I don’t care and have never cared about the Supersonics. I do not want to have to pay them more money out of my damned pocket so that their 17 fans in Seattle can continue to watch them.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, in 2006 a group of businessmen from Oklahoma City purchased the Sonics and began trying to move them to Oklahoma. I say take ’em. But you can’t get out of your taxpayer subsidized lease until the year 2010. Seattle taxpayers spent millions helping to build KeyArena in order to keep the Sonics originally and now the owners are trying to bail out of their lease. I think they should be allowed to move, but they still owe the City of Seattle the millions of dollars left on their lease.
A partner of the new owners publicly stated that finances may not be the prime consideration in moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City, stating that the team would probably perform better financially in Seattle. He was fined a quarter of a million dollars for his statements by the NBA.
Shortly thereafter, Bennett (new owner of the Seattle SuperSonics) applied for arbitration on whether the Sonics can break their lease prior to 2010. The city of Seattle filed for declaratory relief in King County Superior court requesting the judge enforce the Specific Performance Clause demanding that the Seattle SuperSonics continue to play in KeyArena till the end of their lease. The City of Seattle won the case with US District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez saying that “the attemp to sidestep Article 2 … is as errant as a typical Shaquille O’Neal free throw” lol.
The city of Seattle has been losing money on the Sonics for decades and AFTER they have fulfilled their lease, I will be happy to see them go. I don’t think that taxpayers should continue to be forced to pay for goods they don’t want. Washington taxpayers rejected the ballot initiatives that ended up building the new stadiums for the Mariners and the Seahawks and after officials circumvented the will of the people, passed further laws restricting public funding for building new arenas. I hope that state officials are finally figuring out that us Washingtonians DON’T WANT TO PAY FOR THIS CRAP!
If the sports teams were self-sustaining and could pay for their own stadiums, that would be great, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
Do you know who benefits in the end from having sports teams in a city? It’s not kids. It’s not Everyday Joe. It’s corporations that pay for blocks of season tickets at a discount while most tickets are out of the price range for most citizens. I have lots of friends who work for big local companies and go to these games for free and don’t even really care that much about the teams. The blue collar man gets left out in the cold and can’t afford to pay the ridiculous prices that are charged the general public. That’s fine if taxpayers aren’t forced to subsidize it, but most middle class taxpayers can’t get any benefits. The same situation applies to state subsidized arts that only the elites can afford to attend, such as operas at Benaroya Hall and the other Seattle theatres. I make pretty good money and it’s out of my budget range to attend these things, which means that most families can’t even think about going. This is why I am such a supporter of small government; when governments get too large they become unresponsive, elitist and give unfair backdoor benefits to friends. For all the talk we have in America about “progressive taxation”, what ends up happening is the most regressive state of affairs: Sleazeball politicians and their weasely friends end up helping themselves liberally to the public coffers and the people they loudly publicly proclaim to care for get screwed.