. 69

    czechsaaz spews:

    @67

    I see you’re digging in and not knowing much about an entertainment complex like an arena. Yep, there’s a bunch of service jobs. There’s also Union Riggers, broadcast professionals, a small army of I.T., Engineers, IATSE crews for set-up/tear down, Teamsters… is it simply the fact that it’s sports that makes you so bitterly against development of an underused part of the city?

    I didn’t look for the lockout contingency specifically but I’ll check. But the scenario would be highly unusual in commercial real estate. “Oh, you’re taking the month of December off just ’cause and have no income? Where’s my rent check?” you asked what it would take, that’s a pretty big one that I’ll cop to not looking for as it would be monumentally negligent from the landlord side of the equation.

  65. 71

    tensor spews:

    I’m merely debunking the idea that sports dollars are zero-sum.

    Providing evidence to show that a commonly-held belief is false is called debunking. Repeating a claim, totally unsupported by any facts, is called tiresome.

    But hey, let’s walk through your fact-free assertions together.

    (1) Most persons have limited economic means. To cope with this, they (formally or informally) keep an entity called a “budget”. Some (not all) persons include costs of entertainment in this budget. Your claim requires a significant portion of the latter population to increase their entertainment budgets sufficiently to pay for the very high ticket prices which sports palaces charge. Because if they do not so behave, then either they won’t go to the sports palace, or they will re-allocate money from other entertainment options to the sports palace. This latter is called “zero-sum”, and you have yet to provide data showing it won’t happen.

    (2) Even persons without budgets, but still bound by the physical laws of our universe, will find it impossible to occupy two entertainment venues simultaneously. This may sometimes force them to choose between the sports palace and another venue. You are factlessly claiming they will choose the sports palace a significant portion of the time.

    But enough with abstract reasoning. Let’s try some conclusions based upon actual data:

    In other words, revenues generated inside the stadium may not be new revenues, even if they are dedicated specifically to paying for the new stadium.

    (H/t MikeBoyScout)

    Luckily for your claim, evidence exists that the entire package may not be zero-sum. Unluckily for you, the number involved may be less than zero:

    “The net economic impact of professional sports in Washington, D.C., and the 36 other cities that hosted professional sports teams over nearly 30 years, was a reduction in real per capita income over the entire metropolitan area,” Humphreys and Coates noted in the report.

    The researchers found other patterns consistent with the presence of pro sports teams. Among them:

    • a statistically significant negative impact on the retail and services sectors of the local economy, including an average net loss of 1,924 jobs;

    Smells like civic pride! “Here we are now, entertain us!” :-)

  66. 72

    czechsaaz spews:

    I was on the road today with lots of time to kill on my phone which is why I didn’t re-read the PDF of the Memo of Understanding, small screen, aging eyes, lots of text. This got way more contentious than I intended.

    But here it is. The MOU never says “season” just annual and years. I’ll defer to our resident ex-lawyer but that seems to back up what I thought that the Hansen group doesn’t have wiggle room to get out of payment if there’s a strike or lockout.

    And I’ll concede that it’s a MOU not yet a binding contract and I’m fully willing to support everyone who’s against this deal if the terms of a future binding contract are substantially different from the MOU.

    What’s funny, and a product of a day spent traveling, on a phone and on WiFi is I don’t even like the NBA, love the college game, haven’t watched an entire NBA game since the Jordan era. Really don’t care if the Sonics come back.

    But I love music and I won’t ever again pay top dollar for a national touring act at Key or Tacoma Dome. They sound like shit and Tacoma Dome has a ground loop buzz that they can’t seem to get rid of on top of the shitty acoustics. I want this arena built for purely selfish reasons. I’ve seen and worked shows at Staples where the sound is amazing. We don’t have a decent national tour arena here. It’s a regional embarrassment. So Seattle is stuck with shit sound if you want to see a U2 or the Police, Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney or even Death Cab. We can do better.

  67. 73

    tensor spews:

    But I love music and I won’t ever again pay top dollar for a national touring act at Key or Tacoma Dome.

    YMMV. I sat as far back from the stage as it is possible to do, and thoroughly enjoyed the two sets by Rush. (Yes, I am a middle-aged engineer; how oh how could you possibly know?) In fact, it sounded better than when they played the pre-renovated place, twenty years before that.

    This got way more contentious than I intended.

    Repeatedly confusing “questioning another person’s motives,” with “valid argument,” will tend to have that effect, yes.

