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OneSweetWorld

Supersonics looking for new city

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http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2354674

Basically they can't get the renovations they want on their current venue. As we talked about before with the Pittsburg Pengiuns, is there a chance that Grand Rapids could somehow get this organization to come to GR??

There is 0% chance of any team other then the Orlando Magic moving to Grand Rapids. The only reason the Magic have a shot is because Rich DeVos owns them. Now if Devos moved the Magic to GR, and the Sonics moved to Orlando... :P

I would guess if the Sonics Moved, they would go to Kansas City. Especially since KC failed to get the Penguins to move, getting an NBA franchise would be even better, expecially with the NHL/NBA caliber arena they are building in a new entertainment district.

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Keep in mind the Portland Trailblazers are crying about their lease arrangement (not enough revenue for owner Paul Allen... yeah, THAT Paul Allen) So much as said he's gone if the city doesn't pony up some cash.

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I also don't think this would happen with DeVos owning the Magic. I think DeVos is totally disenfranchised with Orlando as they don't want to build a grand arena. I bet he'd sell the Magic though before moving them to GR...

Joe

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This one isn't gonna happen. Does anyone remember the Hoops? I know a big part of their dissapearence was problems with the league in general but I don't remember people breaking down the doors to get into their games. In order to attain a major league team of any kind a community needs to show that not only can it support its existing minor league team but they need to be absolutely fanatical about it. None of GR's teams I think have that avid of support.

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The NBA or NHL is in a totally different league than the Griffins or Hoops. This is an apples to oranges comparison. People would come from a much larger area to support a professional team than from what we saw with the Hoops. The last few years of the franchise, remember that the CBA had about (and still does) 6 or 7 teams tops- no one had any excitement about seeing those same teams and D1-2-3 washout players 15 times a year- not to mention the Hoops were pretty bad for a few years.

As much as it would be cool to see a pro sports franchise land in GR, it probably just isn't going to happen. I know Van Andel could be expanded, but it would still only seat 15,000 - 16,000 at most. It would take a brand new, larger arena, and unless an arena is somehow in the plans of the mystery development, I just don't see another major arena being built only ten years after Van Andel Arena. Look at most any other professional team's arena- Van Andel would look pretty second-class to the rest of the league. I am a diehard Rampage fan, and even in Arena Football we look second class.

PS- this is a bit off-topic but it is too bad the Rampage are just beginning to emerge from the recent disasterous seasons- Arena Football is growing rapidly and while it's not going to be a "big 4" league, Grand Rapids is very lucky to still have the franchise here. (thanks to our ownership's committment to making GR a big league city)

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No way are we getting NBA. I was just at the United Center in Chicago to see the Bulls and the Pistons. That place is INCREDIBLE. I mean it is just enormous and with the huge video score board in the middle and three rows of screen around the arena... While we could probably pull off building a structure like that or like the Palace, this town just doesn't have the cash to keep it going. We are talking money, money, money, corporations, corporations, corporations, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Fuhggetaboutit. On the other hand, I will concede that it is not entirely outside the realm of possibility that DeVos could bring the Magic here, which decision might be driven by vision as much as realistic number crunching. What would be nice is if he could somehow change the system and get the ticket prices down so more people could go and not just "clients" as corporate write-offs. Probably impossible at this stage though.

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This one isn't gonna happen. Does anyone remember the Hoops? I know a big part of their dissapearence was problems with the league in general but I don't remember people breaking down the doors to get into their games. In order to attain a major league team of any kind a community needs to show that not only can it support its existing minor league team but they need to be absolutely fanatical about it. None of GR's teams I think have that avid of support.

There's really a few things at play here.

GR is primed for an NBA or NHL team. We have the population to potentially support it. There is only one *slight* flaw in what you are stating. A minor-league team does not have the draw because there is no star power driving the crowds. Even a few years ago, a regularly empty Comerica Park draws Tiger fans to see the Yankees or Red Sox -- knowing the Tigers were gonna get spanked bad!

If the Whitecaps were to be a AAA team, a lot more fans would come out to watch a game with Pudge rehabbing an injured knee. Look how well the Griffs drew during the NHL strike and big names played, or when Manny was rehabbing.

But you're correct, and additionally standing in the way:

TV market size. TV drives major-league teams. This is serious revenue for team owners. The GR market is a weird market. The broadcast media market is defined with K'zoo and Battle Creek. While this is a good chunk, it's not enough, especially given that GR would be the distant #2 TV market for a major-league team in the state. Say what you will about Detroit, the media market there is as good as any in the US. The established fan base of the Pistons and Red Wings in this (GR) market is too, well, established.

The arena. I may potentially ruffle some feathers here, but let's face it, the VA Arena is not that great of an arena. For crying out loud, it was designed with NO press boxes. The makeshift press area is on the catwalks in the rafters! The concorse is absurdly narrow. The ventalation is horrendous. Sure, there are good things about it. For one, it's there in the first place. We're all proud of the arena because 11 years ago we didn't have it. The accoustics are second-to-none. The lower-level suites are awesome! It's a top grossing venue because of it's location (GR), not because of it's design.

If you build it (a team), they (the fans) will come. But first, a team needs to be interested, which, other than through expansion, ain't gonna happen any time soon. Perhaps with an overhaul of the arena, we could be one and a half steps closer in a two step process.

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^ yeah an overhaul of the arena or a demolished and rebuilt area would NEED to happen.

NFL is out of the question, the whitecaps are firckin single A team they we would probably need to support a AA and AAA team first for a while to prove worthy for baseball. Agreed the only chance of NBA is the magic, I mean if supersonices (a solid team and fanbase in a larger market) are leaving key arena, with many other hotter, hungrier markets out there what makes you think GR has a chance? I think the best chance is NHL, this is MI where besides MN and the NE is probably one of the most popular US places for hockey. The NHL is a major leage but in in the same class of the other 3 sports. With a modified arena there might be just enough corporate and fan support for a team, but then again there are large US and even Canadian cities with no team ( and places like Hartford, Winnipeg, Qebec have lost teams)

I myself am a NFL and NBA fan but I would love to see a prosport team here as lomg as it has some thought and charactor in its name ( the Hoops where so lame but so is the MN Wild and Nashville Preditors )

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Maybe we should think in terms of demographics and the amount of people with good disposable income. Lets not sell ourselves short because our MSA is 700,000 thousand or comparisons of cities with teams.

If I were an investor I would like a market not with just a loyal base but also the folks who have good high paying jobs who can come out to a game more then once a season.

I'm sure there is a potential here and I bet someones already working on it.

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Maybe we should think in terms of demographics and the amount of people with good disposable income. Lets not sell ourselves short because our MSA is 700,000 thousand or comparisons of cities with teams.

If I were an investor I would like a market not with just a loyal base but also the folks who have good high paying jobs who can come out to a game more then once a season.

I'm sure there is a potential here and I bet someones already working on it.

then seattle should be able to support the sonics and why doesnt Indy or houston have an NHL team or LA an NFL Columbus, Cincy, Louisville, Nashville, Hampton raods cnd many more could probably all support NBA teams, but Salt Lake City has 1?

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On demographics or population? Maybe thoes cities have one good demographic but lack on a lot of others.

I would think that a strong middle class, a fan base to minor league teams, a local investor, and a market with a large population would be great for an expansion.

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On demographics or population? Maybe thoes cities have one good demographic but lack on a lot of others.

I would think that a strong middle class, a fan base to minor league teams, a local investor, and a market with a large population would be great for an expansion.

I was thinking demographics as well as being larger populations, they all seem to have large middle classes and larger populations as well as not having market saturation besides maybe nashville and cincy but I would thnik that they could support 3 out of 4 pros

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The markets seem to be largely polarized to Green Bay, Chicago, and Detroit.

