SEATTLE -- This week served as a reminder – that there’s simply nothing better than the civic pride associated with a sports franchise. We felt it in February – and again on NFL Opening Week.
People are in better moods. They’re more friendly, bonding with complete strangers thanks to two simple words: “Go Hawks.” The buzz and the atmosphere in Pioneer Square and around CenturyLink Field on Thursday were incredible, prompting even Sports Illustrated writer Peter King to tweet that in nine straight NFL Kickoff games, “No city’s been more energized than Seattle.”
If all goes well, we’ll feel it again in October with the Mariners, and November with the Sounders.
And to me, it’s another reminder that this city will not be fully saturated, until the NBA and NHL have a home here.
As much as the NHL continues to deny expansion plans, you know Seattle is near the top of the list. And yes, I understand the current negative domino effect: That to get the NHL, we need an arena. And in order to get the arena, we need an NBA team unless the current MOU is amended. And to get an NBA team, we need a franchise to either relocate, or expansion to be approved.
But to all the naysayers – this isn’t the Seattle sports scene that we were bemoaning in 2008. This isn’t the town that Forbes dubbed “The most miserable sports city” as recently as last year.
Maybe Pete Carroll’s optimism has rubbed off – that something good is always around the corner.
In the next few months, we’ll hopefully learn about a new national television deal for the NBA, which could spur expansion talks. And while there aren’t many candidates for relocation – nor would I want to deal with another Sacramento Kings situation – today’s news about the Atlanta Hawks owner selling his majority stake is a reminder that some opportunities pop up when you least expect them.
Chris Hansen’s group remains committed, patient and diligent.
And although it’s a shame Steve Ballmer overspent for the Clippers, when he could have likely bought the Atlanta Hawks and relocated them for half the price, we’re not crying over spilt milk.
In the end, we know this city is primed to embrace their championship teams. I believe we’re ready for more of them.
And given the momentum we now have, now is as good a time as any to rely on blind faith.