Friday, March 31, 2006

Great column on Pittsburgh's arena situation

Nice column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about Thursday's announcement.

Still, if you believe in the need for the arena and the Penguins in the region, there's reason to be encouraged.

The alternative plan would cost the team $8.5 million up front and $4 million annually over 30 years.

The Penguins would prefer to spend nothing, but if they can afford $25 million for Sergei Gonchar they can afford this.

Rendell's plan takes money away from the Gaming and Tourism fund, so taxpayers are, I suppose, indirectly paying for Pittsburgh's new arena. Whereas, the Penguins/IofC plan is 100% private money.

Still, it looks like a deal will get done.

Is the Penguins plan still the best plan? Perhaps.

Rendell, O'Connor and Onorato insist their plan requires no public money, but there's $7 million a year over 30 years included from the Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund, $210 million, in other words, that could serve the public elsewhere.

An eventual alternative awardee -- Harrah's, for example -- would be responsible for $7.5 million annually over 30 years, a total of $225 million). It would be $290 million in 90 days from Isle of Capri.

Good news for Penguins fans -- Bad news for Kansas City landing an NHL team

I told you Thursday was a big day.

It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins will not relocate to Kansas City or any other city. With Governor Ed Rendell's announcement yesterday, the Pittsburgh Penguins will stay in the Steel City regardless of whether the Penguins/IofC are awarded the slots parlor license.

The Penguins have a great plan for building a new arena in Pittsburgh. The plan involves private money from slots casino revenue funding a new multi-purpose arena in Pittsburgh.

But, what if the Penguins/IofC aren't awarded the slots license.

Now, there is a Plan B and, surprisingly, it's palatable.

Penguins officials react cautiously to Rendell's backup arena plan

Rendell's arena plan hinges on Pens, casinos

The governor's proposal would require annual debt payments of $18.56 million for 30 years. That money would include a voluntary $7.5 million annual contribution from whichever group receives the slots license; $7 million a year from the state new Gaming Economic Development and Tourism fund derived from slots revenue; $2.9 million a year from the Penguins'; and $1.1 million a year from naming rights and food and beverage sales at the arena.

"There is no free lunch, but with reasonable contributions from key players, this arena can be built with no taxpayer dollars," Rendell said.

Really a decent plan. The sports franchise that is the major tennant of the arena pays 17% of the cost of the arena. Relatively low by today's standards, but still seven percentage points higher than what the R's are putting in the Arrowhead/Kaufman renovation project.

And, granted, the other two casino companies have to approved their payments to the arena, but, all-in-all, this is a palatable plan for any municipality. I wish we could get our casinos to kick in some money for new/renovated stadiums.

So, what now?

Well, now another NHL team would have to desire a relocation. I supppose both Penguins plans could fall through, but, it seems, Pittsburgh, Alleghany County and Pennsylvania politicians are willing to find a way to get this done.

With the new CBA and hard $39 million cap, I simply don't see a team being so unprofitable that they would want to move.

I'll be very interested to hear what AEG has up their sleeve.
There is an opportunity to get into the AHL every year. AEG knows the AHL is a good product. They own the Manchester Monarchs, one of the most successful teams in the AHL.

Let's do it. The AHL is great hockey.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pittsburgh arena is hot button political issue in Governor's race -- Portland news, too

What's the latest?

Here's my take.

It's looking bad for KC's chances of luring the Penguins. On March 28, 2006, I say it is 75% the Pens stay and 25% the Pens relocate.

Portland is also in trouble, but I don't think they are going to move, either.

It is really hitting the fan in Pittsburgh.

Pens' allies rip other casino plan

Today, Lynn Swann, potential Republican candidate for Governor, will hold a press conference to endorse the Penguins/IofC proposal for a new multi-purpose arena in the Steel City


Because tomorrow incumbent Governor Ed Rendell will announce his "Plan B" for an arena should the gaming/slots license go to a party other than Penguins/IofC.

Rendell's proposal involved public money. The proposal Swann supports does not.

Swann's handlers are making a very shrewd political move by endorsing the Penguins/IofC plan one day before Rendell's announcement.

Also, it is VERY obvious that Forest City/Harrah's, the group that is the Penguins prime rival fo r the slots casino, padded their numbers to astronomic proportions on their application.

Is there really any way a Pittsburgh slots casino would bring in more than double our Harrah's casino?

How does this effect Kansas City?

