Seattle NBA deal: County Executive Constantine looking forward to ‘Welcome home, Sonics!’; Councilmember McDermott ‘thrilled’

January 21, 2013 at 9:44 am | In West Seattle news, WS & Sports | 61 Comments

The big citywide story today is the deal to bring NBA basketball back to Seattle – and elected officials from West Seattle are hailing the deal. From King County Executive Dow Constantine:

The return of our hometown team is now within reach. I was a high school kid in the spring of 1979 when I joined 300,000 fellow fans on the streets of downtown Seattle to celebrate our Supersonics winning the NBA Championship. Those were great days for our community.

Thanks to Chris Hansen and his investment partners Steve Ballmer, Peter and Erik Nordstrom, and the strength of regional partnerships and our collective can-do spirit, we can now look forward to celebrating the day we can say, ‘Welcome home, Sonics!’

ADDED 10:23 AM: From another West Seattle-residing elected official, County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who chairs the council’s Budget and Fiscal Management Committee:

I’m thrilled Mr. Hansen and his partners acquired a team. We are closer than ever to having the Sonics play in Seattle again.

Yet, this is just one step in many left before the new arena will be built. As we agreed last year, an economic impact analysis and a full environmental review must be completed before the arena deal is finalized. The County, City and Mr. Hansen will continue to work together until the opening tip-off.

More to come.

61 Comments

  1. Good. It’ll be nice to add all those jobs for construction, vendors, maintenance crews, administration, etc. Now to stop the Port of Seattle from running coal trains multiple times a day which will block traffic all day long.

    Comment by Mike — 10:04 am January 21, 2013 #

  2. :)

    Comment by Brandon — 10:20 am January 21, 2013 #

  3. how is the team and arena being paid for?

    Comment by ineedtwinkiesnow — 10:21 am January 21, 2013 #

  4. Hope they televise a lot of games cuz I sure won’t be able to afford tickets.

    Comment by JimClark — 10:42 am January 21, 2013 #

  5. Great, way to ruin traffic by putting a stadium smack in the middle of an area not designed for one.

    Comment by B — 10:43 am January 21, 2013 #

  6. Darn.

    Comment by Ihatesports — 10:45 am January 21, 2013 #

  7. These are folks who’s wallets are getting fatter. And they claim to represent US?!!!” Quote unQuote”, “public servants” only serve themselves”. Show me otherwise.

    Comment by 56bricks — 10:48 am January 21, 2013 #

  8. Go SONICS! – http://thankyouchrishansen.com

    Comment by Shawn Herron — 10:49 am January 21, 2013 #

  9. Five guys in a groove, Nothing but net – Big Smooth! SuperSonics OH YEAH!

    Comment by RJ — 10:51 am January 21, 2013 #

  10. “Those were great days for our community.”

    Not really.

    Pro sports is a business, nothing less. It does not make *you* great unless you have a really pathetic life in which you claim the triumphs of someone else’s work as your own.

    Comment by Jim P. — 11:00 am January 21, 2013 #

  11. you’ll be watching a bunch of horrible players for years to come…when was the last time the kings had a winning season with these players?

    Comment by ineedtwinkiesnow — 11:03 am January 21, 2013 #

  12. Never make a deal with devil, and as far as I’m concerned as long as David stern has anything to do with the NBA, Seattle should tell him and the league to stick it

    Comment by Come on — 11:03 am January 21, 2013 #

  13. Booooo!

    Comment by WS rats in a cage — 11:06 am January 21, 2013 #

  14. @ineedtwinkies now…there is boatloads of lit. on how is is being funded. Google is your friend.

    Comment by Brandon — 11:09 am January 21, 2013 #

  15. Funny you should say that B, the new arena will be built in exactly the location zoned for Stadia.

    Comment by eyeThink — 11:13 am January 21, 2013 #

  16. …until they leave again.

