Regarding the Tacoma Dome study (TNT, 12-21), the consultants missed a critical point.
The question asked by the consultants to Seattle and King County corporate entities was whether they would support a Tacoma professional team, such as the Tacoma Kings. The question should have been would they support the Seattle Supersonics playing in the Tacoma Dome – a totally different question that would of elicited a totally different response.
The concept is not as far-fetched as you may think. During the renovation of the Key Arena in 1994/95, the Sonics played in the Tacoma Dome and ranked 13th in annual attendance. That’s 13th out of a 41-year history in Seattle.
But why would Tacoma want to be the home of a Seattle franchise?
As stated in the article, it would mean $238 million annually for our local businesses compared to $42 million currently generated by Dome events. Plus, Tacoma already has a leg up on the competition in Seattle, which faces growing opposition for an arena project that is far from becoming a reality.
A remodel of our Dome would cost $295 million compared to $500 million for the proposed new arena in Seattle. That’s a $200 million advantage for Tacoma.
We need to be communicating with the expected new owners of the Seattle NBA team and offer a second and, in my opinion, a much less expensive option. Tacoma needs to think big!
There’s a small city in the upper Midwest. It’s Auburn Hills, Mich., population 25,000 and home to the Detroit Pistons.
(Combs is Tacoma’s former facilities director.)