120 min | Documentary, History, Sport
"Sonicsgate" is a feature documentary film exposing the truth behind how Seattle lost the SuperSonics after a heated legal battle in 2008. The perfect storm of corporate greed and political impotence formed to rob loyal Seattle sports fans of their oldest professional franchise. The team's celebrated 41-year run in Seattle included an NBA Championship, three Western Conference titles, six division titles and legendary players such as Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Ray Allen, Tom Chambers, Xavier McDaniel, Jack Sikma, Freddy Brown, Slick Watts and Spencer Haywood... just to name a few. As NBA salaries skyrocketed following the 1999 player lockout, the league's business model changed to require expansive new buildings paid for with taxpayer dollars. Seattle's KeyArena, built in 1995 as a remodel of the old Seattle Coliseum, just wouldn't cut it anymore according to NBA Commissioner David Stern. Faced with operating losses and political leadership that was extremely adverse to stadium funding, Sonics owner and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sold Seattle's oldest professional franchise to Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett, who had promised to bring a pro sports team to his hometown at any cost. The scandalous dealings of Bennett's ownership group led to a heated courtroom battle as fans and city officials fought to keep their team. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels ultimately accepted a $45 million buyout to cover the final two years of the Sonics' lease at KeyArena, allowing the team to relocate in July 2008 as they were renamed the Oklahoma City Thunder, effectively tarnishing decades of Seattle history while leaving fans shocked, bitter and heartbroken. Soncsgate is an investigative piece that explores what really happened to cause this tragedy, as the perfect storm of greed and political impotence cost Seattle its only championship team. This documentary exposes the truth behind the Sonics' departure told directly by the people involved. A fascinating piece of investigative citizen journalism, "Sonicsgate" shows why no home team is safe in the world of modern pro sports.