Seattle arena ‘comparisons’ have valid points but also are open to selective interpretation

With just two weeks remaining until the city makes its decision on the arena, the heat is getting turned up on those vying to do the job.

Inside sports business

We’re into the final two weeks before the city likely picks one of two groups proposing to renovate KeyArena, and the heat is getting turned up.

Last week, the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) — part of the Seattle Partners (SP) effort with Hudson Pacific Properties — rolled president and CEO Dan Beckerman into town for interviews with select reporters and columnists, myself included. While Beckerman mainly discussed SP merits, he also put out a snazzy pamphlet “comparison” between his side and rival renovation bidder Oak View Group (OVG).

It touts SP size and financial clout, saying the partnership owns and operates more than 120 venues worldwide compared with zero for OVG. It takes aim at “unclear” sources of funding within OVG and suggests there are contingencies behind it “not shared with the public.”

As with any offensive mounted by one of these groups — be it SP or Sodo District arena proponent Chris Hansen releasing his own “comparison” tables 2½ weeks ago — the targets are designed to create public doubt. The points may be valid to a degree but usually are open to selective interpretation.

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For now, OVG has held off releasing any similar comparative analysis or detailed retorts. OVG’s local project director, Lance Lopes, did say Hansen’s claim of OVG getting more than $200 million in public subsidies was ridiculous, and Beckerman also disputes that SP seeks a similar amount of subsidies.

At least one part of the SP comparison between itself and OVG is inaccurate — the insinuation that OVG is hiding financials. In fact, OVG initially tried to include all funding details for public consumption when its Request For Proposals (RFP) response was released last month, but the City…

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