Hansen: No NHL teams are so eager to play in Seattle that they’ve gotten out their checkbooks

Chris Hansen, the would-be Seattle NBA arena builder who can’t get an NBA team, says he hasn’t been approached by any NHL teams wanting to move to Seattle and willing to pay him to do so:

“We’ve had a lot of informal discussions with people about this, but us or the city have yet to be presented with any kind of offer. I mean any kind of even basic offer that would be the opening point for negotiating something,” Hansen said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The AP called this “surprising,” but it really isn’t: There aren’t a ton of hockey teams looking to move right now, and while I’m sure any team owner looking to test the waters would do due diligence by putting in a phone call to Hansen (that’s your “informal discussions” right there), actually offering to put in a pile of cash to help get the arena built — something Hansen and the city say would be needed for hockey, which doesn’t bring in as much revenue as basketball — isn’t really how things get done in the arena game.

None of this means that Seattle will never get an NHL team, or Hansen will never get his arena built, though the latter is certainly looking less likely the more time passes from his original approval two years ago. But it’s a reminder that 1) paying for arenas is hard, which we knew already, and 2) “build it and they will come” isn’t a great strategy for landing a pro sports franchise, which we also knew already.

5 comments on “Hansen: No NHL teams are so eager to play in Seattle that they’ve gotten out their checkbooks

  1. I believe that NBA and NHL teams draw similar amounts of arena revenue nowadays, at least in markets that support both sports.

  2. Hansen and Seattle officials insist otherwise, but I’m not sure what that’s based on. Forbes has the NBA bringing in a bit more money, but much of that is probably thanks to more lucrative media deals.

  3. The strategy for Hansen’s arena is definitely not “build it and they will come.” They have to come for it to be built.

  4. It’s not really surprising. The NHL wants Ray Bartoszek to be Seattle’s hockey owner and he wants nothing to do with Hansen. He plans on building a new arena in Tukwila, which will be 100% privately funded. This could be something the NBA is supporting behind the scenes, since they would rather not deal with Hansen. He burned too many bridges with NBA owners when he funded an anti-arena effort in Sacramento.