SBD/Issue 29/Franchises

Seattle Unveils Tax Diversion Plan To Remodel Arena, Lure NBA

Seattle Unveils Plan To Divert Hotel-Tax
Money To Help Remodel KeyArena
A new plan to "divert a portion of hotel-tax money from the state convention center to a remodel of KeyArena could help Seattle begin pursuing a replacement NBA team as soon as 2010," according to Thiel & Washburn of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER. NBA Commissioner David Stern Thursday said that "'positive' talks have gone on between the league and a potential ownership group headed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who led an ill-fated plan to save the Sonics earlier this year." Seattle Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis said that he is "optimistic that this time around the city's request for state authorization will meet little resistance when the Legislature convenes in January." Ceis: "If we can get our funding package together this session, we can start to work with the Ballmer group on identifying a team for Seattle, but probably not until 2010." A 7% tax on all Seattle hotel bills "long has been dedicated to convention center operations," but the city, "which is still negotiating with the hotel industry and center officials on the proposal, seeks to divert one-tenth of the revenue to Seattle Center and the KeyArena project." Ceis stressed that the city "would not go forward with the remodel until an ownership group secured a team." And Thiel & Washburn note since the NBA "has no current plans to expand domestically, the only option would be to relocate a team from another city" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/24).

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