There are some things money can’t buy

Hey, have I ever mentioned that Clay Bennett and the rest the Sonics’ Oklahoma City based owners are a bunch of fucking liars? I mean, really… look at the facts, and you’d have to be naive and/or an idiot (or the Seattle Times editorial board) to believe for a minute that Bennett ever had any intention of keeping the team in the region.

Generally, good faith negotiations require a little give and take, with both sides seeking a mutually acceptable middle ground, yet just weeks after 74-percent of Seattle voters approved I-91’s prohibition on the use of public subsidies for sports facilities — and with it, rejected $200 million of taxpayer money to re-renovate Key Arena — Bennett responded with his last, best offer: a half-billion dollar, publicly financed hoops palace in Renton. (Look in Roget’s under “haggling” and you’ll find the Renton proposal listed as an antonym.) When, as expected, the state Legislature failed to deliver a suitcase full of unmarked bills, billionaire Bennett sadly shook his head and announced that he just couldn’t afford to continue losing money at Key Arena, and thus had no other choice but to break the lease, and move the Sonics to Oklahoma City.

Damn. Oklahoma City’s Ford Center must be one fancy arena to economically justify moving the Sonics from Seattle to a market fully one-third its size. According to the Oklahoman:

Walk inside the Ford Center, however, and you’re greeted by cold concrete, completely wrapped around a dark and dull 100 level concourse.

There aren’t any swanky clubs and lounges that make up so many NBA arenas. The VIP area for the high rollers that sit courtside is set up in a hallway outside of the restrooms, not in a more typical private and posh locale.

The average fan is treated to subpar concessions and merchandising stands and few interactive games and entertainment options throughout the concourse.

Oklahoma City’s 5-year-old facility just isn’t fan friendly. Not when you compare it to the palaces found in our neighboring states, and certainly not when compared to many of the country’s other venues.

That’s why Oklahoma City Mayor Mike Cornett has proposed $100 million in taxpayer-funded upgrades to include such spectacular innovations as sit-down restaurants, larger locker rooms, a larger team store, improved bathrooms and “general visual upgrades to the 100 and 300 concourse levels’ floors, walls and ceilings.” Wow… sit-down restaurants and improved bathrooms. That should surely make up for the dramatic reduction in fan base and broadcast revenues that comes with moving from the nation’s 14th to 45th largest market.

Of course, this was never really about economics, was it? Oklahoma City has long had a nagging Basketball Jones, and Bennett et al are the hometown heroes who will finally deliver their fix:

An Oklahoma City energy tycoon says the group that purchased the Seattle SuperSonics hopes to move the NBA franchise to Oklahoma City, but he acknowledges the team could make more money in the Pacific Northwest.

“But we didn’t buy the team to keep it in Seattle; we hoped to come here,” Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, told The Journal Record for a story in Monday’s edition. “We know it’s a little more difficult financially here in Oklahoma City, but we think it’s great for the community and if we could break even, we’d be thrilled.”

Yeah, well, it’s a free market, and if Bennett would rather play in a “subpar” facility in a much smaller market, well, I suppose he’s free to take his ball club and go home. But when he and NBA Commissioner David Stern wag their fingers at Seattle and tell us it is somehow all our fault, that’s just adding insult to injury.


  1. 1


    So? What else is new? Does anyone cmplain when USC hire WA sate kids to play football orf when BiilyG bought the Codex daVinci and brought it to Seattle?

    How much lucre did we spend keeping the Beoing Professional Airplane Team here?

    Hell, I hear that ringside bball tickets go for $2000 now. Maybe in OK city they wilol raise that to a cool 5 grand and through in a free escort service!

    The trick here is to understand that prosports are a civic service like sweres, zoos, and recycling stations. The city of Seattle has an obligation to provide all of us eith bread and games, even those rich enough to pay a few grand for a hard seat,

    Hmm. Maybe we could get Mr. Reichert to add a Sonics Stadium to next year’s pork? Where would Darcy stand on that?

