BY Art Thiel 08:25AM 04/19/2012

Thiel: Kings’ solution is Vancouver, then Seattle

The spectacular collapse of Sacramento’s arena deal likely means Kings will move after 2012-13 season. Vancouver makes sense — perhaps as a temp home prior to a move to Seattle.

Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C., home to the Canucks, could be an answer for the NBA's Kings. / Wiki Commons

Poor David Stern.

Despite his best efforts, replete with loans, lawyers, love and a new collective bargaining agreement, he cannot make the NBA work in Sacramento.

Two facts seem irrefutable. As with nearly every major California city, Sacramento is in a financial crisis. And the owners of the NBA franchise there, the Maloof brothers, have reached the Madoff-McCourt idiocy level of of pro sports franchise ownership.

Bad combo. Not gonna work there.

So in the spirit of being courteous and helpful to my favorite sports commissioner, let me offer a solution that works all the way around (except for Sacramento, but how many chances does a town get?).

The NBA should purchase the Kings from the Maloofs in the fashion that the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets from fellow Cro-Mag George Shinn. Whatever the price is between thieves matters not.

But to avoid having another ward of the state, the NBA should prepare a second deal to sell the team at a bargain price to Francesco Aquilini, owner of the NHL Canucks in Vancouver, where the Kings will play in 19,700-seat Rogers Arena, the former GM Place that housed the Grizzlies from 1995-2001 and houses the Canucks.

From there, things are not as simple, but more intriguing.

The return of the NBA to Vancouver could be billed as a temporary home for a franchise that will eventually land in Seattle upon the completion of a proposed arena by Chris Hansen by the 2015-16 season, with an agreement that the next NBA team to move would go to Vancouver. Or it could be a permanent move if Seattle fails to create an arena.

In the event of failure for the 2015-16 season, Seattle would be next in line for a relocation should its arena act ever come together in the time before the sun goes supernova.

The beauty of the Vancouver play is it gets rid of the Maloofs and puts an NBA franchise (the Kings or others) in a position to succeed where the Grizzlies failed because the teams under one proven ownership in the same arena allows them to be co-marketed and obviates the need for a new building.  And the temp arrangement provides incentive for Seattle investment because the proposed arena will no longer have to be built on spec, which, traffic be damned, is the largest current unknowable that will impede development.

Far-fetched? Only a little. Aquilini has looked into it.

For now, with the Kings stuck in an apparent death-rattle season in Sacramento in 2012-13, following the Maloofs’ spectacular failure to live up to an arena deal struck in February, he must say little.

“I can tell you we don’t have any plans to bring an NBA team to Vancouver,” Aquilini told the Vancouver Province this week. What else could he say?

Then he went on to show he kicked some tires.

“I think if there was enough support, enough of a fan base, definitely the arena is ready to go,” he said. “There was a basketball team here before. The building is really plug-and-play. We could start tomorrow if we wanted to.

“But the question is always about market size. That really is the issue. The (Grizzlies) did leave Vancouver for a reason, because there just wasn’t enough market support. If there was, they wouldn’t have left in the first place. We’re continually doing work on that, to assess whether there is enough of a market for an NBA team in Vancouver.”

Aquilini poor-mouths the Vancouver option. Things have changed since the Grizzlies, under a tepid ownership, a lousy expansion deal, terrible team management and an outsider relationship with the Canucks, failed. Two changes make a big difference — the Canadian dollar is on par with the U.S. dollar (no more taking in Canadian income and paying salaries in Benjamins) and the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, which is what Seattle NBA fans consistently overlook regarding its influence on the proceedings.

Estimates are that the changes in revenue sharing will mean as much as $10 million annually to smaller-market teams. From a cash-operations perspective, that is significant. It’s also why Stern tried so hard to save the Kings for Sacramento. If after all the blood was spilled in the lockout to get the new CBA, the game still fails in the league’s 20th-largest TV market, it will be mortifying to Stern and the league, which was mired in the old deal when the Sonics ordeal ended in relocation in 2008.

But it’s hard to imagine the owners agreeing to allow Stern to spend more time and treasure on the Kings after already granting a one-year reprieve and failing. Stern may still have a play with another owner, such as Bay Area billionaire Ron Buerkle, to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Regardless,  a new guy won’t change the view that arena opponents own the incontrovertible fact that Sactown is broke, and will remain so for the foreseeable.

Regarding Aquilini’s apprehension about market size, Vancouver’s 2.2 million area residents, according to 2010 figures, puts it behind Denver, Portland, St. Louis and Tampa, about the same as Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City and ahead of Orlando, Sacramento, Cincinnati,  Kansas City, San Antonio and Charlotte.

That’s population, not TV market, which doesn’t factor in U.S. TV ratings. But they would own the western half of Canada, for whatever that’s worth.

To restate, the other asset is joint ownership and management of the teams. Even though it’s different sports and different seasons, it’s a little like the Seahawks and Sounders under the management of First & Goal. If a company buys season tickets for one team, they get a deal for the other, as well as discounted tickets to concerts and flat shows. It’s probably the only way Vancouver works, and Aquilini knows it and the NBA knows it.

One potential wrinkle is Aquilini is going through a divorce, the same circumstance which crippled the Dodgers under soon-to-be former owner Frank McCourt, and is affecting the No. 2 owner of the Mariners, Chris Larson. But Aquilini’s wife said the divorce will have no impact on the Canucks.

In any event, ESPN senior NBA writer Ric Bucher Friday told a radio audience on ESPN 710 Seattle that he believes Vancouver is now the “most viable” destination for the Kings. He’s right — the Anaheim option puts three teams in Southern California, something to which longtime NBA owners Jerry Buss (Lakers) and Donald Sterling (Clippers) are vehemently opposed.

Stern is on record as saying his greatest disappointment of his long tenure has been the league’s failure in Vancouver. He’s also said something similar about Seattle.

Whether anyone believes him, circumstances have presented an opportunity for an imaginative solution for one or both places, while no one can say he didn’t try in Sacramento.

What’s more improbable  — a Sactown-Vancouver-Seattle play, or finding a rich guy willing to assemble $290 million in private capital for a arena?


YourThoughts

  • JimC

    whew. Tell me Art, how do you REALLY feel about the NBA 1%?

    • Artthiel

      JimC, I take it you’re not buying lunch for Chris Hansen anytime soon.

  • JimC

    whew. Tell me Art, how do you REALLY feel about the NBA 1%?

    • Artthiel

      JimC, I take it you’re not buying lunch for Chris Hansen anytime soon.

  • Jamo57

    SCTO and Seattle experience have to be viewed by major league sports as the proverbial ‘canary in a coal mine’ regarding public funding of arenas and stadiums.  That model just ain’t gonna work anymore.   Stern, et. al. would be better served to cultivate more people like Hansen who have connections with other folks who are capable of doing the financial heavy lifting themselves while getting supporting investment from the local municipalities, much in the way normal real estate development works.
     
    The transfer of wealth from the public sector to the private sector over the past three decades or so can’t be ignored.   The last time the country was so ruled by the proverbial ‘robber barons’, people like Andrew Carnegie built public libraries around the country in the spirit of being philanthropic.   As we seem to value sports and other entertainment over education these days, it follows that we should look to these folks to give back in the form of arenas and stadiums.
     
    As to the VBC angle of your column, I’m not sure Vancouverites would look too kindly on being a surrogate mother for our NBA franchises.   Vancouver is becoming an increasing Pacific Rim economic and financial center and it seems an ’east coast-west coast’ rivalry between VBC and Toronto is brewing similar to LA and NYC.    I don’t know if VBC feels they need us, or at least much longer anyway.

    • Artthiel

       You’re right about wishing the rich guys would do it all, and they may end up doing more. But  they have to start somewhere. Who’s to say that at the end of this, the only thing the public pays for is the Lander Street overpass, which was approved almost 10 years ago by the city and would be a benefit to everyone using SoDo streets?

      Regarding Vancouver, if the deal terms are right, the risk is minimal to the owner, and there is no guarantee Seattle can get an arena built. Vancouver proved its economic and sports chops by bidding on, winning and staging a successful Winter Olympics AFTER the Grizzlies failed and left town in 2001.

  • Jamo57

    SCTO and Seattle experience have to be viewed by major league sports as the proverbial ‘canary in a coal mine’ regarding public funding of arenas and stadiums.  That model just ain’t gonna work anymore.   Stern, et. al. would be better served to cultivate more people like Hansen who have connections with other folks who are capable of doing the financial heavy lifting themselves while getting supporting investment from the local municipalities, much in the way normal real estate development works.
     
    The transfer of wealth from the public sector to the private sector over the past three decades or so can’t be ignored.   The last time the country was so ruled by the proverbial ‘robber barons’, people like Andrew Carnegie built public libraries around the country in the spirit of being philanthropic.   As we seem to value sports and other entertainment over education these days, it follows that we should look to these folks to give back in the form of arenas and stadiums.
     
    As to the VBC angle of your column, I’m not sure Vancouverites would look too kindly on being a surrogate mother for our NBA franchises.   Vancouver is becoming an increasing Pacific Rim economic and financial center and it seems an ’east coast-west coast’ rivalry between VBC and Toronto is brewing similar to LA and NYC.    I don’t know if VBC feels they need us, or at least much longer anyway.

    • Artthiel

       You’re right about wishing the rich guys would do it all, and they may end up doing more. But  they have to start somewhere. Who’s to say that at the end of this, the only thing the public pays for is the Lander Street overpass, which was approved almost 10 years ago by the city and would be a benefit to everyone using SoDo streets?

      Regarding Vancouver, if the deal terms are right, the risk is minimal to the owner, and there is no guarantee Seattle can get an arena built. Vancouver proved its economic and sports chops by bidding on, winning and staging a successful Winter Olympics AFTER the Grizzlies failed and left town in 2001.

  • thekellygreenandwhite

    Stern and the NBA never gave Vancouver much of a shot in the league. Granted the club seemed to be cursed from the beginning, but Stu Jackson and co. had no idea how to market the team to the city. I grew up a Sonics fan, and when I moved to Vancouver, I was not only in hockey heaven with the Canucks, I also supported the Grizzlies. I don’t think Vancouver would be too crazy about being a temporary home for an NBA team. In fact, I would be real surprised if there was any kind of a turnout given the way the NBA bailed on the city. Now, give both Seattle and Vancouver franchises and that would be a different story. (And I’d probably even start following the NBA again…) 

    As for a Toronto-Vancouver rivalry brewing, consider it brewed. That rivalry has been going on for years and is ramping even more with both cities in MLS now!

    • Artthiel

      The temp home is not ideal, but what if the NBA sold the Canucks to Aquilini and he discounted the tickets to induce attendance, as Bennett did when OKC temporarily housed the Hornets after Katrina.

      Little that I have suggested hasn’t been done before.

  • thekellygreenandwhite

    Stern and the NBA never gave Vancouver much of a shot in the league. Granted the club seemed to be cursed from the beginning, but Stu Jackson and co. had no idea how to market the team to the city. I grew up a Sonics fan, and when I moved to Vancouver, I was not only in hockey heaven with the Canucks, I also supported the Grizzlies. I don’t think Vancouver would be too crazy about being a temporary home for an NBA team. In fact, I would be real surprised if there was any kind of a turnout given the way the NBA bailed on the city. Now, give both Seattle and Vancouver franchises and that would be a different story. (And I’d probably even start following the NBA again…) 

    As for a Toronto-Vancouver rivalry brewing, consider it brewed. That rivalry has been going on for years and is ramping even more with both cities in MLS now!

    • Artthiel

      The temp home is not ideal, but what if the NBA sold the Canucks to Aquilini and he discounted the tickets to induce attendance, as Bennett did when OKC temporarily housed the Hornets after Katrina.

      Little that I have suggested hasn’t been done before.

  • RadioGuy

    Thought-provoking piece, Art, but I just can’t see Vancouver as a leading option for the Kings. 

    Vancouver (like most of Canada) is hockey country..first, last and always.  It’s just ingrained in the culture.  Basketball has never been more than a novelty up there and relegating Vancouver to placeholder status for Seattle DEFINITELY isn’t going to cut it in BC.  The Kings would be better off toughing it out in the Tacoma Dome while the arena in Seattle is being built, if the NBA is indeed considering a “temporary” home for them.

    Then again, this is the same league that allowed one franchise to move from a 22,000-seat arena in a basketball-crazy state like North Carolina to a basketball graveyard like New Orleans (complete with an owner that made the Magoof Brothers look like the Wright Brothers), so anything’s possible.

    • Artthiel

       I know it’s a stretch, but so was Chris Hansen’s appearance in the scene. As I wrote to Kelly, what if tickets are deeply discounted, as OKC did for the Hornets? I think you’re selling Vancouver short as a sports city if you think it’s the same town as it was 20 years ago when the NBA franchise was granted. 

      • Jamo57

        On  Saturdays, the TEAM 1040 in Vancouver has a show on the business/marketing side of professional sports hosted by a professor at one of the universities in BC (unfortunately his name escapes me).   He has made the case a number of times that the NBA could do well in Vancouver if marketed correctly.   Part of his argument is the NBA franchise should target the Asian population of VBC which is not so entrenched in hockey and leverage the NBA’s history of marketing in Asia.   He even recommends the team be called the Dragons to further appeal to the population.   I agree, Vancouver has changed significantly in the last 20-25 years and is much more affluent as a result. 

  • RadioGuy

    Thought-provoking piece, Art, but I just can’t see Vancouver as a leading option for the Kings. 

    Vancouver (like most of Canada) is hockey country first, last and always.  It’s just ingrained in the culture.  Basketball has never been more than a novelty up there and relegating Vancouver to placeholder status for Seattle DEFINITELY isn’t going to cut it in BC.  The Kings would be better off toughing it out in the Tacoma Dome while the arena in Seattle is being built, if the NBA is indeed considering a “temporary” home for them.

    Then again, this is the same league that allowed one franchise to move from a 22,000-seat arena in a basketball-crazy state like North Carolina to a basketball graveyard like New Orleans (complete with an owner that made the Magoof Brothers look like the Wright Brothers), so anything’s possible.

    • Artthiel

       I know it’s a stretch, but so was Chris Hansen’s appearance in the scene. As I wrote to Kelly, what if tickets are deeply discounted, as OKC did for the Hornets? I think you’re selling Vancouver short as a sports city if you think it’s the same town as it was 20 years ago when the NBA franchise was granted. 

      • Jamo57

        On  Saturdays, the TEAM 1040 in Vancouver has a show on the business/marketing side of professional sports hosted by a professor at one of the universities in BC (unfortunately his name escapes me).   He has made the case a number of times that the NBA could do well in Vancouver if marketed correctly.   Part of his argument is the NBA franchise should target the Asian population of VBC which is not so entrenched in hockey and leverage the NBA’s history of marketing in Asia.   He even recommends the team be called the Dragons to further appeal to the population.   I agree, Vancouver has changed significantly in the last 20-25 years and is much more affluent as a result. 

  • Hy Dudgeon

    I agree with RadioGuy (aka Magnolia Gas Man), Art, that as usual you have come up with another thought-provoking piece, but also I feel that Vancouver seems more than far-fetched to serve as an interim home for the new Sonics.  I met both of you last October at the ’520 Bar’, and have always been impressed with the acumen and humor you both possess.

