Friday, March 14, 2008

Is OKC a Viabale NBA Market?

Updated March 14, 2008

New Friday Afternoon ... Sonics Letter of Intent to Okc

First off, I've got to give a shout out to Oklahoma City's Journal Record's Hot Topics blog by Ted Streuli.


There, among other things, Ted reported on communications with the imaginary or real Rob Jones of march4vote.org ... my guess is that Rob Jones never dropped by to have his promised cup of coffee with Ted ... and Ted continues to have excellent posts concerning "hot topics" about Oklahoma City.

One topic/post that grabbed my attention yesterday evening was his Okc Was Barely On The List in which he identifies a study made before the Hornets were here, and even before the Hornets were in New Orleans, as to the authors' economic analysis about how NBA teams might fare in "new" cities, including Oklahoma City and New Orleans. Mr. Steuli linked to excerpts of that study which are relevant to the question posed, above, "Is OKC a Viable NBA Market?"

In that analysis, the authors used various mathematical formulas like the following ... and it all looks so very scientific (as in trust me, it really is scientific, doesn't it) ...


... and reached this summary conclusion shown below ... I've highlighted Seattle, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City, in the graphic below ...


Note, from the above chart, that ...
  • Seattle, a then existing NBA city, projected an average attendance of 19,757. That's interesting, since the presently configured Key Arena has a capacity of 17,072 and is the smallest arena in the NBA.

  • New Orleans, hosting another small NBA arena and before the Hornets relocated there from Charlotte, was projected to have an average attendance of 16,314. As it developed after the Hornets moved from Charlotte to New Orleans, average attendance has been the following to the date of this post:
  • 2002-03: 15,632
  • 2003-04: 14,332
  • 2004-05: 14,221
  • 2007-08: 13,407
  • Oklahoma City, projected in the study to average 11,432, has in fact averaged the following for the Hornets' temporary relocation here:
  • 2005-06: 18,718
  • 2006-07: 17,954
So what does this all mean? It means that:
    (1) "Studied" and/or "scientific" projections, at least by these experts, very badly missed the mark, is/are unreliable and they have no credibility;
    (2) As to Seattle, the experts either didn't know or didn't care about the Key Arena's seating capacity which was more than 2,000 seats above what the arena could actually accommodate;
    (3) As to New Orleans, the "predictions" never made their predicted mark; and
    (4) As to Oklahoma City, these guys didn't know shit from shinola since OKC blew their predictions off of the map ... our average was 18,331, not 11,432.
Sooo ... on March 25, the Relocation Committee will pay us a visit ... see this Oklahoman article:
But the next key date in Oklahoma City's pursuit of an NBA franchise is now March 25, when the relocation committee comes to town to consider the city's assets before making a recommendation to the Board of Governors during league meetings on April 17-18. Stern is expected to join NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Adam Silver, President of League and Basketball Operations Joel Litvin and several others in the league's senior management on the one-day visit.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who was congratulated by Stern via phone Wednesday morning, said Stern was impressed with Tuesday night's results. Oklahoma City residents passed the measure by a 62 percent to 38 percent margin, and Cornett said Stern told him the city's sizable support should impress the NBA.

It's unclear how many owners will be in attendance from the seven-member relocation committee. The committee is made up of the Miami Heat's Mickey Arison, the Los Angeles Lakers' Jerry Buss, the Golden State Warriors' Chris Cohan, the New Jersey Nets' Lewis Katz, the Indiana Pacers' Herb Simon, the Philadelphia 76ers' Ed Snider and the San Antonio Spurs' Peter Holt.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank called the visit to Oklahoma City a standard procedural matter for relocating franchises. Only three NBA franchises have relocated since 1985, the Kansas City Kings to Sacramento, the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis and the Charlotte Hornets to New Orleans. The Kings and Grizzlies received unanimous support by the league owners while owners voted 28-1 in favor of the Hornets' move.

Sonics Chairman Clay Bennett said the group is expected to take a comprehensive tour of the Ford Center and view a thorough presentation of the arena's planned improvements. The relocation committee will also be presented with ideas and concepts of the off-site practice facility and meet with the city's business leaders "to discuss business issues for the franchise," Bennett said.
Devon Energy's new skyscraper announcement can't do any harm!

NEWS FLASH! LETTER OF INTENT!

Just in at Channel 9 News:
SuperSonics owners send city letter of intent
Posted: March 14, 2008 01:33 PM
Updated: March 14, 2008 02:07 PM
By Nathan Altadonna, News9.com

The owners of the Seattle SuperSonics sent Mayor Mick Cornett a letter of intent Friday explaining their plans to move the team to Oklahoma City.

The letter outlines the lease terms and other conditions the city and the team would need to agree on to relocate to Oklahoma City. Read the letter (PDF).

City leaders will host a press conference at 3:30 p.m. Friday to discuss the team's announcement. News9.com will be updated with more information when available.
The content of the letter in html format is here ... or the PDF original but not as easy to read version is here. But, in the meantime, the City Manager has given his blessing to the proposal. Jeff Latzke, AP Sportswriter, calls today's events a "preliminary agreement", probably prematurely since the City Council won't consider the matter for a few days. And, meanwhile, back at the State Capitol Ranch, it appears likely that the State of Oklahoma will approve a tax incentive package for the Sonics to move here.

So, What's It All About, Alphie?

Well, quite frankly, this was Seattle and Washington's game to lose on and after July 2006 when Bennett et al. bought the Sonics, now approaching two years ago, as was said in a much earlier post, Sleeping In Seattle.

Seattle and Washington, despite the very late intervention of some really really rich guys like Microsoft's Steve Ballmer and his associates, and despite the heart-felt herculean efforts of the "Save Our Sonics" organization, complete with airplanes flying banners over the state capitol in Olympia during the throes of genuine last-minute desperation efforts to keep the team, no one that really counts politically cares enough to be bold enough to stand up and take the political risk of doing what is needed to keep the team ... and that includes the Governor, the Legislature's leaders, and, to be most relevantly complete, Seattle governmental leadership, beginning with the Mayor and on down the chain. Lately, it's all turned into a finger-pointing exercise of who failed what and/or who failed who the most, and nothing gets done.

Seattle and, indeed, Washington state, leadership, lacks the "I'll take-the-risk" kind of gumption that Oklahoma City has benefited from since Mayor Ron Norick took a similar plunge in 1993, as have his successors in the 15 years since MAPS I. The result is that the Seattle problem that did exist remains extant today as far as the Sonics remaining in Seattle and/or Washington is concerned. None that mattered politically were ever listening or else they were pointing fingers at someone else in some other region of Washington state.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has done and continues to do everything right, through and including the events of this very day. Why? We know that we want to be an NBA city, even while Seattle slowly ponders the question. Oklahoma City doesn't just ponder, it acts!

That's good by me. All I've got to say about that is, when the NBA Relocation Committee pays us a visit on March 25, give 'em some leis!


We ARE a viable NBA market, and we can and will prove it to the NBA's ultimate satisfaction. We try harder! We know that we have to ... we don't measure up to Seattle's size, "Pacific Rim" status, or TV market, or present "stature" as an American city. Seattle regularly slams the NBA and its sportswriters and many of its citizens malign my town with its/their air of superiority, even as they continue to do nothing but sleep and without ascribing any fault in the matter to themselves. Seattle is schooled well in the art of passing blame just as much as is their well-honed talent for not taking responsibility for the events which have led to this day.

Oklahoma City ... we sure as hell are here and we are proud to tell the world about it and that will continue exponentially as this fine city prospers in its undeniable upward spiral. We are the coming-on-strong American City of the 21st Century, and we say, "Welcome, National Basketball Association, to Oklahoma City!"

2 comments:

Matt said...

I would not read much into the attendance numbers this year for new Orleans. I am a Hornets season ticket holder and have been to almost every home game this season. Since the first of the year attendance is significantly higher, and most of our weekend games have been sellouts.

We even sold out a mid week game a few weeks ago.

The team had a hard time selling full season tickets for this season, because people were unsure about the team. There was a lack of excitement that accompanied them when the came for the first time.

Next year we will see many more full season ticket sales, and that will increase attendance in the first few months of the season, when there are alot of distractions with football and the holidays that keep walk up fans away.

New Orleans is becoming a great NBA market.

Doug Dawg said...

Thanks, Matt. I have certainly noticed that New Orleans paid attendance has picked up lately and I personally hope that it holds. The statistics I mentioned are simply as they stand, at the moment, no slight to New Orleans intended. Either way, attendance figures are what they are.