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Would Kings Find Fan Support in Seattle? Poll Says Maybe Not

A poll published in the Seattle Times says NBA interest in that area is slim, but critics of the survey say the data is due to the Sonics leaving for Oklahoma City.

Seattle could find itself with an NBA team next season, but that metropolitan area has more people who follow figure skating, NASCAR and professional golf than professional basketball, according to a recent poll.

The poll, conducted by Scarborough Research and published in the Seattle Times Monday, says just 4.1 percent of those surveyed expressed a "very high" level of interest in the NBA. That places the sport 10th in a list of sports people in the Seattle/Tacoma area follow. The NFL came first, with college football in second place.

The poll was done in 2011 and 2012, and involved surveys of 4,500 people, the Times reported.

The Times reported much of the low level of interest came after the Seattle SuperSonics left town:

Before the Sonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 — back before anybody in Seattle knew and loathed the name Clay Bennett — we had a fairly healthy amount of interest in the game.  In survey data from 2000 to 2007, an average of 7.5 percent of adults in the Seattle/Tacoma metro area said they had a “very high” level of interest in the NBA.  Naturally, that number spiked when the team did well.  During the 2004-2005 season, when the Sonics made the playoffs, 8.9 percent of people in this area were gripped with basketball fever.

A Sacramento journalist caught a harsh response from some Seattle basketball fans after Tweeting about the survey. KFBK News Director and Editor Judy Farah posted about the survey, and was criticized by some Seattle fans who said the Seattle Times "was against the arena from the start" and wasn't a reliable source for such information.

Other users agreed with the Times' data that fandom has evaporated since the Sonics left Washington.

"You think Sactown will love the NBA when Stern allows the Kings out of there?Let's be smart about this," @smashmode wrote.

Meanwhile, an informal Twitter poll done by ESPN last week revealed 74 percent of respondents think a Sacramento Kings move to Seattle would be "good for the NBA."

j braun January 29, 2013 at 04:05 AM
There are 10s of thousands of us that haven't watched an nba game since our beloved sonics were stolen. Our hearts were broken., That report is dead wrong. The second we have a franchise back in seattle that number would be different. We would all come back and support again. This is an nba town. We loved our sonics. You may write your garbage articles based on crap polls to angry sonics fans. What do they think we would say. When a team comes back, do me a favor. Take that poll again and shove these results right up your rear.
Cody Kitaura January 29, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Thanks for that comment, j braun. I think the data definitely shows how NBA interest in Seattle has changed sine the Sonics left (7.5 percent average from 2000-2007, 8.9 percent in 04-05). I'm curious, how do you feel about the way this back and forth between Seattle and Sacramento has been playing out so far? I haven't heard much from Seattle residents on it.
Tom Brown January 29, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Not the way that they play now.
Roberto January 30, 2013 at 05:54 PM
I won't miss the Kings a bit. Seattle will love them. Blanket advertising will take care of that. With increased ticket prices, parking, the cost of a beer a couple cokes and nachos, a mid-income guy with a couple boys can no longer afford attend a game. Buying a Kings Jersey? Forget it, it's as much as a tank of gas.

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