Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Dome consultants missed the point

Letter by Mike Combs, Tacoma on Jan. 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm | No Comments »
January 4, 2013 2:21 pm

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.)

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