Seattle has been without an NBA team for five seasons. The SuperSonics (or Sonics to the locals) represented Seattle from 1967 until 2008. Now, the team resides in Oklahoma City as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Seattle is not left out of the professional sports world though, as they have the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders to keep the sports fans at rest. So we thought.
The Seattle faithful have been pining for a sports team to return to the heart of Washington, and now finally may get their wish.
A group of investors recently came forward with their intent to build a new arena to revive the SuperSonics’ spirit. The Seattle Times reported that the King County Council voted unanimously in favor on Oct. 5, 2012. This group of investors is led by venture capitalist Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. They would acquire such a team with the sale of the Sacramento Kings, which we all know have not been prospering as an athletic entity.
It was reported on Jan. 11 that the Sacramento Kings had in fact been sold for $525 million to the Seattle group. Whether that was premature or not, this agreement is only advancing forward… and fast. The approval lies in the hands of the NBA owners. The NBA Board of Governors’ decision will decide Seattle’s fate as a basketball city once again.
The $525 million deal would be a new NBA record of team sale price. The previous record $450 million that the Golden State Warriors sold for in 2010.
Sacramento mayor and former NBA All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson is hesitant in letting this team go so easily. Fox reported, “Sacramento has proven that it is a strong NBA market with a fan base that year in and year out has demonstrated a commitment to the Kings by selling out 19 of 27 seasons in a top-20 market and owning two of the longest sellout streaks in NBA history,” Johnson said.
Even with the struggling franchise record, fans and players alike don’t want to give up on their loyalty.
What’s worse, though? Seattle fans cried baloney when their team went to OKC in the first place, now they are taking someone else’s team? It’s going to be a nail-biter when the Thunder travel to Seattle to play the SuperSonics. And I don’t mean on the scoreboard. In an informal online survey, 57 percent of more than 11,4000 respondents of the Seattle Times said they would “feel Sacramento’s pain” if the Kings were brought to Seattle.
Emotions and fandom aside, the layout of the arena may be the sweetest deal out on the table. Next to the Mariners baseball stadium and the Seahawks and Sounders football and soccer facility would be a new $490-million basketball and hockey arena. This would elitely be the biggest sports and entertainment complex in the U.S. Looks like Seattle is helping Seattlites to not feel Sacramento’s pain any longer.
Brian Robinson, an investor in the Save Our Sonics campaign, told the LA Times, “The one thing we really understand is that there’s nothing we can say that’s the right thing to say to Sacramento,” Robinson said. “There’s nothing that can make it better. I think it’s important that Seattle fans just stay away and allow people in Sacramento to process this, and maybe there’ll be a day when we can come together and have that conversation. But it’s not now.”