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Originally published March 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified March 10, 2008 at 5:58 PM

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Brier Dudley

Now playing for the Sonics ...

I'm really glad The Seattle Times finally broke the long-rumored news that Steve Ballmer's in the group trying to keep the Sonics in town...

Seattle Times staff columnist

I'm really glad The Seattle Times finally broke the long-rumored news that Steve Ballmer's in the group trying to keep the Sonics in town.

The team needs an owner with the Microsoft CEO's motivational abilities and passion for the game.It would also be fun to watch Ballmer put his stamp on the Sonics organization.

Based on things he's done at Microsoft, here are a few changes we might see if he becomes a majority owner of the team.

10. Free soda to keep fans happy. Especially if ...

9. The team changes its name, perhaps to Seattle Silverlights?

Ballmer's not one to overlook a branding opportunity. Microsoft is also using sports events to show off the power of Silverlight, its new platform for displaying video and other dynamic content online.

It would be shameless, but there's a precedent. Seattle's dominant high-tech company was pushing a new platform — the country's first supersonic jetliner — when the NBA expanded here in 1967. Voilà, the SuperSonics.

Boeing moved to Chicago in 2001 and dropped the latest iteration of the supersonic jet, the Sonic Cruiser, in 2003.

The NBA may shuffle teams, moving the Sonics to Oklahoma and the Hornets to Seattle, so there may be a name change anyway.

Silverlights also sounds better than prospective co-owner Jim Sinegal's choice: "Kirkland's Best."

8. MySonics will be bundled with upcoming versions of Windows. This desktop widget application delivers scores, news and ticket offers from your favorite NBA team. Click to visit the MySonics page at Yahoo Sports, powered by MSN, and discover a world of online services.

MySonics will highlight center Francisco Marinho Robby Elson, who averages 3.5 points per game.

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Coincidentally, Elson is a native of Rotterdam, just like Neelie Kroes, the European antitrust commissioner.

7. A Sharepoint team server will be installed to help players collaborate and keep abreast of changes to their workout calendar.

The system will send reminders to players of the weekly three-on-threes at the Bellevue Pro Club and the daily 5:30 a.m. team jog around Hunts Point.

6. If the Sonics enter a slump and revenues slow, players will be asked to provide their own towels.

5. Ticket sales will be replaced with a more flexible seat-licensing approach.

Depending on your income and family size, you'll have the choice of a pay-as-you-go plan or a three-year enterprise license offering access to all games and playoffs delivered during your subscription.

Single tickets will include an end-user license agreement (EULA), enforceable upon acceptance of the ticket. Tickets are for the sole use of the acquiring fan and may not be shared or transferred to other fans.

By accepting the EULA, you agree to share information about yourself and your sports viewing with Sonics adCenter and affiliates as allowed by law, pursuant to the KeyArena Hail Mary Act of 2008.

4. Fine print in the arena-funding plan: "The state must build an overpass connecting Highway 520 directly to the Mercer offramp."

3. Game shuttles with Wi-Fi. Now we know why the Connector, Microsoft's new private bus fleet, has green and yellowish stripes and loops through Lower Queen Anne.

2. Merger mania. If the Sonics don't improve fast enough, Ballmer may try to get to scale more quickly by acquiring the Golden State Warriors and merging the teams.

1. Squatch, the Sonics' mascot, will be redundant when Monkey Boy's in the house.

Brier Dudley's column appears Mondays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

About Brier Dudley
Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.
bdudley@seattletimes.com | 206-515-5687

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