Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kasim Reed to Thrashers Fans: Nope.

Seems we have to interrupt the Bob Dylan birthday celebrations to type something about Mayor Reed's latest (and probably final) comments on the Thrashers situation:

Speaking to reporters, Reed said: “I think any time we lose a major sports franchise it is tough. It’s going to hurt the city, but we are going to withstand it just fine. We will get through it. We have a lot of positive things going on in the sports franchise space that I think we will be announcing pretty soon that will offset it a bit.”

This isn't surprising. I'm not sure that it's the Mayor's job to rescue the Thrashers at a time when Atlanta is trying to fix its decaying schools and find some sort of answer to the Transportation/Traffic question. And as someone who actually lives in the middle of this wacky city and not beyond the Perimeter (and as someone who voted for the guy), I'm not especially keen on the Mayor shoving aside all his other responsibilities to focus on the Thrashers.

The Mayor also had this to say:

“The Thrashers, as you know, are in an extraordinary position because of the amount of losses that are associated with the team,” ... “So we have not yet seen a path where we can reverse those losses fast enough. If you talk to the Atlanta Spirit ownership, they will share the same thing. It’s not a lack of the city being willing to step up and do something about it. It is a partner with deep enough pockets to be willing to sustain pretty significant losses. We have not yet had any of the individuals in our community who are prepared to take that on. But it has not been for lack of trying, believe you me.”

So contra Important Man John Kincade and puppyish J.B. Smith enthusiast Jay Clemons, there never have been serious local buyers.

I am a little curious about what "positive things" are planned in Philips Arena. As I've written before, I don't think making up for lost Thrashers revenue will be particularly difficult. Concerts are a sure thing, but what else might replace the Thrashers? Soccer? An upgraded venue for the Atlanta Roller Girl league? Chariot races? Gigantic games of chess?

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