With last week's tedious Pro Bowl, the National Football League closed another winning season, once again raking in more than $4 billion in revenue as

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After Further Review

The public-private deal with Paul Allen to build Seahawks Stadium was a lose-win situation. Guess who won.

With last week's tedious Pro Bowl, the National Football League closed another winning season, once again raking in more than $4 billion in revenue as a—no kidding—tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation. Likewise, the league's wealthiest owner, Paul Allen, could look back on his first for-profit year at Seahawks Stadium and say that, despite the Hawks' 7-9 record, he also won big. In particular, the taxpayers' "partner," as he called himself, in the new $430 million stadium was able to pay most of his $130 million stadium contribution without dipping into his own pocket. To fund most of his portion, he relied on income from seat-licensing sales—the one-time purchase of a seat location by a season-ticket holder—and a semisecret $63 million loan from the NFL. The NFL's loan—more like a gift at 3.5 percent interest—was conditioned on Allen successfully enlisting taxpayers to pay most of the stadium tab ($591 million with interest) and required that he raise ticket prices to help pay back the loan. Allen receives all proceeds from the stadium's operations. In essence, fans quietly paid most of Allen's end of the stadium deal.

It's unclear if Allen knew of or arranged for the loan before or after the 1997 election in which voters authorized the stadium deal. A spokesperson for his stadium firm, First & Goal, confirms the loan but would not provide details, calling it "a private arrangement between the Seahawks and the NFL," adding, "it wasn't ever really talked about [publicly] as part of the project budget." The NFL approved the loan in 1999 or earlier, according to league documents that first surfaced in a 2001 lawsuit over an unrelated stadium deal in Los Angeles. Asked last week if they were aware of Allen's loan/gift, Gov. Gary Locke would not say, insisting the source of the money didn't matter; King County Executive Ron Sims would not comment; and a spokesperson for the Public Stadium Authority, which oversees Allen's stadium operations, says the PSA was unaware of the loan.

During the stadium campaign, Allen was praised for contributing his personal funds, which constituted about a fourth of the advertised price tag. (The stadium is actually costing taxpayers about a billion dollars: $300 million for construction, $291 million in interest, $37 million in sales-tax deferment for Allen, $205 million to pay off Kingdome debt with interest, and $168 million to build stadium freeway-access improvements.) Allen's portion could already be paid off, while taxpayers are on the hook for 25 years. Budget-strapped state and county governments, meanwhile, are slashing funding, unable to tap lottery sales, the hotel-motel tax, parking revenue, and ticket taxes that were eaten up by the stadium's costs, along with $101 million in King County sales tax diverted to the stadium that would have gone to the state's general fund to help pay for education and law enforcement. But the governor, who recently said public officials in these hard times must "live within our means," has no regrets. "We feel Mr. Allen has met [his financial] commitments and more," says Locke spokesperson Kirsten Kendrick, "because he paid for cost overruns that were not originally in the bill or finance plan. He also kept his commitment to contribute $10 million to construction of playfields around the state." Allen had agreed to those up front.

THANKS ALSO TO the new stadium, which Allen insisted be approved before he would buy the Seahawks, the entertainment, real-estate, and high-tech mogul has added millions to his personal wealth, estimated at $21 billion. The value of the football franchise he bought for $200 million has possibly tripled and, like the 31 other teams in the exclusive NFL club, its worth is climbing inexorably toward a billion dollars. (The new Houston franchise cost $700 million in 1999, and the existing Atlanta team went for $545 million last year, despite the Falcons' average attendance of 52,000, about 11,000 less than that of the Seahawks.) As Allen may have known in 1997, new stadiums have become the equity necessary to gain or retain a franchise in the NFL and share in the league's $18 billion network-TV contract. The NFL in recent years handed out $891 million in loans toward new stadiums in 10 cities, including Seattle. The money is used to leverage billions more from taxpayers facing the threatened loss of their teams. In a candid moment, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue told BusinessWeek last month that the stadium program has "been the biggest transformation in the balance sheet of the NFL since I've been commissioner."

