I don’t know how realistic any of this is, but if it were to come to pass, I have mixed feelings.
On the positive side, it would be good for the Arena District businesses. Between the Jackets, the Sonics, and the Clippers in a couple of years, not to mention concerts at
PromoWest LifeStyle Communities Pavilion, and the residential buildings going in (that I can’t afford…), the AD would have far fewer slow periods than it does now. And it would add to the city’s “major league” cachet and maybe we’d get a few less catcalls from the peanut gallery. And since the arena’s already built, no big public boondoggles necessary.
On the negative side, I would of course worry about what the NBA would mean for my beloved Jackets (and to a lesser degree the Crew, although their season overlaps much less with the NBA). An NBA team would suck away casual and corporate fans. This city’s bigger than a lot of people think, and it’s growing, but it’s still a fairly small market by big league sports standards, so the money that can be spread around between different teams is limited. It would probably also take away from media coverage of the Jackets, which is already fairly scant and unsophisticated beyond the Dispatch. I could see losing some more of the west coast FSN broadcasts if they conflicted with basketball. So I have real concerns that an NBA team in Columbus could reduce my access to my favorite sport, and even threaten the long-term health of the CBJ.
That’s the pessimistic view. The flip side of this flip side is that it would hopefully force the CBJ organization to get real good real fast, lest they lose most of the fickle Columbus fans to the shiny new team on the block.
This is all pretty speculative at the moment. It’s not even been decided that the Sonics are leaving Seattle. But hopefully the fact that it’s even a glimmer in the mayor’s eye in Columbus should create a sense of urgency down at Front and Nationwide.