King 5’s Chris Daniels is reporting that Seattle mayor Ed Murray met with the commissioners of the NBA and NHL regarding attempts to get franchises from those leagues into the City.
Murray was traveling to a conference of mayors and stopped by New York to talk to Adam Silver and Gary Bettman about his city’s chance of acquiring a franchise from each league to play in the proposed SODO Arena.
This also isn’t surprising, as the NHL has been rumored to be extremely interested in expanding to Seattle — as well as other markets — over the last year. Yet Seattle doesn’t have an arena capable of hosting an NHL team on more than an interim basis (Key Arena).
The NBA won’t be considering expansion until the official announce that they are accepting applications for expansion franchises. Seattle’s proposed arena would be one of the best venues in the league, from a revenue prospective, and would be in an area that would be able to take the traffic load while making it easier for big rigs to get in and out of the venue during concerts.
Murray never endorsed the arena during the campaign, he also didn’t oppose it either. But it makes sense for him to start warming up to the idea of constructing an arena to replace the Key in SODO.
While Key Arena may be making a profit, it isn’t enough for the City to justify basic upgrades (like a new scoreboard) to keep the building competitive with the other arenas in the area. Also, Queen Ann is a neighborhood that can’t really handle the traffic that events at the Key generate…despite the recent improvements to South Lake Union — which have dramatically increased accessibility to the area.
Murray’s office has released a statement:
“On Monday in New York City, on my way to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I met for the first time with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver regarding the status of an NBA team returning to Seattle.
“While Commissioner Silver said Seattle remains a very attractive city for an NBA franchise with our NBA championship heritage and enthusiastic fan base, the league has no plans to expand at this time. The city will continue to do our part to bring NBA baseball back to Seattle.
“While in New York, I also met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman about the future of NHL hockey in Seattle. We are very keen on bringing an NHL team here, and the commissioner recognizes the value we would bring as a home to a future franchise. We will continue to work toward that shared vision.”