The home of the former Quebec Nordiques has now been joined by the city of Seattle in the publicly-financed arena game. City officials are debating whether it makes sense to build a new arena in the hopes of landing an NHL and/or NBA franchise. Not surprisingly, these officials, still smarting from the Seattle Supersonics leaving town back in 2008, are concerned about the risks of using public funds to build an arena just to have the team leave a couple of years later.
It’s a risk that should be taken. NBA or NHL teams in a city, bring millions of dollars in tax revenues and spending to the City. Admittedly, the tax revenue argument is a little nebulous, but establishments will see an increase in revenues. The area seen as a possible landing spot for the new arena would be South of Downtown, which is already zoned to accept arenas. The key will be to have who ever signs the lease at the new arena to have to agree to stiff penalties for breaking the lease early. That would also need to coupled with some tax advantages and other benefits that would make Seattle an attractive alternative for a relocating team.
On the other hand, building arenas for the sake of building arenas is not a city official’s dream. His or her thought would be that a team should be relocated to the city and THEN a new arena is built for the new team. Not the other way around. That being said, I would really like to see Seattle get another NBA franchise. They got the short end of the stick from the Thunder fiasco.