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Seattle's Distance Bullshit

It should be well-known, at this point, that the grandeur and eloquence of a powerhouse such as Seattle is bound to attract decent sports markets. Considering they've had many major Four teams in the past and present (Mariners, Seahawks, Supersonics - even the Sounders for major five), it's no wonder that the NHL is looking to boot up the next franchise in Seattle, for its history and market.

It's some wonder, however, that many of these teams are financial and performative disasters. Supersonics dipped in the mid 2000s because our eminent Lord and Savior, Howard Schultz, dropped them off in Oklahoma City to die a painful death of being really good as the Thunder. The Mariners are a punchline that operates solely to highlight the fact that baseball is nihilistic. The Seattle Totems, an erstwhile Kraken, are only worth discussing at this point as a foil to them. The only sports team that isn't an outright menagerie of failure is the Seahawks.

What the fuck is going on in Seattle?

It's distance. Look at any map of sports in the United states and you will find vast swaths of unending nothing separating the West Coast from anything else, bar the south. Given that the Seahawks are 800 miles from their closest team (49ers), the Mariners in a similar boat with the Oakland A's, and the Supersonics only having the Portland Trailblazers as their companion adrift the sea of despair, it's no wonder that not only does it make it rather difficult to form rivalries, but also puts that market in a tough spot concerning travel costs and time. 

Sure, it's a large market - if you can boot those three Canucks fans back to Canadia, it's at least 13 million people around Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, all vying for a real American hockey team to throw support behind. However, for the same reason, there's also a moat of sad, disparate highways that take eons to travel, the falsely-advertised advantage of road trip Americana. The only reason flights are a reasonable option at the moment is that most of the market realized diseases are real and are leaving airlines scrambling for goddamn anything. Once we all stop shitting ourselves and attempt to live again, flights from Des Moines to Seattle and back are easily going to be $350+, even without considering hotel costs, food, etc.

Canada also doesn't factor in for various reasons, even with the Canucks being a stone's throw away, due to Canada's undying love for the sport leaving them mostly unable to fathom giving a care about American teams, even when the country hasn't won a Stanley Cup since George H.W. Bush was wet behind the ears. Much like the border already exists now, you may as well stop pretending the market has any real pull once you get above the 49th. This only reinforces the balance between being a mostly-untapped market and being far away from everything else. Vancouver may be 150 miles from Seattle, but when it comes to hockey, it may as well be 150,000.

Does this necessarily doom the Kraken? Of course not. As mentioned previously, the Seattle Seahawks are a booming success, both playwise and financially, and it's not a stretch to imagine the Kraken coming in hot with its history, edge, and potentially even good play, should the starting draft picks work out in the end. Of course, there's no guarantees, and really, much of what I've mentioned is working against them, but only time will tell the success of the Kraken.


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