Seattle’s SuperSonic Settlement

While Seattle is undoubtedly mourning the loss of the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City, the $45 million settlement owner Clay Bennett agreed to pay the city could leave the basketball team’s former home at KeyArena in better financial shape.

Seattle finance director Dwight Dively recently outlined plans for the settlement during a city council meeting, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

A large portion of the money, $34.2 million, has been designated for repaying the venue’s existing remodeling debt, Dively said, which could leave KeyArena in a position to remain profitable with fewer dates. An additional $2.3 million will go toward future improvements and $3.8 million is expected to be used for other Seattle Center projects included in the mayor’s 2009-2010 budget.

The city agreed to accept Bennett’s buyout offer in June after months of legal battles. The settlement also includes a stipulation that Bennett pay an additional $30 million in five years if state legislators put aside at least $75 million to upgrade KeyArena and the city fails to secure an NBA franchise.

Besides the city, Bennett faced time in court earlier this year with Starbucks Corp. Chairman Howard Schultz, the Sonics’ former owner. Schultz claimed Bennett didn’t follow through on an agreement to negotiate in good faith for a new arena in Seattle for one full year before seeking relocation options, but the suit has been dropped, according to the Post-Intelligencer.