14 March 2008
Way back in 2004, before the Hornets left Charlotte never mind that unfortunate business that temporarily drove them out of New Orleans researchers conducted a study of NBA viability in several cities, some with teams, some without. Ted Strueli of the Journal Record picked up on it, with the observation: "They didnít give Oklahoma City much of a shot at success."
Indeed they didn't. The Big Breezy, said the researchers, might draw an average of 11,400 or so, producing revenue on the wrong side of $35 million a year.
It was at that point that Doug Loudenback started laughing. For one thing, the Hornets, during their two-year tenure here, averaged close to 18,000. What's more, a good basketball town like, say, Seattle, they said might average over 19,700 per game. Inasmuch as KeyArena holds 17,098 bodies, this would be a trifle difficult. No wonder Sonics owner Clay Bennett was screaming for a new arena.
Furthermore, a potential Memphis team the Grizzlies had not yet arrived from Vancouver would, say the researchers, seriously outdraw the Dallas Mavericks, which didn't even come close to happening. And inasmuch as both the Clippers and the Lakers are based at Los Angeles' Staples Center, the report projects identical attendance and revenues for the two teams. Given the sheer number of variables involved ... but never mind, you get the idea. As Yogi Berra never said, "Prediction is hard, especially about the future." (Robert Storm Petersen apparently did.)Posted at 6:55 AM to Net Proceeds