Brad Humphreys, an economics professor at the University of Alberta, said the departure of a professional football, baseball or basketball team has “no detectable’’ impact on a city.
“The Sonics clearly generate economic activity,’’ he said. “The question is whether the Sonics generate new activity."
He said consumers simply spend their money on other entertainment options.
Humphreys said his research has been published in economic journals that require rigorous review by others in the field. He said he knows of no peer-reviewed articles that support the economic modeling done by Hatamiya and that, in fact, there was a broad consensus among economists that there is no economic impact from the departure of a sports franchise.
The city also called local writer Sherman Alexie, a passionate Sonics fan who has been a season ticket holder for several years. Alexie said NBA teams draw a more diverse crowd to games than other sports teams because of the large percentage of black players and the many foreign players on rosters.
Though the team’s interim president testified Wednesday that he expects ticket sales to drop if the team is forced to stay here another two years, Alexie said he would attend the games.
“I want two more years of the great gods," he said.
The trial is scheduled to run through Friday and resume, for a single day, on June 26. Pechman is not planning to make a ruling on whether the team must stay at the trial’s immediate conclusion.