Photo Source: Tri City Herald
May 19, 2012
Economists suggest that there is little evidence suggesting that new sports venues create a positive impact on a city's economy. However, Seattle is choosing to ignore that theory and has finally reached an agreement on a new NBA arena in the SODO section of town. The new arena will cost upwards of $500 million dollars depending upon whether or not an NHL franchise will be in the picture. Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, pictured far right, has a group of investors that will contribute $300 million towards the arena's construction while the city of Seattle will contribute more than $100 million derived from bonds.
The deal has been met with plenty of skeptics, primarily officials associated with Seattle's Port Authority. A new NBA arena with potentially two professional franchises brings heavy traffic to the area. Additional traffic will also welcome the opening of new hotels, restaurants, offices and retail. The ports plan to expand their operations in the future and doubt that the area could sustain the freight and constant transportation of supplies. Adding an NBA arena could threaten the thousands of jobs the Port plans to add in the future.
Let's also not forget that both Safeco and Century Link Field are also in the SODO neighborhood and boast huge audiences as well. The city doesn't see much of a problem with the arena's proximity though, with only eight Seahawks games per season. Additionally, the NBA and MLB seasons end as the other begins their respective season. Wouldn't hotels, restaurants and other businesses create new jobs as well? Why sure. But it's industrial jobs that helped shape and expand many American cities; not retail and hospitality and certainly not professional sports franchises.
The old Key Arena could house the Supersonics II when an NBA franchise is inherited. The most likely possibility is the New Orleans Hornets now that the Sacramento Kings have secured a new NBA arena in Sacramento's city center. The NHL franchise that could land in Seattle is now extremely uncertain; the Phoenix Coyotes were purchased earlier this month by a group of investors headed by Greg Jamison.