In this aerial photo taken Aug. 21, 2012, Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, rear, are shown near downtown Seattle. A new arena in Seattle that would be built just south of Safeco Field and that could bring NBA basketball back to the city appeared a step closer to reality as Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn issued a statement late Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, saying he welcomes the news that the Seattle City Council has decided to support bringing basketball back to Seattle.
Photo: Ted S. Warren / AP
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Chris Hansen has a ticket to shop.
His list is short: Find an NBA franchise willing to sell and bring professional basketball back to Seattle.
Hansen, the investor trying to build a new arena, said Thursday that the league has been closely watching what's taking place in the Pacific Northwest and a renegotiated memorandum of understanding between Hansen and the city council on the proposed arena goes a long way to easing the league's concerns about Hansen's plan.
"It means a lot to the NBA," Hansen said. "They've been watching very close to what we're doing. I think going in they were very skeptical we would get to this point given our history in Seattle.
"It's a great win for the city with the league."
The plan for the $490 million arena, which also could host an NHL team, represents the best shot at bringing the NBA back to Seattle. The SuperSonics ended their 41-year run here in 2008 and skipped town for Oklahoma City, where they became the Thunder.
Though formal votes are still required, Tuesday's announcement effectively gave Hansen, a San Francisco hedge-fund manager, and his fellow investors, including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Peter and Erik Nordstrom, of the department store clan, the green light to begin shopping for an NBA team.
The deal calls for $200 million in public financing to be paid back by arena-related taxes and rent. Under new terms announced by the city council, Hansen would double to $30 million the reserves required to be kept on hand in case the arena's finances don't perform as expected.
And at the end of the 30-year use agreement for the new arena, the city could force Hansen to buy it back for $200 million or make him pay to have it torn down should the team move on.
"This agreement could fundamentally change the model of how public-private partnerships involving sports franchises are structured," said councilman Tim Burgess.
As a lifelong Sonics fan, the last 4 years of my life have been terrible. THIS IS THE HAPPIEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE...more
204 fans like this.
September 10 2012, 11:18 PM
*cue Squatch coming down from the rafters*...more
88 fans like this.
September 11 2012, 12:00 AM
While I am excited about the prospect of the NBA returning to Seattle. I do feel somewhat bad about lying in wait like some type of vulture for another cities team. Then again only Mark Cuban and Paul Allen voted against the Sonics moving to OKC.
But for the fans in Sacramento, Minneapolis and Milwaukee I do feel for you because one of these three cities basketball team will be playing in Seattle in the next 3 years....more
143 fans like this.
September 11 2012, 8:03 AM