Cities: February 2008 Archives

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.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Cities category from February 2008.

Cities: January 2008 is the previous archive.

Cities: March 2008 is the next archive.

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