The city of Seattle appears to have made its choice regarding its arena situation, and that decision is to stick with the Key.
Last Wednesday Seattle mayor Ed Murray held a press conference to announce the city is backing the Oak View Group’s plan to renovate KeyArena.
The whole issue goes back to the fact that there are elements in the region seeking to bring NBA and NHL teams back to Seattle. But wooing either the NBA or the NHL to town requires a major facilities upgrade. Before the NBA’s Sonics left Seattle in 2008 they played at KeyArena. But one of the reasons why the team left was because KeyArena was deemed an inadequate facility for NBA purposes.
Ever since then Seattle has been the nation’s biggest market devoid of both the NBA and the NHL. There have been groups with the intentions of bringing either one of the leagues or both to Seattle, but those plans have always hung up on the arena situation. Meanwhile KeyArena, without either an NBA or NHL team to serve as an anchor tenant, has become underutilized and is thus an irritant to the city, which owns the facility.
In recent years the arena question has boiled down to two possibilities. There’s the investment group led by Chris Hansen that’s trying to get an arena built in the Sodo area near Safeco Field and Centurylink Field. Then there’s the multiple proposals that were brought forth to renovate KeyArena. Hansen has more or less pledged to fund the Sodo arena himself, but has met resistance from the Port of Seattle in particular, which argues it would slow down freight traffic. KeyArena renovation has largely been favored by the city, and we now have a specific plan chosen, but it may require a larger amount of public investment, and it faces potential traffic and parking problems.
In the wake of the city’s announcement, Hansen said he’s not giving up on the Sodo arena and that he expects the OVG proposal will fall through, so this saga is far from over yet.
So what do you think of the Seattle arena situation?
POLL: Which path should Seattle take with an arena to try and bring the NBA/NHL to town? Full context here: https://t.co/KZn1PmQnc5
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) June 12, 2017
While we’re on the subject, I encourage anyone who’s a Seattle sports fan to see the documentary Sonicsgate, Requiem for a Team. If you haven’t seen it already, here it is in two parts: