Friday , Jul , 20 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bennett hopeful for arena solution to avoid moving Sonics

Seattle, WA (Sports Network) – SuperSonics owner Clayton Bennett said on
Thursday he wants to have a solution for a new arena in order to keep the team
in Seattle.

Bennett, who purchased the team and the WNBA’s Storm, issued a call to action
to discuss potential solutions.

“One year ago this week we announced the purchase of the teams,” Bennett said.
“As part of the purchase and sale agreement, we committed to the previous
owners and the NBA that we would work for one year from the close of the
transaction, until October 31, 2007, to secure the development of a successor
venue to KeyArena. In this time we developed what we believed was a pathway to
a successful NBA and WNBA future in the region; a new multi-purpose arena with
the SuperSonics and Storm as lead tenants. We were disappointed with the
results at the Legislature and further disappointed at the lack of progress
since the end of the session. We now invite the leadership of the Seattle area
to reengage on this issue.”

Although Bennett has said he is working toward keeping the Sonics in Seattle,
he also informed the Seattle Post-Intelligencer his options to have a team in
Oklahoma City may be better if the team can’t secure a new arena in the
Emerald City.

Bennett said he has asked Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels for a meeting as soon as
possible to try and get a state-of-the-art arena for the Sonics and Storm.

“As the Mayor of Seattle, the home city to the SuperSonics and Storm, we
believe the Mayor is the appropriate person to provide leadership and guidance
on this issue,” Bennett said.

Bennett said he wants city leaders to start up talk again in the arena issue,
but has said in the past that a new facility is needed to maintain the team in
Seattle. KeyArena, owned and operated by the city of Seattle, opened for the
1995-96 season and has a seating capacity of 17,072 for basketball.

“From day one we have maintained that it is our objective and preference to
keep the teams in the market,” Bennett said. “However, this can only be
achieved through the development of a new state of the art multi-purpose arena

“The issue is clear and simple; does the leadership of the region wish to
retain its professional basketball teams? If so, serious productive
discussions must commence at once. If not, as owners we must consider all of
our options in regaining the financial viability of the business.”.

Bennett, who used to be on the board of directors for the San Antonio Spurs,
was active in accommodating the Hornets when they were displaced by Hurricane
Katrina and forced to play in Oklahoma City.