Bennett: Voters make Seattle 'second-tier' consideration for new Sonics arena

Thursday, November 9th 2006, 5:47 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE (AP) Seattle voters' passage of an initiative to restrict public financing for new sports arenas in the city has caught the attention of new SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett.

Bennett says Seattle now has "second-tier status'' in consideration for a potential new arena for the NBA team and its WNBA partners, the Storm.

As of yesterday, voters were overwhelmingly approving Initiative 91, which requires that teams pay fair-market value for new facilities in the city, instead of leaving the overwhelming majority of the costs for taxpayers.

As part of his $350 million purchase of the Sonics, Bennett has a contractual option to move the team after 12 months if parameters are not in place for a new arena in the Puget Sound region. Bennett is a lifelong Oklahoman who is chairman of a financial capital company in Oklahoma City, the city which he has said he wants as a permanent home for an NBA team someday.