Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sonics Sale-What does it mean here?

Really, it is hard to tell. The first thing that jumps out, and if nothing else a small reason for local concern here, would be:

Look how easy, quick and quiet an out of town buyer purchased the Sonics.
The Sonics were purchased by a man who has NBA ties, belives in the product and the league, and as he said "was making an investment in the league" itself. No matter what you may hear, even those inside the Sonics organization only knew about the sale in the last few days. It was a "stealth-like" sale that happened, and literally was announced a very, very short time later. Think about it: One morning, any day now, we could get notice that there is a news conference to announce the Blazers sale, and like Seattle, in the course of three or four hours, we could see an ownership group or owner from another city who buys "our" team. Scary. Yes, there is a lease, yes the Rose Garden and Blazers are being packaged together, but who is to say one or the other, given their poor relationship, couldn't be sold without the other. Think it couldn't happen? Think about this: Owner of an NHL team approaches the bondholders of the Rose Garden, wants to buy the arena and bring an NHL team here, the Blazers are left high and dry.

Wake Up
Yesterday was a wake up call in regards to the power of the NBA product. When I hear about San Jose, Kansas City, Anaheim, and of course Oklahoma City all being in the market for an NBA team, there is major leverage for the owners of NBA franchises. Think about this: Howard Schultz and company got $350 million dollars for a franchise without a viable NBA building. So what are the Blazers worth? You would think at least that much, and like the Sonics, that is not market dependent. They may be worth more to a San Jose, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Anaheim, or even SEATTLE!

Portland vs. Seattle vs. Sacramento vs. Kansas City.....etc.
One market is a top 15 television market, the other is market top 25. Which market do you think the NBA values more? There are a lot of NBA franchises who are in a tough situation with revenue streaks, arenas and leases: Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Minnesota to name a few. The landscape of the NBA COULD change dramatically the next three years in terms of franchise movement.

Paul Allen
Loves the role of being the man who save the Seahawks. Would probably like to be the guy who saves the Sonics too. How? Build a building on the Eastside (Bellvue, Kirkland, etc.) and put an NBA team there.

I never thought the Blazers were in danger of leaving. I still don't. Except I never thought the Sonics would really leave Seattle. But it looks like they will. Does the NBA value the Northwest market? We will know in the next few years, maybe sooner.

Caddies 4 Cure Raffle
Here is the link for the great raffle items for an excellent cause. Ryan Longwell and Dan Dickau were on the show today discussing: