Didja see this? Steve Balmer says he might be interested in buying a basketball team, but Key Arena isn’t good enough for the NBA.
“I think the challenges there are real estate challenges, honestly,” Ballmer said at the Seattle Rotary Club, according to GeekWire.com. “I am not talking about where the location has to be, or anything else. But the building that is [KeyArena] would not be able to have an NBA team in it that would be competitive. The simple economics are: If you don’t have a nice enough building, you can’t sell enough of the right kind of tickets at the right kind of prices. (emphasis mine)
Sell the right kind of tickets at the right kind of prices. That means tickets there’s no way I could afford. Even if my taxes were raised to pay for that stadium. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Excuse me, but didn’t we have an NBA team in the Key Arena until your buddy Paul decided the Kingdome wasn’t good enough? What is it with you two?
Steve, I’ve been to more than a few basketball games in Key Arena. I miss them, to be honest. And I didn’t have courtside seats, I was up in the stands. I can tell you from personal experience, there might be a dozen bad seats in that house, but no more than that. Sure it’s not luxurious, but it was good enough until you sports-team-owning-types started playing Keep Up With The Joneses with each other. (And I mean the whole professional sports world. The luxury stadiums that only those top 2 percenters can afford to visit. Sheesh.)
And, hello! We’re still paying for the last stadiums built in this town. Two of them! And there’s talk they may extend those taxes to pay for convention center and arts programs. I loves me some conventions and arts, but in case you hadn’t noticed, we’re kind of in a crisis right now. The state budget is a mess; legislators had to plug a $5 shortfall by cutting programs to the needy and reducing funding to education programs.
As just one example, University of Washington tuition rates have gone through the roof. In state undergrads will pay $10,574 this year, and out of state students an astounding $27,230. And because out-of-state students bring in so much more money, the University is bringing more of them in, and accepting fewer Washington students. This is a state school. It’s not supposed to cost an arm and a leg, and we should be giving preference to local kids, not kids from other states, because we can charge them more money.
Steve, I’m an artist. I love art programs. I love watching a good basketball game. But we have other, bigger problems. If you want public money to fund your basketball team, you really need to reassess your priorities.