Tag Archives: Ballmer

Time To Go Nuclear


Ok – so the relocation committee is going to recommend against the Hansen/Ballmer/Nordstrom (HBN) group moving the Kings upon them purchasing the team?

It’s now time for the good guy to become the bad guy.  If he wants to play the NBA way, I am going to lay out the steps below and possible outcomes from the chain of events.

  • Immediately raise purchase price of controlling interest of the Kings another $120 million dollars.
    • There are theories floating out there that while the HBN offer was more than Sacramento’s in terms of straight up dollars for dollars (then accounting for debts held by the Maloofs that needed to be paid back to the city or something to that effect brought the two offers to basically dead even), it’s now time for Steve Ballmer to open the checkbook again and make the offer basically too good for the Maloofs to refuse.  This would immediately make the offers not even in the same territory.  Other owners will see this and basically can’t refuse someone who wants to pay that much for a franchise. (Not even 100% of a franchise, I might add)
  • Drop the relocation bid, but keep purchase in play.
    • This sounds counter-intuitive, but it is time for some dirty poker.  Keep the land use permit application going, but change it to a large outdoor mall in the footprint of the purchased land.  Draw up the sketches and put them in the press.  It is going to take time to knock down these buildings anyways to clear room, so “work” can technically start.
  • Immediately draw up plans for a $600+ million dollar publicly funded arena in the Railyards location in Sacramento.
    • This is an immediate flash-bang (COD style) right in the middle of Sacramento.  The city is debating the location of the arena in their plan (still) and there are supporters for the downtown Sac site, as well as the railyards which has come up a few times.
    • The dollar amount immediately launches this into the “can’t or won’t” get done territory.  It doesn’t matter, HBN is going through the motions anyways and can recant all of the Sonics arena talk that they have had going so far.  The leaked OKC emails didn’t stop this from happening  so a flagrant website and movement for 2+ years can be easily forgotten in the eyes on the owners.
    • 100% publicly funded – that’s what the owners like, right?
  • Appeal to the state of California for this arena funding, and try to get a state tax to pay for the Sacramento arena.
    • This is such an insane non-starter, but it takes a page out of the Bennett playbook, who went to Olympia with Stern and wonder why they got shot down.  Plus, I am sure LA voters and SF voters would love paying for a stadium for an opposing team.  But hey, they are trying, right?
  • This plays into the first, but since larger investments were made in team acquisition, no private funds from HBN can be used.
    • HBN is already tied up in several real estate deals in the Pacific Northwest, and with the large purchase price of the team, this is the only way that they can stay competitive in the market is to get a publicly funded stadium only.
  • Immediately not honor any progress made by the former competing ownership group with regards to the Sacramento Downtown Arena
    • HBN wants to enter their own agreements, and “explore” other taxable revenue streams that they think are more sustainable than a parking tax.
      • This isn’t true, but it again puts the public at odds with regards to financing and tax revenues to be used.
  • Wait

I think the above is tenable for probably a year.  The Kings will be playing a known lame-duck season in Sactown (at least in the eyes of the fans, but HBN is “trying”) in which attendance drops, team support withers which makes all of the above that much harder to get anything done.  Soon, HBN won’t be able to run their franchise the way they would like and relocation will have to be done to save the franchise.

If you haven’t noticed, this blueprint was used in Seattle in 2008.  Is it fair?  No.  Does Sacramento take it in the ass? Yeah.  Does Seattle/HBN do what they said they wouldn’t?  Yes.

Pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?

Stern, if your meddling is going to block this move, approve expansion.  Now.  Your legacy means so much to you, this is how you save it.

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My Letter to the Seattle City Council & King County Council

The only way that our elected officials know how you feel is to reach out.  Take the time to put together your thoughts and send an email.  Head to sonicsarena.com for how you can show your support.


Dear Mr. Larry Phillips & Seattle City Council,

I wanted to reach out to each of you as members of the Seattle City Council and also Mr. Larry Philips, my county council representative to voice my support of the arena proposal that has been put forth my Mr. Chris Hansen and his group supported by Mr. Steve Ballmer, Mr. Erik Nordstrom and Mr. Peter Nordstrom.

I will not hide my bias, I am a huge Seattle sports fan and also a supporter of bringing back the Sonics and the opportunity for the NHL to come to the Pacific Northwest.

However, I find that this is a bigger opportunity than just an arena & some professional sports teams.  This is an opportunity for unparalleled private investment into our beautiful city that will not only be a source of civic pride, but opportunities for small business to be created and thrive year round.

My main point of reference for this is Pizza Professional, a small, independently owned pizzeria in Pioneer Square.

It’s a place now that I have been going for the last two years, before Seattle Sounders soccer games and before Seattle Seahawks home games.  It started off as a small, unassuming storefront near Occidental Park, providing pizza slices and drinks to those making their way to sporting events at Century Link Field.  Not much to look at, it was a few tables, a big pizza oven and an owner that never forgets a face.

As the Sounders became an instant success, more home dates for a new team along with the Seahawks & Mariners started to create built-in business of patrons that have allowed him to modernize and expand his business, serve more people and become a staple in the community for those who make their way to sports events throughout the year.  Now brimming with customers, “Pizza Pro” continually has a line out of the door, and in empty storefronts across the street, construction has begun on other potential success stories.

Small businesses like this can create jobs for people of all skill levels & ages, and also give those willing to take the calculated risk of starting their own business a great platform & increased chance of success with a virtually year-round traffic flow.

While the arena would be the centerpiece of this deal, the ripples will be felt by all as an area of our city is rejuvenated with new purpose.

This also doesn’t mean that existing industry has to suffer at the expense of this plan.

I am not here to debate the merits of traffic in the SoDo area as it relates to the Port and this arena plan.  I leave the detailed analysis to professionals that have been contracted to study how this proposed arena district can coincide with another catalyst for jobs, the Port of Seattle.  This should not be an either/or proposition – if anything, this is another opportunity to inject dollars, either public or private to infrastructure improvements so that both can take advantage of what our city has to offer – world-class entertainment & quality of life along with a deep-water sea port to drive the import & export industry.

Seattle should continue to strive to expand key assets such as the Sounder train, light rail and KC Metro bus service to efficiently and safely move patrons from all areas of the county to events, and make these viable alternatives for all county residents to take to events.  Seattle should also strive to give the port what it needs to keep high paying jobs that support families throughout the region and keep Seattle as a viable location for container ships & other sea transport.

All options should be on the table for both the port and the arena district, and the promise of improved infrastructure for both industries which only will continue to make Seattle and the surrounding region a more desirable place to live.

This is a moment for King County & the City of Seattle to make an investment in itself for the future, backed by an unprecedented private investment.  As a resident of the city of Seattle and King County, I urge you all to work with Mr. Hansen to make this proposal a reality.


Brad Dobbs

*address redacted*

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