This is all about money, as it always is with the M’s. The M’s know that this area can not support two more pro sports franchises and also support the M’s, Seahawks, Sounders and Huskies. There is not enough advertising money, luxury suite money, club seat money and season ticket money for six major teams in this area to all be successful.
Bringing both NBA and NHL teams to this area is just flat-out stupid. Of course, Lincoln can not say that, so he says he is just concerned about traffic and parking. But that is just a red herring. The M’s just don’t want two more major pro sports teams taking sales of luxury suites, club seats, in-stadium advertising and season tickets away from the Mariners.
Two more pro sports teams in Seattle would be two too many.
As much as I am not a fan of Howard Lincoln, I have to wonder if there isn’t a better place to put the arena. The Seattle Center needs new life. Memorial Stadium is crumbling, the Fun Forest is no longer fun and the Coliseum is out of date. Perhaps a new arena would infuse new life into the area.
Howard Lincoln simply does not work. This is a limited, short-sighted yes man for Japanese ownership. He does not recognize the public concessions the Mariners received to get their franchise or Safeco. A new Sodo arena for NBA and NHL franchises would generate fresh sports interest for the Mariners and other Seattle teams. Mariners owners keep seeing their franchise value escalate while they keep cutting team payroll. Let us hope someone local will buy them out
and give Seattle a chance for winning baseball in the years ahead.
I’m not sure which is more insulting – the fact that the M’s are opposed to the arena in the first place, or that they think that fans would actually buy into their reasoning! The only traffic issue that appears to have any merit at all is the truck route from the port to the railroad tracks. Other than that, game-time congestion – including the major route to the arena – would be no different than it currently is to Safeco and the CLink.
So let’s throw that red herring out and consider the more plausible reason behind their objection (which everyone already seems to know) – the argument that the area cannot support another (or two more) sports franchises. This is also BS. In fact, the M’s enjoyed their best attendance numbers while the Sonics were still in town. Depending on where you look, Seattle is the 12th to 14th largest sports market in the country. There is plenty of dough in this town to go around. Furthermore, the sub-demographic between MLB and NBA (and again NHL) varies quite a bit. So that argument doesn’t hold water either.
…Hmmm, no, there’s something much bigger the M’s must be worried about… What could it be?? Well, if it were to go through, an arena project would be completed in about 2 to 3 years. Not sure when Seattle would get an NBA or NHL team in that time, but let’s say they come in at or about the time the construction is done – say 2015. That’s about the same time the M’s will be opting out of their TV contract and negotiating a new one.
So, it’s not that the M’s don’t want an arena next door. What they really don’t want is another team at the negotiating table come 2015. That TV money is a pot of gold waiting for them at the end of a very long and dull rainbow – a pot that might otherwise be split.
Can we trade the Mariners to OKC for the Sonics? One team is likely to win a title, the other is, let’s put this graciously, not. What amazes me is their willingness to tick off what remaining fans they have. I wonder what bobblehead they’re going to create to try and gloss over this one?
Maybe after seeing themselves being outdrawn by an expansion soccer team, they’ve realized this would make them about the sixth hottest ticket in town, and blocking this is easier than fielding a winning team, something they obviously don’t know how to do.
Unless I’m mistaken, when it comes to 3 major sports
venues within walking distance from each other, Philadelphia and
Cincinnati are two cities already in situations similar to what might
happen in Seattle’s SODO district in a few years. In addition, Seattle
could be the only market in which the franchises of 5 professional
leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, MLS,
NBA) play within a small geographic area.
As far as the letter by the Mariners Chairman and CEO, I understand their concerns but I’m somewhat puzzled since the only times there are conflicts would be when one team is ending their season and in the playoffs and the other team is starting their season. I think the letter is more about protecting the team’s investment. Just like anything else involving sports franchises, it’s a business and has nothing to do with fans.
As a current NW resident and a former Long Island, NY during the NY Islanders’ 4-year Stanley Cup reign, I’m intrigued about the possibility of a new arena built in SODO. At the same time, I suspect that if history is a guide to what has happened in this region since 1969, when it comes to sports franchises and venues, change is the only constant. This arena proposal will be interesting to see played out.
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