    “I agree that I can’t deal the Tarot and say for sure what will happen. ”

    Since you hand-waved away ALL of the evidence cited in the Slate article, cutting cards may indeed be the closest thing to evidence remaining to you. However, there’s also the evidence MikeBoyScout cited, quoted by me in a previous comment.

    And there certainly won’t be a boom in construction jobs for 18-24 months to build the thing.

    We would employ exactly the same highly-skilled laborers to build and repair our neglected infrastructure, so this is the very definition of a zero-sum argument.

    And you boosters somehow ignore the significant costs of repeatedly concentrating thousands* of alcohol-drinking persons into several city blocks. How much does this cost the Seattle Police Department in overtime pay?

    *dozens, for Mariners’ games in July, August, and September. (There are no Ms’ games in October. Ever.)

  68. 74

    Czechsaaz spews:

    Dude, I’m not sure why you’re flogging this horse…

    Since you hand-waved away ALL of the evidence cited in the Slate article, cutting cards may indeed be the closest thing to evidence remaining to you.

    The slate article cited all the mostly public financed arena deals as a warning for Seattle where the deal isn’t even remotely like the others. And then admitted that predicting the outcome on their own assumptions was silly. It wasn’t evidence, it was comparing largely public financed projects to a barely public financed project and then in non-real world econ theory assuming all things being equal.

    And there certainly won’t be a boom in construction jobs for 18-24 months to build the thing.

    Why can’t we do both? See the fallacy of assuming authorizing bonds for one project means you can’t authorize bonds for both. But you won’t get matching funds from private parties to re-build that infrastructure. The city is on their own on that. And that’s another big fallacy that if you stop a new arena the funds will be redirected toward whatever project you think needs doing. I get it. If Seattle doesn’t issue bonds for the arena they will DEFINITELY authorize bonds for whatever you think is more worthy.

    You went and saw Rush at Key and enjoyed the sound? Sorey. (Smiley emoticon.)

  69. 75

    tensor spews:

    The slate article cited all the mostly public financed arena deals as a warning for Seattle where the deal isn’t even remotely like the others.

    This claim might work better if your putative vast and deep knowledge of the current offer hadn’t completely disintegrated at the first touch of skepticism:

    And I’ll concede that it’s a MOU not yet a binding contract and I’m fully willing to support everyone who’s against this deal if the terms of a future binding contract are substantially different from the MOU.

    So, the major tenant is not required, as a basic contractual obligation, to actually, y’know, pay the rent. Once our professional gambler claims he’s short of funds, he’ll tell us to see him in court. Paying the cost of the subsequent lawsuit — which, since the MOU is, all together now, not a contract– then becomes what economists call, “throwing good money after bad.”

    Why can’t we do both?

    Let me introduce you to a concept called, “The Law of Supply and Demand.” It works against your suggestion in two simultaneous, reinforcing ways:

    (1) Credit markets have a finite supply of capital available at any one moment. Issuing $400M of bonds to do $200M of needed infrastructure work and $200M of needless, redundant, civic pri– vanity project may well drive up the price (interest the city must pay on the bonds). This will exacerbate the difficulty we already have in maintaining our critical infrastructure.

    (2) The highly-skilled engineers and construction workers who actually design and build infrastructure are also a finite supply. This restriction becomes even more tight when we note that such expertise is extremely site-specific. Exact knowledge of soil, climate, drainage, &c. are all very valuable in such projects, and local firms with experience are most likely to have this knowledge, which really helps one to avoid expensive surprises in construction and maintenance of such projects. Offering them $400M for $200M of useful work is a bargain they dream of having.

    But you won’t get matching funds from private parties to re-build that infrastructure.

    Yeah, the professional gambler who won’t even sign a contract to pay the rent will provide matching funds. (Do your legal guardians know you are communicating with strangers on the internet? Because they should monitor you when you do. Really, they should.)

    “You went and saw Rush at Key and enjoyed the sound? Sorey [sic]. (Smiley emoticon.)”

    The terms of my employment require me to pass an annual audiometric examination. The last time around, shortly before the Rush show, the examiner took me aside to say that my hearing was excellent. (Yeah, I know: facts and data, don’t bother you with them…)

  70. 76

    czechsaaz spews:

    Oh for fuck sake! Read the MOU! It’s a standard legal step before a contract and there’s a reason why neither party is in a binding contract yet. There are still undetermined external factors that both parties may want to walk. Before groundbreaking there will be a legal lease, construction bids signed, etc. In your fantasy world the MOU is a 100% license for Hansen to build the arena with city money and then not pay the bill.

