This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Seattle Shouldn't Be an NBA Expansion Pawn

Stocks in this article: MSFT

In the absence of baseball stadium debt, some of that Safeco tax money has since been shifted toward funding the arts in Seattle. Without the Sonics at KeyArena, the main attractions at the neighboring Seattle Center -- beyond the Space Needle -- have been Paul Allen's EMP music museum and the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition hall that opened in 2012 and features the works of Tacoma glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.

Why that brief non sequitur, you ask? Because it shows what the city is capable of when it doesn't have the burden of a team's building hanging over its head. In two years, the Kingdome will be off the books and the city will have that off of its shoulders as well. Why allow the NBA to put your city in a situation where its only intention is to charge the highest price possible for something it already took away? Moreover, why funnel away more tax dollars from a city that already has the costs of waterfront development, transportation improvements and underestimated bridge repairs to deal with? (P.S. The 520 bridge toll is awful and the whispers about tolling I-90 are even worse.)

While writing about his time with the failed Seattle Pilots baseball club during their one season in 1969, Ball Four author Jim Bouton noted that the team's Sicks Stadium was an absolute mess and ill-suited to a team that had to deal with rain for much of its season. Still, he came away with the idea that the city's reluctance to just throw money at a building or franchise displayed a great sense of priorities:

"I enjoyed living in the Great Northwest for most of a season, and I'm sad that Seattle didn't get to keep its franchise. A city that seems to care more for its art museums than its ballpark can't be all bad."

It's one of the most-referenced quotes about Seattle sports and it remains true to this day. Seattle is a city teeming with culture and surrounded by natural wonders in all directions. It's a town where the Mariners being awful only lets everybody enjoy some rare sun, bike the Burke-Gilman trail, hike Mount Rainier and take ferries out to the islands or the Olympic Peninsula. It doesn't need professional sports, but when teams like the Seahawks and Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders treat it right it embraces them with equal fervor.

Seattle shouldn't have to beg for its Sonics back and definitely shouldn't have to steal them. If the city should have learned anything from the Kings debacle, it's that the NBA doesn't have its interests in mind. The league needs its playing chip more than Super Bowl champion Seattle needs it. It is still the largest television market without an NBA franchise and the only Top 20 Nielsen market without one. The league wants perfect, modern buildings that generate maximum revenue for owners while leaving a minimal return for host cities.

It's why the Sonics moved from the No. 13 market in the country to the 41st: Because the NBA wants its cut from towns it can walk all over. It wants to convince cities that a franchise makes them world class and elevates their profile. It wants cities that are going to bend over backwards for it and tell it that the NBA is the best thing that ever happened to them.

In Seattle, that's not even close. We know Sonics fans are still hurting and that every time Kevin Durant appears on SportsCenter or the Thunder are mentioned as NBA title contenders, it twists the knife a little bit. In an ideal world, that would be Seattle's Durant bringing Seattle a little bit of glory. But it isn't, and Seattle has a lot more going for it than an NBA franchise that didn't want it anymore.

It has its first title since the Sonics' NBA Championship in 1979, but it also has its identity, priorities and money. It shouldn't ever let the NBA deprive it of that in the name of leverage again.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

RELATED STORIES:

Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
3 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,356.87 +288.00 1.69%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs