SONICS HOPE GLITZY NEW ARENA IS KEY TO THEIR SUCCESS
Seattle's renovated KeyArena was open for media inspection
yesterday, with its debut Thursday night. Bill Knight compares
to other new facilities like GM Place in Vancouver and the Rose
Garden in Portland writing that city leaders in Seattle "are
proud that no taxes are being levied" to pay for the KeyArena at
Seattle Center. But the contribution of the Sonics, upward of
$20M, "still shrinks by comparison with the amounts being
invested by Portland and B.C. franchise-holders." Seattle Center
Dir Virginia Anderson said if the arena had been constructed on
any other site, the total cost would have been $13M or more.
She also said revenue from the facility "will not only pay off
the 20-year bonds but will contribute" $1M a year toward the
"success" of the Seattle Center. Knight reports one element is
"missing": enough seating in a hockey configuration to attract
an NHL team. KeyArena Owner Barry Ackerley, who also owns the
Sonics, insisted the arena "wouldn't create enough revenue to
support two major-league teams, and city leaders agreed. The
result: no place for NHL hockey and a monopoly for the Sonics"
(SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/24). A dozen of the 58 luxury
suites in the arena remain unsold. The unleased suites are
reportedly in the least-expensive price range, $55,000/year for
long-term deals (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 10/24).