NBA in Seattle

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A recent visit by the head of the National Hockey League has people in Seattle once again talking about whether the NHL will beat the NBA to town. KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says that's "score one" for the hockey execs.

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Billionaire Chris Hansen must pay the California Fair Political Practices Commission $50,000 for his role in a secretive effort to funnel money to a group trying to thwart Sacramento's efforts to build a new downtown arena.

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A state appeals court ruled against the longshoremen’s union in its attempt to block a new NBA arena in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. 

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Seattle billionaire Chris Hansen says he regrets funding a secretive effort to block a new downtown arena for Sacramento's professional basketball team.

Hansen's involvement was disclosed by California's campaign watchdog Friday.

NBA owners voted Wednesday to reject the Sacramento Kings' proposed move to Seattle. 

The 22-to-8 vote followed a recommendation made last month by the NBA's relocation committee and may have finally brought an end to an emotional saga that has dragged on for nearly three years.

"This was not an anti-Seattle vote; this was a pro-Sacramento vote," said NBA Commissioner David Stern.

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With Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson already celebrating his city’s victory in the bid to keep the Kings in town, Chris Hansen and his Seattle-based investment group upped the ante on Friday.

Hansen said his group has raised the proposed purchase price for the franchise by $75 million, bringing the total to $625 million “in an effort to further demonstrate the extent of our commitment to bring basketball back.” The group also guaranteed to the league that the franchise would be a revenue sharing payer, Hansen said.

Richard Drew / Associated Press

It appears there will be no professional basketball in Seattle this year.  

The NBA’s relocation committee has favored keeping the Kings franchise in Sacramento, turning down a bid to revive the Sonics. 

The unanimous vote leaves a number of questions about what happens next for investor Chris Hansen and his attempts to bring the Sonics back to Seattle.

The Maloof family is asking NBA owners to approve the sale of the Kings to a Seattle group, saying there is "significant distance between us and the Sacramento group."

In a letter sent to the NBA's relocation and finance committee, and obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, the Maloof family said the Sacramento group originally matched the $525 million valuation for the franchise that Chris Hansen negotiated. Hansen then increased the valuation offer to $550 million last week.

Richard Drew / Associated Press

Don’t expect a decision this week on the fate of the Sacramento Kings.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said NBA Commissioner David Stern cautioned as much during a phone call on Monday. The mayor said he had called to tell the commissioner that “we were pushing ahead here in Seattle."

"He informed me then that he does not expect a decision out of the NBA on Friday, that it will be sometime after the meeting that we’ll get a decision made," McGinn said.

Richard Drew / Associated Press

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city's bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.

Johnson said at his weekly news conference Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. The announcement comes a day after Burkle backed out because of a conflict of interest stemming from his ownership stake in Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players' careers.

HeelSports

As the NBA weighs whether to allow the Kings basketball team to move to Seattle from Sacramento, the league has to consider the possibility of an antitrust lawsuit.

Why should the Sacramento Kings be worth more than $500 million when they’re nowhere near the top of the league? Sports economist Roger Noll of Stanford University says it’s simple: a scarce supply of teams. That's by design, he says, because NBA owners want to keep their franchises valuable. And that exposes the league to a possible lawsuit. 

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Investor Chris Hansen says his group’s website has seen “stunning" interest from Seattleites who want to bring an NBA team to the city.

“We received requests for over 44,000 full season tickets, 268 suites and had 983 businesses interested in sponsorship opportunities,” he said, adding 32,000 of the requests for full-season tickets came within the first 24 hours after the priority ticket waitlist went live on sonicsarena.com.

Sacramento is in a stronger position to convince the NBA to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle with a deal now in place to build an 18,500-seat arena downtown.

The Sacramento City Council voted 7-2 Tuesday to approve a deal that contributes $258 million to the $447 million project. The city plans to use money earned from leasing parking garages for events at the arena to help pay the public cost of the new arena on the current site of an aging shopping mall.

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Chris Hansen and his group of investors have released preliminary design renderings of Seattle’s next basketball arena.

The plan features “non-traditional elements” including three stacked balconies in lieu of top rows above the seating bowl, Hansen’s group said on sonicsarena.com.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

The agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle investment group - with the goal of moving the team to Seattle - is not a slam dunk. It still needs NBA approval. And momentum is growing in Sacramento to try to keep the Kings there.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel tries to clear up some of the confusion Seattle fans may have about what's going on.

The Associated Press

Two people familiar with the decision says the Maloof family has agreed to sell the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Sunday night because the deal is still pending approval from the NBA Board of Governors.

