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Friday, September 21, 2007

Sonics Want Out of Key Arena Lease

posted by on September 21 at 14:13 PM

Sonics owner Clay Bennett announced today that he’s taking the city to arbitration so the Sonics can get out of their lease at Key Arena.

The lease runs until 2010. Bennett has said the Sonics and Storm will play the 2008 season in Seattle, but if he doesn’t have a new arena deal in place by October 31, he’s going to ask the NBA to allow him to move.

The mayor’s office says they will have a statement later this afternoon.

In the meantime, City Council President Nick Licata released this statement:
“We strongly feel that the Sonics should meet their obligation to stay and play in Seattle at KeyArena. In regard to any legal action, the Seattle City Attorney will be advising us and handling the details.”

What’s kind of funny about this is: Licata has been the lead critic of the lease for years now. (The city has been losing nearly $3 million a year on the bum deal.)

Update, Update:
Mayor Nickels just released this strong statement:

“Seattle and KeyArena have been home to the Sonics — and more recently the Storm — for 40 years. I want that tradition to continue. I am outraged at today’s actions by Sonics’ owner Clay Bennett.

There have always been sensible options available to Mr. Bennett if he wanted to keep the Sonics and Storm at KeyArena. Today’s actions make it clear that has never been his intention.

My door has been open, is open and remains open to Mr. Bennett but he has refused to meet. Typically, people acting in good faith engage in a conversation before seeking arbitration.

My position remains the same: I will do everything in my power to enforce the contract keeping the Sonics and Storm where they belong —in Seattle and in KeyArena.”

RSS icon Comments


It must really suck not getting your way. Poor millionaires.

squish squish, sweetie. :(

Posted by monkey | September 21, 2007 2:16 PM

Just pay off the present value of the lease through 2010 and you're out of the lease. That's simple enough. Anything else is a give away. The Sonics had the Arena refitted for them to the exclusion of (e.g.) the NHL. They should be forced to pay every last penny of the lease that agreed to in order to secure those changes.

Posted by kinaidos | September 21, 2007 2:17 PM

Fine them for terminating the lease early, and kick those bitches out the door.

...Is there really any alternative?

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | September 21, 2007 2:18 PM

Good. Move. Leave. LEAVE! LEAVE!

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 21, 2007 2:21 PM

Let 'em go, provided they pay what they owe.

If I wanted out of my apartment lease, I'd have to pay for breaking that lease. I don't see why the Sonics think they're above that.

Posted by Phelix | September 21, 2007 2:27 PM

The Sonics are like that spoiled brat who squeals and threatens to run away if mommy and daddy don't get him a new play set...

Only in this case, we actually WANT the brat to run away and be raped by hobos.

Memo to Sonics- New stadiums are for WINNERS. Take your shit-fest elsewhere if you don't like it.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | September 21, 2007 2:35 PM

Hi. My name is winning. You might have noticed, I haven't been to any Sonics games lately. If you would like to see them win, pick up a SNES from Pink Godzilla, and purchase a copy of NBA JAM. That's pretty much the only way you're going to see me attend one of their games.

Posted by Winning | September 21, 2007 2:43 PM


"Only in this case, we actually WANT the brat to run away and be raped by hobos."

bwahaha nice touch

Posted by hahah | September 21, 2007 2:43 PM

Wasn't it great when one of the new owners told a newspaper that it was never their intention to keep the team in Seattle?


Posted by and | September 21, 2007 2:45 PM

city gets percentage of luxury seats how does that get factored into lease buyout?

Posted by whatever | September 21, 2007 2:59 PM


"I will do everything in my power to enforce the contract keeping the Sonics and Storm where they belong —in Seattle and in KeyArena"

Posted by seattle98104 | September 21, 2007 3:07 PM



Posted by Mr. Poe | September 21, 2007 3:13 PM

Anybody notice an ad for a contest to win Sonics luxury seats just above the Seattle Times article? I bet they'd be worth, um, pennies...

Posted by magdaddy | September 21, 2007 3:19 PM

until 10/31 to get an Arena deal done?

how transparent can you be?

the NBA ought to make the relocation fees ridiculous. say, $100 million. that plus the lease settlement might slap some sense into that jugheaded okie.

he still needs an arena deal in his POS cowtown.

Posted by maxsolomon | September 21, 2007 3:23 PM

Maybe the Sonics should whine some more in the back east beer?

What a bunch of whiners!

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 21, 2007 3:23 PM

Who needs Bennet and his homophobic buddies. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Posted by crazycatguy | September 21, 2007 3:36 PM

@ 14

I'm pretty sure they already built him one. Still, I doubt the NBA will let the Sonics leave one of the top media markets in the country for... Oklahoma.

Posted by xiu xiu | September 21, 2007 3:55 PM

are we really losing 3 mil a year? would letting them go cause us to lose more or less per year? stay or go, we should do whichever costs less.

Posted by infrequent | September 21, 2007 3:55 PM

"Its time to ENGAGE!"

Posted by Clay Clay | September 21, 2007 4:48 PM

FUCK Clay Bennet in the ass with a rusty nailed two by four! Dumb hick motherfuckers should not be allowed to come into our town and steal our teams...Regardless of what people think the Sonics should stay, and they should stay downtown, fuck Auburn...

Posted by Kevin Durant | September 21, 2007 4:50 PM

As they say in baseball:

"You're OUTTA HERE!"

Buh bye!

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 21, 2007 5:04 PM

Let's not forget who got us into this mess in the first place and deserves 100% of the blame... Howard Schultz..

Posted by Clint Berquist | September 21, 2007 5:41 PM


Howie Starbuck couldn't help it if none of the local richie riches wouldn't step forward to buy the team off of him. And even if there were some hometown deep pockets who were interested in buying the team, they would also demand an arena deal requiring considerable taxpayer subsidies.

Posted by neo-realist | September 21, 2007 6:04 PM

this might be one of those few moments in which it's nice to have a power-obsessed mayor who doesn't like working with others.

Posted by wf | September 21, 2007 6:59 PM

I know you all think I'm some sort of ninny who should be fanning herself in the pantry while you menfolk talk, but I'll say it again, anyway:

I don't care about the Sonics, but I care about the coliseum. That is a cool building. It's as cool as the Orpheum Theatre, or the old Carnegie library, or the Music Hall theatre, or the Frederick & Nelson tearoom, or the IBEW headquarters, or The Outrigger, or a thousand other places that were amazingly cool and should have been saved.

Let the basketball players go, but make them pay. And save our Coliseum.

OK. That's all for now. Someone bring me a glass of ice-cold buttermilk, won't you?

Posted by catalina vel-duray | September 21, 2007 8:39 PM

@2 @3 @4 @5 @10 @18 Two words: "specific performance." You all and Clay Bennett should google it. (Means you can't get out of the contract just by paying money--you actually have to make the team play in Key Arena as the contract specifies.) The money for the lease ain't the point. It's the folks that come to Seattle Center for the games (and then spend their money at Uptown restaurants and on other shit). That's why the City spent $75 million fixing up the Coliseum!

Posted by kk | September 21, 2007 9:28 PM

Hmm, isn't $3mil almost enough to cover the complete rebuild that the Monorail needs so badly?

Posted by MarkyMark | September 23, 2007 3:38 PM

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