Well, it's fairly obvious that Pittsburgh/Alleghany County is going to do whatever it takes to get a new arena. It doesn't look like the Penguins will relocate.

Portland may relocate because Paul Allen has a bad arena deal after his arena management company filed for bankruptcy.

Paul Allen is having discussions with the city over a new lease agreement. The one the Blazers have now doesn't allow for any revenue from the "money making" seats on the lower level and club seats. The lease was restructured when Paul Allen's arena management company filed for bankruptcy.
Allen calls Blazers' discussions with city, mayor 'productive'

But, a Portland columnist is calling Allen's bluff...saying the bondholders flopped a nut straight and hold all the cards.

See how Mr. Allen blows his own bluff

"I believe Allen’s motive is to foster an atmosphere of uncertainty around the team that would panic the bondholders into giving him back the arena at a reduced price. At one point during the Sunday interview, Allen raised the specter of the team moving out of Portland, but when asked to give a scenario that could allow such a move, Allen offered up the possibility of selling the team. Sorry, Paul, that’s covered in the Exclusive Site Agreement you personally signed with the city. You even guaranteed that if you sold the team, the new owners couldn’t move the franchise."

Best alternative is for Allen to sell the Blazers according to former team president

"Once the Rose Garden opened, there were some pretty good years. Then I started noticing changes in the way the Blazers managed their business. These changes were not only reflected in the poor character of many of the players they brought in, but also in how management responded (or didn't respond). "

SEE!!! As I have said all along, it's not the building in which a team plays, but the way it is run that makes it successful. Do you hear that David Glass?

This is why it is ridiculous to blame fans for at teams' failure i.e. the KC Knights, Attack or Outlaws.

"The best solution for all concerned would be for Paul Allen to sell the team to people who understand that owning Portland's only major league team is a privilege. I would imagine any buyer would insist that his purchase is subject to once again aligning the interests of the Blazers and the Rose Garden.

In that case, I would encourage the city and the lenders to work with a new owner and find a solution that can work for all parties. In return, the Portland community should expect a new owner who will be the caretaker of the community's franchise, whose mission is to make Portland proud. If they do that, the financial part will take care of itself. "

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Other cities aren't too small -- Why are we?

I don't understand it. In the Kansas City Star, Randy Covitz says other cities are lining up to take the Royals and Chiefs if the April 4 stadium vote fails. In the article, he writes that it is because the other cities have pending stadium deals, yet ground is not broken on any single one of them.

Others eye KC’s prizes

"So in a mirror image of how Kansas City is monitoring distressed arena situations in the NBA and NHL in hopes of discreetly attracting a basketball or hockey team to the Sprint Center when it opens in 2007, other cities are whispering about the availability of the Royals and Chiefs for new stadiums they have on their drawing boards."

Yet, the public sentiment doesn't seem to be a mirror image. In this article there is no mention of whether these cities are "big enough" to support the team -- only that they want to build a new stadium to lure a team.

The general sentiment in Kansas City is that we can't support an NHL (or NBA) team if one comes here. Unlike other cities "proposed" buildings, we have already broken ground on an arena.

KC -- can't support NHL (or NBA) because we're "not big enough" -- an arena under construction

Other cities -- can support a team because they MIGHT construct an arena -- no mention of "not big enough"

See the problem here? It makes no sense to me. Why won't we be successful with our new building yet other cities will be successful IF they get a new building?

I think it's just the general malaise and pessimism of Kansas City residents. It's sad really.

As always, Randy's article has a factual error showing he didn't take five minutes to 2000 Census data.

"The Portland/Vancouver, Wash., area, with a metropolitan population of about 2.3 million, is the largest community in the country with just one major-league team,"

Portland-Vancouver, according to the 2000 Census is 1.9 million not 2.3 million, which makes it only 91,000 people larger than KC.

Here's a link to a spreadsheet that shows how wrong Randy is.
Metro area size spreadsheet

Riverside-San Bernidino-Ontario is the largest community without a "major league" team. Does that mean that area should have one? Since Portland is the 25th largest community, are they entitled two "major league" teams. What about Buffalo, the 43rd largest metro area? Perhaps they should be stripped of one of their two teams since it is the smallest community with two teams.

And, Randy doesn't mention, at all, the fact that Portland could very well lose the only team that they have (but you know that from reading this blog).

