By John Boyle
While there has been plenty of excitement about Chris Hansen’s arena proposal, one question that critics have brought up is that of who will be involved aside from Hansen, a San Francisco based hedge fund manager. Until now, Hansen has elected to keep his investors silent, but on Tuesday he announced on Sportsradio KJR that the group will included Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as Erik and Peter Nordstrom.
Ballmer’s involvement has long been speculated—he was a big Sonics fan and was part of the last-ditch effort to keep the team in Seattle—but Hansen confirming Ballmer as part of the group gives an already impressive arena proposal even more credibility. Having the Nordstrom family as part of the ownership group is also nothing new to the Seattle sports landscape. The family owned the Seahawks for more than a decade—John Nordstrom is still a regular at Seahawks practices and games—and Pete Nordstrom was a member of the previous Sonics ownership group (he reportedly was one of the owners who voted against selling the team to Clay Bennett’s ownership group).
Hansen also confirmed on the interview that he would be the majority owner of the team.
Erik and Pete Nordstrom both issued statements about their involvement in the ownership group:
“I am very excited to be a part of Chris’ group. The Sonics were a great part of this community for over 40 years. I think getting an NBA team back in Seattle is a terrific opportunity to add another asset to our city and contribute to why this is such a wonderful place to live,” said Erik Nordstrom.
“I am thrilled to be working with Chris Hansen to help bring an NBA team back to Seattle. I have been very impressed with Chris’s thoughtful plan to build a viable arena that makes Seattle an obvious choice for a successful NBA city. There are many details to work through and lots of work yet to be done, but I believe Chris’s plan represents a unique opportunity for the community,” said Pete Nordstrom.