With the Seahawks' new home now safely in place and chunks of the Kingdome making up parts of its foundation, Allen also no longer has to worry about repercussions from the messy back story of the stadium deal, revealed in documents recently unearthed by Seattle businessman Armen Yousoufian. In December, the 56-year-old University District hotelier, assisted by dogged attorneys David Balint and Michael Brannan, won a landmark public-disclosure case against King County for stonewalling his efforts to obtain and review stadium studies, agreements, memos, and planning documents. For its five years of stalling, the county may have to pay Yousoufian up to $500,000 in penalties, and Yousoufian gleefully notes, "They picked on the wrong Armenian!" Yousoufian has found what he calls a paper trail of how the stadium deal was engineered. For example, voters were promised 72,000 seats, which Allen claimed were necessary if he was to make money and if the Super Bowl was to be held in Seattle. (Two weeks ago, the NFL said that wintertime Super Bowls at any of its northern, open-stadium cities are not on the radar; they're looking for a warm, domed stadium like Detroit's new 64,000-seat Ford Field.)

BUT WITH HARDLY anyone seeming to notice the difference, Allen built Seahawks Stadium with 67,000 permanent seats - just 600 more than the Dome - which Allen said was too small. He can install another 5,000 seats in the south end zone, but they weren't needed this year: Average attendance was around 63,000. The Seahawks consider 67,000 their official sellout capacity figure, used to decide whether or not games will be blacked out on local television. During the stadium campaign, however, 72,000 was the minimum figure seemingly demanded by the NFL in a document called the NFL Stadium Facility Program, submitted by Allen and given great weight by public officials as a league blueprint on which to base key stadium studies. But the blueprint was actually Allen's own specifications for his field of dreams. Some officials belatedly learned the truth. But at that point, the new stadium seemed unstoppable. Also lost in transition from election to construction was the grass field promised soccer purists. The Seahawks later decided they wanted artificial turf, and they got it, although the stadium authority did require Allen to promise he'll temporarily install grass for any World Cup-style soccer matches. Thus the Washington State Football and Soccer Stadium voters approved five years ago is today Seahawks Stadium, with an unfinished, high-tech warehouse architectural theme featuring blank walls, exposed air ducts, and cold colors. Seattle architectural critic Sheri Olson, comparing the stadium to Safeco Field, observed, "It looks cheaper, if not downright cheap."

Not that a new facility perhaps wasn't necessary. If the vote failed, Allen said, he wouldn't complete his purchase of the Seahawks. Then-Seahawks owner Ken Behring was threatening to move the team out of town or declare bankruptcy and sell it. (That was, however, after he unsuccessfully sought a less-costly remodeling of the Kingdome as an alternative.) Allen and his new stadium seemed the timely antidote. The lingering question, however, is whether state voters, who approved the stadium by a mere 36,780 votes out of 1.6 million cast, would have done so had they known more of the inside story. And if they had understood just how much Allen would profit, would they have demanded he pay for the facility himself, as other, less-loaded owners have done elsewhere .In the framework of these new details, it is intriguing to replay the stadium story today. It unfolds like a neatly diagrammed football game itself, with dazzling footwork, crisp handoffs, and team effort. The highlight was Allen's designed play up the middle. All the way to victory.

FIRST QUARTER: BEHRING FUMBLES

Seahawks owner since 1988, Behring in 1994 proposed a $120 million Kingdome renovation after soundproofing tiles fell from the ceiling, leading ultimately to a $70 million repair job. Behring wanted to add rest rooms, concessions, and more luxury seats, along with an exhibition hall and glass exterior. He revised the proposal over the next couple of years into a $171 million renovation, but officials and the public weren't exactly listening. For one, they were distracted by the Mariners' plans for a new stadium across the street. In 1995, voters narrowly defeated a tax increase to pay for the ballpark, but the Legislature saved it with new tax measures. The cost of the $320 million baseball field ballooned to $517 million when it opened in 1999. With other costs and interest, Safeco Field is a $610 million project, including overruns of $100 million, which the Mariners reluctantly paid as promised. Envious of what the Mariners were seeking, Behring turned up the heat. In 1996, he said the Dome was no "first-class" facility, as the lease required, and was earthquake-unsafe to boot. He announced he was breaking his 10-year lease and taking the team to Southern California. Moving vans arrived outside Seahawks headquarters in Kirkland, and Behring had the locks changed on the front doors. He and the county went to court just as an April 1996 study of the Dome, sought by the county and done by Kansas City stadium architectural firm HOK for $1 million, was unveiled. It determined a Kingdome renovation could be done for $197 million, including $26 million for the capital and seismic improvements Behring wanted. Then-County Council member Ron Sims was against the renovation unless the state paid for it. Then-County Executive Gary Locke supported the renovation, saying he didn't think a new stadium was affordable. Though 20 years old and built for $67 million, the Dome then carried a debt of more than $130 million, due mostly to the ceiling repairs, a debt that would

