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2007-11-20

Are the Sonics the new Seattle City Light or Puget Sound Energy?

VINELAND, New Jersey - I've seen the columns of Dave Zirin when they've made their occasional appearances on counterpunch.com over the last few years. Zirin always takes a contemporary sports issue, and writes a column about it that reads like it was written by a Greenwich Village radical, circa 1910. He recently wrote on the potential move of the Seattle Supersonics basketball team to Oklahoma City.


Bennett, a man who has spent less time in Seattle than the sun, has made it clear that unless a deluxe, publicly funded arena is built, he will take "his team" and move it to his home base in Oklahoma City...

Has a columnist not based in Seattle ever written a column about Seattle without mentioning rain, clouds, or coffee?

Without shame, Bennett is holding economic hostage a city with serious education and health care shortfalls.

I'm not sure what shortfalls he's talking about - the main "education shortfall" in Seattle is that there are too many schools and not enough kids, and every school they try to close squeals to high heaven that they're the one school that absolutely cannot be closed.

But Zirin would probably say this about any city - it is core leftist ideology that every city has grave education and health care shortfalls, requiring massive additional taxation to fix.

Stern is siding with a man who has made it his intention from Day 1 to break Seattle's heart by any means necessary. Bennett hasn't acted in bad faith, he has acted in no faith.

That statement about Bennett is true enough; David Stern (the NBA commissioner) is an employee of the owners and must be expected to side with them.

It's time to get serious. It's time to talk municipalization... Municipalization means turning the Sonics into a public utility; call it a kind word for expropriation. Basketball fans should press the state of Washington to sue for the right to buy the team back from Clay and his cronies.

Should cities just try to buy every company that tries to leave? Boeing moved its headquarters from Seattle to Chicago a few years back; should the city have simply tried to buy them?

The Sonics should get their new arena, but instead of the proceeds going to build another wing on Bennett Manor, the funds would go to rebuilding the city's health care and educational infrastructure.

The first hunk of that passage is just run-of-the-mill leftism - someone's making money, and not spending it in a way that is deemed to be noble.

But beyond that - if professional sports teams generated such fantastic revenue that they could "rebuild a city's health care and educational infrastructure", then every city would own several. Zirin has been following sports long enough to know that many teams don't make a whole lot of money every year; the value comes in the appreciation of the team over time. Most professional teams have been sold at handsome profits, even if their annual profit/loss was unimpressive.

The Sonics, in particular, have been bleeding money for years; is that the kind of investment Zirin thinks cities should be making?

1 comments:

Christine said...

David Zirin is just flat out annoying. He starts off talking like the Sonics and the city of Seattle are in a committed relationship. They are not! They are in a money oriented one that can cease at any point. The Sonics are like a hooker on 99. Maybe another will stroll down the road for us and we'll pick her up! Turning the team into a public utility is beyond crazy. I can't even comment further because I would just endlessly make fun of him. He just speaks useless, liberal gibberish. And I live in the real world, not in Fantasyland where 2+2=5...