Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What will Seattle do with Key Arena when a new arena is built?

What will Seattle do with Key Arena when a new arena is built? In order for a new arena to function it will have to be located near or in Seattle. It is unlikely that the City of Seattle will directly participate in creating a better arena to Key Arena.

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


Peter said...

Now that detlef commented on it, i am more optimistic that brock knew what he was talking about. It`s definitly good news that two people now have talked about these efforts being underway.brock may have been overinflating what was actually going on, but i am hopeful now because there is so much info going around. Somethings likely to turn out. They didn`t mention user fees as a potential funding source in the article. Are they assuming that this arena will be private? We defintely need dow to step up and do what he said he would do, and i hope he makes the right desicion to help these groups with their effort.

Peter said...

regarding you saying politicians won't acting until they are
"forced to do so" on SC, what type of event could force them to act on the arena issue? i mean, the teams already gone, and i don't see expansion anytime soon. i guess if these groups get an agreement to purchase NBA and NHL teams it could force the county's hand a little, but what about the state? the state wouldn't act before. what could force them to act?

Mr Baker said...

I was primarily referring to the city. Nothing was tried with Key Arena in any serious way until the team was nearly gone. Same with a new arena.
The threat to leave and motivation to keep them here is gone.

The city will do nothing with Key Arena unless they are given a team and a pile of cash, or there is a new arena plan presented. By that time it will be too late. They have to be forced because they are not acting on positive motivation. The are not working toward longer term benefit.

The county has nothing to lose, and everything to gain in facilitating a project like this.
They are not going to give up public money they do not have, but they will work to find a way for a private effort to happen.

Peter said...

is this arena shaping up to be 100% private effort, or are user fees/athlete taxes still likely? i would prefer that the resulting arena is owned by the PFD because the PFD could write an strict, enforceable lease. if the arena is privately owned, can't the team leave at any time?

Mr Baker said...

I do not know how this gets funded yet.

A lease would have more to do with a team being able to leave than who owns the building.

Peter said...

It may be too late for the city to save keyarena after plans for an new arena are unveiled, but if the county has a request for user fees and to form an pfd, what is the liklihood the city of seattle would try to stop it?

Peter said...

The city may not want to impose user fees because they fear the death of keyarena, but could the county impose the user fees thru the PFD w/ state approval instead of the city so the arena could be built in seattle? How much power does the city have w/ the state? Fearing the death of keyarena, the could the city stop an request for user fees in the legislature from being approved?

JAS said...

Should I find it curious that that article had both Detlef and Brock talk about the “ongoing effort” to get the NBA and NHL but didn’t mention Nicastro?

Mr Baker said...

Peter, the city could make it harder, but they get more revenue allowing the facility to be built in Seattle rather than outside of Seattle. Either way it kills Key Arena.

JAS, I think that is just the writer putting something in or leaving it out.
Of the three, Nicastro has more value to the effort, but less interest to newspaper reading sports fans.

In about a week the pfd for the Convention Center becomes law, they have one year to name a new board and form the PFD. While governments cut back, and private groups run in place wondering when the right time to act is, a quasi-public entity with government powers, and a significant revenue stream will plow through.
Forming a PFD is one of the few viable entities that can make a project of this size happen.
IMO, they are going to struggle to get the county to pay attention right now.
I still think partnering with the Convention Center would be a good idea. I understand why people would rather have their own PFD, the relationships are always different.
I get it, it is a choice.
I am just glad that enough people saw using a PFD as a viable option, even if it is to form their own.

Mr Baker said...

To be accurate, the convention center pfd becomes law on 7/13/2010.

Dow Constantine wants to move on that thing while construction costs are low, that was his statement when that bill was signed. The reality is that hotel taxes are down a little and that will slow that thing down a little. Regardless, the city, county, and state have to go through the motions of getting together to build something, and put a board in place within a year. It is looked at as the basis for a broader discussion on what we should be doing with all of these facilities, mostly owned by the public.
That activity can only help this other arena pfd form with the least amount of intergovernmemtal fighting.

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