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Seattle groups lay out arena plan: it starts with finding team

Feb 17, 2012, 2:12 AM EDT


It’s a start. A good start.

Details of the NBA arena plan for Seattle were laid out by Seattle’s mayor and the money behind it, hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, in a press conference that sounded more like a pep rally. They bathed the plan in glowing terms as filled with private investment and risk free to the taxpayers.

But the truth is that it has a long way to go. It has a lot of moving parts and any number of things can kill it. That it starts with Hansen taking on the challenge of buying an NBA team.

The Associated Press explains it this way:

Hansen submitted a proposal to (Seattle) on Thursday that calls for $290 million in private investment, plus the cost of acquiring an NBA franchise, to help construct a facility that would cost between $450 million and $500 million.

According to a letter submitted by the Seattle native to the city, the remaining construction and development costs would be financed by the city and King County using taxes and revenues generated by the new facility and rent charged to the teams playing in the arena. City officials are adamant that there will be no new public taxes needed for the building.

Basically it works like this: The city will go through the process — environmental impact reports and the like — and get everything in place. Then all Hansen has to do is buy an NBA team and recruit an NHL team to play in the building. Once he does that, he will put his money in, the city will put its money in and construction will start.

The NBA is not going to expand, so Hansen would have to buy an existing team and move it. That is where Sacramento rumors come in, as there have been rumblings that a new investor (at the least) could come in there and the team almost moved to Anaheim last summer. The league has a team for sale but doesn’t want it moved out of New Orleans. Yet. And other teams do come on the market — it’s usually just not that easy to move them

But Seattle has a start on getting the Sonics back. It’s a long, long road but the first steps have been taken.

  1. seattlesuperchronic - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:12 AM


  2. jmclarkent - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:23 AM

    Game plan:

    – Hansen buys the Hornets from the league, moves them to Seattle when all is completed. They regain the Sonics name/history (Similar to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL).

    – The Hornets name/history is offered to Micheal Jordan, who graciously accepts.

    – We all pretend like the Charlotte Bobcats never existed.

    • echech88 - Feb 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      A few friends of mine from Seattle very much following this story told me a month ago that any team moving to Seattle could not become the Sonics again as that left with OKC

      Can anyone confirm or deny?

  3. SmackSaw - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    From Wiki

    The SuperSonics nickname, logo, and color scheme will be made available to any subsequent NBA team in Seattle.

    That was easy.

  4. birdsflynorth206 - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    The Sonics name stayed in Seattle for the next team, the history of the team will be shared with the new team and OKC

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