New details released about Sonics' big move

Monday, April 21st 2008, 6:31 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

New details were released Monday about terms in the Sonics' contract with Oklahoma City. Seattle is not giving up without a fight, however. The city is suing Sonics owners in an attempt to keep the team in Washington until the NBA team's lease runs out in two years.

According to some fans in Seattle, if the city wins that lawsuit, that'll buy them the time they need to be able to work out a deal with the Sonics and keep them in Seattle.

However, with the approval by the Board of Governors on Friday, the lease between Oklahoma City and the Sonics would be binding. According to the lease agreement with Oklahoma City, whether it's this year or in two years, the Sonic's will eventually make the move to the Ford Center.

The only variable in that equation would be the time the move took place, and what the arena would be named. If Oklahoma City gets its cut of the deal, a $409,000 check, the Ford Center could get a new name.

"This is a very fair agreement for Oklahoma City," said Tom Anderson, Oklahoma City special projects manager.

Anderson helped negotiate the lease and said the good news for taxpayers is that, both the naming rights and the rent payments should cover the city's cost of operating the arena.

"So there's not ongoing general fund monies going to subsidize the Ford Center," Anderson said.

Under the lease, SMG will continue to manage the arena, ensuring that the building continues to serve the city's broader entertainment needs.

"We plan to continue bringing as many events as we possibly can, so hopefully, we'd love to have something going on here almost every night, and that may become a reality," said Tim Linville, marketing director of the Ford Center.

The lease also spells out how ticket, suite and concession revenues will break down, and conditions under which the team could break the 15-year lease.

It doesn't, however, spell out ticket prices, but the NBA requires that 500 tickets priced at $10 be sold per game.