Posted on September 18, 2012 at 9:23 AM
The Hot Stove is already burning.
As the season winds down, the Mariners appear to be ratcheting up their displeasure with the Seattle Arena proposal.
For Nick Deritis, a longtime Mariners fan, it has been tough to watch.
“I don’t think they should come out in opposition,” he said Monday night, as he walked into Safeco Field. The UW student was wearing a Ray Allen Sonics jersey, his way of making a silent, Sonic, protest.
“I think they should cooperate like the Seahawks and Sounders,” he says.
Last week, the Mariners made not one, but two, different statements opposing Chris Hansen’s plan. The hedge fund manager, originally from Seattle, gained City Council Committee approval on Thursday for his SoDo arena plan.
The Mariners - in a letter Thursday - said “we continue to believe that there are other locations that present far fewer scheduling, traffic, and parking complications for the fans who would be attending events at both of our locations.”
That followed a letter earlier in the week - signed by Mariners Executive VP Bart Waldman and three others - suggesting the EIS and SEPA process would be given “lip service”.
So what is behind their opposition? The Mariners would not comment on Monday beyond those statements. The franchise has cited traffic, multiple dates, public financing, and now the environmental impact review.
The franchise says, in publicly filed documents, it had a net operating loss of $7.3 million for the fiscal year ending October 31, 2011, and a has had a cumulative loss of $45.4 million since 1995. The organization has spent $500,000 for traffic mitigation, per public records, on the construction of State Route 519, near Edgar Martinez Way.
Hansen has now agreed to set aside $40 million in his project for traffic mitigation in SoDo. The fund, which would be financed by Seattle and King County, would be repaid by Arena Revenue. The city agreed to finance up to $145 million of the project - instead of $120 million - as a trade off, if Hansen only secures an NBA team for his project.
Popular Sports Blog ‘Deadspin’ theorizes the M’s opposition has more to do with franchise plans for a potential regional sports network, which would be in competition with Hansen, if he were to secure two different franchises for his proposed arena.
Hansen himself, pulled no punches last week, when he said the Mariners have refused to discuss the proposal. “It’s hard to have a dialogue with them if they don’t want to have a dialogue,” Hansen said on Thursday.
“If they start winning they are going to start selling this place out,” says Deritis, as he went into the stadium. “The competition won’t be a big deal because there will be more fans.”