The City of Seattle has a memorandum of understanding with the Oak View Group to renovate KeyArena, and that brings the region one big step closer to securing NHL and NBA teams. So why has the response by and large lacked enthusiasm?
Dave Grosby of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom has a term for it: Arena fatigue.
Grosby said Tuesday that, considering talk of new arenas has been going on in Seattle since before the NBA’s Sonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008, and because there have been starts and stops both at the Seattle Center site and with Chris Hansen’s SoDo proposal, it’s hard to get too excited until something happens in a more physical sense.
“I won’t believe it until a shovel hits the ground, it actually gets started,” Grosby said. “The toughest step is actually getting it built. … It’s nice progress, it’s nice steps forward, but like everyone else who’s just tired of hearing about it, I just want them to get started on it. Let’s see it actually happen.”
And it’s for that reason that Grosby likes that Hansen’s group released a statement Monday that pledged it will continue to move forward in its efforts to build an arena in SoDo.
“He’s had enough experience with this city to know that nothing is done until it’s done,” Grosby said of Hansen.
And there’s no harm in two privately-financed arena projects both trying to move forward, either.
“In an interesting world, you could have two arenas built. As long as the public’s not on the hook for it, fine. There’s no negative to it,” Grosby said.
There could be more news shortly regarding the OVG project, as at this point it seems it’s more a matter of when and not if the NHL will announce plans to expand to Seattle. And while Grosby expects a new hockey team to be welcomed with open arms, there’s still something about the void of the NBA, which has been firm in saying it does not currently have plans for expansion, that will linger in the city.
“The NHL is an unknown quantity here for most people … (but) it will work without question. It will be fantastic here, just like the Sounders worked without question. You’ve had a minor league team here forever (Seattle Thunderbirds) that has been very well supported, just like the Sounders were for years and years and years. Hockey will be successful here. But look, (losing the Sonics) is like losing an arm. It’s an itch that you can’t scratch. The NBA was here for 41 years. Until the NBA comes back it doesn’t feel completely whole.”
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