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Old 07-20-06, 04:25 AM
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City Wonders What to Do With KeyArena if Sonics, Storm Leave

City Wonders What to Do With KeyArena if Sonics, Storm Leave

By TIM BOOTH, Associated Press
July 20, 2006

SEATTLE

If the Seattle SuperSonics and Storm leave the Emerald City following their sale to Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett, their home court could become a giant video arcade.


That’s one idea pitched by Seattle City Council President Nick Licata for the future of KeyArena.

No, really, he’s serious.

"It would be an opportunity for a real public-private partnership of a different sort than, say, professional sports," Licata said. "We could convert KeyArena to a new type of facility that would reflect new 21st century technology."

"In Las Vegas, 15,000 show up for a national gaming conference. Why not have those people come to Seattle?"

Licata’s idea may seem far-fetched, but finding a viable financial solution for KeyArena and providing upgrades to the surrounding Seattle Center is a significant issue for local officials. The Seattle Center was the site for Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair.

David Heurtel, Seattle Center’s director of marketing and business development, cautioned against moving forward with any specific plans. He’s operating under the belief the Sonics will be playing in KeyArena through the 2010 expiration of the team’s lease.

If the Sonics were to leave early, they would have to pay off the remainder of the lease and the city would most likely seek damages. Bennett said Tuesday his group would spend the next year trying to negotiate with local and state officials for a new arena or upgrades to KeyArena.

One hurdle to non-sports uses is the arena’s other main tenant, the Seattle Thunderbirds, vacates as well.

The Thunderbirds, a junior hockey franchise in the Western Hockey League, are in preliminary discussions with the southeast Seattle suburb of Kent about becoming the main tenant in a proposed 6,500-seat, $35 million arena, Thunderbirds general manager Russ Farrell said.

Top Sonics

The men who agreed to purchase the Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA Storm for $350 million represent a cross section of top Oklahoma City businesses.

Clay Bennett, who announced the purchase at a news conference in Seattle on Tuesday, is the leader of Professional Basketball Club LLC, the group buying the teams.

Bennett, chairman of the Dorchester Capital investment firm, is married to the former Louise Gaylord, whose family owns The Oklahoman newspaper. He served on the NBA Board of Governors from 1992 to 1997, when the Oklahoma Publishing Company owned a share of the San Antonio Spurs.

Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward, two other members of the group buying the Sonics, are associated with the oil and natural gas industry, which has been booming throughout the region with the increase in fossil fuel prices over the last few years. The two men founded Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. in 1989. Chesapeake has grown to become the second largest independent producer of natural gas in the United States.

Ward stepped down as president of Chesapeake in February and less than three months later agreed to buy a 46 percent stake in Texas-based Riata Energy Inc., which has announced it will relocate its headquarters to Oklahoma City.

Also a part of the group buying the teams, is G. Jeffrey Records, chief executive officer and chairman of the board for MidFirst Bank, which has grown to become Oklahoma City’s largest bank, and G. Edward Evans, former president and chief operating officer of Oklahoma City-based Dobson Communications, a major wireless services provider.

Associated Press
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Old 07-20-06, 05:12 AM
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SHUT IT DOWN!
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Old 07-20-06, 11:57 AM
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Make it a shrine or museum and show continuous footage of Ray Allan crying and complaining about every refs call that does not go his way. See him cry, call the commissioner complaining, hell, he should be playing for Dallas or be Cuban's GM.

They can also hold the San Antonio Rodeo there and give the Spurs a break....

Last edited by easy7; 07-20-06 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 07-20-06, 12:25 PM
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World's largest "Seattle's Best Coffee" store.
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Old 07-20-06, 12:58 PM
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Museum of Grunge Rock
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Old 07-20-06, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnwhuxley


SHUT IT DOWN!
HAH wow, pulled from the graveyard.
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Old 07-20-06, 02:51 PM
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Joel Olsteen might buy it a build a second uber-church.
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Old 07-20-06, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickV
Museum of Grunge Rock
Seattle already has one of those.
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Old 07-20-06, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAsucksForever
World's largest "Seattle's Best Coffee" store.
In Starbucks land?
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Old 07-20-06, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAsucksForever
Seattle already has one of those.
Yes, it's what I call the 'Booger Building'

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Old 07-20-06, 11:53 PM
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i think a big organic market would do well
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Old 07-21-06, 12:03 AM
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Much like the AlamoDome...a convention center.
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Old 07-22-06, 01:13 AM
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Once the NBA makes the Hornets go back to New Orleans -- the Sonics will move to Oklahoma City.
No more back-to-back in Portland and Seattle.
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Old 07-22-06, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dknights411
In Starbucks land?
Remember, the chairman of Starbucks is selling the Sonics because he hates the Key Arena.
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