BY SPNW Staff 07:20PM 06/11/2012

McGinn goes to New York to lobby Stern

On the eve of the NBA Finals that has the former Seattle SuperSonics team meeting the  Miami Heat, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn delivered a personal message in New York to NBA Commissioner David Stern, saying the city is interested in having the league come back.

McGinn’s spokesman, Aaron Pickus, said McGinn met with Stern Monday. McGinn has put considerable political capital behind the proposal of Chris Hansen to build a $490 million arena in SoDo to replace the Sonics, whose owners in 2008 bought out the final two years of the KeyArena lease to move to Oklahoma City and become the Thunder.

Hansen, a Seattle native and San Francisco hedge-fund manager who did not attend the meeting, wants NBA and NHL teams to populate the 18,500 seat arena. He seeks what amounts to a $200 million loan from the city and King County if teams from both leagues relocate here.

League spokesman Tim Frank said the meeting between Stern and McGinn lasted about an hour.

“We had a pleasant and informative meeting,” Frank said by email to KING5.com. “The commissioner is personally supportive of his efforts.”

The plan is facing opposition from the Port of Seattle, the Mariners and maritime and industrial businesses because of the potential impact the district would feel from more traffic.

The City Council and King County Council are holding hearings on the proposal, and could vote as soon as August. Hansen said he wants an NBA team first, but even if the arena were approved, the likelihood is small that a team could be moved to a temporary home at KeyArena this fall.  The Sonics were moved at the end of June, 2008, but had an NBA-ready arena waiting in Oklahoma City.


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Ugh.  That had to have gone to Stern’s head, having the mayor of Seattle go all the way to his ivory tower in NYC to lobby for the honor of having an NBA franchise. 

    Rather than that approach IMO the city should be making the NBA come to them.  Large scale sporting events in the area have nosedived since Bob Walsh left the sport marketing scene.  The Kingdome may be gone but the city can still host NCAA basketball semifinal games.  Go after the Pac-12 tournament.  Revive the Emerald City Bowl.  Host large scale competitions for swimming, figure skating, boxing, golf, tennis.  Go after NASCAR.  Make a bid for the Olympics or World Cup even if there’s little chance for it.  Or even the Pro Bowl or (gasp) the NBA All Star Game.  And then get networks to broadcast them nationally.  Make the NBA realize the mistake in moving the Sonics from the 12 largest media market in the nation into the 44th and do that by making Seattle more of a national, or even international, sports hub than it is now.

    I’m not sure the city should break ground on an arena until there’s a commitment from either the NBA or NHL though.  Kansas City has both the 19,500 seat Kemper Arena and the 19,000 seat Sprint Center which opened as recently as 2007 and the NBA has barely sniffed at them.  They also left the 19,000 seat then GM Place Arena (now Rogers Arena) and Vancouver BC for the 49th ranked market in Memphis.  With that kind of business sense Seattle officials should be very sure of what they’re dealing with.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NC2F6WTDPHDPIH2BUFNCWCUGSE Mark

      In repsonse to your last paragraph per the proposed MOU (memorendum of understanding) Seattle has to have secured an NBA franchise before Hansen builds an arena in SODO.

      • Artthiel

         Correct Mark. That’s why Hansen wants to process to move faster, so that a commitment is there when the Kings ownership says yes to the right price.

    • Artthiel

       If Seattle had an arena ready, it could assume your position of the NBA coming to them, jafabian. They don’t. They have the Key, and would have to use it for three seasons. The only thing McGinn can tell Stern now is that Hansen is committed to fixing the Key temporarily to host the NBA, then break it down so the buildling still functions, but is noncompetitive with the new arena. That’s something over which McGinn has some influence. He has little over the city council’s decision, none over county. 

  • jafabian

    Ugh.  That had to have gone to Stern’s head, having the mayor of Seattle go all the way to his ivory tower in NYC to lobby for the honor of having an NBA franchise. 

    Rather than that approach IMO the city should be making the NBA come to them.  Large scale sporting events in the area have nosedived since Bob Walsh left the sport marketing scene.  The Kingdome may be gone but the city can still host NCAA basketball semifinal games.  Go after the Pac-12 tournament.  Revive the Emerald City Bowl.  Host large scale competitions for swimming, figure skating, boxing, golf, tennis.  Go after NASCAR.  Make a bid for the Olympics or World Cup even if there’s little chance for it.  Or even the Pro Bowl or (gasp) the NBA All Star Game.  And then get networks to broadcast them nationally.  Make the NBA realize the mistake in moving the Sonics from the 12 largest media market in the nation into the 44th and do that by making Seattle more of a national, or even international, sports hub than it is now.