have to be paid even if a new stadium was built. An HOK official said a remade Dome could serve another 25 years, although he cautioned that the mighty NFL might sneer at its seating capacity. Local pols and civic bigwigs thought this was the way to go if financing could be had. Behring said the study showed he was right about the Dome's condition. Actually, he added, if the county was to spend $200 million, it might make more sense to build a whole new facility. Somewhere, perhaps, Paul Allen was listening.

SECOND QUARTER: ALLEN OFF THE BENCH

With the kind of timing Hollywood celebrates, Allen, the world's third-richest man, trotted onto the field in April 1996 and announced that he'd taken an option to buy the Seattle Seahawks for $200 million, twice what Behring paid eight years earlier to the founding owners, the Nordstrom family. Allen had more than a year, until July 1997, to decide, but quickly he began to lay out his program, saying his main goal was to save the team. An Allen spokesperson claimed that under Behring the team lost up to $8 million in 1996 and would lose as much as $17 million in 1997, due mainly to the Dome's seating and lack of amenities. Financial World magazine said the Hawks had actually made $3.3 million in 1996, despite the worst attendance in team history. It was a crucial point. Were the Hawks really losing money in the Dome? But Behring wouldn't open his books publicly. (For the record, the Hawks lost considerably less - $3.2 million - in 1997 under Behring and Allen. And under Allen in 1998, at the Kingdome, mind you, the team made $10 million.) Local officials sputtered that if the Hawks really were losing money, it wasn't the stadium, it was the team failing to make the playoffs from 1989 through 1997 (and bombing to 2-14 in 1992), after winning the American Football Conference West in 1988. Fans could support even a traitorous owner as long as his team was winning. Conversely, Allen was a successful pro franchise owner (Portland Trail Blazers), the Seattle guy who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, and someone with enough money to buy all of the NFL franchises. Surely he could field a winner. A Kingdome task force, formed in January 1996, broadened its outlook, and officials got HOK on the phone. Let's do it again, with a new equation: Kingdome or a new stadium. Documents show HOK was picked by Allen and the county to do the second study, for $240,000, without competitive bidding, a normally open process waived by Locke, who claimed HOK was the single best firm

to do the job.

It's not necessarily that HOK was told to reach a different conclusion. But Allen was paying about $150,000 of the feasibility study and seemed to be calling the shots, documents show. In a June 1996 letter to the county from Bob Whitsitt, president of Allen's Football Northwest group, the proposal for HOK study II was outlined. Something called the NFL Stadium Facility Program would serve "as the blueprint for the desired final product," Whitsitt ordained. He told the county that, as agreed, "you will hire" Chicago investment-banking firm Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin to do the economic-impact portion of the study. (In return, a county official, in a letter marked confidential, said Allen's people would be kept informed along the way of "all intermediate decisions and discussions prior to release of the final report. . . . ") Assorted records and correspondence, since retrieved by businessman Yousoufian, indicate most participants thought the NFL stadium "blueprint" was essentially just that - the league's mandatory design specifications. The 12-page stadium outline described a "minimum 72,000-seat NFL facility, open air with natural grass." It included specs on every aspect of the stadium, concession stands, press box, and aisles, right down to a fan's minimum sight-line clearance to the field below ("21/4 inches above the eye level of the spectator in the preceding row"). Task-force members and public officials spoke in revered tones; the document had become the stadium bible.

BUT SIX MONTHS later, according to a November memo written on Kingdome letterhead (the writer's name was deleted by the county's public-records officers), officials were finding out it wasn't so. "I just learned," says the memo, "that the NFL Stadium Facility Program document that we have been looking at is in fact not a program that has been produced or blessed by the NFL. It is a program developed locally, based on the new Carolina stadium program. Therefore we should refer to it as the Football Northwest Program." But officials and the media continued to refer to the "NFL" blueprint, a document that established the finish line officials had to reach. Those same officials also knew from the start they would have to give the billionaire a new stadium to please him. In a June 1996 letter from a legal consultant to the county prosecutor's office, the consultant said that after watching a county presentation of a renovated Kingdome, Allen's representatives said there was just a one in 100 chance that Allen would go for a neo-Dome alternative. Additionally, county attorneys were told, if the vote failed - no matter whether Allen or Behring owned the team - the county had made so many promises to both owners that it could face more costly litigation. The legal fight with Behring over the Dome had already cost $1 million, with an expected $2.5 million more to come. Of course, all those problems would be erased by a new stadium.

The county continued to play it as if there were still options. Locke's office was demanding a "long-term solution for the Kingdome"; if the task force were to recommend a new stadium, "it better also have a business plan on how to keep the county facility viable." After all, a Locke spokesperson said, "The county, as a stakeholder, couldn't let the Kingdome be brought to its knees." That seemed to follow what documents now show to be Locke's strategy - motivated by politics or a designed legal position - to publicly insist the Kingdome was viable while quietly backing a new stadium. In a November 1996 letter from a Kingdome official to the prosecutor, marked confidential, officials referred to a study called the LMN Peer Review as a way "to protect our interests as stakeholders in the Kingdome." The LMN study said a renovated Kingdome was a viable option. But the study may have been undertaken merely to defend the county's legal interests. As a Dome official wrote, "In future litigation we may need this type of alternative scheme to counter [other studies showing] that the Kingdome cannot be renovated effectively." Thus, if Behring or even Allen, later in court, should point to any negative studies of the Dome, the county could counter with the optimistic LMN study. "Stakeholder" and "get to the right answer" became buzzwords in this strategy, showing up often in the press, and were apparently talking points from Locke's office. A September 1996 Locke memo to "Kingdome/ Sports Meeting Participants" states that a Kingdome official would make sure county concerns were known to the stadium task force, whose meetings he sat in on. "Broadly," the memo says, the official's mission was "letting task force 'get to the right answer' but making sure County perspective as 'stakeholder' fully addressed."

THIRD QUARTER: THE BLITZ

Also helping the task force get to the right answer was HOK II, released in November 1996. No surprise to stadium critics, the study contradicted HOK I of just a few months earlier, claiming the Dome had become unfeasible. Adding in the extensive luxury seating and other costly elements Allen said he'd need if he (theoretically) stayed in the Kingdome, HOK and its subcontractor Houlihan Lokey said a renovated Dome now would cost $336 million to $365 million. But a new stadium would come in at $370 million to $402 million, even cheaper than a renovated Dome, since Allen's contribution would lower the cost by $100 million. (His contribution ultimately came to $130 million due to design changes.) It was a wild turnaround, even more so when compared to a little-noticed estimate in the first HOK report and other documents: A Dome renovation for Behring could have been done for as little as $110 million when assorted savings and tax cuts were thrown in, along with at least $45 million Behring was offering to pay. But that proposal was now inoperative since Allen didn't want a redone Dome, even at $365 million.

Interestingly, it turns out the author of the key economic study, Houlihan Lokey, never set foot in the Kingdome or in Seattle. An October 1996 letter from the firm stresses that its assessments of new stadia for Seattle would be limited. In order to control costs (the firm was paid $60,000), they'd do the research at home in Chicago, conceding that "without the benefit of site visits, the information will be limited in scope," that the short timeline Allen had demanded "will significantly limit the quality and quantity of information available," and that "the practicality is that such [complete] information may not be available or in meaningful form" on which to base survey conclusions. Nevertheless, the firm agreed to "identify requirements for an economically viable NFL stadium, with Allen's NFL blueprint as one of their guides.

THERE WERE OTHER stadium sites to consider, in the suburbs, the north parking lot of the Dome (retaining the Dome as a multipurpose facility without pro sports), and, until neighbors objected, Husky Stadium at the University of Washington. All things being equal, it came down to seating and revenue—for Allen. Besides the 72,000 minimum grandstand seats, Allen wanted 10,000 of them to be the more-expensive club seats he could sell for almost $3,000 each, along with the real moneymakers, 100 luxury suites for high rollers and corporations at a cost of $50,000 to $150,000 apiece. He'd also sell charter seat licenses for $2,000 to $3,000 each. They were, for the most part, goals impossible to reach in the Kingdome, even remodeled, officials claimed. Overall seating would have to be reduced to an unspeakable 62,000 (or 65,000 with just 50 luxury suites). If Allen had to play in the income-limiting Dome, HOK said, buying the team would be "just a license to lose money." Or, that is, inadequate for Allen to make the money that other owners were making at their new stadiums. He was now perfectly positioned to do just that.