    It requires:

    1. Environmental Impact paid by Hansen. If that study says no go, the parties are off the hook.
    2. Iron clad no move clause until the bond is paid.
    3. Any improvements to the arena that Hansen or the NBA wants down the line are SOLELY the responsibility of the tenant.
    4. An additional $1m (profit on a parcel that the city has been unable or unwilling to sell and is currently earning Seattle $0.) a year rent on the small part of the land that Hansen doesn’t yet own.
    5. Indemnification for Seattle should the arena never come to be due to environmental factors or failure to get a team.
    6. All cost overruns are the sole responsibility of the Hansen group.

    So, the major tenant is not required, as a basic contractual obligation, to actually, y’know, pay the rent. Once our professional gambler claims he’s short of funds, he’ll tell us to see him in court

    That is just something you made up. The requirement to pay rent is in the MOU and what I said was if they strip that at the contract stage I won’t support the arena. But to use that as a claim YOU are assuming that the city attorney and the council will give it away in the future lease agreement. (Can it happen? Sure. Can I get trampled by a moose today? Sure.) Only someone who is 100% against any arena would argue that agreeing in principle to essentially do all feasibility studies prior to entering into a legal agreement to actually build is a bad deal for the city.

    (2) The highly-skilled engineers and construction workers who actually design and build infrastructure are also a finite supply. This restriction becomes even more tight when we note that such expertise is extremely site-specific.

    Now you’re just being silly. Did the engineers at Gates foundation have to wait until skilled engineers were finished with the Amazon project to break ground? Is the entire labor pool not working on the Stadium place tower because there’s just too many people tied up at Husky stadium? You know, people with job skills do sometimes move from one region of the country to another for a job offer. Again, this is the dumbest claim among many you’ve made.

    The terms of my employment require me to pass an annual audiometric examination. The last time around, shortly before the Rush show, the examiner took me aside to say that my hearing was excellent.

    I’m happy for you and I believe you 100%. You may be able to hear every tone in the spectrum and maybe even a few Mhz that that mere mortals like me can’t hear. Bully for you. If you enjoy hearing all that richness bounce back at you from angularity of the Key roof and the exit tunnels, who am I to criticize your personal preference?

  71. 77

    tensor spews:

    Gee, whatever happened to that obviously wonderful deal you were going on about? You know, this one:

    In this deal there is very, very, very small risk to principle [sic] with a potential balloon return and modest dividend in perpetuity.

    There seems to be a lot of uncertainty once we start looking at the details, and many things left to be negotiated. It’s not like a successful professional gambler could work those to his advantage, right?

    (BTW, nos. 6 ad 3, above, combine to give the team’s owners an incentive to build cheaply and vacate as soon as they can. Then we’ll have another Key Area on our hands. Civic pride!!1!)

    Again, this is the dumbest claim among many you’ve made.

    Your hand-waving non-response clarifies things wonderfully. If you want to claim that the most basic laws of economics just magically do not apply to your project, that is just another reason the rest of us should not take you boosters seriously. (Note that, contrary to your sputtering, I did not claim one project had to wait for another, just that resource constraints could raise costs.)

    If you enjoy hearing all that richness bounce back at you from angularity of the Key roof and the exit tunnels…

    And you’re certain the next sports palace won’t have the same drawbacks? Exit tunnels seem to be a pretty common feature of such places, after all. (They fulfill these things called “fire codes”, so we should expect to find them in buildings of that size.)

  72. 78

    tensor spews:

    You don’t actually believe that McGinn should pester Hansen to give his money to schools instead, do you?

    No, I neither believe that McGinn would bother or Hansen would listen. (But there are local rich guys who do give generously to children’s charities.) My point is that McGinn, as Mayor of a city whose citizens recently voted to ban public subsidies to sports teams, shouldn’t even be talking about using public money for sports teams.

    But being angry at Chris Hansen is a dumb way to direct that anger.

    I’m not angry at Hansen. He’s a successful professional gambler, who knows he has a pathetically easy mark in McGinn, and is working his grift for all he can get. (I’m actually impressed with his chutzpah, pulling his con publicly, and right in the shadow of Key Arena.) I’m angry at McGinn, for talking about this nonsense when the city has real problems to solve.

  73. 79

    Steve spews:

    “The highly-skilled engineers (I’m flattered) and construction workers who actually design and build infrastructure are also a finite supply.”

    A finite supply, yes, but not everybody in the design profession is working these days even though things are picking up.

