Drawing 15,000 people that can afford a NBA ticket on a regular basis, 41 nights a year, is simply not ever going to happen again, no matter how much private money Steve Ballmer offered to improve a public building.
This does not mean the a new arena could not be located within Seattle on somebody else's property, in another location than Seattle Center.
What was lost in the fight where two conflicting parties were both right, the NBA has a broken business model, and Key Arena is not economically viable, was that the fans got screwed and the building remains obsolete. Congrats.
The NBA model is not viable, they know it, they intend to fix that next summer. Still, a new arena would need a NHL partner to fill up more of those night where the new arena is nit taking the high value concerts and shows from Key Arena. Key Arena's floor is not big enough for the NHL, with the cost of a remodel pushing that kind of project into just building a new arena. And that is where this is at.
The market will support the NBA, NHL, and they would support a new arena. Sooner or later, I expect it.
It looks like the NBA is a ways off from returning but Seattle should know that there is a market for it and the NHL, and that a new arena is a "given".
These things do take time, and politicians will not act until the forced to do so, but the end is near for Key Arena's ice cold hopes of a remodel.
For Sonic fans the golf course comments from former player Detlef Schrempf should give you some hope, and a sense of where the process is it.
Without mentioning names, Schrempf said Monday that there are people working to develop an ownership group and structure, raising money and discussing where to build an arena. He does not see that happening quickly, though.
“I think it’s still in its early stages,” Schrempf said. “Everyone hopes something will happen.”
He said there are several challenges to bring a team back to the Puget Sound region. In addition to paying the NBA a relocation fee — it cost Clay Bennett $30 million to move the Sonics — the new owner might have to build an arena. Sales taxes in King County helped build both Safeco Field and Qwest Field, but Legislature repeatedly balked at doing the same to upgrade KeyArena, which was renovated in 1995, or build a new arena.
Bennett said KeyArena was no longer was a viable facility for the NBA. Schrempf agrees.
“When we were there, it was always sold out and was fantastic,” said Schrempf, who averaged 16.6 points a game in six seasons for the Sonics after being acquired from Indiana in a 1993 trade. “But it’s an outdated arena and it won’t work for basketball anymore. If there’s a new team that eventually comes, they will have to build a new facility. That’s a given.”
Read the rest here, there is a nice shout out to the Sonicsgate docudrama folks. Schrempf discusses NBA's future in Seattle