But for some reason I wouldn't underestimate a middle-class family having nothing to do on a home game night with some cash to spend. With the economy going strong and people having jobs, the middle-class has quite the time to do stuff now.

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No way are we getting NBA. I was just at the United Center in Chicago to see the Bulls and the Pistons. That place is INCREDIBLE. I mean it is just enormous and with the huge video score board in the middle and three rows of screen around the arena... While we could probably pull off building a structure like that or like the Palace, this town just doesn't have the cash to keep it going. We are talking money, money, money, corporations, corporations, corporations, $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Fuhggetaboutit. On the other hand, I will concede that it is not entirely outside the realm of possibility that DeVos could bring the Magic here, which decision might be driven by vision as much as realistic number crunching. What would be nice is if he could somehow change the system and get the ticket prices down so more people could go and not just "clients" as corporate write-offs. Probably impossible at this stage though.

I hate to say it, but your comparing two arenas to cities that are what, 9, and 15 times the size of GR? plus the Palace and United Center are #1 and #2 in size in the NBA!

And actually a look at TV markets:

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/news2001/...s1thursday.html

If GR became an NBA city, it wouldn't even have the smallest TV market. (Granted, it would be the second smallest)

But GR would also have the smallest arena, even if it expanded to 16K:

http://nbahoopsonline.com/History/Leagues/NBA/Arenas.html

I think GR would have to build a new arena, something in the 18-20K range in capacity. I can't see that happening until VAA is at least 20-30 years old. So about 10-20 years, unless those crazy population projections of doubling growth happen

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I hate to say it, but your comparing two arenas to cities that are what, 9, and 15 times the size of GR? plus the Palace and United Center are #1 and #2 in size in the NBA!

And actually a look at TV markets:

http://www.medialifemagazine.com/news2001/...s1thursday.html

If GR became an NBA city, it wouldn't even have the smallest TV market. (Granted, it would be the second smallest)

But GR would also have the smallest arena, even if it expanded to 16K:

http://nbahoopsonline.com/History/Leagues/NBA/Arenas.html

I think GR would have to build a new arena, something in the 18-20K range in capacity. I can't see that happening until VAA is at least 20-30 years old. So about 10-20 years, unless those crazy population projections of doubling growth happen

I have already thought about this. If the VAA adds seating around the part of the facility that is just one big wall so that it was symmetric to the other side they could have at least 18k which is about the average size for arenas that host professional teams. I also think if there was a team here people would go to watch them.

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Speaking of the NHL, does anyone else find it baffling that Nashville has a team and Grand Rapids doesn't? Nashville's CMSA population is a tad larger than Grand Rapids' (1,470,571 versus 1,306,768) but this covers a much larger area (6,280 square miles versus 4,729 square miles). Not to mention Michigan is much more of a hockey hotbed than Tennessee.

(Furthermore, Nashville has an NFL team, an AFL team, and a Triple-A baseball team. Weird...)

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I'm sure it also has a lot to do with a local investor proud of his/her city and would think a Major league team would get their city out in the open. I'm positive egos also play a role in the process.

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I'd again like to say that I don't want any Major League sports teams here if the tax payers are asked to foot the bill, as they are in most other cities. I'd also like to say that the only sport I'd switch allegiance for is football; I'm a Pistons fan and that isn't going to change, and I don't watch much hockey or baseball. Not that we have any chance, but I'd definitely be a regular if someone brought an NBDL team here though.

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OK, on the NBA front: the GR demo just doesn't cut it...yet. The NBA requires a hip, urban, middle class or better crowd. Detroit and Chicago draw to the larger arenas because they have a significant minority population with ample disposable income. That's not the case here; we have serious race-aligned poverty problems along with a smaller overall minority population.

On the question of why Nashville is so successful drawing professional teams to a similar market, the answer is in the amount of media and media money which exists in Nashville.

And that little gem of information leads to the final point:

I suspect we're about 8-10 years from being able to draw an NBA franchise to GR.