    “This restriction becomes even more tight when we note that such expertise is extremely site-specific.”

    Workers aren’t exactly stuck on a project. It’s the natural course of things for a contractor to pull off a job while another trade completes their work which must be done for the first trade to proceed with more work. Electricians might disappear while painters are there and then came back to trim out the electrical devices. Contractors are scheduling SOB’s who will move workers to wherever they’re needed, on the same site, to another site, or back to the hall.

  74. 80

    tensor spews:

    Workers aren’t exactly stuck on a project.

    Certainly not, and as you noted, a successful contractor has to juggle schedules well. My thoughts ran more to the engineering of the project, especially in Seattle, where soil quality, stability, drainage, etc. are such a huge issue. My point was that the booster had blithely talked about doing multiple large projects as if this might not cause problems. Given that the sport-palace project is, by definition, totally unnecessary, his claim that it would not impact other projects was just more hand-waving at reality.

  75. 81

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @77

    After all your ‘points’ are debunked all you’re left with is you don’t trust Hansen and repeating the ‘hand-waving’ crap as if it’s more valid the fourth time. Whatever.

    (BTW, nos. 6 ad 3, above, combine to give the team’s owners an incentive to build cheaply and vacate as soon as they can. Then we’ll have another Key Area on our hands. Civic pride!!1!)

    Once again you’re making stuff up and have no clue. 6 and 3 guarantee the team cannot leave town while they still owe a dime on the bond fund. They also guarantee that the Hanssen group will own the majority share of the building (remember, the city has the option force the sale their minority stake to Hansen on retirement of the bond.) So the team leaves. Chris Hansen owns a money draining, property tax paying arena not the city.

  76. 82

    Steve spews:

    “And you’re certain the next sports palace won’t have the same drawbacks?”

    I work with the big time architects and their acoustical consultants. If they intend for the arena to have great acoustics, it very likely will. The original Coliseum was never designed with great acoustics in mind and there were likely serious existing design issues that made it next to impossible to address that shortcoming during the renovation.

    That said, for some reason the 1968 Jimi Hendrix/Vanilla Fudge concert on the revolving stage sounded fucking incredible. The acoustics seemed to go back to sucking when Blind Faith played there in the summer of 1969. It might have been because of where the stages were set up.

  77. 83

    tensor spews:

    After all your ‘points’ are debunked…

    You have the same problem as Lee. Repeatedly saying something is true does not, in fact, make it true. It’s your claims which have repeatedly failed to hold up under scrutiny. “New” tax revenue from sale of team trinkets? Zero-sum; dollars redirected from other purchases. The same goes for the money paid for tickets. The same goes for the jobs created in construction of the sports palace. And, for all of the whining about jobs, there is no consideration given to the existing entertainment establishments, some of them local neighborhood places, who will lose business due to the city explicitly favoring some richer people.

    Meanwhile, other cities have reported no net gains from their sports palaces, so you assure us this one is different, much different. But wait– there are still many details to be worked out! And the entire miserable history, of all those cities INCLUDING SEATTLE getting left without sports teams even after spending all of that money — there’s a reason you complain bitterly every time all of that is mentioned, because you can’t simply wave your hands and make it go away, so you declare it to be irrelevant, and then attack the motives of the people who do actually recall their history.

    If they intend for the arena to have great acoustics, it very likely will.

    While you will always have tough egress requirements, the acoustical effect of meeting those requirements may be mitigated with advanced engineering. But this will drive up the cost of the project, and why spend money trying to turn a sports area into a concert hall?

    It might have been because of where the stages were set up.

    Nah, it would be better to spend $200M on another arena. That’s the only way to be sure. :-)

  78. 84

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @80

    Hoo-hoo. Right. There are no design firms anywhere to bid and engineer this project. Only local Seattle folks exist. There’s no more than one or two firms that EVER build a large scale complex in close proximity to water. The soil around Seattle is so very unique that only 2-3 people in the World with Architectural engineering expertise can pull it off.

    One last time. Suggesting that there might be a shortage of qualified labor shows a complete ignorance of, how did you put it, the most basic laws of economics.

    “Meanwhile, other cities have reported no net gains from their sports palaces, so you assure us this one is different, much different.”

    Yes, it is much much different. Have you failed to keep up. This sports palace doesn’t have the city have a vested interest in the operating profit. It’s a private capital facility. The only other’s like it are PacBell and Cowboys stadium. It is different, dulard.

  79. 85

    tensor spews:

    There are no design firms anywhere to bid and engineer this project.

