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Seattle investor still plans to build arena (which could house NHL team)

May 30, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

Chris Hansen AP

From KING5 News in Seattle:

Seattle Arena investor Chris Hansen reiterated his commitment to the city Friday, after one of his biggest financial partners has apparently moved on. Steve Ballmer acknowledged earlier in the day that he has entered into an agreement to purchase the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

“First, I would like to congratulate Steve Ballmer on his apparent successful bid for the Los Angeles Clippers. Steve’s passion for basketball and commitment to the NBA will make him a great owner and strong asset for the league,” said Hansen in a statement.  “I would also like to assure Seattle fans that my remaining partners and I remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle. The environmental review process for the Seattle Arena is nearing completion and we will soon be in a strong position to attract a franchise back to the Emerald City.”

If you’re new to this story, you may be wondering why a guy who wants to bring a basketball team to Seattle is of any concern to hockey fans. The answer is, the guy who wants to bring a basketball team to Seattle is also the guy who has formal plans to build an arena — an arena which could also house an NHL team in that city.

And according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, that same guy, Hansen, has little interest in building an arena if there’s no basketball team to play in it.

“The sense I get is he doesn’t want to build a building just to have a tenant,” Bettman said. “And since he seems to have things tied up with the city for the next three years, give or take, there’s no certainty about a building.”

In other words, at this point, no basketball team for Seattle means no hockey team for Seattle. Which, again, is why we mention the basketball guy hasn’t given up.

Related: Bettman and Daly visited Seattle last week

  1. imleftcoast - May 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    It’s a condition of the Seattle City Council approval of the arena that Hansen secure a basketball team as a tenant. In March of this year, they asked the City Council to waive that, but they would not.

    http://sportspressnw.com/2181588/2014/council-arena-deal-wont-be-re-done-for-hockey

  2. strictlythedanks - May 30, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    If you build it, they will come

  3. lovac2 - May 30, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    More I follow the story, the impression I get is that hockey is being treated poorly and as an inferior product. And Gary Bettman continues to kiss *** while he has other people begging for a team.

    • bmy0913 - May 30, 2014 at 3:42 PM

      Inferiority is subjective man….Obviously, I cannot stand to watch basketball. But, financially, to make that investment in a sport that doesn’t post nearly the numbers that the NBA does, in a market that is pretty uncertain, would be a big risk for both he and the city. It sucks, but makes sense. Hockey is still growing.

  4. r8rbhawk - May 30, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    The team that ends up in Seattle (if ever) will win the Stanley Cup before the next Canadian team does.

    • avfanforlife - May 30, 2014 at 3:46 PM

      ouch.

  5. tyler4richardson - May 30, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    This might take a while……. So in the wise words of Chris Hansen “Please have a seat”

  6. hosewater2 - May 30, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    In related news, Bettman and Daly are in Portland today.

  7. gbart22 - May 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Portland and Seattle are the next to American markets to get a team when it happens

    • nhlfan14 - May 30, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Seattle cannot even support a basketball team, how are they going to create a fan base for hockey? The fans in Seattle are flakey at best (just like the people) and if the team doesn’t win the Stanley Cup their first season, they will not survive. I’ve lived in Seattle, and I hardly foresee this taking place.

  8. flyboystransport - May 30, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Won’t be both. The nhl obviously wants a team in Seattle so go back to Jeremy roenick and get the investors interested in an expansion team. Then have the nhl fork over 100 million towards the building.

  9. bubblehead22 - May 30, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    There should be a team in Seattle, I think it would be very successful as far as fan support. The sports market seems to be growing although I admit with M’s attendance it’s still tough to shake the “fair weather” label for the population size of the city and surrounding counties.

    I grew up on the easy coast and attend 15-20 WHL games a year here in Seattle there’s a lot of hockey fans like myself who are loyal to child/hood hometown teams that would support an NHL team. There are youth and adult leagues all around the area.

    I could careless about the NBA personally but I recognize the connection. Plus there are a lot of NBA fans here due to the Sonics and some fans really want the NBA just because of the civic pride factor in losing a professional team.

    • imleftcoast - May 30, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      We have the 5th largest rec hockey league in the US, although most of the guys I play with are from Canada or MN, MI, ILL. Finally, got a good hockey bar, The Angry Beaver, that is packed during the playoffs. Moving an established team like Phoenix or Florida could work. I’m not sure about an expansion team that takes years to be competitive.

      The Sonics are like an ex-girlfriend who is doing well somewhere else. Seattle just pines for them. They did win a championship, and Clay Bennet and Howard Schulz are a’holes.

  10. nhlfan14 - May 30, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Seattle does not have the fan base to support a hockey team. I lived their when they lost their basketball team (which I could care less about), and I know how flakey the fans (and people in general) are. I don’t foresee this happening anytime soon.

    • fan12hawks - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      Well you know absolutely nothing about Seattle Fans! If you know anything of Seattle Sports then you know we are passionate!!!! Look at the Sounders, last time I checked they have sold out every game since they started. On top of that, they have doubled MLS average attendance since they started. Have you seen the Thunderbirds or the Silvertips (if i have to explain who those teams are then you never lived in Seattle)? They are 90% sold out every time!

      Yes the NBA left, but if you really understand why it had nothing to do with the fans. There was a ton of fan support for the new arena. Schultz put a horrible product on the court to sell the team to an outside investor (Clay Bennett). In addition,they wanted the city to fund the new arena and give them the rights to it. When the city just had a football stadium built and baseball field built with little to no funding with public money. The city council (not the fans) did not see why they could not do what the other sports facilities did… There were back room politics that happen and it came out after the fact (thanks to the help from Adam Brown and SonicsGate).

      So now that you have been enlightened about what actual Seattle Sports Fans feel and the truth about how things are; let me tell you that Seattle Fans will support the NHL. I know there are a lot of people in my office (of a few 1,000 workers) who would rather see an NHL team here then NBA. There are fans that have season tickets for Vancouver Canucks, and travel from Seattle for the games.

      If you know anything about Seattle Sports Fans, we like hockey, we will love an NHL team!

      Before you go insult a mass group of people based on your narrow thinking, know the facts first!

  11. i thumbs down your comment - May 30, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    I’ve never met a person from Seattle that could pass as a decent human being.

    • nhlfan14 - May 30, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      I agree with you! Thankfully I’m not from there but during my time there I gained a sense of how passive Washingtonians are and how they are barbie and ken doll wannabes.

  12. bullwinkle88 - May 31, 2014 at 5:24 AM

    Why do we care what this basketball bozo thinks or wants? Forget Seattle and focus on Portland. You don’t need a basketball franchise to support a hockey team. Just look at Pittsburgh and Buffalo.

  13. innovativethinking87 - May 31, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    What’s so funny is Portland has a beautiful NBA/NHL arena sitting smack in the middle of downtown.. Why does the nhl waste their time on Seattle when they don’t even have an arena or anything there? My goodness what a waste of time at the least go to Portland in the meantime. That town loves hockey and is near the size of Seattle as well..

    • fan12hawks - Jun 2, 2014 at 3:17 PM

      Again, has anyone posting on this ever been to the NW. Portland and Seattle are not close to the same size. Seattle’s TV Market is at least in the top 15 and Portland does not even break the top 20. In addition Seattle is the fastest growing major market in the country 20% growth in population in 2 years. Why does the NHL want to come here, because this is an untapped market we only have 3 sports teams. And even the Mariners (the laughing stock of MLB) bringing a boat load of money every year.

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