Trading the fourteenth-largest television market for the forty-fifth is like trading Kevin Garnett for Adam Morrison. But that’s what the owner of the Seattle SuperSonics (No. 14 and 1,782,040 households) and the NBA exactly did with the announcement of the team’s move to Oklahoma City (No. 45 and 676,850 households.) SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett will pay the city $75 million to get out of town, leaving the team’s colors, name, and logo behind.
The SuperSonics and the NBA had been pushing for a new arena in Seattle, replacing KeyArena, which has served as home of the basketball team since 1986 when they moved from the cavernous Kingdome.
Oklahoma City served as host of the New Orleans Hornets from 2005 to 2007 after the team’s home was damaged by Hurricane Katrina (the Hornets used to play in Charlotte until 2002.)
Seattle now joins other abandoned NBA markets like St. Louis (No. 21), San Diego (No. 27), Kansas City (No. 31), and Cincinnati (No. 33). Other markets without NBA teams include Tampa-St. Petersburg (No. 12) and Pittsburgh (No. 22), where a new arena is coming for the NHL’s Penguins.
The Sonics now play in the NBA’s smallest TV and radio market.
Moving to an area where less revenue is available from radio and television deals – yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense. So where’s the next NBA moving van headed to? Is the St. Joesph, Mo. Kings (Market No. 201) not too far off the horizon?