Seattle a secondary market in every way 

click to enlarge Seahawks
  • Harry How/Getty Images
  • While Seattle prides itself on “The 12th Man” slogan, the Seahawks are required to note it is a trademark of Texas A&M.
A friend of mine is a public-relations professional, and Monday he texted to ask if I wanted to interview a ticket broker to discuss how the Seahawks’ all-over-the-news decision to ice Bay Area ticket buyers was impacting the “secondary market.”

Here’s the real news: Me and this guy are still friends.

God bless my boy for trying, but if the infinitely irritable Jim Harbaugh can’t even work up a respectable mad-on about Seattle’s ticket NIMBYism ... well, why on earth would a sane person give a damn?

Harbaugh nailed it, essentially saying, “Good for them. They’re doing whatever they think they can to help their team.” Then there’s the unspoken but understood fact that Niners fans who really want to get to Seattle for Sunday will. The process through which they make it happen is inconsequential.

Secondary market? That’s Seattle in a nutshell. Any city that loses a well-established major sports franchise to Oklahoma City, as Seattle did with the Supersonics in 2008, can’t be taken all that seriously as a major civic player, no matter how many imprints it’s made on pop culture.

Sure, it’s got some nice feathers in its wool beanie, among them Starbucks; the Space Needle; salmon-tossing; and the criminally underrated Experience Music Project, which is a cutting-edge museum founded and funded by Microsoft’s Paul Allen housing impressive tribute exhibits — some evergreen, some rotating in and out, all interactive — to the city’s rich and diverse musical history.

The Jimi Hendrix display alone — his 3-D drawing of a football stadium as a toddler is mind-blowing, for instance — is worth a trip to the Emerald City, but there’s also Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Macklemore, Quincy Jones, Queensryche, Kenny G and Heart, whose “Barracuda” was once immortalized in an out-of-nowhere, 2006 batting-practice chorus drop by then-A’s manager Ken Macha that left all within earshot stunned, amazed and amused.

So fine. Seattle’s got a few things going for it. And its football team is formidable, to say the least. So is the noise generated by the “12th Man.”

But if you want to get nasty about it, and you most certainly do, you twisted naked little gremlin, it must be noted that even the moniker 12th Man provides evidence of Seattle being a secondary market.

The Seahawks pay to use the name. It was trademarked by Texas A&M in 1990, and the school sued the Seahawks for infringement in 2006. In addition to financially compensating the Aggies via settlement, the Seahawks also had to publicly acknowledge the Aggies’ ownership of the name.

For everyone in Seattle who’s been crowing this week about the combined 71-16 whooping the Niners have absorbed in their past two trips to the Pacific Northwest, remember this: Oklahoma City and College Station, Texas, within a two-year span in the past decade, have pretty much made you their female dog. Oklahoma City and College Station, people! And you want to puff out your chests because your NFL team has put together consecutive double-digit-win seasons for the first time in franchise history?

Hey, if it makes you feel tough to block Bay Area fans from buying your precious tickets, throw on that white tank-top, crank up that boom box to “Thrift Shop” and get you some ridiculous bird tattoos on your neck.

But down here, where it’s truly big-league in every way, we all know the real score.

Your best player, Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, is from Oakland. Your head coach cut his teeth with the Niners. Hell, your own team website featured a blog post detailing the 19 examples among your players, coaches and front-office staff with “special connections” to the Bay Area.

Secondary market, indeed. Get over yourselves.

Mychael Urban has covered Bay Area sports for more than 22 years as a contributor to Comcast SportsNet,, KNBR,, ESPN The Magazine and various newspapers.

About The Author

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban has been covering Bay Area sports for 25 years and has worked for, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and KNBR (680 AM).
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