    There seem so many moving parts to this new possible NBA/NHL/stadium palace Rubik’s Cube, that I really doubt if it will ever come to pass for Seattle.  We all know how Seattle and our State are all about the process, but light in the loafers on results.  I go way back to loving the Sonics to their inception in ’67, but the current state of the NBA just leaves me cold somehow.  Small comfort to sports media folks like yourself and Gas, I know.

    Still, another wonderful column to make your and my sportswriting muse – Jim Murray – proud.  Please keep up the good work and always remember:  the only thing that can top your incisive and humorous writing is your wife’s strawberry rhubarb pie.  Maybe David Stern and Chris Hansen can bride the Canucks cases of that?  Just a thought……

    • Artthiel

       Wow. You remember my passion for strawberry rhubarb pie. Hy, you made my damn day. I don’t care about the arena at the moment.

    • RadioGuy

      Thanks, Hy, but I’m not the Gas Man, though I’ve done a lot of sportscasting…just not in the Seattle area (at least since the 80′s before moving to more affordable climes).  Strawberry rhubarb pie DOES sound good, especially a la mode.

  • Hy Dudgeon

    I agree with RadioGuy (aka Magnolia Gas Man), Art, that as usual you have come up with another thought-provoking piece, but also I feel that Vancouver seems more than far-fetched to serve as an interim home for the new Sonics.  I met both of you last October at the ’520 Bar’, and have always been impressed with the acumen and humor you both possess.

    There seem so many moving parts to this new possible NBA/NHL/stadium palace Rubik’s Cube, that I really doubt if it will ever come to pass for Seattle.  We all know how Seattle and our State are all about the process, but light in the loafers on results.  I go way back to loving the Sonics to their inception in ’67, but the current state of the NBA just leaves me cold somehow.  Small comfort to sports media folks like yourself and Gas, I know.

    Still, another wonderful column to make your and my sportswriting muse – Jim Murray – proud.  Please keep up the good work and always remember:  the only thing that can top your incisive and humorous writing is your wife’s strawberry rhubarb pie.  Maybe David Stern and Chris Hansen can bride the Canucks cases of that?  Just a thought……

    • Artthiel

       Wow. You remember my passion for strawberry rhubarb pie. Hy, you made my damn day. I don’t care about the arena at the moment.

    • RadioGuy

      Thanks, Hy, but I’m not the Gas Man, though I’ve done a lot of sportscasting…just not in the Seattle area (at least since the 80′s before moving to more affordable climes).  Strawberry rhubarb pie DOES sound good, especially a la mode.

  • Hy Dudgeon

    I too share your same passion for said pie, Art.  That’s obviously why your reference to it in a ‘P-I’ column many years ago still sticks with me.  Back in the late 60s when the Sonics were just beginning, I could get my fill of strawberry rhubarb pie at the House of Pies on Bellevue Way in Bellevue, next door to Dick’s Drive-In.   The Sonics are now gone, the House of Pies & Dick’s-Bellevue are no more, and someone just stole my pick-up truck.  Now that in the aggregate, my friend, amounts to a damn shame.  

    But the ’520 Bar & Grill’s’ new addition is now open.  Let’s hoist a cold one – my treat.  You bring along a piece of pie for me, and we’ll call it even. 

    Heard you on the ‘Calabro’ show this afternoon, where you made a good case for your today’s column.  I’ve got a feeling that somewhere Jim Murray is chuckling to himself after reading it – good job.

    • Artthiel

       You’re living a country western song, pal. Hope your hound wasn’t in your truck.

      And now you’ve brought up another favorite, Jim Murray. Just don’t bring up any Springsteen songs or I won’t get anything done.

      • Hy Dudgeon

        No, pal, unlike your ol’ inebriated running mate the Go2Guy, I don’t leave my dog in my truck for hours unattended.  That’s a short distance from strapping your Seamus on the top of the station wagon and driving 10 hours to Montreal.

        And Springsteen – really?  Bet that guy could even put Gov. Chris Crisco to sleep.  Give me AC/DC or CCR any day of the week.

        Murray was the best sports columnist of all-time, IMO.  But you’re a close second.  Don’t listen to the Grovers of the world, and keep up the good work.  Next round of Makers Mark is on Moore; get it at Costco mucho-cheap starting June 1st.

  • Hy Dudgeon

    I too share your same passion for said pie, Art.  That’s obviously why your reference to it in a ‘P-I’ column many years ago still sticks with me.  Back in the late 60s when the Sonics were just beginning, I could get my fill of strawberry rhubarb pie at the House of Pies on Bellevue Way in Bellevue, next door to Dick’s Drive-In.   The Sonics are now gone, the House of Pies & Dick’s-Bellevue are no more, and someone just stole my pick-up truck.  Now that in the aggregate, my friend, amounts to a damn shame.  

    But the ’520 Bar & Grill’s’ new addition is now open.  Let’s hoist a cold one – my treat.  You bring along a piece of pie for me, and we’ll call it even. 

    Heard you on the ‘Calabro’ show this afternoon, where you made a good case for your today’s column.  I’ve got a feeling that somewhere Jim Murray is chuckling to himself after reading it – good job.