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Thursday, March 30 -- Big Day for KC's NHL future

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will unveil his alternate plan for bringing a new arena to the Pittsburgh area on Thursday.
Gov. Rendell promises to reveal alternate arena plan Thursday
Says proposal will keep Penguins here

As you know, the Penguins have an agreement with Isle of Capri casinos. If Isle of Capri gets the Pittsburgh slots license, the Penguins get a new arena.

If not, they may move.

But, Governor Rendell needs to carry the Pittsburgh vote to win re-election against possible Republican candidate Lynn Swann (yes, that Lynn Swann).

So, Rendell is working very hard to find a way for taxpayers to pay for a new arena.

Could be bad news for KC. Pittsburgh is really the only team in the NHL that is considering relocation.

Mr. Rendell said he believes the plan is good enough to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh even if Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. doesn't win the state license for the city's slot machine casino. Isle of Capri, in partnership with the Penguins, has pledged $290 million toward construction of an arena.

The Penguins, of course, are sticking with their plan.

"No matter what plan anyone comes up with, the Isle of Capri plan is the best one for the region. It provides an arena at no cost to the taxpayers and frees up any other money that otherwise might be targeted for a new arena for other projects," spokesman Tom McMillan said.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Blues sold -- Good news for StL. Bad for KC?

It's official.
Dave Checketts will own the St. Louis Blues.

Blues sold

This is good news for St. Louis, but potentially bad news for Kansas City. Dave Matlin of the MatlinPatterson investment group will now turn his attention to purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins from Mario Lemeiux. If so, the rumor is that Matlin wants to move the Penguins to Las Vegas.

Perhaps AEG can talk Matlin into looking at the Sprint Center.

Or, perhaps the AHL is the best we can do...

Friday, March 17, 2006

NHL to KC -- It won't be the Islanders

Some uninformed fans will say, "What about the Islanders moving to KC. They're last in the NHL in attendance."

Well, aside from the obvious question -- Why would you move a professional sports franchise from the #1 media market to the #30-something media market -- Islanders' owner Charles Wang is committed to staying on Long Island.

Here is the proof.

Isles owner's group chosen to renovate Coliseum

Besides renovating the 36-year-old hockey and basketball arena in Uniondale, the proposal submitted by Islanders owner Charles Wang and his partners -- Long Island developer Reckson & Associates -- calls for a canal lined with retail shops, residential housing, office space, transportation and infrastructure improvements and the construction of a minor-league baseball park.

So, there is absolutely no chance that the Islanders move.

By the way, growing up a Sabres fan, I absolutely HATED the Islanders. Clarke Gilles, Bryan Trottier...and especially Billy Smith. Man, I hated that guy. (When I was 11 or 12, I caught a puck during warm-ups off a Bobby Nystrom deflected shot, so he wasn't so bad.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

NBA or NHL -- more NBA teams looking to relocate

Chris Sheridan of writes about the instability of the NBA.

But the fact remains that the NBA is on the precipice of moving into an era of franchise relocation unlike anything the league has experienced since the 1970s, when four teams -- the Rockets, Kings, Clippers and Jazz -- called in the long-haul moving trucks and three others -- the Nets, Bullets and Warriors -- relocated within their geographical regions.

Remind me again which league is more stable?

The league that just came off a cancelled season with revenue sharing, a $39 million hard cap, a profit sharing agreement between the players’ association and ownership and a solid minor league system which develops players at both a AAA (the AHL) and AA (ECHL) level.


The league with a soft-cap, an age requirement which borders on racism, virtually no minor league system, which relies on the NCAA to “develop” its players and may have up to 20% of the league’s franchises “either openly seeking to relocate or actively discussing the possibility of setting up shop in new cities.”

The list could grow by one more if Herb Kohl sells the Bucks to someone that wants to relocate them.

Six NBA franchises might be moving to a city near you

You need to be an ESPN Insider to read the article.

The article starts out rather blustery with teams moving all over the place and ends rather weakly with Sheridan predicting that only the Kings move – to either Anaheim or Las Vegas.

Sheridan makes the bold prediction that the Nets will move to a new arena in Brooklyn. No great revelation there. I don’t work in the media or even follow the NBA very closely and I can tell you that the Nets will move. It just makes good business sense. The Meadowlands is not a place to attract or develop a loyal, rabid fan base.

The Devils are leaving The Meadowlands for a new arena in downtown Newark.

