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Sonics Trial Blog

Seattle Times reporters Percy Allen, Jim Brunner and Danny O'Neil are filing updates from the courthouse throughout the day.

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June 16, 2008 3:49 PM

Anderson completes testimony

Posted by Percy Allen

Former Seattle Center Director Virginia Anderson said KeyArena had 58 suites and 1,100 club seats, and those were primary source of revenue from the building.

Sonics attorney Paul Taylor noted that revenue at KeyArena declined in 1999 because the number of suites in the Seattle area doubled when Safeco Field was built. Two years, later Qwest Field was built and KeyArena had about 30 percent of the luxury suites in the Seattle market. Taylor also said construction of the Everett Events Center adversely affected KeyArena.

Anderson, who retired in 2006 after 18 years as Seattle Center director, said all revenue streams went down, and not just because of the new stadiums, but also because of the recession and the team was not playing well.

Anderson said: "The deal was based on shared risk. The deal was based on shared investment. ... The deal wasn't based on win or lose. The revenue coming in went down."

Taylor said there was a lot of buzz and excitement when the Sonics began playing at a renovated KeyArena in 1995. He asked Anderson if there was a lot of buzz and excitement around the team now.

She said: "Well there's a lot of buzz right now. There's not a lot of excitement about this trial, though." Her response drew laughs from the media in the auxiliary courtroom.

Taylor said there are 1,100 season ticket holders.

Taylor seemed to flounder late in his questioning. He asked Anderson to comment on the Seattle Center, but the city objected, noting she no longer works there. Judge Marsha Pechman sustained the objection.

Anderson, said 40 percent of an annual revenue to a team can be associated to the playoffs. She said the Sonics could double its revenue if it were successful on the court.

Taylor countered with a 2006 task force report that said even if the Sonics sold ever seat to every game, it would still be $6 million below the NBA average.

Anderson re-countered and said "that doesn't mean the team would lose money." She said also said ticket revenue is "just one component" of overall revenue.

Former KeyArena manager Jyo Singh is now on the witness stand. Singh is the director of commercial facilities and events at Seattle Center. Greg Narver, from the city's legal team, is asking questions.

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July 2008

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