Posts tagged Starbucks
ESPN.com has weighed in with an article that believes Howard Schultz just might have himself a case:
It’s not over till it’s over and Schultz may yet be vindicated and I just might start drinking Starbucks again!
The Chairman of Starbucks got a lot of publicity last week at Starbucks’ stockholders meeting, but in Seattle he is a reviled man for selling the Seattle Supersonics to a group of Oklahoma investors who are planning to move the team.
Google Finance: Starbucks Corporation
Ducking into a Seattle restaurant in a floppy hat and to pick-up a meal to go. Is that what has happened to the man who was a hero when he purchased the team?
Why, Howard, did you secretly negotiate with out-of-towners to sell your team? Your own co-owner offered to buy the team from you and keep it in Seattle.
Oklahoma City and Seattle would seem to have very little common with each other, but now the two cities seem to be engaged in a Civil War of sorts over the Seattle Supersonics basketball team.
I’m not a big NBA Basketball fan I’ll have to admit, but I do have very fond memories of the time 30 years ago when the Seattle Supersonics won the NBA championship. Many of us do in Seattle, and except for the Seattle Storm a couple of years ago, there has never been another athletic championship in this town in modern times.
When Seattle upgraded the Key Arena 10 years ago and Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee bought the team, everything looked promising in this town for basketball fans. In fact, Schultz seemed to be the biggest fan of all, more interested in the game of basketball supposedly than making money off his team.
So it came as a surprise last year when Schultz suddenly sold the team to some outsiders from Oklahoma in a fit of pique. He felt dissed by the Seattle city government when they ignored his request for a new arena. Nobody even knew he wanted to sell the team; it was a fait accompli when it was announced. The new ownership headed by Clay Bennett pretended they wanted to keep the team in Seattle, but not too many people really believed them. It seemed kind of crazy to buy a successful team in the 14th largest market (3.2 million) in the United States with a plan to move it to Oklahoma City, the 45th largest market (1.2 million).
Oklahoma City had hosted the New Orleans basketball team after Katrina, and the local fans turned out enthusiastically for all the games. All of a sudden the city was a player in the basketball business, and Mr. Bennett and other local billionaires got all excited about bringing the NBA to their city.
In Seattle meanwhile, taxpayers were a little burned out after building spanking new state-of-the-art stadiums for the baseball and football teams. Basketball paled in comparison to these much more popular sports, and the city just didn’t feel the need to do the same thing for the Sonics.
Meantime the new owners proceeded to trade all of the high-paid stars on the team, including Ray Allen, as they prepared to move the team. Several alternative venues were proposed for the Sonics, including a generous offer from the Mukilteo Indian tribe, but the new owners weren’t really that interested and soon announced their plans to move.
As is typical in Seattle, at the last minute some new billionaires have come along to save basketball in Seattle. I can’t resist the opportunity to gloat that our Seattle billionaires are much bigger and richer than the Oklahoma City billionaires.
Anyway, I have been following this saga from the other side, too, namely by visiting the website of Oklahoma’s newspaper The Oklahoman, coincidentally owned by the wife of Clay Bennett himself.
It is interesting to see the fight over a basketball team from the other side, and I have also learned a few things about that city somewhere north of Texas. Like for instance, they aren’t really in the middle of a dustbowl. They have rivers and hills. And apparently they have some proud citizens who want to see their city became a major city, like perhaps Seattle.
The most fun I have had is reading the readers’ comments. That’s where the real war is. Predictably the Okies call the people in Seattle whacked out liberals, commies, and all sorts of nasty things, while the Seattleites call their enemies in OKC hillbillies who marry their sisters and all sorts of nasty things. One of the things I learned is that Okies are not hillbillies, really, and the citizens of Oklahoma are big sports fans anxious to have their first major league professional team.
But there is still hope. All the readers agree on one thing. They hate Starbucks. The Okies hate Starbucks for being an effete Seattle business, and the Seattleites hate Starbucks and especially Howard Schultz for selling their team to the other side.
Hey, there is hope for us after all.