    Comment by J — 11:14 am January 21, 2013 #

  17. If only our city and county officials and rich investors could get as excited about reducing air and water pollution in Seattle as they seem to be about siting another professional sports team here. Oh, I guess you score more political points this way than by designing Seattle around walking, biking, transit and zero emissions vehicles versus allowing polluting single occupancy vehicles to have the run of the city. Attempts to solve this problem have advanced at a snail’s pace while a new arena and team “is within reach”. http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=WAZ508&warncounty=WAC033&firewxzone=WAZ654&local_place1=&product1=Air+Stagnation+Advisory

    Comment by Kathy — 11:14 am January 21, 2013 #

  18. Darn it.

    Comment by BWD — 11:50 am January 21, 2013 #

  19. Downtown moves ever closer. One only needs to look at South Lake Union to know SoDo’s future.

    Comment by NIN — 12:20 pm January 21, 2013 #

  20. This a great news for sports fans. I am very happy to see this happening. The new arena will be built right where structures like that are zoned. The Hansen group are paying a huge amount of money to make it happen… As they should. Really looking forward to enjoying pro basketball and hopefully, pro hockey teams representing the city. Big thanks from this sports fan for getting this far. Go Sonics!

    Comment by alkiobserver — 12:38 pm January 21, 2013 #

  21. My goodness there are so many grumpy people in West Seattle. Makes me laugh.

    Comment by GrumpsinWS — 12:40 pm January 21, 2013 #

  22. We didn’t think those new on/off ramps from the WS Bridge to SoDo were for us did we? They are for the stadium crowds. For a moment I thought people gave a rip that it now takes 30 minutes to cross in the morning from Fauntleroy to I-5. Now we can do that in the evenings too, year around when folks are using those nice new ramps to get to their precious sporting events. Yay, victory for everyone except those of us who have to commute to work from West Seattle!

    Comment by you're welcome — 12:52 pm January 21, 2013 #

  23. Didn’t we vote against a new arena? I like the sports teams and sense of community as much as the next person, but who is paying for this? The ex-microsoft guys? No problem if they are footing the bill but no more taxes for us, please!!!!

    Comment by pam — 12:53 pm January 21, 2013 #

  24. I am so happy for Seattle and so are my kids! Yes, there is plenty of information on the arena and team deal out there too. @Come On, David Stern is retiring next February.

    Comment by Great News! — 12:55 pm January 21, 2013 #

  25. Be careful what you wish for. You folks in Seattle have no idea how much this hurts our economy here in Sacramento. We have been loyal to this team for over 25 years and now they are moving on. Yes you will be getting a team that is still being rebuilt, and you will probably not realize how much it would mean if they ever made it to the playoffs. Now all we have is a minor league baseball team The Rivercats. We deserve more, and the NBA owes us for letting the Maloofs sell out. 525 million dollars, Wow!! Lots of money for something that really has a value of maybe 300 million. WEll, that’s justice for ya’. You will have to live with it for the next 30+ years. Sucks to be you.

    Comment by KINGSFAN SACRAMENTO — 12:59 pm January 21, 2013 #

  26. Go Sonics! I cannot wait to celebrate and share positive feelings with other locals. To the angry trolls, read up on the deal, and go back into your cave.

    Comment by Seattleite — 1:05 pm January 21, 2013 #

  27. @Kingsfan, it wasn’t the fault of fans in OK when our Sonics left, just as it isn’t the fault of fans in Seattle if the Kings do in fact come here (I’ll believe it when I actually see it). It’s sad for all fans when a team leaves, of course…I think we know that better than anyone…but it’s business. Resentment is understandable, but aim it in the proper direction, toward the business men who didn’t do their job well enough to keep the team. Sports fans all want the same thing, a team to cheer for and be loyal to. I look forward to cheering on the “new” team, though its bittersweet knowing first hand what fans in Sacramento are feeling and will continue to feel for a long time.

