It’s unknown at this point in the game how many more at bats Seattle will get trying to bring an NBA franchise back to town, but right now the Seattle Mariners are working on a shutout against such aspirations.
The same can be said about the Maloofs and the Sacremento Kings.
On Tuesday, the Mariners sent a formal letter — signed by team chairman, Howard Lincoln — to the city of Seattle and King County officials standing against the notion of a new multipurpose arena sharing the same neighborhood as Safeco Field, home to the Mariners.
Lincoln and the Mariners’ concerns: parking issues, event schedule conflicts, and an already congested neighborhood serving as the playground to both Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field — home to the NFL’s Seahawks and MSL’s Sounders.
Forget taking their ball and going home. The Mariners plan to resist the game getting to that point as they oppose the general idea of a proposal to build a new NBA and shared NHL arena in Seattle, or at least in foul distance territory from the two existing stadiums.
We doubt that an arena could succeed financially at this location, given mitigation costs and necessary scheduling limitations,” Lincoln wrote in the letter.
“Without highly restrictive scheduling limitations, traffic gridlock would put all of the area’s teams at risk.”
This news likely isn’t sitting too well with Christopher Hansen, the San Francisco venture capitalist striving to bring basketball back to Seattle. But it’s worth noting: the Mariners, according to Lincoln, are all for bringing an NBA team to town. Just not in the same neighborhood. Lincoln’s suggestion is the suburbs of Seattle or the current area around where the old Key Arena still sits.
As the city of Seattle determines next steps on new arena construction, down in Sacramento the Maloofs, “seem to be looking for every reason not to proceed” with a new arena for the Kings, and Mayor Kevin Johnson accusing team ownership of playing “tactics and antics”.
Not exactly how many thought this story would turn out. The honeymoon is apparently over.
Now questions are arising if the Maloofs are indeed serious about partnering with the city of Sacramento after the Kings said they don’t plan to pay a share of pre-development costs (around $3.2 million) in pre-development costs, for a stadium they won’t have an ownership claim in.
“We as a city can’t be jerked around,” Mayor Johnson said of the situation with the Maloof family.
If Kings fans are getting giddy about the idea of a new downtown arena in Sacramento, those hopes may just be a pipe dream if Joe and Gavin Maloof have it their way. Imagine the city of Sacramento being so close to keeping their NBA franchise after all of the discussion and debates, only to lose them because ownership is unwilling to pay what amounts to pocket change for an NBA owner in pre-development costs.
The belief at one point was, Sacramento’s loss is Seattle’s gain.
But as the disheartening stories from these two stadium situations in Seattle in Sacramento continue to evolve — with the Maloofs and the Mariners throwing their own wrenches in the works — all parties involved could go down looking.