    You have now resorted to beating straw men, and putting words in the mouths of your opponents. Why not just admit defeat explicitly, even if you can’t do it gracefully?

    Suggesting that there might be a shortage of qualified labor shows a complete ignorance of, how did you put it, the most basic laws of economics.

    When proposing to run major design and construction projects simultaneously, the risk of resource constraints impinging on the projects should be considered, even if it is small. Simply declaring that it won’t happen shows how unrealistic the boosters of this project are. And why accept that risk against needed infrastructure projects, when no one will ever need the sports palace?

    It’s a private capital facility.

    Then the team’s owner(s) should be happy to build it entirely with private capital. We have, shall we say, More Important Things to do as a city (if I may coin a phrase, ha ha).

  80. 86

    Czechsaaz spews:

    @85

    Are you actually Puddy in disguise?

    That wasn’t a straw man. That was outright mocking.

    Then build it entirely with private capital.

    It is, Q.E.D., You have a mental block on what the municipal funds for this arena represent. With the exception of San Francisco and Arlington, TX, when a city has put money into an arena it’s been a donation of the construction of the facility that the city then owns and hopes to rent to a team for 30-50 years. In this case, the fact that you can’t grasp it is stunning, the public financing is a loan with repayment terms and at the end the city has the option of being totally out of the arena business. At the end of the 20 year period, the capital in the arena will be 100% private.

    So tell me, do you have 100% of your retirement funds in an interest bearing checking account as 0 is the absolute maximum risk you tolerate? Yep, that’s open mocking too.

  81. 87

    spews:

    @71

    Luckily for your claim, evidence exists that the entire package may not be zero-sum. Unluckily for you, the number involved may be less than zero:

    That’s not what that report is saying. That report is talking about the overall economic impact of having sports franchises on various other businesses. You’re correct that some substitution effects occur, but that does not make it zero sum. If sports are zero sum, then how come we’ve had significant expansions of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL over the past 30 years, along with the introduction of various new sporting leagues (soccer, lacrosse, women’s basketball)? Why aren’t all these new options cannibalizing each other in all the other cities? Why do you think it’s going to start now?

    But the whole point of that report is dumb. Sports franchises do not have a primary function to make money for the city. They serve a different purpose. They do make money for private individuals and corporations and so long as they do that without putting the city at any economic risk, I have no bone to pick about that.

    One other thing that seems to be forgotten here is that this arena can be used for more than just sporting events. It can host concerts, conventions, etc. Maybe they’ll have the boat show there, or the home expo. The city will own the building and can have whatever public events it wants to host.

    You seem really hung up on this idea that Chris Hansen is fleecing everyone. I’ve seen little evidence that this is the case. And almost everything you’ve been presenting as evidence is just talking about things that have happened in previous cities with previous agreements. A lot of people have been doing that. Bruce Ramsey made a ten-star ass of himself on the local sports radio station earlier this year because he just assumed that this is the same as every other project and hadn’t read any of the relevant documentation. You’re doing the same. Stop digging.

  82. 88

    tensor spews:

    That was outright mocking.

    Your claim of abject ignorance carried such overwhelming credibility, no one “got” the “joke.” But I agree, pretty much all you have left is mocking the law of supply and demand, because otherwise we’ll ask why finite public resources should be dedicated to subsidizing private profits, and this thread shows just how pitiably ill-equipped you are to answer such questions.

    It is, Q.E.D., You have a mental block on what the municipal funds for this arena represent.

    You actually made the public subsidy very clear:

    No, a private citizen or investment group can’t get a loan for $200M at terms that are even close to what a municipality can offer.

    We can see why you finally gave up on citing facts, and went with failed attempts at humor instead; the latter discredit your claims only indirectly, whereas the facts do so directly.

    Your attempts at humor have other consequences, though. Watch:

    It is different, dulard. [sic]

    Few things are more amusing than watching someone stumble stupidly when making an attack on another’s intelligence. Thanks for the laughs, dullard; they were the only positive value you brought to this thread.

  83. 89

    tensor spews:

    That’s not what that report is saying. That report is talking about the overall economic impact of having sports franchises on various other businesses.

    The report specifically addressed the claim of sports teams bringing new revenues. That claim was revealed to be without foundation in reality:

    In other words, revenues generated inside the stadium may not be new revenues, even if they are dedicated specifically to paying for the new stadium.

    You’re correct that some substitution effects occur, but that does not make it zero sum.

    Assertions made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (I’ll keep repeating that until you stop repeating your unfounded claim.)

