As Sonics Pack to Leave Town, Seattle Shrugs
Seattle Center at 40: 1962 World’s Fair [pdf]
Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums
Citizens for More Important Things [pdf]
Save our Sonics and Storm
The Seattle Pilots Baseball Team
Back when a certain coffee shop still just had one location in Seattle’s vibrant Pike Place Market, the Seattle Supersonics won the NBA Championship in the early summer of 1979, which brought the city its first (and only) championship in a major sport. Now it appears that the Sonics will be moving away from the Northwest, as voters in that fair city voted ‘yes’ on a proposition last week that effectively ended public subsidies for professional sports teams. The subject of public subsidies for sports teams has been a fractious one for many communities, as economists and public policy types have tended to disagree about the potential economic effects (both immediate and distant) that such massive outlays of capital have on their surrounding areas. Chris Van Dyk, one of the founders of a group that actively worked to pass the initiative remarked that he has little patience for team owners who demand such public subsidies, and noted “Seattle doesn’t have to lure anybody.” A number of groups are still holding out hope that the Sonics will be able to relocate locally, and a few people have suggested that the Sonics make the trip across to Lake Washington to find a new home in the tiny suburb of Bellevue. Should this not happen, it is widely believed that the Sonics will move to Oklahoma City in 2010, per the wishes of the group that purchased the Sonics back in October. While the online message boards offered by a number of concerned citizens (on both sides of the issue) continue to hum along with activity, one post offered this simple statement: “As long as they stay in our State it will be OK.”
The first link will take users to an insightful piece offered by Seattle Times’ staff reporters Bob Young and Jim Brunner that offers ten reasons why Seattle appears poised to lose both the Sonics and the Storm, the WNBA team that also plays their games in the Key Arena. Moving right along, the second link leads to coverage of these recent developments offered in this Monday’s New York Times. The third link will take users to a well-written essay by Dan Johnson that traces the history of the Sonics from 1967 to 2001. The fourth link leads to a multimedia feature that looks back at the legacy of the Seattle World’s Fair of 1962, complete with photographs of the grounds under construction, the Monorail, and the structure that would later become the Key Arena. The fifth link leads to a very useful and influential book written by Roger G. Noll and Andrew Zimbalist that takes a critical look at the economic impact of sports teams and stadiums. Browsing along to the sixth link, users will find themselves at the homepage of the Citizens for More Important Things organization, which was intimately involved in lobbying to pass the initiative that would prohibit future public subsidies for sports teams. The seventh link leads to the homepage of the very dedicated Save our Sonics and Storm group, which is committed to keeping both the Sonics and the Storm in the Pacific Northwest. Finally, the eighth link leads to a homepage that offers up informative and entertaining material on the Seattle Pilots, who came to town in 1969, and decamped the next year to become the Milwaukee Brewers. It would be eight long years before Major League Baseball returned to town, but never again would Seattle know a team that had what appeared to be scrambled eggs on the brim of their player’s hats.