    Comment by MB — 1:42 pm January 21, 2013 #

  28. @KINGSFAN, yes I agree! And that’s what makes this such a bitter sweet deal for Sonics fans in Seattle. Because we DO know what it means to Kings fans, and it is heartbreaking! We supported our team for 40 years. Its awful, Im sure Kansas City fans felt the same way when the The Kings moved to Sacramento. On top of it we were betrayed by the many lies of Howard Shultz and Clay Bennett. The business side of the NBA is often unscrupulous. But it is the nature of the business that Owners don’t make money owning and operating the team, but only when they sell it. I hope in Seattle we can stay as classy as possible during this transition after being on the other side. I would love to see the new ownership incorporate a nod to the Kings legacy and their fans by adding a crown somewhere in the Sonics logo.

    Comment by Great News! — 1:47 pm January 21, 2013 #

  29. Seattleite:

    Angry trolls have feelings too just like pie in the sky dreamers like you. We have the right to express them.

    And yes, I am a poet and didn’t know it.

    Comment by BWD — 1:56 pm January 21, 2013 #

  30. How are games tipping off at 7:30 going to impact anyones commute?

    Comment by joey — 4:38 pm January 21, 2013 #

  31. Can someone do the math on tax dollars spent on Key Arena remodel, Safeco Field, Qwest Field and the new bball arena vs money spent on education since about mid 95? Then please give me the numbers on economic value to western Washington during same period of sports vs educated citizenry? Thanks! What did we vote on during same period?

    Comment by Art Critic — 4:40 pm January 21, 2013 #

  32. I think it’s great that Seattle will have an NBA team again (and I’m really excited about the prospect of the NHL coming here) but I have to say I’m really nervous about what a busy stadium in Sodo will mean for traffic & transportation in & out of West Seattle, especially when the viaduct comes down and the majority of options to get downtown and metropolitan points north will require passing through that area. Meanwhile we are at the bottom of the list for light rail. So far I haven’t seen any info or ideas about how this will work.

    Comment by Keith — 4:42 pm January 21, 2013 #

  33. Yes!!! The Sonics are coming back!!! Not much traffic on the bike lanes.

    Comment by Guy — 4:45 pm January 21, 2013 #

  34. If not sooner, I am sure it will be a big topic at the next meeting of a group we usually cover, the WSDOT South Portal Working Group advisory committee. That’s just a couple weeks away – they’ve been meeting quarterly, and the topic is exactly that – how everything ties together here in the south end, and this is certainly a new addition to the discussion.

    Comment by WSB — 4:47 pm January 21, 2013 #

  35. I share Keith’s concerns. I love and support Seattle sports, but I also love being able to get off of the peninsula in a reasonable time frame for frivolous things like work and my elderly parent’s medical appointments. Pumping my dad on my handlebars up Pill Hill continues to be problematic.

    Comment by Ajax — 5:11 pm January 21, 2013 #

  36. It’s more than just an arena and some basketball games.

    http://lalive.com/

    Surrounding property values rise –> domino effect –> SoDo is NoMo

    Not saying it’s good, Not saying it’s bad. Just sayin’..

    Players involved (Hansen, Balmer, Liebman, etc.) will make sure coal trains never come near Seattle. Coal trains don’t sit well with their multi-billion dollar development plans.

    Comment by NIN — 5:47 pm January 21, 2013 #

  37. I admit I am not a basketball fan. I enjoy many of the advantages of living in a city, and I accept that I pay for some opportunities that I don’t care about so that I can enjoy the one’s I do…As for the returning basketball team: why wasn’t Key Arena enough for the previous owners? Will the next group of owners hold the city of Seattle and it’s fans hostage as well? And, I dread the construction mess.

    Comment by DM — 6:32 pm January 21, 2013 #

  38. Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on this. I am thrilled that we may get NBA basketball back.

    Except of course, for our lame duck mayor. This won’t be enough to give him another term.

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 6:53 pm January 21, 2013 #

  39. Let me understand this…we could have kept the old team if we just voted yes and paid for the rebuild of Key Arena using public tax money, but we are still using public tax dollars to pay the same amount for the new arena. Is that right?

