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Steve Ballmer on bringing the Sonics back to Seattle: It’s a real estate problem

Steve Ballmer on bringing the Sonics back to Seattle: It’s a real estate problemIn a high-energy discuss at the Seattle Rotary Membership Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer lined every thing from Home windows 8 to Kinect to Bing to cloud computing. And, as we previously reported, he even boisterously took on a query about whether or not he’s match to be CEO. However many in the crowd needed to hear Ballmer’s take on one other essential subject: What’s it going to take to get the Seattle Supersonics back in Seattle?

Ballmer is a big basketball fan, and has flirted with the thought of bringing an NBA franchise back to Seattle. (The software program mogul bought $1.3 billion value of Microsoft inventory late final yr, fueling some hypothesis that he is likely to be positioning to purchase a group).

However, primarily based on his remarks Wednesday, don’t maintain your breath for the return of the glory days of the Sonics.

“I feel the challenges there are real estate challenges, actually,” Ballmer stated. “I’m not speaking about the place the location has to be, or anything. However the constructing that’s Key Area wouldn’t have the opportunity to have an NBA group in it that will be aggressive. The straightforward economics are: In case you don’t have a good sufficient constructing, you may’t promote sufficient of the proper sort of tickets at the proper sort of costs. And if you happen to can’t do this, you may’t pay the gamers the proper amount of cash to compete. And if you happen to can’t compete, you may’t fill the seats.”

Ballmer stated Key Area — the former dwelling of the Sonics — is a “fantastic” facility. Nevertheless it isn’t adequate to compete towards what different cities have inbuilt Dallas or Oklahoma Metropolis. He estimated that an area would price $350 million to $500 million to both construct or renovate, and that it might possible take energetic involvement of native and state authorities.

“If somebody can remedy the real estate problem, I’m fairly certain it might be simple to remedy the basketball problem,” Ballmer stated.

He then referred to as on those that labored in the real estate trade to deal with the problem, suggesting that he didn’t essentially need to get engaged in that battle.

“Real estate is a nice space of innovation and invention … for these of you in the real estate enterprise,” he stated to laughs from the crowd. “And when any individual comes up with a resolution, whether or not the guys I used to be concerned with final time or different individuals get entangled, I’m certain we are going to some day wind up with that problem solved and with a basketball group back right here in Seattle. Actually, as a fan, I’d be all-in. You need to get on that problem, I’ll supply to purchase the first season ticket.”

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