It’s official, folks. A group headed up by Seattle native and San Francisco hedge fund manager Christopher Hansen plans on building a $500 million dollar stadium complex to house both a professional hockey team and a professional basketball team, partially rectifying the torture it must be for a Seattle basketball fan to watch how freaking awesome the OKC Thunder are. Anyways, I digress.
The situations here for the NHL are numerous as the potential for a team in Seattle could mean several things. Obviously the reaction is that the Phoenix Coyotes or Florida Panthers would be the first teams to head Northwest to Seattle, but let’s also not forget that expansion (I hope not) is an option after all.
Some quotes from today’s press conference courtesy of the Seattle Times:
A proposal for a new half-billion-dollar NBA and NHL arena in Sodo would include $200 million in city and county financing, but no new taxes, Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine said today.
“A major reason we’re here today and you see some of the newspaper reports is because of Chris Hansen. He approached us a few months ago about bringing an NBA team back to Seattle. He was and is a major fan of the Supersonics.”
“We knew we had to get a fair return on our investment,” McGinn said. “We also wanted to ensure the arena was going to get a fair return and had to be funded through its own revenue streams. Equally important was that we wanted to make sure we had the kind of relationship that was long-term and enduring.”
Mayor Mike McGinn said that the proposal includes constructing an area in Sodo that would be appropriate for NBA and NHL games, concerts and private events. He said that the maximum public participation would be $200 million, combined from the city and the county.
“This is a full partnership between the city and the county. This is ultimately a regional investment.”
“The job of Dow and I is whether we’re in a position for the proposal,” McGinn said, adding that working with the NBA and the NHL is the job of Hansen. “My understanding is there are pathways to obtaining a team. Our job is making sure we’re in a position to respond and provide an answer to the proposal.”
“I’m not in the prediction business,” McGinn said. “This is a strong proposal, a promising proposal. All the planets have to align. I’m not going to make any predictions.”
Obviously it appears that the focus is on returning the Supersonics to Seattle, and who can blame them? I’m sure Winnipeg or Quebec City fans could speak to how badly a city wants to have their team return after they leave. That’s not to say Seattle isn’t a hockey market, as Daniel Wagner informed us all earlier today.
What does Backhand Shelf nation think? Will Seattle get a team and succeed? Leave a comment below, tweet with the #BShelf hashtag or post on our Facebook.
Now, a reminder of Seattle’s glory days:
I can only hope an NHL team in Seattle would bring about plaid jerseys and Nirvana night. That is the extent of my delightful little Seattle stereotype.