    • Artthiel

       You’re living a country western song, pal. Hope your hound wasn’t in your truck.

      And now you’ve brought up another favorite, Jim Murray. Just don’t bring up any Springsteen songs or I won’t get anything done.

      • Hy Dudgeon

        No, pal, unlike your ol’ inebriated running mate the Go2Guy, I don’t leave my dog in my truck for hours unattended.  That’s a short distance from strapping your Seamus on the top of the station wagon and driving 10 hours to Montreal.

        And Springsteen – really?  Bet that guy could even put Gov. Chris Crisco to sleep.  Give me AC/DC or CCR any day of the week.

        Murray was the best sports columnist of all-time, IMO.  But you’re a close second.  Don’t listen to the Grovers of the world, and keep up the good work.  Next round of Makers Mark is on Moore; get it at Costco mucho-cheap starting June 1st.

  • Phharmening

    Art, as always, thoughtfully compromising and detouring from the mainstream jock-talk positions. The comments stated in this forum are decently insightful as well.

    I’m a retired Reno NV resident now, although still a Puget Sound resident at heart.  

    Having lived in Puyallup most of my life, I still remember the days when Bill Muncey was the king of NW sports. Never had there been a sound (to us) equaling those of the old rooster tails, except maybe the drag races we also had then, in Puyallup and Kent. 

    However, the memorable sounds of the pandemonium of those Sonics championship days outshines everything we experienced until then, and everything we experienced afterward, with the possible exception the 95 M’s mind boggling playoff games, which I was privileged to attend.  The Seahawks 12th man during the Superbowl run may even top those as well. 

    Now, we are looking at going  to what?  Seven or eight major sports enterprises supported by a less than desirable supportable population for those numbers?  And our going back to the NBA after the major dissing by them (Stern)?  

    The NBA isn’t what it used to be when the Sonics were kings (no pun intended).  But if we can bring back the Sonic logo as well as Kevin Calabrio as their voice once again, even if starting out at the Tacoma Dome (not Vancouver for goodness-sakes)?  GO FOR IT.  I’m all in.  Even if I’m in my 70′s by then, and will need to fly from Reno to Seattle to attend the first game vs OKC, that my NW friends will be the sound to beat them all.  And, I will want to be there to further deafen my already deaf ears.

    And the NHL?  One of my sons said its the best spectator sport action wise, bar none.      

    • Artthiel

       Phharmening, glad you’re staying connected with the auld sod via SPNW. Unfortunately, both the T-Dome and KeyArena are too small by today’s NBA standards to be anything but a major bleeder for three seasons until the arena gets built.

      Your son is right. NHL is best seen live, and unfortunately is mediocre TV, which is why the ratings are low.

  • Phharmening

    Art, as always, thoughtfully compromising and detouring from the mainstream jock-talk positions. The comments stated in this forum are decently insightful as well.

    I’m a retired Reno NV resident now, although still a Puget Sound resident at heart.  

    Having lived in Puyallup most of my life, I still remember the days when Bill Muncey was the king of NW sports. Never had there been a sound (to us) equaling those of the old rooster tails, except maybe the drag races we also had then, in Puyallup and Kent. 

    However, the memorable sounds of the pandemonium of those Sonics championship days outshines everything we experienced until then, and everything we experienced afterward, with the possible exception the 95 M’s mind boggling playoff games, which I was privileged to attend.  The Seahawks 12th man during the Superbowl run may even top those as well. 

    Now, we are looking at going  to what?  Seven or eight major sports enterprises supported by a less than desirable supportable population for those numbers?  And our going back to the NBA after the major dissing by them (Stern)?  

    The NBA isn’t what it used to be when the Sonics were kings (no pun intended).  But if we can bring back the Sonic logo as well as Kevin Calabrio as their voice once again, even if starting out at the Tacoma Dome (not Vancouver for goodness-sakes)?  GO FOR IT.  I’m all in.  Even if I’m in my 70′s by then, and will need to fly from Reno to Seattle to attend the first game vs OKC, that my NW friends will be the sound to beat them all.  And, I will want to be there to further deafen my already deaf ears.

    And the NHL?  One of my sons said its the best spectator sport action wise, bar none.      

    • Artthiel

       Phharmening, glad you’re staying connected with the auld sod via SPNW. Unfortunately, both the T-Dome and KeyArena are too small by today’s NBA standards to be anything but a major bleeder for three seasons until the arena gets built.

      Your son is right. NHL is best seen live, and unfortunately is mediocre TV, which is why the ratings are low.

  • jafabian

    I’ve always thought the NBA moving the Grizzlies out of Vancouver in favor of Memphis contradicted their assertion that they are close to going international.  If they couldn’t make it there how can they make it in other countries?  I bet it was a slap across the face to the league when Vancouver successfully hosted an Olympics.  That in itself says something about the NBA.  It wasn’t poor ownership that caused a lacking in support, it was a poor product on the court.  Everything about the franchise spun out of that fact.

    Vancouver being an interim home for the Kings is an interesting thought though I’d think the city would demand a strong lease be in place to prevent any such sudden move, though Clay Bennett taught us that leases are made to be broken.  But the Kings having to move from Sacramento is also a statement about the NBA in itself:  if they can’t make it there where the mayor is a huge supporter of the league and they have a strong, supportive fan base then what does it take for an NBA team to succeed?

