Seattle Emerges As Future Site For NBA, NHL Franchise

Seattle Emerges As Future Site For NBA, NHL Franchise

Four years after losing their beloved Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City, Seattle has risen from the ashes and is now being discussed as the next city to score an NBA franchise.

There has never been any doubt that Seattle is a great city for professional sports; the continued success of the Seahawks of the NFL and the continued support of the Mariners in baseball despite recent dismal teams points to Seattle being a great sports city.  The problem has been, and still is, the lack of a viable all-purpose sports arena.  Since the SuperSonics left town David Stern, NBA Commissioner, has repeatedly said that Seattle would once again be considered for a team once a sports arena was built.

However, just as is the case with Sacramento, there has been very little support in Seattle for such an arena.  With a downcast economic picture the public and the politicians have felt that money could be spent on more important things, so any attempt at building an arena has met resistance.

Until now!  Christopher Hansen, a Seattle native and a San Francisco hedge-fund manager, has purchased land south of Safeco Field and has had initial discussions with the City of Seattle and the NBA about building a new arena.  The studies have been completed and Seattle officials are waiting for a formal proposal to be brought to them by Hansen and his group; what makes this story interesting is that Hansen has worked diligently behind the scenes to make sure all of the t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted before allowing this story to become public.  It is, in fact, the first viable proposal for such an arena being built and it very much looks like it will happen.

All of which means that a team struggling financially in the NBA would immediately look to Seattle as an option, and the most-watched city is Sacramento.  The Kings are facing a March 1st deadline; if they do not have an acceptable plan in place for a new arena then the team will be moved, quite possibly by next season.

The other team watching the Seattle situation closely is the Phoenix Coyotes of the NHL.  It has long been hoped that Seattle would build a multi-use arena so that hockey could be introduced to the Seattle market.  The NHL wants another west coast team badly and there is a natural rivalry between Vancouver and Seattle.  It would be the perfect fit and since the Coyotes are being run by the League right now this is a very real scenario that could play out quickly once Seattle and Chris Hansen come to an agreement.

Do not be surprised if all of this happens by next season.  Even without an arena Seattle could play games in the aging Key Arena for a year until the new arena is built.  What the NBA and NHL want is a guarantee that a new arena will be built; once they have that guarantee the wheels of change will begin rolling very quickly.

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