    I’m not sure the city should break ground on an arena until there’s a commitment from either the NBA or NHL though.  Kansas City has both the 19,500 seat Kemper Arena and the 19,000 seat Sprint Center which opened as recently as 2007 and the NBA has barely sniffed at them.  They also left the 19,000 seat then GM Place Arena (now Rogers Arena) and Vancouver BC for the 49th ranked market in Memphis.  With that kind of business sense Seattle officials should be very sure of what they’re dealing with.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NC2F6WTDPHDPIH2BUFNCWCUGSE Mark

      In repsonse to your last paragraph per the proposed MOU (memorendum of understanding) Seattle has to have secured an NBA franchise before Hansen builds an arena in SODO.

      • Artthiel

         Correct Mark. That’s why Hansen wants to process to move faster, so that a commitment is there when the Kings ownership says yes to the right price.

    • Artthiel

       If Seattle had an arena ready, it could assume your position of the NBA coming to them, jafabian. They don’t. They have the Key, and would have to use it for three seasons. The only thing McGinn can tell Stern now is that Hansen is committed to fixing the Key temporarily to host the NBA, then break it down so the buildling still functions, but is noncompetitive with the new arena. That’s something over which McGinn has some influence. He has little over the city council’s decision, none over county. 

  • Lou Novikoff

    McGinn confirms once again that he just does not get it.  Stern is the NBA commissioner but he does not own any franchises.  To get a new NBA team, a Seattle-based group will have to purchase it from a present owner. 

    Stern has known all along that Seattle had long supported and wanted to keep an NBA team.  But that made no difference to him when he worked with Schultz and the OKC group to rush the franchise out of town when the city refused to bend to ultimatums that it offer new subsidies.

    McGinn and Seattle NBA fans must face the reality that Stern and the NBA in general lack integrity.
    If a group with money wants to buy a team from a present owner, and move it here, that is fine.
    Until that time there is college basketball to watch.  And you can always catch the NBA on the tube.
    In meantime, groveling before Stern gets Seattle nowhere.  The guy is an untrustworthy creep.
     

    • Artthiel

       Lou, I get your point, but there are special circumstances where Stern has influence, such as warning the Maloofs in private that if they don’t sell the Kings, the NBA will make life miserable for them. You’re right that any transaction has to be between Hansen and current owners, but Stern has the kingmaker’s ability to encourge a yes or no vote. Owners aren’t going to do due diligence on other transactions.

  • Lou Novikoff

    McGinn confirms once again that he just does not get it.  Stern is the NBA commissioner but he does not own any franchises.  To get a new NBA team, a Seattle-based group will have to purchase it from a present owner. 

    Stern has known all along that Seattle had long supported and wanted to keep an NBA team.  But that made no difference to him when he worked with Schultz and the OKC group to rush the franchise out of town when the city refused to bend to ultimatums that it offer new subsidies.

    McGinn and Seattle NBA fans must face the reality that Stern and the NBA in general lack integrity.
    If a group with money wants to buy a team from a present owner, and move it here, that is fine.
    Until that time there is college basketball to watch.  And you can always catch the NBA on the tube.
    In meantime, groveling before Stern gets Seattle nowhere.  The guy is an untrustworthy creep.
     

    • Artthiel

       Lou, I get your point, but there are special circumstances where Stern has influence, such as warning the Maloofs in private that if they don’t sell the Kings, the NBA will make life miserable for them. You’re right that any transaction has to be between Hansen and current owners, but Stern has the kingmaker’s ability to encourge a yes or no vote. Owners aren’t going to do due diligence on other transactions.

  • Tian Biao

    it’s a smart move, because Stern knows which owners are in trouble and might be willing to sell. distasteful, sure, but the whole saga has been ugly from the moment schultz sold the team.

    • Artthiel

      Making acquaintance can’t hurt, but McGinn has a lot of heavy lifting to do on the council. Stern is many things, but an idiot he is not. He’s not going to tell McGinn much, but he will pat him on the head and say come back when you have a deal.

  • Tian Biao

    it’s a smart move, because Stern knows which owners are in trouble and might be willing to sell. distasteful, sure, but the whole saga has been ugly from the moment schultz sold the team.

    • Artthiel

      Making acquaintance can’t hurt, but McGinn has a lot of heavy lifting to do on the council. Stern is many things, but an idiot he is not. He’s not going to tell McGinn much, but he will pat him on the head and say come back when you have a deal.

  • Hammtime

    I wonder if McGinn bent over or got on his knees……On second thought, I don’t want to know.

  • Hammtime

    I wonder if McGinn bent over or got on his knees……On second thought, I don’t want to know.

  • Gary

    I don’t understand why you people are soe eager to get back in bed with these lying, backstabbing thieves. Now you are circling over the carcass of the Kings to the same tune as the OKC carpetbaggers. Go figure, maybe Stern will call us out as wife beaters as well to further rub our noses in it, embarassing!!!

  • Gary

    I don’t understand why you people are soe eager to get back in bed with these lying, backstabbing thieves. Now you are circling over the carcass of the Kings to the same tune as the OKC carpetbaggers. Go figure, maybe Stern will call us out as wife beaters as well to further rub our noses in it, embarassing!!!