Sonics Trial Blog
Seattle Times reporters Percy Allen, Jim Brunner and Danny O'Neil are filing updates from the courthouse throughout the day.
June 19, 2008 7:44 AM
Posted by Jim Brunner
KEY WITNESS: Clay Bennett finished up his time on the witness stand Wednesday. City attorney Paul Lawrence again sought to discredit Bennett's contribution to that $500 million arena he'd proposed in Renton. While Bennett said publicly that owners would kick in $100 million for the project, he privately described the contribution as "negligible." How could $100 million be negligible? Because, as Bennett said in e-mails, the owners' money would not come out of their pockets, but from advertising or ticket surcharges in the new arena. One e-mail even suggested Bennett's group would get "credit" against that amount for their ongoing operating losses. By contrast, Seahawks owner Paul Allen contributed $130 million up front to build Qwest Field.
ADVERTISERS BAIL: Sonics CEO Danny Barth testified that, not surprisingly, potential advertisers at KeyArena are spooked and not signing new deals. With $4.3 million in sponsorship business up for renewal, two large sponsors worth $1.1 million of that have said they won't come back, Barth said. "The main reason was they didn't want to be associated with all the turmoil that is going on, and they also indicated, one of them, that there was what they called 'arena fatigue,' that this has been going on for so long and it was time to get out."
OBJECTION SCORECARD: Advantage Sonics. Judge Marsha Pechman continues to be more impressed with the objections by Sonics' lawyers than those of the city. Brad Keller, the smooth-talking, silver-haired lead attorney for the team, even blocked the city from bringing up the "Save our Sonics" chants at the final game of the season. In one case, Pechman sustained an objection by city attorney Jeffrey Johnson, but she also told him he'd objected on the wrong legal grounds.
UP TODAY: Seattle will call economist Lon Hatimaya, who says the Sonics contribute about $188 million a year to the local economy. Author and avid Sonics fan Sherman Alexie is also expected to testify.
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