Sep. 13, 2011 at 2:30pm

Is Tacoma ready for a major league team?

Not to get carried away, but it appears that the city council will be discussing the possibility of renovating/remodeling the Tacoma Dome to potentially attract an NBA or NHL team. This got me to thinking, is Tacoma ready to be the home of a major league team?

I see a couple of "planets" that would have to align just right for that to happen:


First and foremost, someone would have to be willing to purchase or assemble a team. With the likes of Russell no longer vested in Tacoma, I don't see a lot of local high-profile investors (individuals or corporate) that could afford something of that magnitude. Regionally perhaps, but then the sale has to compete with the likes of Seattle.

Regional Support

The market would have to support this endeavor, and more or less guarantee success on paper. This means it would need more than just support from Tacoma. It would need to rally the support of the entire region to establish a large enough fan base to make it viable. This would have to be perceived as more of a "get the puget sound area (or Washington) a hockey/basketball team" rather than "get *Tacoma* a [...] team."


It would take more than a Tacoma Dome renovation. A public investment should catalyze a process that would happen on its own anyway. The purpose of catalyzing it would be to ensure that it would happen in Tacoma rather than somewhere else nearby.

That's my take. Maybe a bit pessimistic, but I think Tacoma has succeeded at bigger challenges, so I don't think it's off the table. Just maybe a bit more challenging than the TNT headline might lead us to believe.

comments [15]  |  posted under nba, nhl, tacoma


by KevinFreitas on 9/13/2011 @ 3:02pm
Thanks for bringing this up @Nick. Is this an or situation or an and/or one regarding NBA and NHL? Whatever the case, I agree that it would have to be a regionally supported endeavour but at least we already have train service that could bring folks here from Seattle and Olympia that's just a few short blocks away from the T-Dome. I'm all for this exploration -- it's a great venue and would love to see more people brought here because of it.

by Nick on 9/13/2011 @ 3:22pm
From what I understand, NHL and NBA were simply two of the remaining major league sports not represented in the PNW. That being said, pretty much anything you hear at this point is speculation since the concrete discussion is only about whether or not to take the first step in evaluating the possibility of maybe almost kinda sorta renovating the dome. But hey, that's how every successful idea starts, and speculation is fun besides.

by Nick on 9/13/2011 @ 3:26pm
Personally I'd love to see Tacoma home to an NHL team. I'm a bit partial to hockey and it blew my mind when I realized the PNW has not 1, not 2, ... but ZERO NHL teams. I don't know why, but it seems odd to me that places like Phoenix, AZ would have an NHL team and Anywhere, WA or even Anywhere, OR would not.

by KevinFreitas on 9/13/2011 @ 3:42pm
I'm with you re: NHL. One of my fondest early Tacoma memories was of going to a Sabercats hockey game in college. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen and totally fun! I'll take that over NBA thugs/players any day.

by Nick on 9/13/2011 @ 3:58pm
Man, I'd trade letting WalMart in for a local NHL team. Seriously, it would be *that* awesome.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/13/2011 @ 4:21pm
I'd rather see the NFL, MLB and MLS leave the area.

But since my wishes don't reflect the desire of just about everyone else, I don't see that happening.

But hell, why not have an NBA team here? SF and Oakland have a similar (though both are significantly larger) relationship as Seattle and Tacoma and both have teams. Even rival NFL and MLB teams.

So why not? I think I'd rather see NBA since their audience is about 100x larger than the NHL.

by NineInchNachos on 9/13/2011 @ 4:43pm
monster truck hockey

by Jesse on 9/13/2011 @ 4:44pm
If it's something that Seattle doesn't already have, and they want it, the team would end up there.

See also; Russell Investments, Museum of Glass, that tech company with the CEO schmuck that came on the feed saying how bad Tacoma is.

Pessimistic I know... but it's the truth... unless the owner is a true Tacoma patriot. How many of those are there?

by NineInchNachos on 9/13/2011 @ 4:48pm
Devote it to the Derby Dames. get all the lonely spouses from JBLM involved.

by Jesse on 9/13/2011 @ 4:49pm
JBLM? Hmm... How about a military sponsored and GI owned team? Is that possible? I wonder if that could work?

by NineInchNachos on 9/13/2011 @ 4:50pm
now we're talking

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/13/2011 @ 7:37pm
Pro Roller Derby... nice.

by Nick K. on 9/14/2011 @ 1:08am
Well, I can say the "Puget Sound" area has been ripe for an NHL team since the NHL existed, or since Seattle won the Stanley Cup one year earlier....95 years ago.

Seattle isn't mobilized for NBA/NHL, politically or in spirit, at least for the foreseeable future, so why not give it a shot? It would have to be both, for the NHL has made clear it will not locate here until there is an arena favorable for an NBA team.

Honestly, I can't see Seattle allowing any pro teams placed here to be named the "Tacoma.......etc." Would probably end up being the Washington (that's already taken), Puget Sound, Sound, or Northwest, or whatever.

by fredo on 9/14/2011 @ 5:06am
Tacoma ends up on the short end of the stick on almost every one of these public/private partnership arrangements.

I'll just mention one such recent occurance. The city spent $28,000,000 to upgrade Cheney Stadium in order to satisfy the demands of a minor league team that only pays $500,000 per year to rent the facility. That can't even cover the interest portion of the payments. And to add insult to injury some low level city staffer gave the green light to an $800,000 "berm" at the last minute. Guess who gets to pay for that?

by tacoma1 on 9/14/2011 @ 7:03am
I'm thnking that maybe the Seattle Mist needs a new home. They are a "professional football team". We'd hafta change their name of course.


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