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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 19, 2008 9:59 AM

How much do the Sonics help the local economy? Also, Alexie up next

Posted by Percy Allen

To begin his cross-examination, Sonics attorney Paul Taylor challenged economist Lon Hatamiya's claim that if fans don't buy Sonics tickets, then they're likely not to spend those entertainment dollars on other things.

Taylor introduced into evidence an article from a noted economist that refutes Hatamiya's theory. The article says consumers would spend their money on other choices.

Taylor also presented a document prepared by Seattle City Council staff that said sports teams have no impact on local economies. Hatamiya said he was not aware of that report.

The exchange between Taylor and Hatamiya is becoming testy. Hatamiya said Taylor is making assumptions that Hatamiya doesn't agree with. Taylor also has had difficulty introducing evidence because some documents were out of order or the defense was not given a copy.

Taylor says he is having great difficulty believing the Sonics generate $187 million annually. He said that calculation means the team generated a little under $1 billion in the last five years, which is "a very big number." Taylor said the Sonics are a relatively small company and not the size of a company such as Macy's.

Hatamiya testified in the Anaheim Angels trial in 2005, the same case sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. Taylor skewered Zimbalist on Tuesday and is trying to punch holes in Hatamiya's testimony in that case, however, he switched the line of questioning after a few minutes.

Taylor asked if he studied the spending pattern of a professional basketball team and where the money goes. Hatamiya replied: "Only in this instance."

Taylor abruptly closes and Johnson began redirect.

Before leaving the stand, Judge Marsha Pechman asked: "Using your model, does it work no matter what the business is. Does it work for Wal-Mart or Boeing? ... There is nothing unique about the type of business?"

Hatamiya said no.

Author Sherman Alexie is next to testify.

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July 2008

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