The Nets will move, too and develop a terrific fan base right in the city. Ratner will be a hero for moving a professional sports franchise back to Brooklyn.

How does this relate to Kansas City? Well, Mr. Sheridan doesn't think a team will move here. I think either a NHL or NBA team will make Kansas City home within the next 3 years.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pittsburgh -- Rendell's hot seat

A couple good articles from Pennsylvania papers paint the picture of what is going on now that we are getting closer to the end of the Penguins season and the end of their lease.

Rendell expects hockey arena deal

This makes it sound like something will get done in Pittsburgh, regardless of the arena vote.

I’ll say it again, this is simply a move to put the blame on the Penguins new ownership if the team moves. The governor can say, “We tried to find a solution, but the Penguins wouldn’t negotiate with us…it was the arena deal or nothing.”

However, read this article in the Philly Inquirer, Rendell’s hometown paper. Remember, Rendell was Philadelphia’s mayor and has been called, “Governor of Philadelphia”.

(see, it isn’t just KCMo people that fight with cities on the other side of states)

A city that takes sports seriously presses Rendell for a new arena

Fair or not, it is a sentiment echoed in pockets across the city as the question of how - and whether - a new hockey arena should be financed festers without a solution. It has the potential to hurt Rendell on Election Day. And some analysts say that losing Pittsburgh could translate into a statewide loss for him.

There it is.

That is the first time I’ve seen it in writing. Rendell needs to win Pittsburgh to win re-election. Therefore, his ridiculous, disingenuous promises to Penguins fans that he will come up with a “Plan B” seem more and more transparent.

The guy wants to win an election, not find a solution for Pittsburgh’s arena problem.

And, other Rendell supporters add, the governor has delivered some major wins to Pittsburgh, including helping the city get its troubled finances in order, and sending millions of dollars to its distressed transit system and to clean up brownfields and repair infrastructure at the city's airport.

And yet, Rendell wants to come up with a “Plan B” that involves taxpayer and public money for a new arena which could put Pittsburgh’s finances right back in the “troubled” category.

I still say whether the Penguins stay in Pittsburgh is a toss-up. It could go either way. However, I'm fairly confident that if they do decide to leave Pittsburgh, they will come here. I don't think the other markets have the clout the comes with AEG operating The Sprint Center.

NHL in KC? Take Dallas -- for example

I just returned to my room at the Hilton Park Cities after attending the Dallas Stars game at American Airlines Center.

This was my third NHL game this season, which is pretty good for a guy who lives in the hockey vacuum of Johnson County, Ks.

After attending tonight’s Stars game, I have come to the realization that anyone that thinks the NHL wouldn’t work in Kansas City has either:

A) Never been to an NHL game
B) Has no background in, experience with or knowledge of marketing, or
C) Suffered blunt trauma to the skull

If Kansas City gets a team (whether it will happen is another discussion for a future blog post…say in about July), the Stars would be a great example to follow.

Dallas is an NHL success story. Granted, it is a huge market. Still, this town has absolutely fallen in love with hockey and the Stars can take a great deal of the credit. Sure, the Stars have put a great product on the ice since their move from Minneapolis, much of that a result of the large market in which they play allowing Tom Hicks to spend big $$ on players. And sure, having one of the great American-born players of all time, Mike Modano, anchoring your franchise helps.

Regardless of those obvious advantages, the Stars were not a guaranteed success. Dallas had no hockey history and a city with a lot of, well, Texans (ugh).

I spend a lot of time in Dallas and I’ve always thought the Stars marketing, promotions and game production were first rate. Remember, a professional sports franchise isn’t selling a sport…it is selling fun. And, the Stars have always done that (and so have the Mavs…well...since Mark Cuban took over).

The Stars have also done a terrific job of being a catalyst to grow the sport of hockey throughout the Metroplex. Currently, the Stars operate seven Dr. Pepper Star Center hockey facilities throughout the Metroplex. What better way to develop your fan base than to give them a place in which to learn and play the game!

I read that in 1995 Dallas-Fort Worth had four high school hockey teams. FOUR. The 2005-06 season has 28 Varsity teams and 43 Junior Varsity teams. Wow!

The Dr. Pepper Star Center in Frisco is host to one of the top Junior ‘A” teams in the country, the Texas Tornado.

The day will come, in the not too distant future, that a kid who grew up in Dallas will play for the Tornado, move on to NCAA hockey and then suit up for the Stars. It will happen. That kid will be a hero in Dallas and will spark even more hockey growth.

