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

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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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