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Seattle Arena: What's to lose?

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I'm currently embroiled in a little Twitter discussion with an acquaintance who is at the pro-Seattle Arena rally, and — as is his right — he doesn't see the benefits of the deal Chris Hansen and his team of investors have put on the table in an effort to bring back the NBA, add the NHL and coax bigger stadium tours to Seattle. I, on the other hand, want this deal to happen because, 1. I MISS THE SONICS; 2. I WANT TO HAVE A ROOTING INTEREST IN THE NHL; and 3. A nice, shiny new arena with two permanent tenants is an asset for any city, especially one with Seattle's size, fan base and likely expendable money for entertainment purposes (it is the home of Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon after all). And Seattle has proven with the Sounders (who, as you may or may not know, play in a soccer league that pales in comparison to the world's best) that it will embrace a team given the chance.

Now, I don't know a ton of details about the deal and previous votes and such, but here's what I do know.

  • Seattle (and Washington) wants this to happen. The 5,000 people rallying in Occidental Park as we speak are proof.

  • The argument that Key Arena is perfectly fine is, while true in the sense that yes, it is a building that can fit a basketball court or hockey ice and thousands of fans, is false. The NBA has drawn the line. It's new stadium or no new Sonics. So that's no longer an argument. It's a fun way to trump the discussion, but no, it's literally not true because we're dealing with David Stern, who, it has been established on numerous occasions, is basically a mafia head in charge of the NBA. Sad as that may be, we must play his game to get our Sonics back. And I'll do that, and so will thousands if not millions of others in the state of Washington. (Also, the "We already have two new stadiums" argument is invalid too because, tough as this may be to understand, you can't play basketball and hockey outdoors. Yes, people are saying this. Yes, China is beating us in everything. Correlation? Maybe. They didn't teach us that word in school.)

  • The investment group has put together a plan that is by far the most reasonable arena deal in the history of American sports. Does it require bonds issued by the city, putting taxpayer money on the line? Yes. But does it have a contingency plan in place so that all the money is paid on time? Good lord yes and then some. Go read this and tell me it's a bad deal. You can't. Compare that to our own arena situation in Wenatchee. Jealous much?

  • It's not just for the NBA. The NHL will come to town too, and concerts and other tours will follow, bringing more money into the economy. Remember, it's Seattle, not Wenatchee. Acts already want to go through Seattle on tour, and people sell out Key Arena and the Tacoma Dome and the Gorge and White River Amphitheater and WaMu Theater and even Everett's Comcast Arena all the time. This is a thing that's good.

Now, if you don't like sports or concerts, I can understand any opposition to the deal. But just remember, this is America — we like steak, beer, Super Bowl commercials and sports teams in our towns so we can root for them and buy silly merchandise and eat too-expensive food amongst tens of thousands of friends/strangers. It's the American way.

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