With the new HOK study in hand, football club president Whitsitt laid down the law to the stadium task force: Build it or Paul won't come. Whitsitt dangled assorted goodies, promising a fine space for summer rock concerts, more seats than the Dome, and that lovely grass field for the soccer fans. Debt from the imploded Kingdome would also be paid off, Whitsitt noted. True, Seattle would lose future NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments, along with some trade shows and those wildly popular monster-truck shows, motocross events, and the myriad of music shows that have all since slunk off to the Tacoma Dome. But, Whitsitt said, Allen was saving football in Seattle, and, don't forget, shelling out those big bucks of his own. (One task force member told a reporter that upon hearing of the Allen contribution, he murmured to himself, "God bless you," Mr. Allen. "Without you, we would have faced a tougher decision.")

WHILE THE TASK force and public were being massaged, the county was painting itself into a corner. Two days after Mariners owners, miffed at their stadium's delays, said they were selling the team (they insisted it wasn't a bluff, but it was), the shell-shocked King County Council agreed to Allen's own demand that the Seahawks' current Kingdome lease be shortened from nine to three years, or - once again - he wouldn't buy the team. Besides handing over a big stick to wave (a shorter lease could make it easier to move the team), county officials also granted Allen a rent reduction and a bigger cut of Kingdome revenue, costing the public $1.4 million a year.

On Friday the 13th of November 1996, the Kingdome Renovation Task Force recommended replacing the Kingdome with a $386 million open-air stadium, insisting it was a choice between football and no football. It based its decision on the HOK II report. Officials bought into the Allen/NFL blueprint claim, deciding the team's financial shape "has little to do with the Seahawks' declining attendance in recent years and much to do with the capability of the Seahawks to generate revenue in the Kingdome compared to newer NFL facilities." The task force's report noted that, according to information it was given by Allen, "the foremost expert in the country on PSLs [personal seat licenses] has stated that the value of PSLs in a new stadium would be at least $50 million greater" than PSLs in the Dome. The task force repeatedly stressed the "compelling" importance of having an open-air stadium since "grass could not be grown and maintained inside the Kingdome," thus likely dissuading major-league soccer from fielding a team there.

In January 1997, Gary Locke became governor and Ron Sims was appointed to replace him as King County executive (and, later that year, was elected to the job). On the gubernatorial campaign trail, Locke had espoused fiscal conservatism, supporting a Kingdome renovation as the best alternative. But just a month after the November election, he dropped his hard line. One of his first duties as governor, he said, would be to study a way to finance a new stadium. Eventually, he pushed for a special election for Allen.

FOURTH QUARTER: THE BIG SCORE

The stadium-financing battle in Olympia lasted most of three months. But after spending $2 million lobbying for his stadium and agreeing to pay $4.2 million for an election, Allen got his public vote. He doled out $6.3 million to promote his cause through newspaper, radio, and TV advertising, swamping a smallish opposition force with a war chest of $150,000. Allen's aim was to let voters know the stadium supposedly would be paid for by its users, tourists, and, of course, him. Referendum 48, to raise $300 million, would establish a tax on stadium tickets and parking and extend an existing 2 percent tax on hotel rooms in King County to 2020. Funds also would come from new lottery games dedicated to the stadium financing and millions of dollars in diverted sales tax. Allen asked voters to be his "partner" in the deal. The most costly campaign in state history sounded like a winner to former skinflint Gary Locke. "When you have a special election and there are so many misconceptions," he told reporters, "it requires a massive education campaign."

In May, county exec Sims, under the threat of a public-documents request by opponents, reluctantly released a study by Kingdome staff that showed - contrary to the HOK II study - that the Dome could earn $700,000 a year even without football, and obviously much more with it. Sims said he doubted those conclusions, and the pro-stadium forces echoed him loudly. In early June, days before the election, Sims didn't have to be persuaded to release a Kingdome study he had requested, the last of six major stadium studies. Sims issued a press release claiming the Dome would lose money without pro sports, digging out the worst-case scenario from a complicated study that also said that with pro football the Dome would turn a profit. Former Gov. Dan Evans, among others, picked up Sims' line and said here was another reason to build a new field.

