The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds |


Our network sites | Advanced

Sonics Trial Blog

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

RSS feeds Subscribe|Sonics Trial blog home|Sonics blog home

June 19, 2008 2:41 PM

Sonics' witness details expected financial losses

Posted by Percy Allen

MZ Sports President and CEO Mitchell Ziets said the Sonics will suffer considerable financial losses in the next two years if the team is not allowed to break its lease. MZ Sports is a financial advice firm, catering to the sports industry.

Ziets, testifying for the Sonics, says he draws that conclusion from comparing teams in similar situations. He found nine teams that were one-year lame ducks. Those teams are: Los Angeles Rams, LA Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Montreal Expos, Minnesota North Stars, Quebec Nordiques, Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers and Vancouver Grizzlies.

Ziets said the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and NFL's Houston Oilers were two-year lame ducks like the Sonics. In fall 1995, the Oilers signed an agreement to relocate to Nashville. The team moved after the 1996 season and moved to Tennessee in '97.

Ziets said during the two-year lame duck period, the Oilers' ticket revenue declined 40 percent. He estimated the team had a 1994 ticket revenue of $18.1 million. He said in a normal situation (i.e. if the team hadn't announced it was moving) the Oilers should have $20 million in ticket revenue in 1996. The actual 1996 ticket revenue was $11.8 million, a 40 percent decline.

Ziets said the Charlotte Hornets began relocating to New Orleans in 2000. The team moved following the 2001-02 season. Zietz said during the Hornets' lame duck seasons, the team averaged 11,990 fans in 2000-01 and 9,546 in 2001-02. The attendance declined 42 percent.

In his calculations, Ziets said the Sonics are expected to suffer a 40-48 percent decline in tickets. He said concessions follow tickets. He predicted a 30 percent decline in sponsorship revenue and a 50 percent decline in suite revenue. That's a $14 million to $16 million decline in those categories, Ziets said.

Ziets projected the total losses during the lame-duck years between $60.9 million to $64.9 million.

Sonics attorney Paul Taylor closed his questioning and Seattle attorney Jeffrey Johnson began cross-examination.

Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

No comments have been posted to this article.
Recent entries

Jul 2, 08 - 02:01 PM
Godden: Looks like a settlement for Sonics and city

Jul 2, 08 - 11:49 AM
City and the Sonics discussing settlement?

Jul 2, 08 - 06:00 AM
Judge to rule today in Sonics case

Jun 26, 08 - 07:44 PM
Confidential? Let's talk about it: Slade Gorton's NBA meeting

Jun 26, 08 - 07:22 PM
Press conference audio







Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Browse the archives

July 2008

June 2008

Recent stories

Sonics attorneys focus on city's "poisoned well" plan
Bennett says Sonics could lose $60 million if forced to stay in Seattle 2 more years
Sonics CEO: Fans are apathetic
Clay's excuses sound as contrived as his arena plan
On the hot seat: Sonics' attorney trips up Nickels
Attorneys in Sonics case described as tenacious, polite
This judge will decide the fate of the Sonics
Seattle vs. Sonics: Trial starts next week, if there's no settlement
Take a closer look at the Sonics case
More revealing Sonics e-mails emerge
OKC officials inform Schultz they expect Sonics to relocate, no matter who owns team
Sonics e-mail hints at NBA's concern over breach of promise
Howard Schultz suit adds fuel to e-mail fire
NBA owners approve Sonics' move, but legal fight continues in Seattle
E-mails reveal Sonics owners intended to bolt from Seattle
Oklahoma House passes tax package designed to help lure Sonics


2007 "Poisoned Well" document (PDF)
Ward: "Are we doomed to have another lameduck season in Seattle?" (PDF)
Bennett's e-mail to Stern: "You are just one of my favorite people on earth" (PDF)
Clay Bennett and Sonics' court filing (PDF)


Gallery | Seattle SuperSonics: Lasting memories
Gallery | Bittersweet night for Sonics fans
Gallery | Sonics through the years
Gallery | 25th anniversary of Sonics world championship
Gallery | End of a Season, End of a Franchise?
Sports fan "Big Lo" seeks answers from Howard Schultz

Fans weigh in about the state of the Sonics
Cartoon | Schultz jumps into action
Talk about the team in the Sonics forum

Other links

Trial coverage from | Hope (still) springs in Seattle