One person said the Maloofs are selling all 65 percent of their share for $525 million to Hansen, who will move the team to Seattle and restore the SuperSonics name.

The Maloofs will still be allowed to look at other bids until the league approves the sale.

The Associated Press

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he has received approval from NBA Commissioner David Stern to present a counteroffer to the league from investors who would keep the Kings in California's capital city.

Speaking at the annual State of Downtown Breakfast on Tuesday, Johnson says the city is in a "six-week sprint" to put together a proposal for the NBA's Board of Governors to consider. The league's deadline for teams to apply for relocation is March 1.

360 Architecture / City of Seattle

City and county officials said yes to the $490 million deal, so Chris Hansen et al. have submitted a preliminary design for the proposed NBA arena to be located in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood.

King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn have signed legislation on the funding plan for construction of an arena that could be used to lure the NBA back to Seattle.

The executives signed the deal on Tuesday after a negotiated memorandum of understanding between the city, county and investor Chris Hansen was approved by the city and county councils a day earlier.

Ted S. Warren / AP

A new basketball arena appears to have the green light. Both the Seattle City Council and King County Council voted Monday in favor of an agreement with investor Chris Hansen.

However, more studies – and votes – lie ahead.

The Longshore Union has announced its intent to file a legal challenge to the proposed basketball arena in the industrial area south of downtown Seattle.

The Seattle City Council has approved a deal to build a new arena designed to lure the NBA back to town.

KPLU

Seattle has a new deal for a sports arena to house NBA and NHL teams. If the full council approves the agreement later this month, lead private investor Chris Hansen will then face the possibly tougher job of getting a deal for the teams.

The revised deal has been officially announced by members of the Seattle City Council and addresses concerns by the Port of Seattle and others that traffic generated by events there would clog up the SoDo area.

Seattle councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Tim Burgess and Mike O'Brien made the announcement.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

The King County Council approved an agreement with the investors who want to build an NBA arena in the SoDo district of Seattle. The council voted 6-3 to ratify the "memorandum of understanding" and "interlocal agreement," documents which define the terms of the arena deal.

"There is intrinsic value in this arena," said county councilmember Julia Patterson. She added that she had voted against Seattle's other sports arenas in the past, when she was in the Washington State Legislature, but voted yes on this deal.

In opposition, councilman Pete von Reichbauer said transportation issues had not been resolved. 

"If you build it, they will come – they can't come if they're stuck in traffic," he said.

More questions are being asked about the proposal for a new arena in Seattle to lure back the NBA. A public hearing on the deal takes place Thursday evening and Seattle’s City Hall is expected to be packed with people giving testimony for and against it.

Port officials say placing a new sports arena in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood without significant transportation improvements would be a "job killer." And one King County councilman wondered if area residents shouldn't vote on the idea.

Lindsay Lowe / KPLU

The level of intensity around the proposal to build a new NBA arena in Seattle is growing by the minute.

The group of investors – which we learned yesterday includes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the Nordstrom family – drew hundreds to a "bring back our Sonics" rally in Pioneer Square today. It was a well-timed event to put pressure on the Seattle City Council and King County Council to back the deal.

“This is a very carefully orchestrated PR campaign," says KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel. "At the same time, the old Sonics – the Thunder – are in the NBA Finals this week. The angst could not be more intense in Seattle among sports fans who care about this because their 41-year passion is being thrown back in their face, mocked by the Thunder’s presence in the league’s championship series.”

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The proposal to build a new sports arena in Seattle is now open to public scrutiny now that the City of Seattle and King County have formalized their agreement with lead investor Chris Hansen.  The next step is to gain approval from the city and county councils.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel explains why he thinks the plan should move forward.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

How would taxpayers be protected if a new basketball arena gets built in Seattle? The details are in an agreement between the city, King County and the man who wants to bring an NBA team to town.

After three months of meetings and negotiations, there’s now a formal Memorandum of Understanding between investor Chris Hansen and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn along with County Executive Dow Constantine. In the fine print, it describes how Hansen will purchase the land south of Safeco Field, build a new basketball arena on it, and then sell it to the city.

The city of Seattle, King County and investor Chris Hansen have reached an agreement in the effort to build an arena that could bring professional basketball back to the Puget Sound.

The memorandum of understanding announced Wednesday now goes before the City Council and King County Council for approval.

The agreement adds a new wrinkle to an original proposal in that an NHL team is no longer needed to start construction. Only an NBA team, with a non-relocation agreement signed, is needed to begin construction on the proposed 18,500-seat facility.

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