23rd March 2008
Clay Bennett has decided that
While Bennett is playing the part of a petty thief, David Stern and the NBA are driving the getaway car.
In the meantime, his hometown seems more than willing to sell themselves off at any price in order to be “big league.” If you need any more proof that OKC is willing to sell their souls for the NBA, consider this: The Ford Center, the facility built to lure a major league sports franchise, was built for $90 million and opened in 2002.
To date, it has never had a permanent major league sports team tenant. It hosted the New Orleans Hornets after Hurricane Katrina, averaging 18,716 in 2005-06 (36 games) and 17,951 (35 games) in 2006-2007.
Not content with a facility all of 6 years old, and barely used, Oklahoma City fell all over themselves and kicked up an additional $100 million through a general tax to add further improvements to the Ford Center, and build a new training facility for the team that would formerly be called the Sonics, should they arrive in OKC.
If saying that OKC is “falling all over themselves” seems harsh, you have to wonder why a city would fork over the $100 million, when they were in the driver’s seat.
In other words, Bennett and Co. would be in one heck of a bind if they decided to tell OKC to stick it if they didn’t do even more to beg for their love, and move across the country.
Begging is really unbecoming. For anyone that’s been in a lopsided relationship, you know that when you smother and pile on gifts, when you don’t have to, in order to gain acceptance, well… the relationship never is healthy.
As for the NBA, they’re the enablers in all of this. Relocation seems to be part of the landscape with the league, who is now about to sign off on moving a former NBA Champion, that has been part of the league in Seattle since 1967 (Two franchises have already been relocated since 2001 with varying degrees of success – Hornets to New Orleans, Grizzles to Memphis from Vancouver). Seattle-Tacoma is ranked 14th in the country by DMA, according to Arbitron at 3,328,100. Where does
It’s not hard for one to root for Bennett to fail. To be clear, I’m not saying I want
OTHER STORIES I’M WORKING ACROSS THE SPORTS BUSINESS NETWORK
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New Era Reaches Three-Year Deal with Korean Baseball – The Biz of Baseball
Selling the Drama: Red Sox, Collusion, and Barry Bonds – The Biz of Baseball
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.