Chicago Relocation

Relocation on the Big Stage

February 27, 2013

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John D’Ambrogio

Below are some comments from Baird & Warner’s own Tom Gill.

When it comes to relocation most people do not think “Seattle Supersonics.” Unless of course, you live in Seattle. When the NBA finals drew to a close last June, it seemed the only people rooting for Miami were the people of Florida and Washington.

In 2008, the Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. This came after a long and difficult legal process for both sides involved. In the end, the team was sold for $350 million to Clay Bennett, and it was announced that they would move to Oklahoma City when their stadium lease in Seattle ended.

Relocation’s are viewed differently by people in different situations. For some people, it can be a good transition and a fresh start. For others it might not make as much sense depending on things like cost of living, and family support. In the case of the Supersonics/Thunder, the part of the family that is the fan base, very openly opposed the relocation. Seattle’s mayor Greg Nickels along with the town residence, did not want their team to leave and was intent on making it very difficult for the team to depart. After two years of law suits, protests, and rallying, the people of Seattle could do no more. Their beloved team was heading to Oklahoma.

While I’m sure it was very hard for the people of Seattle, I think the move to OKC was a good one. The team is young and promising, and the fans as well as the nation have embraced them. They are a popular, well constructed core of future NBA stars. I also believe it was financially a beneficial relocation. In the 2007 NBA season, Seattle ranked 28th out of 30 teams in attendance, with an average of 13,355 fans per game. Since the transition, their attendance has increased every year, all the way up to 13th at the end of this past season and averaging 18,203 fans per game in Oklahoma. I expect this to increase even more as this young team gets better and better.

Although the people reminiscing of the Supersonics might disagree, I believe the relocation to OKC was a great move for the team, and the NBA as a whole.
Whether its relocation of a professional team, or a home through a company like Baird & Warner, relocation is always occurring and always around us.