Contrary to what Joe Lacob may think, it would be better for the WNBA and for the Sparks if they stayed in L.A. or at least the greater L.A. / Orange County area.
Today I will look at the upside of sending the L.A. Sparks 30 miles south into Orange County and having them call the Honda Center in Anaheim home.
For this exercise to work a few givens must be accepted as fact:
1) It is better for the WNBA and for the Sparks that they stay in the greater L.A. /Orange County Area.
2) Staples Center rent is too cost prohibitive for the Sparks to stay there and a new home must be found.
3) The New Home must be readily available for the Sparks to move into immediately. Preferably as the only sports tenant.
4) Any solution for the Sparks at the Honda Center, would have to include the owner of the Honda Center Henry Samueli.
I already sense apprehension from L.A. Fans, about one of their beloved teams moving into Orange County.
It's twenty years ago and its the Rams all over again.
Daddy.... Make Al Stop make him stop!!
Remember ladies and gentlemen, opening night is about four months away, and Joe Lacob wants to move your beloved Sparks to San Francisco.
So which do you prefer an hour drive or an hour flight to see a basketball game?
As always, please hear me out before you ask for my car keys.
Number One - Henry Samueli
The Multi- Billionaire who owns both the Honda Center and The Anaheim Ducks(NHL).
Under this Scenario, Mr. Samueli buys the Sparks and moves them into his Arena. For those in the league offices concerned about the next owners disposable income Mr. Samueli has plenty of it.
Ordinarily, I would argue you don't need to be a Billionaire to buy a WNBA team.
However, if there is something to the rumors that Paula Madison and her minority owners will be filing lawsuits against each other, over the Sparks, (allegedly) , well Mr. Samueli has the money and power to make any and all problems go away.
Financially, this is what the Sparks need.
A fresh start so they can worry about basketball, and not whether their paychecks will clear. Let Mr. Samueli buy out any former owner or owners and lets move on to a new and even greater chapter of Sparks Basketball.
Number Two - Free Rent
In one of my last posts I argued cheap rent and offices would be very enticing at the Long Beach Arena and it still would be.
What beats cheap rent? Free Rent !!!
All those financial problems related to leasing costs that plagued the Sparks at Staples Center suddenly disappear at the Honda Center under Mr. Samueli.
Why will the Washington Mystics stay where they are regardless of attendance?
Because Ted Leonsis owns the Verizon Center and he owns the Mystics.
For those of you, that have been arguing the new owner of the sparks , if one can be found, should keep the team at Staples, you will be looking over your shoulder forever, because rent at Staples will continue to climb.
Do you really want to be looking over your shoulder for Joe Lacob forever?
At the Honda center with Mr. Samueli in charge, it will always be free.
Number Three - Does he like basketball? or Weren't the Sacramento Kings going to move there two years ago?
Yes they were!
Probably would have happened too if Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento hadn't got involved.
It is a poorly kept Secret that Henry Samueli wants to own a Basketball team and have them play in his arena.
One point that should be made here if you don't already know about arena ownership.
Every night the arena is dark the owner is losing money.
So we must assume that Mr. Samueli wants his arena filled as many nights as possible.
Mr. Samueli would want a WNBA team.
According to the Honda Center Website, he already has nights for concerts, boxing, wrestling, disney on ice, LA Kiss Arena football, and of course the Ducks, and the list goes on. With the WNBA and possibly the NBA there, he would be covered for almost two thirds of the calendar year!
So it doesn't really matter if he loves the game of basketball, it matters that it would be in his best interest to support his own team and the league.
Again just like the other NBA owners and/or Arena Owners already in the WNBA.
Number Four - Yes, the arena is basketball ready and barely twenty years old.
Built in 1993, the Honda Center has hosted high school basketball championships, College Conference basketball tournaments, NCAA tournament basketball games, and NBA preseason games for the Clippers and Lakers. So yes it is Basketball ready, and a great place to watch a game.
For those of you who poo- hooed, the Long Beach Arena, because it was old and grungy, and somehow beneath you, the Honda Center is clearly a first class upgrade, a four star hotel, a restaurant that requires a reservation.
If the Honda Center is not classy enough for you, Basketball is not for you.
Number Five - The Honda Center is readily available.
I am not really sure why but 90% of the events scheduled at the Honda Center on an annual basis happen between Mid September and Memorial Day in May.
I have no idea why. But who cares good for the Sparks! Good for the WNBA!
Orange County is growing with new schools always opening which means more potential customers.
Across the street from Anaheim stadium where the Angels play.
Which by the way has its own train station from LA's Union Station for those LA fans that don't want to drive.
Freeway close right off the 57 at Katella Blvd, also near the 5 interstate and the California 91.
One mile or two from Disneyland Can anyone say cross promotion?
I realize that most of the Anaheim solution depends on Henry Samueli coming on board. However to play in his arena he is going to want to own at least part of the team.
Tell me what you think.
No need to take my keys I'm already home