Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hole in Seattle

The Seattle Supersonics are no more as the NBA club is moving to Oklahoma City effective immediately. After 41 years of operations, Seattle no longer has a professional basketball team.

Now, the fact that the Sonics are toast isn't quite the reason for this post. I'm not much of an NBA fan these days, though I followed the recent playoffs more closely than I had in the last decade or so.

What I'm wondering is what sort of impact, if any, this will have on the Seattle Sounders when they join MLS in 2009. Asking fans of one sport to begin following another sport altogether is not reasonable. For all we know, the Mariners and Seahawks just gained more fans and attention because of the move. But is there any benefits to the Sounders? Will there be more space for the Sounders in the local papers and the local news broadcasts? Or will that be split up between the Mariners, Seahawks and Huskies athletics?

9 comments:

Ethan said...

Or will that be split up between the Mariners, Seahawks and Huskies athletics?

Don't forget the Storm. ;-)

Although, I wonder if the OKC Storm is next. It would be good for us here in Dallas, as OKC is roughly a 2 hour drive. I'd make the trip if the Storm moved there. Not for every game, with gas prices being what they are, but it's closer than the other TX WNBA teams.

Anyway, re: Seattle Sounders coverage, the local outlets would have less of an excuse for not covering the Sounders (too busy with NBA coverage), but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Allen said...

It won't make a difference for the fans, that is, the fanatics. It will make a difference in how people in Seattle spend their entertainment money. There's nothing to say that they just won't see a few more movies each year or go out to eat a few more times. But they could spend it on the Sounders, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Seattle, and although I don't think there will be much crossover from the Sonics crowd to the new Sounders FC crowd, I do think it will help in the less tangible ways you described.

Newspapers will still have column inches to fill and subscriptions to sell, so I would expect more coverage. There's also a chance our fabulous NBA Play-by-play guy, Kevin Colabro, might be freed up to do soccer.

Beax Speax said...

"There's also a chance our fabulous NBA Play-by-play guy, Kevin Colabro, might be freed up to do soccer."

Colabro is excellent. Is he under contract with the team or the radio station? I'd imagine he'd follow the team to OKC.

Anonymous said...

I am outraged by the carpet-bagging moving of the Sonics. As a Portland Trailblazer fan it sickens me. 41 years of fan loyalty is betrayed.

I do not think the Sounders will benefit. Unless you live in the NW, you have no idea how beautiful the summers are. People are out on boats, camping, on islands and if they follow soccer, they will be taking the little ones to tourneys. Summers are short but amazing. The Sounders will draw decent numbers but I don't think it has anything to do with the Supes moving.

UW is pretty much out of season and doesnt cross over until the fall football season. Seahawks pretty much own the town right now. Mariner fans are boring but they draw 30-50K, and I don't think they will turn their Mariner tickets into Sounders season tix, not the geriatric fan base MLS is used to attracting.

As far as the media, I think it will help a little but then again, that is a chicken or egg argument. Does the media influence attendance or the other way around.

I feel bad for Sonic fans. Just my .02 cents.

BBSC

Anonymous said...

the san jose earthquakes/sharks story (in the other direction, the quakes departed late 2005):

from http://www.andrewsstarspage.com/NHL-Business/NHL-attendance.htm
and
http://www.sportsnetwork.com/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=sportsnetwork&page=nhl/teams/142/attendance.aspx?team=142

sharks attendance:
2001-02: 16,994
2002-03: 17,351
2003-04: 15,836
2005-06: 16,831
2006-07: 17,411
2007-08: 17,422

since the 2006-07 was the first NHL season after a summer of no-soccer in the bay area, it's reasonable to compare the 17,400 numbers to the prior years, and it looks like the loss of Quakes, a successful franchise helped the Sharks' attendance... but not by much.

In the present event, the fact that the Sounders will be a new franchise could go both ways -- people might be curious to see the new kids in the block(esp. if they sign Henry as is rumored to be the case), or people might not show up for lack of built up loyalty...

papa bear said...

Everyone I know who loves soccer, usually likes basketball second. (odd them being the 2 most popular games in the world and all; I know :p )

I think the thing the move affects are the fans of both who maybe are basketball first who are torn between going to a Sonics game or going to a Sounders game.

I don't know/think it will result in a 10K shift up in attendance but I don't think an extra 1K is unreasonable and assuming $20/ticket that's not a bad hunk of change extra for the club. (probably about half the payroll over the course of the year in that small bump alone)

Gene said...

As someone who used to watch a lot of NBA basketball in the past, I am shocked that the Sonics had been moved after so many years of being there and developing fan loyalty. I have not been following this story, but I doubt the team had good reasons to move.

One think that MLS may take from this is that moving a team from town to town in search of seemingly quick buck is long-term fulishness b/c fan loyalty is lost.

Travis said...

Kevin Colabro will not be following the team to the dust bowl. He has already stated this months ago.

I believe he'll spend his time broadcasting nationally on either TV or radio.

I'd love to hear him work the Sounders games, but, I wouldn't count on it.