This is the type of thing a Kansas City team must do. A complete marketing program that includes selling tickets, promoting the personalities, getting butts in the seats AND GROWING THE SPORT.

Our city has four rinks with five sheets of ice, all in Johnson County except one (not counting the private Carriage Club). None of the operators of those sheets of ice work together. As a matter of fact, they do nothing collaboratively and, it could be argued, their contentious relationship has HURT hockey's growth in Kansas City. One of the great companies in our city, Hallmark Cards, constantly tells their people they want to "Grow the category". They don't care from whom people buy greeting cards, just that they are in the habit of buying them. Hallmark believes, then, with successful marketing they can get MORE of the card buying public to see out their brand.

The people that run the rinks in Kansas City can't see this forest of opportunity through the trees. "Growing the category" is a completely foreign idea to them. They are too busy with their petty arguments to see they're, ultimately, hurting their product.
( off on a rant there...if you want to see more, click the rinks' links on the right...I want to grow the category, so I'm providing all the information you need about hockey rinks and leagues in KC)

To be successful, a relocating NHL franchise will need to help finance the construction and operation of, at least, a couple more rinks. There is currently a giant, gaping hole in the Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, Independence area when it comes to ice rinks. Let’s face it…hockey is an expensive sport to play. However, that area of the KC metro has the demographics to support a rink.

Back to tonight’s game.

What a great atmosphere they have in the AAC. Obviously, it is a great sports venue. On top of that, the Stars’ game production staff is first rate. I can honestly tell you that I enjoyed this game more than the other two games that I attended this year (which were also playoff-caliber teams). The building was sold out…on a Monday.

Those that think KC should host the Big XII tournament every year have not been to Dallas. What they are doing around the AAC is absolutely amazing. From the Terrace, to Victory Park to the ‘W’ Hotel, the area around the AAC is booming. Victory Blvd. creates a great walkway from Dallas’ West End to the arena. Heck, even Dick’s Last Resort, a West End staple, has moved closer to the AAC.

Boy, I hope the addition of the Sprint Center can create half the development the AAC has created in Dallas. I think it will.

Now, you’ve reached the end of my latest opinion on the Dallas Stars, the AAC and hockey in Kansas City. I’d like to qualify this whole blog entry by saying I believe the NBA can work in KC, too.

I think the demographics of our city better suit the NHL, however I’m not one of those that says the NHL will work and the NBA won’t, or vice versa. I believe a good organization, properly marketed will be successful.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Penguins to start shopping for a new city

It's official.

In a meeting with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board, the Penguins President said the team may begin discussions with other cities.

As you know from reading this blog, the Penguins are awaiting a decision from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board about their bid for a slots license in the city, which would fund a new arena to replace Mellon Arena, the oldest in the NHL.

Under terms of their lease, the Penguins can field calls from potential suitors, but cannot initiate discussions. They can initiate discussions beginning June 30.

This is it.

The first major salvo over the hull of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board/Alleghany County ship.

AEG will contact the Penguins on June 30...guaranteed. AEG doesn't contribute $50 million (plus cover cost overruns) for this place for the Kansas City Brigade to be the major tennant (though the Brigade's box office success is impressive...nice job Tyler & crew).

I said last month when I started this blog that this story would break in 8 to 10 months and really heat up this summer. Stay tuned..July and August will be VERY interesting.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Paul Allen -- hated in Portland - loved in Seattle

Would we really want the Portland TrailBlazers to move to KC if they decide to relocate?

This article talks about how villified Paul Allen is in Portland, while he is loved in Seattle.
Paul Allen: Seattle's savior, Portland's problem child
One thing you MUST consider, the TrailBlazers are in trouble, in part, because

The NBA with its inability to control salaries,

This doesn't speak well for medium-sized markets like KC. Whereas, the NHL has a hard salary cap of $39 million (probably $42 next year).

Wrote John Canzano, a columnist for the Oregonian, "Allen's dirty little secret is that he wants to own a basketball operation in Seattle, and he sees a coming opportunity to buy the Sonics, who are also trying to get a new deal with state and local governments."

There were even rumors that Allen would try to move the Blazers to Seattle if the Sonics tried to move to another city.

What do we make of all this?

First of all, the Sonics are under contract to the city of Seattle until 2010. They say they plan to honor their commitment.

