NBA's return would be economic boon for Seattle

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 9, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 9 at 7:20 PM

The return of professional basketball to Seattle could pump up to $200 million into the city's economy, according to officials involved in boosting tourism.

Ralph Morton, executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission, said that money will filter through the region, "From non-profits who benefit from fundraisers with the athletes to the neighborhoods those stadiums impact."

Eighty or more games a year at Key Arena for the two years it will take to build a new arena in SODO would bring thousands of fans to lower Queen Anne -- boosting restaurants and hotels near Seattle Center.

"It's an additional fifty nights of 15,000 people down the street," said Jay Fisher, general manager of Red Papaya Restaurant.

"It's a difference of making money for 84 games," said Floyd's bartender, Vincent Montalvo.

There are plenty of new hotels in town with rooms ready for basketball fans to fill.  Tom Norwalk, president and CEO of the Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, "There are always empty hotel rooms and we are a seasonal city and the NBA schedule hits when the city most needs the business."

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