"no net economic loss"

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A major league sports team doesn't add squat to a city's economy.

That's not something uttered by an opponent of Oklahoma City's proposed one-cent sales tax, which would raise $110 million for upgrades to the very new Ford Center and pay for other facilities to lure an NBA team to the city.

That's from the owners of the team they hope to lure to OKC. Seattle SuperSonics owners asserted their team's economic uselessness in a recent court brief, as reported in the January 18, 2008, Seattle Times:

The team made the argument in papers filed in U.S. District Court this week, seeking mediation or a speedy trial to allow the team to abandon city-owned KeyArena before 2010. In the documents, Sonics' attorneys dispute the city's contention that the team's departure would have a broad and hard-to-quantify impact.

"The financial issue is simple, and the city's analysts agree, there will be no net economic loss if the Sonics leave Seattle. Entertainment dollars not spent on the Sonics will be spent on Seattle's many other sports and entertainment options. Seattleites will not reduce their entertainment budget simply because the Sonics leave," the Sonics said in the court brief.

The Sonics also said they would produce a survey showing that 66 percent of Seattleites say the team's exit would make "no difference" in their lives, while only 12 percent said they'd be "much worse off."

Those sentiments belie what Sonics' boosters -- and sports teams in general -- have argued when asking for taxpayer help to build a new arena. Teams and their supporters generally portray professional sports as a boon, bringing a city millions in revenue, hundreds of jobs and immeasurable civic pride.

I wonder if Messrs. McClendon and Bennett intend to make this a part of their case to Oklahoma City's voters in the upcoming MAPS for Millionaires vote on March 4.

Via Field of Schemes, a blog about sports facility extortion, which I've now added to the BatesLine blogroll headlines page.

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3 Comments

Bob said:

Do the promises of politicians pimping for the plutocrat sports team owners have any credibility?

Asking voters to spend $120 million to remodel a FIVE YEAR old Arena is simply preposterous.

The ill-will of Mr. Bennett and his Seattle SuperSonics team owners have burned all his bridges in that town, and he MUST find another home for his sports franchise. They are DEAD in Seattle, and the matter of the lease payments to the city are in litigation.

Hardly a happy harbinger of things to come in Oklahoma City.

If the Oklahoma City leaders weren't shameless pimps, they could hold Mr. Bennett over a slow-roasting spit, extracting concessions from HIM, until he's done.

Then, stick a fork in him.

Oh, and did anyone in the media bother to ask the politician pimps why Oklahoma City taxpayers were being forced to pay for ANOTHER election a mere 30 days after a state-wide presidential primary??

Bob said:

Across the U.S. sports team owners, millionaires-all, have learned how to pull the levers of power and stroke mass-hysteria to extract Billions in taxpayer dollars for new stadiums and sports arenas.

It is corporate welfare for millionaires. Period.

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

this is more than a little silly. do the owners think that people in oklahoma live in such a narrow world (not refering to the local paper here) that we would not be able to find their comments. what could the owners possibly think OKC's reaction would be? this should be a public relations nightmare for supersonics.

what if the voters turn down the arena enhancements in OKC? will the Sonics play in the relatively dumpy old Ford Center? do they have a choice? call the owner's bluff. turn down the public money and dare them to fnd another home.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on February 18, 2008 6:08 PM.

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