    Comment by ineedtwinkiesnow — 7:02 pm January 21, 2013 #

  40. No.

    Comment by WSB — 7:08 pm January 21, 2013 #

  41. “No” to what? Just curious.

    Comment by DM — 7:57 pm January 21, 2013 #

  42. Why is it that the city of Seattle REQUIRES me to recycle…. And yet we cannot figure out how to re-use Key Arena?!….
    So we get an NBA team….. Fine….. But building ANOTHER arena when we already have one, is just plain STUPID and IRRESPONSIBLE…. No matter who pays for it.

    Comment by Dano — 8:00 pm January 21, 2013 #

  43. Any chance we can have the original Sonics back from OK and let OK have these Kings players. Just sayin’ ;).

    Comment by GirgleBurps — 8:24 pm January 21, 2013 #

  44. Replying to the preceding question. Previous owners’ request for public investment in arena was more than current owners-to-be’s request for public investment.

    Comment by WSB — 8:27 pm January 21, 2013 #

  45. Thank you Dano! Rebuild Key Arena and keep it in the same neighborhood. Its in a great spot already. And use your own monies to build all of it Mr. Hansen and Mr. Ballmer. Not a portion of it.

    Comment by ineedtwinkiesnow — 10:02 pm January 21, 2013 #

  46. If this arena deal is going to actually fly — I think the city needs to at least be part owner of the team. Pro sports clubs are so fickle. I am shocked at how people think this is such a thing to celebrate – how quickly we forget — Kingdome, Key arena, Sonics flying off to OK, now think of the Kings — wow, how faithful they are being to Sacramento — just wait and see, what goes around comes around. It also reminds me of the time in London when I was about to spend my own money to buy a ticket to go in and see the crown jewels — but then I said “WAIT A MINUTE!!! Tell me again… why am I going to pay my money to see their jewels?”

    Comment by elaine — 10:12 pm January 21, 2013 #

  47. As far as the public’s desire to not fund improvements to Key Arena… I understand that….. However, it still is not in line with the belief to re-use, and recycle…… I remember a few years ago when Seattle boasted that it was going to be one of the greenest cities in America…. Environmentaly responsible, etc…. Why should consumers feel any responsibility to recycle electronics, outdated or broken items, etc when guys chasing a ball (and the people who idolize them….) say they won’t grace us with their presence unless we buy them a new, shiny stadium?….. Just throw things away and buy new stuff….. oh wait….. I get it….. The consumer based economy NEEDS us to be this way…

    Comment by Dano — 10:18 pm January 21, 2013 #

  48. Groan. $$$ for grown men to chase around after balls. Congestion and taxes worse for the rest of us.

    Comment by LivesIn WS — 7:09 am January 22, 2013 #

  49. Get out your checkbooks.

    Comment by rick — 7:20 am January 22, 2013 #

  50. WOW! The Sonics are coming home and all the basketball/sports haters jump online to trash talk. Take your kid to the game, go on a date, get a group of friends together. Losers. GO SONICS!!!

    Comment by Smokes — 8:49 am January 22, 2013 #

  51. I don’t think a lot of people have actually read any info on this arena. Look at where the dollars are coming from. The money used to build the arena does not come from the general fund. Its a loan to the investors. Please read material before making comments. I understand people’s concerns over money not being spent on schools but no money is being diverted away from schools, roads etc to build this. Key Arena is not a viable NBA arena, bottom line. Additionally, the building is actually property of the city, and will be required to be maintained to NBA standards by The group bringing in the basketball team. Therefore you don’t run into the problem of the sonics leaving again. Also, why be concerned with Traffic at 7:30 at night?

    Link for info on arena so people can educate themselves: http://www.sonicsarena.com/

    Comment by Brandon — 8:54 am January 22, 2013 #

  52. Brandon,
    I’ve read all the print on this from your link and the newspapers.
    I’m looking forward to the return of the Sonics and NHL to Seattle.
    But you know what they say:
    “You can lead a horse to water…”
    The naysayers will ignore ANY data that shows this is NOT diverting money from roads, schools, police, fire…etc, and actually includes road improvements, jobs…etc.
    It doesn’t fit their paradigm and they are to obstinent to look any data or read any info that challenges thier myoptic view.

