With the New Orleans Hornets being taken over by the NBA, some commentators are taking the opportunity to beat the drum of returning the NBA to Seattle. Nostalgic as it may seem to harken back to the heydays of the Seattle Supersonics in the 1970’s and 1980’s. However, when the Sonics left Seattle for Oklahoma City in 2008, there were some real problems with professional basketball in Seattle. First, the Seattle Center, where Key Arena and the Space Needle reside, is devoid of the usual perks for fans. There is no parking around the area and the majority of bars are in the tight knit Queen Anne community which requires a substantial walk from there to the Arena. The fan base is passionate and rabid and coming from an area that lost an NHL team despite a rabid fan base, it is really frustrating that sports is now more of business rather than what it truly should be – a diversion for its fans. Ultimately, passionate fans don’t spend enough money to compete with the larger NBA markets that showcase numerous corporations willing to spend thousands of dollars on premium seats every year.
Further, the arena itself is just too small to accommodate an NBA team. The lack of luxury boxes and premium seats in fact demonstrate that the Key Arena was starting to show its age when the Sonics left and the City refused to build another stadium. Ultimately, if professional basketball cannot survive in New Orleans, there are other cities that may be better suited to host an NBA team. Cities such as Kansas City, St. Louis and even Pittsburgh and Las Vegas are better candidates for the Hornets. It’s unfortunate in any event that this had to happen to a wonderful city such as New Orleans, but Seattle does not stand to benefit.
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