    Where the KIngs end up is factored by two things:  what the league wants and what the owners want. Economics won’t play into the final decision and that’s why their economic model is broken, as Paul Allen has asserted.  If there’s anyplace they should go it’s back to Kansas City where the Sprint Center and Kemper Arena are more than capable to host an NBA team but you never hear the NBA talk about that possibility on any possible move for any franchise.

    Personally, I think as long as Stern is commish we won’t see any possibility of the NBA returning to Seattle. 

    • Artthiel

       Jafabian, the Grizzlies had bad ownership, mgmt and players, as well as a bum expansion deal. They were doomed from the start and were overwhelmed by the Canucks popularity.

      Stern will try to find the Kings a local owner, and he may. But it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people there know the city has no means to fund an arena. For any Calif city, it has to be almost 100 percent private, like the Giants park in SF.

      As far as Stern, as long as Ballmer stays involved in NBA ownership, Stern will see that Seattle gets a team.

      • jafabian

         If the Canucks prevent a fan base from being established then how do the BC Lions do it and what what the MLS’s attraction to putting a franchise there?  IIRC the Whitecaps played at near capacity last season.

        I never thought the arena that Clay Bennett wanted would ever happen when the city said no to a Key Arena remodel and was focusing on the Viaduct at the time who’s cost was/is in the billions.  When NBA owners ask for outrageous amounts of money that isn’t there are they doing that because they want to move or are they simply blind to reality?    Or do NBA cities set this up when they work with cities in putting together an arena?  Do owners think “Well, Dallas gave Cuban a good deal I don’t see why Seattle can’t do the same for Bennett.”  And to me that logic doesn’t make sense either.

  • jafabian

    I’ve always thought the NBA moving the Grizzlies out of Vancouver in favor of Memphis contradicted their assertion that they are close to going international.  If they couldn’t make it there how can they make it in other countries?  I bet it was a slap across the face to the league when Vancouver successfully hosted an Olympics.  That in itself says something about the NBA.  It wasn’t poor ownership that caused a lacking in support, it was a poor product on the court.  Everything about the franchise spun out of that fact.

    Vancouver being an interim home for the Kings is an interesting thought though I’d think the city would demand a strong lease be in place to prevent any such sudden move, though Clay Bennett taught us that leases are made to be broken.  But the Kings having to move from Sacramento is also a statement about the NBA in itself:  if they can’t make it there where the mayor is a huge supporter of the league and they have a strong, supportive fan base then what does it take for an NBA team to succeed?

    Where the KIngs end up is factored by two things:  what the league wants and what the owners want. Economics won’t play into the final decision and that’s why their economic model is broken, as Paul Allen has asserted.  If there’s anyplace they should go it’s back to Kansas City where the Sprint Center and Kemper Arena are more than capable to host an NBA team but you never hear the NBA talk about that possibility on any possible move for any franchise.

    Personally, I think as long as Stern is commish we won’t see any possibility of the NBA returning to Seattle. 

    • Artthiel

       Jafabian, the Grizzlies had bad ownership, mgmt and players, as well as a bum expansion deal. They were doomed from the start and were overwhelmed by the Canucks popularity.

      Stern will try to find the Kings a local owner, and he may. But it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people there know the city has no means to fund an arena. For any Calif city, it has to be almost 100 percent private, like the Giants park in SF.

      As far as Stern, as long as Ballmer stays involved in NBA ownership, Stern will see that Seattle gets a team.

      • jafabian

         If the Canucks prevent a fan base from being established then how do the BC Lions do it and what what the MLS’s attraction to putting a franchise there?  IIRC the Whitecaps played at near capacity last season.

        I never thought the arena that Clay Bennett wanted would ever happen when the city said no to a Key Arena remodel and was focusing on the Viaduct at the time who’s cost was/is in the billions.  When NBA owners ask for outrageous amounts of money that isn’t there are they doing that because they want to move or are they simply blind to reality?    Or do NBA cities set this up when they work with cities in putting together an arena?  Do owners think “Well, Dallas gave Cuban a good deal I don’t see why Seattle can’t do the same for Bennett.”  And to me that logic doesn’t make sense either.

  • Grover

    There are some really weird comments from Art Thiel in this column.

    Start with discounted tickets.  What would be the point of that?  Lower ticket prices means less ticket revenue.  If the Lakers are selling 19,000 tickets per game at full (non-discounted) prices, and Vancouver has to sell tickets at half the price the Lakers are getting, how does that allow Vancouver to compete with the Lakers?  Discounting tickets is just admitting it’s not working.

    And as for sharing the revenue from other events in the arena.  Now, why exactly would the Canucks want to have another team using their arena, with which they would have to split the concert, ice show, and other event revenue?  Now, the Canucks get all that “other event” revenue (if their lease is anything like the Mariners and Seahawks’ leases).  With an NBA team sharing that arena, about half that “other event” revenue would have to go to the NBA team, cutting the Canucks’ revenue from other events in half.  Or else, the NBA team would not get any of the “other event” revenue, leaving the NBA team at a disadvantage with NBA teams which don’t share arenas with any other team.

