There has been quite the talk around Seattle about the new proposed arena in the SODO area. San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen has offered to spend nearly $300 million of his fortune to bring the NBA and NHL to Seattle. Hansen would also form a group to purchase an NBA team and arrange for a separate group to seek out an NHL franchise.
To add to the treat that Hansen is offering, there would be very little public funds used to bring these sports to Seattle.
In a stark contrast to normal politics, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine agreed to fully support Hansen’s proposal.
The Seattle Mariners and the Port of Seattle have written letters opposing the new arena, citing traffic, parking and other concerns. The city of Bellevue has expressed interest in providing Hansen an opportunity should his Seattle venture fail.
Our take on this is simple. The City of Seattle has designated the SODO area as a stadium district. It is zoned this way, clearing one significant hurdle. The area is served by frequent bus and train routes, offering public transportation to those wishing to avoid the parking and traffic issues.
We support Hansen’s proposal. To add to our reasoning, Hansen’s use of private funds has us believing that this opportunity is too good to pass up. While there may be some job losses in the stadium district as warehouses are closed to make room for the new arena, we believe many more jobs will be created in constructing the arena, in nearby restaurants and businesses and in managing the operations of the franchises.
We also believe that, while the Port of Seattle is sincere in its concern, the Seattle Mariners organization is much more concerned about the Sports Dollar going elsewhere. The average sports fan cannot afford season tickets to all Seattle sports. And with the Seahawks improving, the Sounders always increasing their attendance by their performance, the Mariners see a problem. Finishing each season in the basement, the Mariners know more competition for the Sports Dollar will mean they will need to put a better product on the field.
Going forward with a new arena only makes good sense. The question we have to ask, is Seattle a sports town? If the city wants to be, it needs to work to bring all four major sports to town. Fair weather sports fans — pun intended — have no place in a real sports town. We are Sports Nuts here at Seattle Sports Nut. We want all four major sports plus the Sounders putting on a show every year. We support Mr. Hansen and his proposal.