On June 17, 1997, the stadium issue squeaked past. In July, Allen finalized the purchase of the team. A new public stadium agency was formed and opted to implode the Dome. Under the stadium pact, Allen's rent is $850,000 annually, and he owes $6 million or so in annual operating and maintenance costs, to be deducted from his sale of stadium naming rights. Allen keeps all stadium and parking-garage revenue and 80 percent of the exhibition-center income. He is preparing to sell naming rights to the stadium, parking garage, exhibition center, and, if he comes up with a concept, the overall project. But it isn't the stadium he and public officials promised. Besides the lower, 67,000-seat capacity, Allen designed, built, and operates a stadium with 82 luxury suites and 7,000 club seats - much closer to the Kingdome renovation plan. It has artificial turf, like the Dome had. (NFL players rate highly the Seahawks' new FieldTurf surface, which could have gone in the Dome, too.) That predicted $50 million-plus in seat licenses so far has taken in just $8.9 million, says stadium authority executive director Ann Kawasaki Romero - about what a remodeled Dome might have earned. But, Allen's First & Goal spokesperson Suanne Pelley contends, Allen delivered as promised: "Absolutely yes - on time and on budget. The Seahawks are still in Seattle, which is what the voters really approved."

THE STADIUM TASK force, government officials, and likely many voters had been greatly impressed by Allen's "private money" and "personal contributions," as the task force report put it. But like the stadium, that didn't quite turn out as planned, either. With seat-license sales (that money is collected by the stadium authority, so Allen pays no tax on it), that could leave Allen's tab at somewhere around $120 million. But if so, he didn't pay all that, either. At the 2001 trial in Los Angeles, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis unsuccessfully sued the NFL for $1 billion in damages for allegedly sabotaging his hopes of staying in L.A. His team played there from 1982 through 1994 and returned to Oakland after an L.A. stadium deal fell through. While under oath at that trial, NFL Commissioner Tagliabue spilled the beans about a NFL "loan" program for its owners. The league had rejected a 1995 bid by Davis for a $20 million loan to build a new field at Hollywood Park, he allowed. But, he conceded, the NFL had doled out millions to help other owners build their new stadiums. The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, for example, each got or will get $150 million for their new stadiums, he said, and on the low end, the league was giving $43 million to the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, and $34 million to the Arizona Cardinals. In the middle of his list, there were the Seahawks: Paul Allen, he said, was in line for $63 million in league "assistance."

In turn, the money would be used to leverage other funds. The New Orleans Times-Picayune turned up documents last year showing how NFL owners have used those loans to actually secure $4.4 billion in taxpayer dollars since 1995 for 21 new or renovated stadiums. The NFL program allows owners to qualify for a stadium loan only if they obtain taxpayer money for their projects, using NFL funds as a bargaining chip. The loan is repaid not by the owners but from the visiting team's 34 percent share of club-seat money at the new stadium. Just so the teams don't lose anything, owners raise their ticket prices to make up the difference. Allen raised all tickets an average $5 in 2002. In the end, taxpayers pay for the stadium while seat licensees and other fans pay much of Allen's freight. It's diverted revenue, of course. But it's not coming directly out of Allen's deep pockets.

In urging a yes vote on his stadium in 1997, Allen said in an interview: "For this to work out in the long term, we need to find ways to increase revenue that would allow us to put a better team on the field. . . . " That better team didn't happen, either. Which leaves some fans and observers taking a second look at their stadium mortgage. After September's opening game (and loss), Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Art Thiel wrote: "An event that was five years in the making - the stadium election was in June 1997 - climaxed in a dull thud. . .. Cup holders and $7.75 hot dogs might constitute a fine football experience for some, but at some point soon, the gridiron goods need delivery." In a December column addressed to Allen on the morning of the Seahawks' final home game, The Seattle Times' Steve Kelley wrote that fans "feel you paid for an election that got you the stadium and, since then, you haven't cared a whit about the team, or the people who got you the stadium. They feel they were suckered into the deal. And, as nice as the stadium is, believe me, a lot of the fans - at least the one

 
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