    This is probably the main reason why most NBA and NHL teams don’t share arenas — because by being the only team in an arena, that team gets 100% of the revenues from all other events in the arena, instead of having to split that revenue with another team.

    • Jamo57

      It’s the Canucks ownership group that is interested in bringing the NBA to Rogers Arena.

      • Grover

        Uh huh.  And why would they want an NBA team that would lose millions of dollars every year in Vancouver, as the Grizzlies did when they played in Vancouver before?

        Here is what the Canucks’ owner said, according to Thiel’s column:

        “But the question is always about market size. That really is the issue. The (Grizzlies) did leave Vancouver for a reason, because there just wasn’t enough market support. If there was, they wouldn’t have left in the first place. We’re continually doing work on that, to assess whether there is enough of a market for an NBA team in Vancouver.”

        This does not sound like a guy who is dying to have an NBA team, to me.

        • Artthiel

           Grover, you read past the part where I said Aquilini is deliberately poor-mouthing the chances so as not to appear to interfere in Sacramento, As well as the part about the Canadian dollar and Vancouver’s changes in the last 20 years. Gots to pay attention, my man!

    • Artthiel

       If Aquilini gets a purchase price break, he can afford discounted tickets. They did in in OKC for the Hornets, and it worked as a temp deal.

      And again Grover, if you read the column, the premise is based on Aquilini owning both teams. Please, man, read before writing.

      • Jamo57

        That’s Aquilini’s style of doing business, buying a franchise at a less than desireable time.   He bought the Canucks in the middle of the league shutdown when the last CBA expired.    I think you are right, Art, that he would pick up the Kings if he felt the price was right.    I just don’t see him letting it go off to Seattle though.

  • Grover

    There are some really weird comments from Art Thiel in this column.

    Start with discounted tickets.  What would be the point of that?  Lower ticket prices means less ticket revenue.  If the Lakers are selling 19,000 tickets per game at full (non-discounted) prices, and Vancouver has to sell tickets at half the price the Lakers are getting, how does that allow Vancouver to compete with the Lakers?  Discounting tickets is just admitting it’s not working.

    And as for sharing the revenue from other events in the arena.  Now, why exactly would the Canucks want to have another team using their arena, with which they would have to split the concert, ice show, and other event revenue?  Now, the Canucks get all that “other event” revenue (if their lease is anything like the Mariners and Seahawks’ leases).  With an NBA team sharing that arena, about half that “other event” revenue would have to go to the NBA team, cutting the Canucks’ revenue from other events in half.  Or else, the NBA team would not get any of the “other event” revenue, leaving the NBA team at a disadvantage with NBA teams which don’t share arenas with any other team.

    This is probably the main reason why most NBA and NHL teams don’t share arenas — because by being the only team in an arena, that team gets 100% of the revenues from all other events in the arena, instead of having to split that revenue with another team.

    • Jamo57

      It’s the Canucks ownership group that is interested in bringing the NBA to Rogers Arena.

      • Grover

        Uh huh.  And why would they want an NBA team that would lose millions of dollars every year in Vancouver, as the Grizzlies did when they played in Vancouver before?

        Here is what the Canucks’ owner said, according to Thiel’s column:

        “But the question is always about market size. That really is the issue. The (Grizzlies) did leave Vancouver for a reason, because there just wasn’t enough market support. If there was, they wouldn’t have left in the first place. We’re continually doing work on that, to assess whether there is enough of a market for an NBA team in Vancouver.”

        This does not sound like a guy who is dying to have an NBA team, to me.

        • Artthiel

           Grover, you read past the part where I said Aquilini is deliberately poor-mouthing the chances so as not to appear to interfere in Sacramento, As well as the part about the Canadian dollar and Vancouver’s changes in the last 20 years. Gots to pay attention, my man!

    • Artthiel

       If Aquilini gets a purchase price break, he can afford discounted tickets. They did in in OKC for the Hornets, and it worked as a temp deal.

      And again Grover, if you read the column, the premise is based on Aquilini owning both teams. Please, man, read before writing.

      • Jamo57

        That’s Aquilini’s style of doing business, buying a franchise at a less than desireable time.   He bought the Canucks in the middle of the league shutdown when the last CBA expired.    I think you are right, Art, that he would pick up the Kings if he felt the price was right.    I just don’t see him letting it go off to Seattle though.

  • Grover

    Another thing that is funny about this column, is that Art keeps writing about the cities where the NBA has failed, while seeming to think that it’s a idea to bring a failed business back to a city where it already failed before.

    The NBA failed in Vancouver, B.C.

    The NBA failed in Seattle.

    The NBA failed in Sacramento.

    The NBA has been a failure in Portland.  Paul Allen has lost enormous amounts of money with the Blazers and the Rose Garden.  It has been a financial failure, without doubt.  But Allen is filthy rich enough to keep subsidizing the Blazers’ enormous losses. 

    Does anyone think that Chris Hansen is as filthy rich as Paul Allen?

    Is Hansen as rich as Howard Schultz, who threw in the towel with the Sonics?

    Is Hansen as rich as that McCaw brother who owned the Vancouver Grizzlies, and finally admitted failure?

    Is Hansen as rich as the Maloofs were when they bought the Kings?