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    $100 million to renovate that dump? Shit, you could drill 20 oil wells for that kind of money.

  3. 3

    Brenda Helverson spews:

    After Mr. Jug Ears moves the Sonics and goes back to his regular madre-chingaing, I look for the Trailblazers to either move to Seattle or start playing some of their games here.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Is North Dakota Another Saudi Arabia?

    Could be. A story in today’s fishwrapper raises that intriguing possibility:

    “Rush is on for big oil in small North Dakota town

    “The New York Times

    “STANLEY, N.D. — … Oil companies, saying they’ve located what may prove to be one of the largest recent oil finds in the United States, have begun drilling all through these parts … the oil industry in the state expects to need 12,000 new workers by 2010 ….

    “For the moment, North Dakota, where oil was first found in 1951, is only a tiny piece — about 2 percent — in the nation’s domestic oil production …. About 129,000 barrels daily come from North Dakota … but the numbers are growing.

    “The oil is being drawn from a formation … identified more than 50 years ago, but no one figured out how to tap into it successfully until recently. In 2001, new exploration into the Montana side of the Bakken — an Oreo cookielike structure of shale, a layer of tan sandstone and siltstone, then shale again — began netting crude oil, thanks … to new extraction technology … with rising oil prices, … the boom took off in 2007. …

    “‘The size of the target is what’s got everybody excited,’ said Lynn Helms, the director of the North Dakota Industrial Commission’s oil-and-gas division …. No one is certain how much oil the Bakken will produce. However, Steven Grape, of the federal Energy Information Administration, said … the Montana side already … was producing more crude oil than other onshore fields in the lower 48 states.

    ” … [M]any scientists suspect that the Bakken may contain 200 billion barrels of oil … in doubt, though, is how much trapped oil can be recovered.”

    Quoted under fair use; for complete story and/or copyright info see http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.....oom01.html

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Actually, 200 billion barrels is a conservative estimate; other estimates put the Bakken’s potential at 2 1/2 times that. The problem is the dense rock limits recovery to only 1% or 2% of total reserves using conventional extraction methods (30% to 50% is more typical) — but even at that low level of recovery, the Bakken appears to be several times bigger than ANWR in terms of recoverable oil. However, horizontal drilling and CO2 injection could boost recovery considerably higher. And, what’s more, Bakken oil is among the highest quality oil in the world.

    In short, this long-known but ignored oil reservoir — located right here in the U.S. — appears to hold more oil than Ghawar, the biggest oilfield in the world and the centerpiece of Saudi Arabia’s gargantuan oil reserves. That would make Bakken the world’s largest oilfield. And since today’s production from Bakken is miniscule, this field could dramatically boost domestic and world production.

    Is that a bad thing — a huge addition to global and U.S. oil reserves, breathing more life into the fossil fuel age? Yes, if it prolongs today’s pollution and global warming problems. But technology could change that be finding cleaner ways to use hydrocarbons — for example, by converting them into hydrogen fuels.

    Likewise, although today’s manifestation of the automobile has a lot of bad attributes, cars are not inherently bad; and it’s conceivable their bad features — pollution, accidents, the land they consume for freeways and roads — could be engineered away or mitigated through technological improvement. Driverless computer-guided cars, for example, could be packed into existing roadways in much greater density than present-day traffic, eliminating or reducing the need for more right-of-way in the future. And there’s no freaking way that a clumsy technology like light rail can be more flexible, efficient, or cost-effective as cars — a light rail line is highly linear in nature as it’s useful only to people who live within a fairly narrow band of territory along the right-of-way (and is not useful at all if adequate parking facilities for riders are not planned and built at the outlying stations).

    Whether we like it or not, the U.S. and world economies are still dependent on petroleum, and will remain so for years or decades to come. One of the ugly downsides of the current affection for biofuels is that it puts driving in competition with food … and we are already beginning to suffer from painful food inflation which is only bound to get worst as more of our basic foodstuffs are liquefied and poured into gas tanks. In this respect, the development of a huge new oilfield might be beneficial to retired rodents living on fixed pensions that don’t go up with inflation. It would also help reduce imports, strengthen the dollar, and make our economy less dependent on vulnerable foreign oil sources — and reduce the need to sacrifice the lives of working class children to steal other countries’ oil.

  5. 6

    Clay Bennett Is A Piece Of Shit spews:

    Clay Bennett’s business partner was a big contributor to the Swift Boat Liars.

    A few of his hired hands came by my business around November 1 asking for business support (ticket sales) for the Sonics, and I told ‘em to get out and I will never go to another Sonics game until he’s gone.

    And if they go with him, too bad.

  6. 7

    Mark The Redneck-Goldstein spews:

    I’m not a basketball fan. DGAF. Never have.

    I don’t give a fuck if the Sonics stay or go. The only thing I care about is that they NOT stick their greedy fucking hands in to my wallet to build another useless fucking stadium. I’m still pissed off that the the second richest man in the world gets money out of me every time I buy a sandwich in the company cafeteria.

    And I still think the baseball stadium should be named after Tim Eyman, since that was the straw that broke the camels back and finally woke everybody up to get the greedy assholes in King County and SOW out of our fucking wallets. $9,000,000,000 and counting.

  7. 8

    Jack Flanders spews:

    Let the Sonics go. Get a NHL hockey team instead, it’s less pretentious and they players aren’t the whining premadonas like in the NBA. We still have college and high school basketball…the only interesting basketball anyway. I mean we’re the furthest north ‘big’ city in the United States and we don’t have a hockey team…who does? St. Louis, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix…all cities with 100 degree summer averages. What the &*@#.

  8. 9

    The Guy With No Car spews:

    Bringing in the NHL sounds great. I’d love to see it. Unfortunately, it would still require a Key Arena remodel or a new arena altogether, because Barry Ackerley deliberately engineered the Key Arena remodel so that it doesn’t come up to NHL standards. I’m not sure what about it doesn’t meet the NHL’s standards, but I remember reading this some time ago when I too was wondering why we didn’t have an NHL team. He didn’t want competition with the Sonics for those winter sports dollars.

    I have no idea what a retrofit would cost. On the other hand, I wonder if the Tacoma Dome would meet spec . . .

  9. 10

    ArtFart spews:

    4 “Driverless, computer-guided cars”???? Are you kidding? We can’t even set up computers to keep the lights on in the downtown tunnel, or run a five-minute fireworks display, much less keep a bunch of hurtling contraptions with human beings inside from crashing into each other.

  10. 11

    My Goldy Itches spews:

    I don’t blame OK City for remodeling their arena. It shows they will do what it takes to get a new NBA team. The bashing and ridicule should be reserved for Seattle and the WA Legislature, who have failed to come up with a plan for a new arena. I’m no fan of Clay Bennett, but he’s just going where the best deal is. He’s a business man. Clearly Seattle doesn’t give a shit about their NBA team, as is evidenced by their inaction on an arena. Seattle and WA state have nobody to blame but themselves for the Sonics leaving.

  11. 12

    rhp6033 spews:

    MGI at 11 said: “The bashing and ridicule should be reserved for Seattle and the WA Legislature, who have failed to come up with a plan for a new arena.”

    Why should they even try? Only an idiot would believe there would be any payoff for the money/effort invested in such a venture. The ONLY way the Sonics would stay here would be for the State/County/City to shower hundreds of millions of guaranteed revenue to Bennett, until he quits murmering “I don’t feel the love yet…”. Even if they agreed to his every demand, he would have a deal in place where just a few years from now he would have new demands, and a stronger bargaining position because he would write the contract down to the smallest terms.

    I think the City and State did the right thing. When Bennett is ready to talk about a long-term future partnership with the City, where both contribute, then they can talk. Until then, don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split ‘ya.

    Oh, and comparisons of pro sports with operas and zoos doesn’t wash. Those are almost always operated either by the government or as a private non-profit corporation. The NBA rules prevent ownership of a team by either.