Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sonics Redux

The Sonics are setting up the town and the legislature for a $225 million renovation to Key Arena, to be paid for by the grunt taxpayers. It would be one thing if this were for the benefit of the average fan, but the average fan can't even afford parking, much less a ticket.

No, this whole thing for the benefit of high-rollers. The owners are high rollers, the players are high rollers, the improvements are for suites for guys who averaged $100,000 in tax breaks from George W -- that's a high roller (and they don't pay anyway, they charge it off to the company which deducts it from taxable income).

But we have to do it, Ollie, so they can buy the best players and coaches. There's competition from the Seahawks and Mariners who have this fancy stuff and now the guys with dough want it at the Arena. The Sonics might run off to ... ah ... Kansas City. Besides, you want us to win the championship, don't you? Our Sonics.

Right. Mr. Sonic is coaching the Portland team because they gave him a $27 million contract. If not for a salary scheme that encourages it, a lot of these multimillionaire players wouldn't be here either.

It happens year after year. Here or somewhere else. Pay up or we'll leave. These national sports leagues extort new facilities for the benefit of their players and owners. They may have psychological needs that make them thrive on the competition of the game, but they never really lose. The only real losers are the cities and their taxpayers. The race for the championship is a one-up game, a race to the top for the team, but a race to the bottom for the city.

The Sonics say they are losing money, but if they sold the franchise today, they would recoup every penny they've spent and pocket a bundle besides. I went over it in a post last year.

It's time for a National Basketball Cities Group, a cartel of cities so they can talk on the same level to the NBA owners and the NBA Players Association. Competition on the court is fine, but competition between cities on who can give away the most money? No. The group could set a standard for the support they're going to give these teams. If the teams didn't like the standard, let them build their own arena. What a concept. If they moved, that city could offer the arena to a team in the other league for free.

You've got it all wrong, chile. There is no other league. The other league is the CBA. Guys there don't make but one percent of what they make in the NBA.

No other league? Man, that looks like an opportunity to me.

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