Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Pick Your Poison | Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumor... »

Friday, November 16, 2007

Expropriate the Sonics

posted by on November 16 at 15:43 PM

Sports writer David Zirin argues that the citizens of Seattle should pull a Green Bay Packers on the Sonics and buy them from Clay Bennett.

Municipalization means turning the Sonics into a public utility; call it a kind word for expropriation. Basketball fans should press the state of Washington to sue for the right to buy the team back from Clay and his cronies. They should claim that the SuperSonics and Storm are the intellectual property — the eminent domain — of the people of Seattle, and therefore the city has far more of a claim on the team than the Bennetts of Oklahoma.

Courtesy Ingrid.

RSS icon Comments


Im in! This team is going to be awesome. Theyre going to finish last this year, which means they pick high next year and can get that elusive big man.

Where is AG on this?

Posted by SeMe | November 16, 2007 3:43 PM

fuck that. we dont NEED a basketball team or any sports for that matter.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | November 16, 2007 3:54 PM

Bullshit! When I said to buy the team the whole freaking Slog mocked me as some kind of naif! But now some big shot sports writer says it and suddenly it's cool?

You guys would, like, totally start drinking PBR if some trend setter told you it was hip to drink PBR.

Posted by elenchos | November 16, 2007 3:56 PM

can we use the proceeds to pay for decent mass transit?

Posted by Cale | November 16, 2007 3:57 PM


apparently you haven't been to portland recently. pabst is already hip. that is, if you consider hipsters to be hip.

Posted by Cale | November 16, 2007 4:01 PM

No. No right minded Seattlite will do this. Really, how many Sonics fans are there? Two? Three maybe?

Shit, I ain't paying for this waste of a breath team playing the most boring sport ever.

Posted by seattle98104 | November 16, 2007 4:02 PM

I still think the idea is stupid elenchos whether you suggested it or some sports writer did.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | November 16, 2007 4:02 PM

A group of Seattle investors already approached Bennett with that idea and he rejected it. He doesn't want to sell it. He doesn't want to keep it here. He bought the team for OK.

Posted by monkey | November 16, 2007 4:04 PM

If the city or state declares eminent domain over the team - it doesn't matter whether or not Clay wants to sell.

Posted by Poll Watcher | November 16, 2007 4:33 PM

That makes Portland officially the last place in the country to fall for the "PBR is hip!" notion that has previously destroyed the brains of the entire country.

I think the city should buy the Sonics and THEN move them to Tulsa, and make the players -- none over 5'8" -- wear long pants and collared shirts and those sneakers that light up when you take a step. Who's with me?

Posted by Fnarf | November 16, 2007 4:34 PM

This is the only style of Pro Sports ownership that I think makes sense in the future of Pro Sports. It's the only thing that I think can combat the feeling that teams have no basis, anymore, in the town in which they exist.

I'd buy a small amount of stock in public-owned sports teams. Not city-owned, per se, but publicly owned.

Posted by Timothy | November 16, 2007 4:34 PM

When the Sonics go, the worse-than-usual rush hour on Sonics game nights will go with them.

If we want to claim some ownership, how about we tell the Mariners they owe the city an ownership stake for the way Safeco Field was financed.

Posted by lostboy | November 16, 2007 4:38 PM

Well, they -- all these teams -- do owe it to us. The city and the state. A state owned team could play some of it's home games on the road in different parts of Washington. People in Spokane and the tri cities have earned the right to see pro sports play in their towns every once in a while. A lot of good things would happen if the teams were run for the benefit of the people instead of their spoiled owners.

Posted by elenchos | November 16, 2007 4:46 PM

Considering how many of us already put down deposits for Seasons Tickets to the Seattle GR Killers, who needs the Sonics?

It's footy for me, mate!

Besides, so long as we keep the Storm, the formerly named Sonics are OK! Go!

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 16, 2007 5:01 PM

I'm waiting until the end of the Corporate Wars, when Rollerball becomes the national sport...and I can cheer on the Houston team and the best player of the game, Jonathon E...who makes me question the futility of my life and the inevitability of total corporate control.



Posted by pgreyy | November 16, 2007 5:07 PM

Municipalization means turning the Sonics into a public utility; call it a kind word for expropriation. Basketball fans should press the state of Washington to sue for the right to buy the team back from Clay and his cronies.

Maybe Seattle should have tried to buy Boeing, too.

Posted by JMR | November 16, 2007 5:16 PM

The Sonics should get their new arena, but instead of the proceeds going to build another wing on Bennett Manor, the funds would go to rebuilding the city's health care and educational infrastructure.

Zirin assumes that the team is some sort of cash cow, but for many owners the big payoff is the appreciation of the team's value over time. The last ownership group was losing money year-over-year but got it back con gusto when they sold it to Clay.

Posted by JMR | November 16, 2007 5:21 PM

oh, the PI is doing an editorial on this in the weekend paper, by the way.

Ponzi schemes work that way too, JMR.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 16, 2007 5:50 PM

Ponzi schemes work that way too, JMR.

There's already a group of Seattle businessmen (including a former investor from the Schultz group) talking about buying it from Clay. Charles Ponzi would be proud.

Posted by JMR | November 16, 2007 6:02 PM

You're forgetting another benefit of team ownership, one that wouldn't be available to the city: tax writeoff. Businesses that show accounting losses can be very useful. But cities don't pay taxes, so nothing to write off.

Posted by Fnarf | November 16, 2007 6:17 PM

Has anyone ever added up the total economic drag on a city that goes through a hysterical effort to keep each of their pro teams ever 5 or 10 years?

Posted by elenchos | November 16, 2007 7:37 PM

If the gov't takes it by eminent domain the gov't has to pay fair market value for it. Leading to a huge tax increase. Not gonna happen.

Shouldn't happen till we take care of education, health, ped safety, e cars and transportation and few other more important things...

Posted by unPC | November 17, 2007 4:24 PM

I've been making this argument too (and I'm not a sports fan) but no one seems to listen. The city should just buy the team. We fund them anyway- we pay for their phat new arenas and covered fields, we provide special event mass transit, we deal with traffic congestion, etc. Why do cities give so much free stuff to privately held enterprises? People identify with the team- it's "their" team. So let's make it their team for real. And then they won't leave or demand shiny new buildings they don't need.

Posted by grumpypants | November 17, 2007 4:40 PM

the sonics are the red headed stepchild in the Seattle sports family which is about to have another addition...a brand new baby Soccer team! There is no room for Sonic anymore...You will be adopted by Oklahoma city. Go Sounders (or whatever it will be named)

Posted by ... | November 17, 2007 7:57 PM

YAY! now I never have to turn on my tv and see your hideous yellow and green booger jerseys!

Posted by YAY THE SONICS ARE LEAVING! | November 17, 2007 8:00 PM


Your beloved Storm and Seattle's MLS team will be playing duting the same time of year.

Of course the PC types never mention the the violece and hooliganism associated with world soccer that makes the NBA look tame by comparison.

Posted by Sportsfan | November 18, 2007 12:09 PM

I promise to not provoke violence at both games.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 18, 2007 10:53 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).