Jan 8, 2010; Seattle, WA, USA; General view of Qwest Field during the NFC Wild Card playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

How The Return Of The Sonics Will Effect The Seahawks

In the big scheme of things, the entire issue can be summed up in 2 words: It wont. The Mariners* are very worried about the effect the Sonics will have on them, but the Seahawks have nothing to worry about.

In case you’ve missed it, the Sonics are about to do their impression of the Phoenix, the mythical bird who rose from the ashes. A new arena in SoDo just south of Safeco Field is in the early planning stages. A rally was held this past week, and despite only having about 24 hours notice, about 6000 excited people showed up. There is an unstoppable momentum to this thing. Its going to happen.

Is it possible that it might be bad for the Seahawks as some people have suggested? Not from my point of view

Sure there is a limited amount of sports entertainment dollars available in Seattle, but Seahawks games sell out within an hour of the tickets going on sale. The worst case scenario for the Seahawks is that instead of the games selling out in a few minutes, it takes a couple days. There is always a very large number of people who can’t get tickets. Trust me, no matter how popular the Sonics get, Century Link will still be still be sold out on Sundays.

On the other hand, the Seahawks do stand to benefit in the long term after the Sonics return. The new arena will spur a good deal of development in SoDo. A new hotel is currently in the works just to the north of the stadium. New restaurants, bars and other businesses will spring up around the stadium. This will lead to more stadium related tax revenue for the city and county. This can only help when the stadium needs some updates and minor renovations paid for 15-20 years form how.

In a little more of a short-term, getting the Sonics back can only hep in the recruiting of free agents. Seattle is already thought of as being “South Alaska,” but once the Sonics left the city has lost it’s reputation as being a good sports town. All we have are the Seahawks, the Sounders (but most of the country still doesn’t know what to think about a soccer team being that popular) and the embarrassing  Mariner team. Seattle just isn’t a destination city for players.

An emerging Seahawks team, as well as all of the excitement that will be here surrounding the Sonics revival can begin to change that. A few more years of soccer on the rise in popularity, and with the Sounders leading that charge nationally, can only help as well. While Seattle might never become the premier sports city destination for players like New York and LA are, but we could easily lose our :South Alaska” rep in a few years with a couple breaks.


*The Mariner’s claim that their opposing to the Arena plan that will bring back the Sonics is due to traffic problems, and they aren’t wrong. The traffic in that part of town on game days atrocious. Getting to either Safeco or Century Link can be a nightmare as it is. The construction of the arena needs to be accompanied with tens of millions of dollars in road improvements in the area. The thing is, that’s true even if the arena isn’t built. The entire traffic excuse is just a ruse.

The real reason the Mariners spoke up in opposition to the arena plan is because they’re scared that the Sonics will cut into their profitability. Years of bad baseball and an aura that they aren’t even trying to win led to sagging attendance. The emergence of the Sounders led to another sudden drop in attendance to the point where they seem to set a new record low in every homestand. The M’s are just scared that rebirth of the Sonics will lead to even lower attendance. Perhaps they should fix their own problems and put a decent product on the field, and stop doing things that just continue to alienate their fans even more, like opposing the return of the Sonics has done.

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  • HanleyBonynge

    I couldn’t agree more.  The Mariners were out of their minds to gripe about the return of pro-basketball to Seattle.  They might sell more tickets if they actually cared about performance. They’ve never even been to the World Series.  The best thing about the Mariners is the park they play in.  I can’t stand it when people say sports don’t provide culture to a city.  Kevin Calabro (man do I miss his voice) is a Seattle institution because of sports.  Civic pride is something that you can’t put a price tag on.  As a Seattleite living abroad, I can tell you how much crap gets slung our way.  (People still throw the WTO riots in Seattle’s eye.)  In other words, the Sonics can’t return soon enough. I’ve boycotted Starbucks and the NBA since they left. The Mariners should shut up and enjoy their publicly funded ball park if they aren’t going to be supportive.  And the NBA can’t give Seattle the team it deserves soon enough.

  • Hawkman

     Couldn’t agree with you more, Hanley also. The layover dates that the Sonics and Mariners would cover is not that great. Like you say the roads and Traffic down there needs fixing anyway, it will just be one more reason to accomplish whats needed. The mariners should focus on Replacing at least Armstrong & Lincoln for imcompetence- all these years and nothing to show for it, who else would keep their job that long with that kind of record.
    AS for the NBA , haven’t watched a whole game ( bits and pieces in channel changing) since the Sonics left. Best thing that could happen (besides getting a team back) is Stern quiting or getting ousted – either would be great.

  • ricefield

    The Mariners don’t have to worry about losing profitability, all they have to do is continue to have a lineup where most of the hitters bat under .250 and Safeco will become a ghost town.  Even though Safeco is a great ball park it isn’t enough for the fans to keep coming.  Bavasi  destroyed the franchise with his poor free agent signings and poor drafting.   We can only hope that we have traffic problems because people are going to Mariner, Seahawks, Sounders, and Sonics games.  By the way, The Seattle Times suck.

  • Hawkman

     I hear you about the Times. I used to get the PI, tried the Times and then just quit. There whole paper isn’t near as good as what the PI was!

  • ctubbs70

    Hey – those of us in Alaska love our Seattle teams.  To us, being referred to as “”South Alaska” is not a bad thing (but understand your point).  Lots of people, including me, take 2 or 3 trips to Seattle a year to watch a Seahawks game, a Mariner game (not as much fun as it used to be) and formally a Sonic game.  Never been to s Sounder game, but sounds like it would be fun.

  • HanleyBonynge

     @ctubbs70 Love that Seattle teams are generally supported by Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon (outside of the Blazers).  I have a cousin from the central coast in Oregon that comes up for Mariners games regularly. Definitely demonstrates the draw of Seattle sports and what it means to people.

  • HanleyBonynge

     @ctubbs70 And let’s not forget the occasional Canucks from BC.

  • laxjustin21

    I have a question in regards to getting the tickets. I want to go up on Oct 14th to watch them play the patriots. Do you think that I should wait and buy from the scalpers, or do you think the game will sell out? Even if it sells out, the scalpers should all have extras anyway right? In my experience going to the utah jazz games, I would always buy from scalpers…. any insight?