The Seattle arena environmental impact statement is done! The Seattle arena environmental impact statement is done! It’s 1600 pages, so if you want to read it you’d better have nothing planned this weekend, but apparently it says that a new arena wouldn’t result in the trafficpocalypse, so that’s something.
Now that that’s done, the main holdup for Chris Hansen’s arena plan is that his deal with the city only accounts for funding an arena if he gets an NBA team. Chris Hansen, unless something fairly dramatic and unlikely happens to throw a wrench into the long-simmering Milwaukee Bucks arena talks in the next few months, is not getting an NBA team anytime in the immediate future. What he might get is an NHL expansion team, but his arena deal only allows for that as an add-on, not the main course.
What to do? Rewrite the deal, obviously, which Hansen now says he’s open to, and as Chris Daniels of KING-5 reports, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is prepared to pursue:
Murray has indicated he’s willing to champion new legislation if someone brings a financial model to the table that makes sense.
Oh, is that all?
Now, it may seem odd that Hansen and Co. can’t just cross out “NBA” in its arena plans and pencil in “NHL” — they have the same season length, after all, and you could still schedule the same number of concerts to go along with them. (Maybe a smidge less if you need more time to pour ice for games, but that shouldn’t be a huge factor.) But keep in mind that Hansen already lost his main money man, Steve Ballmer, when Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers for all the money in the world, and that basketball has a built-in fan base from the Sonics days, and that his NBA business plan already looked to offer only wafer-thin margins, and you can start to see that an NHL-first plan might not be a … what’s the hockey equivalent of a slam dunk? An open shot on net? Something involving the five hole? I gotta watch more hockey.