Allen, on other hand, seems cooked, left in a stew of his own making, the bevy of botched trades and acquisitions and the bankruptcy that has left him holding an empty bag.

Sounds like a classic Art Modell move. Mismanage your business so badly that in order to recoup your investment, you must move your franchise to another city. Unfortunately, Kansas City would get an owner that doesn't really want a franchise in KC and has managed the one he has so poorly that the team probably wouldn't be successful.

I'm not excited about an owner that committed $100+ million to Darius Miles and Zach Randolph.

KC named top 5 NBA worthy cities

Interesting article
Top 5 NBA worthy cities

The article says Kansas City is the #2 NBA worthy city behind Las Vegas.

Take this article with a grain of salt. It says St. Louis would be a good NBA town.

No, it wouldn't.

It also mentions San Diego, which doesn't have an arena and Vancouver, which the NBA already tried.

I find it interesting that three franchises in the NBA are unhappy with their arenas and looking to relocate. Only one NHL franchise MAY relocate.

So, which league has more stability? Which league has a HARD salary cap making it easier for mid-market cities lik KC to compete?

That would be the NHL.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Clock is ticking for Sonics -- Portland on the list, too

Sorry, I haven't had much time recently to follow what is going on in Seattle.

How does this relate to hockey? If an NBA team decides to relocate, and KC is the place, there will not be an NHL team in the Sprint Center...heck, there may not be an AHL team either.

Clock is ticking for city, Sonics to reach deal

The City and the Sonics need to strike a deal within the next few days for the Washington Legislature to consider a $200 million Key Arena overhaul.

See...a vibrant downtown and a new arena is not a guarantee of success. Seattle has one of the best downtowns of any city in America and a 10-year old arena, yet they are still trying to find a way to make the Seattle Center, the area around the arena which includes the Experience Music Project and the Space Needle, profitable.

The Legislature may extend "visitor taxes", which helped fund the new stadiums for the Seagals and the Mariners.


Stern wants Blazer ownership issue resolved by June

Paul Allen may sell the team.

The Blazers have a convoluted agreement with the Rose Garden, in which the Blazers do not operate the arena or have access to 4,000 of the 20,000 seats in the arena. The revenue from those seats goes to Portland Arena Management, the entity that operates the arena.

So, David Stern is trying to help the Blazers and the Arena Management company come up with an agreement that helps keep the Blazers competitive.

Could the franchise move?

"“I don'’t want to start playing that game,"” Stern said. "“I would say I wouldn'’t rule out circumstances under which the franchise could be moved, although I am planning to dedicate hours and hours of my time and my staff and lawyers’ efforts to ensure in a positive way that doesn't happen. I want to see whether we can't come up with a long-term situation that keeps the Blazers in Oregon and playing at the Rose Garden."”

Of course, there is no mention of the fact that the Blazers are one of the worst run franchises in the NBA. They continue to throw tons of money at unproven players and malcontents.

Good God, if the Blazers moved to KC they would be a hard team for which to root.

If the Blazers left Portland, I would think they'd move to the top of the NHL's list. An NHL team would be the only game in town (like the Bluejackets in Columbus) and Portland has decent history of attendance for the WHL team, the Winterhawks.

Commitment begins at the top with Allen

It's frustrating enough to witness the demise of a franchise that delivered playoff teams for 21 consecutive seasons. But Blazers fans now have more to worry about -- namely the financial future of their beloved team.

Emissaries from owner Paul Allen have been passing the hat with local political leaders, signaling something significant is up regarding the Trail Blazers' future. The team has been bleeding dough ever since Allen's Oregon Arena Corp. declared bankruptcy and the creditors took back the Rose Garden and its revenue engines.

Here's another scathing article of how awful the Blazers have been.

Roses aside, things not pretty in Portland

I love this quote.
Imagine flushing bagfuls of cash down your garbage disposal, then telling the landlord at your posh apartment that a little help is necessary because you’re tired of losing so much money.

If voters in Oregon had gone to the polls and elected to give long-term, expensive deals to players such as Damon Stoudamire, Rasheed Wallace, Theo Ratliff, Derek Anderson, Zach Randolph and Darius Miles; voted to trade Jermaine O’Neal for Dale Davis; or marched on the state capitol to demand Shawn Kemp be added to a team that had just reached Game 7 of the Western Conference finals — then the Blazers might have a legitimate beef.