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I have already thought about this. If the VAA adds seating around the part of the facility that is just one big wall so that it was symmetric to the other side they could have at least 18k which is about the average size for arenas that host professional teams. I also think if there was a team here people would go to watch them.

If the arena symetrically filled the bowl in, it would be about 16k seats. although I'm not sure how many floor seats an arena usually has, but I don't think theres enough floor seating to make up 2k

well call me a pooper:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT&T_Center

It seats 18,500 for basketball and 13,000 for ice hockey. The stadium includes 50 luxury suites. Naming rights were paid for by SBC Communications, who merged with AT&T in late 2005.

Maybe those floor/club seats really can add to an arena. VAA now holds just under 11,000 for ice hockey, if it fills in the one side like the other two sides are, maybe it wouldn't be so small anyway.

Also most NBA games have the press on the floor right in between the two benches. And in ice hockey, most of the press is on one side of the arena or another. So its entirely possible that if they filled out the arena, that they would put in a press box in on the other side as well. Also when you consider the cost to get the VAA to NBA/NHL standards was only going to cost 60 million dollars, the Seattle project was going to cost 185 million dollars just to renovate Key Arena.

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Speaking of the NHL, does anyone else find it baffling that Nashville has a team and Grand Rapids doesn't? Nashville's CMSA population is a tad larger than Grand Rapids' (1,470,571 versus 1,306,768) but this covers a much larger area (6,280 square miles versus 4,729 square miles). Not to mention Michigan is much more of a hockey hotbed than Tennessee.

(Furthermore, Nashville has an NFL team, an AFL team, and a Triple-A baseball team. Weird...)

Emporis lists grand rapids metro at 1,130,000. I actually was surprised that it was that high, didn't realize that GR is a serious city, sizewise.

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Emporis lists grand rapids metro at 1,130,000. I actually was surprised that it was that high, didn't realize that GR is a serious city, sizewise.

I'm using July 1, 2004 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, which the metro area at 1,306,768. It's probably around 1,375,000 now.

On a related note, Nielsen says there are 731,630 homes with televisions in the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek Designated Market Area (DMA). This ranks 39th nationally. This is more than a lot of DMAs that have a major league team (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB), including New Orleans, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Green Bay-Appleton. And, it is just a bit under some others, such as San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee.

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On a related note, Nielsen says there are 731,630 homes with televisions in the Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek Designated Market Area (DMA). This ranks 39th nationally. This is more than a lot of DMAs that have a major league team (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB), including New Orleans, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Green Bay-Appleton. And, it is just a bit under some others, such as San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, and Milwaukee.

This is a significant number, but it is very spread out. Our GR-K-BC DMA includes Newaygo county to the north and the state line to the south. Our DMA has five very distinct cities with distinct identities (GR, Muskegon, Holland, K'zoo & Battle Creek). None of these are "twin cities" (Minneapolis-St. Paul) or a Metroplex (Dallas-Ft. Worth).

GR is a distant second place to Detroit in Michigan. Other markets, such as Green Bay (really Milwaukee media driven) or New Orleans or Salt Lake City are the "only games in town" so-to-speak.

San Antonio, Cincinnati and Jacksonville are not distant seconds and can stand on their own. Buffalo is a major exception -- but they are a long-time traditional player in pro sports.

The television market is not enough to support a team (major source of revenue for team owners).

Anybody in West Michigan with a bankroll to finance a major league team and venue could find better investments. Team sports are risky. The VA Arena & Griffins and Old Kent Park (5/3) & Whitecaps are sound investments. The Whitecaps don't even pay player salaries!

Team sports are also ego-driven (I believe Rizzo covered this earlier). But in West Michigan, the bottom line means too much. Even Dan DeVos wouldn't do this if he sees a lot of red ink.

Now if Tom Monaghan decided to give it a go... but he's busy in Florida right now. I mention Managhan mostly because, when the NHL owners are voting for or against a GR team, guess who's casting the first "no" vote.

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