If you build it, maybe the NBA will come. At least that's the first step in bringing an NBA team back to Seattle. It's not happening otherwise.
And after almost a decade of trying to get a new arena in Seattle, it looks like it finally might be happening, according to King 5 in Seattle:
Back in December, Hansen’s Valiant Partners of San Francisco reportedly purchased a three acre piece of property south of Safeco Field, for $21 million.
A press conference is scheduled on Thursday to announce the framework of a new sports entertainment complex in Seattle SoDo neighborhood. KING 5 has learned Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and hedge fund manager Chris Hansen are still working to finalize a term sheet. A high ranking county leader says right now, the deal includes substantial private financing, with some debt backed in some way by the City and County, repaid through admission fees and “arena generating revenue.”
The final terms are expected to be hammered out Thursday morning, and some council members were expecting a briefing prior to the announcement, scheduled for 2 p.m. at City Hall.
Once an arena is built, or even an official deal is in place, the focus will all turn squarely on getting a team. Because that's the whole idea here. They aren't building an arena just to have for concerts and WNBA games. The Kings are the obvious option are they're situation in Sacramento is very much up in the air. Which would be ironic that the city of Seattle would take away a team that another city is desperately trying to keep.
The other obvious option, which makes so much more sense, is to move the New Orleans Hornets to Seattle. First, the Hornets are in horrible shape in New Orleans. But second, with the NBA owning the Hornets, it would almost be a way for David Stern to extend an olive branch for being part of the group that allowed the Sonics to leave for Oklahoma City. This option probably isn't happening as Stern is looking for a local New Orleans buyer that will keep the team there, but still, that one makes a lot more sense than poaching the Kings.
But before the NBA even arrives, it could be an NHL team that finds its way to Seattle's new arena. CBSSports.com's Brian Stubits took a long look at Seattle as a hockey market and the conclusion is, it could work. Really well.
And having the potential for a full-time tenant could be almost as important as the arena itself. Because that makes the arena a valuable asset and makes it a worthwhile build. So really, the NHL might be the the path for the NBA returning to Seattle. How about that?