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 9:25 am January 22, 2013 #

  53. Where is the “Loan” coming from?

    Comment by ineedtwinkiesnow — 9:27 am January 22, 2013 #

  54. @ Ex-Westwood Resident…agreed
    @ineedtwinkiesnow…read link above it does tell you this info.

    Comment by Brandon — 10:27 am January 22, 2013 #

  55. Yes. The return of the Sonics are what every thing wrong in this city is to blame. Feel better now?

    Comment by george — 3:13 pm January 22, 2013 #

  56. Should not the loan be coming from Country Wide or AIG? Another case of misuse of public funds. I hope you read your own links. And perhaps others. I remember voting against taxpayer funding of Safeco Field for instance. It is amazing to me that we can shift money away from GAU funding for instance to fund this kind of thing. Will there be places for homeless to sleep there? How do you sleep? http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2685/t/8761/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1879

    Comment by Art Critic — 3:06 am January 23, 2013 #

  57. Happy for the B-ball fans, but more interested in the NHL coming to Seattle and possibly the Rat City Rollergirls having an opportunity to use the new arena for bouts and tournaments if the Key is not available.

    Comment by East Coast Cynic — 8:25 am January 23, 2013 #

  58. Governments get better rates, that is why the group is using the bond power of the city/county to fund the rest of the arena. Those bonds get paid back over time. The general taxpayers are not funding the bond, the people who patronize the arena will be taxed to pay back the bond. Did you read the links?

    Comment by Brandon — 8:25 am January 23, 2013 #

  59. How much money is allocated to art work on freeway construction projects, 1%? How about that money be used for schools, homeless, health care, etc? I don’t enjoy the art work myself, but I do recognize that other people do, and will support for those reasons, much like the Art Museums, parks, symphony halls (gov. funded). There are lots of aspects to this, but its always cynical to see the revolt against sports. Guess we should protest the high school basketball games since there is “no public benefit” for basketball. 87% of households were tuned in the Seahawks game a week ago. Yeah, theres no interest out there.

    Comment by george — 10:23 am January 23, 2013 #

  60. Art Critic,

    Well I voted for both Safeco and Clink fields and I sleep just FINE!!!
    If the homeless advocates REALLY wanted to do something for them they would be doing MORE than just organizing fund raisers and donation drop offs.
    I know of a place in Seattle that has three/four buildings that can house OVER 1000 people in SAFE, DRY, WARM and SANITARY conditions. There is even a building that has kitchen facilities to serve them food 4 times a day.
    The city OWNS them and for the last 10-15 years have ignored them. Yet they, and the county, spend $ MILLIONS on programs for the homeless that do VERY little for them.
    If the groups like “Share/Wheel” and their ilk TRUELY cared about the homeless, instead of getting face time with the media, they would be asking the city about these buildings and why they aren’t being used for that purpose.
    I have my own idea, but I’ll let you see if you know about them and where they are. If you do know where they are, that might clue you in on why we’ll never see them used for that purpose.
    The “funds” (which is actually just a co-signer on the loan to get lower interest rates) used to assist in the building of this arena WILL NOT REMOVE FUNDS FROM THE GAU!!!

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 2:29 pm January 23, 2013 #

  61. Private business should go to the bank to get their money, like the rest of us must. Limited resources ie public money should be smarter allocated to programs that work, in my view. For instance 30% of homeless, prison, and jail populations are dealing with a serious mental illness through no fault of their own. I whole heartedly believe that 200 million $ bond could be put to greater use starting to solve that issue, one that affects a a large percentage of families everywhere in this country. If we had the will and vision. I’m not against sports, some of my best friends are athletic supporters.

    Comment by Art Critic — 6:59 pm January 27, 2013 #

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