David Stern became NBA commissioner in 1984. Since that time, all but two franchises have moved into new arenas. Madison Square Garden in New York City was built in 1968 and had a $200 million renovation done in 1991. The New York Knicks happily remain in their storied facility, which is aptly named The World's Most Famous Arena.
KeyArena in Seattle was overhauled in 1994 and sits in the same hole it occupied when the original Coliseum was built for the 1962 World's Fair. KeyArena has the smallest footprint in the NBA, which is the primary reason SuperSonics chairman Clay Bennett formally filed for relocation Friday in hopes of moving the franchise to Oklahoma City next season. Although Stern is lobbying hard for a new arena to be built in Sacramento for the Kings, residing in a bigger and better facility has rarely been the cause of franchise relocations. Despite the arena arms race during Stern's reign, only two franchises have relocated since 1985. The Grizzlies left Vancouver in 2001 because they had only 4,500 season-ticket holders and owner Michael Heisley was losing millions. And now the Grizzlies are losing millions in Memphis. The Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002 when their lease at Charlotte Coliseum expired, and the city council voted to hold a referendum to approve funding for a new downtown arena.
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