Friday, April 18, 2008

The Sonics' New Home: OKC

Soon it will be the Oklahoma City Sonics, or whichever new nickname is given to the Seattle franchise. The Oklahoma House has already approved a tax incentive package and Governor Brad Henry has signed it to law. The next step will be NBA Team owners voting on the relocation request, and it's hard to see why they wouldn't.

According to Seattle PI:

If the team relocates, it will bring 170 jobs with a $74 million payroll to the state, according to House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa. The rebate will be about $4 million a year and $60 million over its 15-year life.

Six weeks ago, Oklahoma City voters approved a sales tax extension to fund $121.6 million in improvements to a downtown arena and build a practice facility, also to lure the team.

Supporters of the rebate plan said the team's relocation would have a $180 million economic impact on the state over 15 years and bring other intangible benefits to the city, which hosted the New Orleans Hornets for two seasons after the team was uprooted from its home arena following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

"This is the perfect example of demand driving supply," said Rep. Tad Jones, R-Claremore. The Hornets regularly drew capacity crowds during the two years they were based in Oklahoma City, encouraging Bennett and his local ownership group to file the relocation request, Jones said.

Now Kevin Durant will become the face of the Oklahoma City franchise. Previously the New Orleans Hornets split their games between OKC and New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina's wrath. Now that the Hornets are back in their rightful home area, giving way for OKC to adopt its own team.

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