    If sports are zero sum, then how come we’ve had significant expansions of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL over the past 30 years, along with the introduction of various new sporting leagues (soccer, lacrosse, women’s basketball)?

    “Why have we gotten more of something we’ve repeatedly subsidized with public funds?” If you’re really unsure of the answer, I can try to help you some more. You’re welcome.

    (Furthermore, I’m old enough to remember professional soccer in the United States, circa 1980. It’s not a recent phenomenon.)

    Why aren’t all these new options cannibalizing each other in all the other cities?

    Maybe they are — and, despite the certain-sounding premise of your question, you haven’t actually cited any data showing that they are not — but the claim here holds sports-palaces get their revenues by cannibilizing money from other existing entertainment businesses. The economic data supports this claim.

    (But if these sports frachises are not so cannibilizing each other’s revenes, why do they keep moving to new cities?)

    But the whole point of that report is dumb. Sports franchises do not have a primary function to make money for the city.

    You can take that up with czechsaaz, who did claim there would be new revenues, and chided us opponents for ignoring this “fact”.

    They do make money for private individuals and corporations and so long as they do that without putting the city at any economic risk, I have no bone to pick about that.

    Why can’t the city get a cut of the profits? If there’s so much money to be made, why can’t the entity which took the risk share in the profit? Is that just too capitalistic?

    One other thing that seems to be forgotten here is that this arena can be used for more than just sporting events. It can host concerts, conventions, etc. Maybe they’ll have the boat show there, or the home expo. The city will own the building and can have whatever public events it wants to host.

    Huh? “[F]orgetten”? We covered this dozens of comments ago, in this very thread. I metioned the economic harm it would do to Key Arena:

    In other words, this public subsidy will be a net negative for Key Arena.

    You agreed, and added it would also make Seattle a bad neighbor:

    That’s certainly true, but it might also impact the Kent and Everett arenas even more. This is definitely one of the biggest drawbacks to the deal, especially since the Kent arena has failed to bring back expected revenues. This might make it harder for them to do so.

    Those other events you now mention also happen in the existing Stadium District, so this new sports palace will compete with them as well, further diluting our public investments there.

    You seem really hung up on this idea that Chris Hansen is fleecing everyone.

    I expect a successful professional gambler to behave like a successful gambler; I fully expect him to maximize the amount of money he can extract from any given deal, without concern for any consequences to anyone else. If he later decides he can get more money from simply walking out on his part of the deal, why would he not do so, thus leaving the city with yet another vacant basketball arena?

    I’ve seen little evidence that this is the case.

    Yes, Mayor McGinn sat down with a successful professional gambler, looked around the table, and didn’t see an obvious chump. That means the successful gambler didn’t see an obvious chump either, right Mr. Mayor? :-D

    A successful gambler is always on the lookout for signs of an easy mark. One such sign is the otherwise-intelligent fellow with little experience in gambling, who over-rates his cleverness. Such a person often sounds a bit like this:

    And almost everything you’ve been presenting as evidence is just talking about things that have happened in previous cities with previous agreements. A lot of people have been doing that.

    “Other cities made bad deals, but we’re smarter than they were!” That’s totally not the attitude of someone who can be easily fleeced by a professional gambler.

    (OUR OWN existing, vacant basketball arena just doesn’t count, because shut up, that’s why.)

    Bruce Ramsey made a ten-star ass of himself on the local sports radio station earlier this year because he just assumed that this is the same as every other project and hadn’t read any of the relevant documentation. You’re doing the same.

    Ha! That’s all you’ve got? “Stop referring to facts, data, economic studies, other cities’ history, or our own city’s history; if you do try to learn anything from history, I’ll call you names.” Priceless.

    (Please note that MikeBoyScout did refer to the lack of a provision covering lock-outs. The city gets NO revenue from basketball if Hansen or the league locks out the players, and neither Hansen nor the league owes the city any penalties for intentionally causing such a stoppage in revenue. Do I need explain the utility of such a tactic in enabling Hansen to abandon his part of the deal?)

    Stop digging.

    I agree. Your continued contra-factual pimping for a professional gambler is making you look sillier by the minute.

    P.S. Bonus history, courtesy of the NBA’s own web site:

    Rochester Royals 1948-57
    Cincinatti Royals 1957-72
    Kansas City-Omaha Kings 1972-75
    Kansas City [Screw Omaha] Kings 1975-85
    Sacramento Kings 1985-present

    Yeah, no reason to think they’d ever leave our town. Smell your civic pride, Omaha! :-D