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Monday, September 24, 2007

Seattle suit has a familiar ring

This lawsuit should sound a little familiar to any Minnesotan who roots for the Twins:

Seattle city officials filed a lawsuit today to keep the SuperSonics from leaving town, the Associated Press Reports. The lawsuit filed was a counter move to a the basketball team's attempt to be released from their lease on KeyArena. According to the complaint, "The Sonics promised to 'play all home games ... exclusively"' at the arena at the Seattle Center through Sept. 30, 2010. (Click here for the full AP article.)

Remember a few years back when the Twins were threatening to leave town and the Metrodome filed suit to enforce the team's lease obligation? Arguing for the landlord, Minneapolis attorney Corey Ayling prevailed, preventing the Twins from uprooting. (Minnesota Lawyer selected Ayling an Attorney of the Year in 2002 in recognition of his efforts.) Ultimately, the Twins got the state to pony up for a new stadium, so the team is now here for the long haul.

Every time you see the Twins play, you can thank Ayling. On second thought, they way they have played this season, don't.

1 comment:

ERS said...

The moment I saw that Seattle had filed this lawsuit against Clay Bennett and the Seattle SuperSonics, the first thing I thought of was that lawsuit that you referenced with the Minnesota Twins. The Twins wound up staying in the Twin Cities, but I don’t feel that this is going to be the case with the SuperSonics. There’s now going to be perennial bad blood between the ownership and the fan base, most likely resulting in a significant drop in attendance.

Will the new presence of second overall pick Kevin Durant make a difference? I don’t think so. The city of Seattle feels that it have been misled by the new owners. I don’t think that the new group ever felt that they were going to stay in Seattle, and had always planned on going to Oklahoma City as soon as possible. To do this, they set an impossible date for the city to match in order to agree to a lucrative new arena deal. The city has spent exorbitant amounts of money in the past years building two new stadiums – Safeco Field and Qwest Field – for the Seattle Mariners and Seattle Seahawks respectively.

Like in the case of the Twins, “the Twins got the state to pony up for a new stadium, so the team is now here for the long haul.” There’s no way that this will be the case for the Sonics. In the end, I think Bassett’s group will opt out of their contract as soon as possible because the city of Seattle isn’t ready to pony up even more dough for another professional sports team – especially a losing team like the Sonics. Give it one more year and the Seattle SuperSonics will be the Oklahoma City “insert generic professional sports team name here.” And after that, there’s no chance that a team will move into Seattle. With the lawsuits filed today, within a year, professional basketball in Seattle will be done.