    The NBA is a failed business model, except in a few cities.  Why does anyone want to bring the NBA back to Seattle just to watch it fail again?  What, exactly, is the point of that?

    • Jamo57

      You’re assumning Hansen is in this on his own.   He has been quite clear he represents a group of investors.    In addition, major league sports teams showing ‘operating losses’ is par for the course in all of the leagues, except for the NFL (except when it is collective bargaining time).   But they always sell for a huge profit.    Funny how that works.

      • Grover

        Funny how it didn’t work so well in Vancouver, B.C., Seattle and Sacramento, too, isn’t it?  lol 

        The Grizzlies and Sonics may have sold for a profit, but they left their respective cities, now didn’t they?  And what do you think is going to happen to the Kings?  The Maloofs just said that even that sweet deal for a new arena in Sacramento wouldn’t make the NBA work there.  You think the Kings will be in Sacramento much longer?

        And, I assume you understand that the only way Seattle is going to get an NBA team is if that team leaves its current city, which will mean the NBA failed in that city, also, right?

    • Artthiel

      Grover, the NBA took a lockout to try to fix things economically. It was signed four months ago, and the small market owners were happy with what they got.

      Please keep up with the news.

  • Grover

    Another thing that is funny about this column, is that Art keeps writing about the cities where the NBA has failed, while seeming to think that it’s a idea to bring a failed business back to a city where it already failed before.

    The NBA failed in Vancouver, B.C.

    The NBA failed in Seattle.

    The NBA failed in Sacramento.

    The NBA has been a failure in Portland.  Paul Allen has lost enormous amounts of money with the Blazers and the Rose Garden.  It has been a financial failure, without doubt.  But Allen is filthy rich enough to keep subsidizing the Blazers’ enormous losses. 

    Does anyone think that Chris Hansen is as filthy rich as Paul Allen?

    Is Hansen as rich as Howard Schultz, who threw in the towel with the Sonics?

    Is Hansen as rich as that McCaw brother who owned the Vancouver Grizzlies, and finally admitted failure?

    Is Hansen as rich as the Maloofs were when they bought the Kings?

    The NBA is a failed business model, except in a few cities.  Why does anyone want to bring the NBA back to Seattle just to watch it fail again?  What, exactly, is the point of that?

    • Jamo57

      You’re assumning Hansen is in this on his own.   He has been quite clear he represents a group of investors.    In addition, major league sports teams showing ‘operating losses’ is par for the course in all of the leagues, except for the NFL (except when it is collective bargaining time).   But they always sell for a huge profit.    Funny how that works.

      • Grover

        Funny how it didn’t work so well in Vancouver, B.C., Seattle and Sacramento, too, isn’t it?  lol 

        The Grizzlies and Sonics may have sold for a profit, but they left their respective cities, now didn’t they?  And what do you think is going to happen to the Kings?  The Maloofs just said that even that sweet deal for a new arena in Sacramento wouldn’t make the NBA work there.  You think the Kings will be in Sacramento much longer?

        And, I assume you understand that the only way Seattle is going to get an NBA team is if that team leaves its current city, which will mean the NBA failed in that city, also, right?

    • Artthiel

      Grover, the NBA took a lockout to try to fix things economically. It was signed four months ago, and the small market owners were happy with what they got.

      Please keep up with the news.

  • Gary

    You need to get a butterfly net so you can romp thru the daisies with the Malooffs and the 3 stooges

  • Gary

    You need to get a butterfly net so you can romp thru the daisies with the Malooffs and the 3 stooges

  • Barbara Katen

    BITE ME.  It ain’t over till it’s over…you aren’t getting my KINGS.

    • RadioGuy

      Barbara, the people here who want to do the same thing to Sacramento that was done to us (and people call Kerry and Romney ”flip-floppers”) are in the clear minority…they’re just a very vocal minority.  I think most of us hope you can work things out to keep the Kings in town, although you’re stuck dealing with nimrods for owners and a shark for a commissioner.  When it comes to the NBA, it’s wise to be careful what you ask for.

      • Artthiel

         Barbara, your passion is wonderful, but in the absence of expansion, some team’s failure will be another city’s gain. It’s ruthless, but ever thus in pro sports. I think a lot of people in Seattle have serious misgivings about poaching another team, having been poached here. But none of them have $290M to put into an arena, and Chris Hansen doesn’t care.
         

  • Barbara Katen

    BITE ME.  It ain’t over till it’s over…you aren’t getting my KINGS.

    • RadioGuy

      Barbara, the people here who want to do the same thing to Sacramento that was done to us (and people call Kerry and Romney ”flip-floppers”) are in the clear minority…they’re just a very vocal minority.  I think most of us hope you can work things out to keep the Kings in town, although you’re stuck dealing with nimrods for owners and a shark for a commissioner.  When it comes to the NBA, it’s wise to be careful what you ask for.

      • Artthiel

         Barbara, your passion is wonderful, but in the absence of expansion, some team’s failure will be another city’s gain. It’s ruthless, but ever thus in pro sports. I think a lot of people in Seattle have serious misgivings about poaching another team, having been poached here. But none of them have $290M to put into an arena, and Chris Hansen doesn’t care.