Chris Hansen wants fans to voice support for new arena

May 29, 2012, 2:34 PM | Updated: May 30, 2012, 6:38 am
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By MyNorthwest.com Staff

Investor Chris Hansen says he wants the average NBA fan
missing the Seattle SuperSonics to have a place to go to
show support for a new arena.

“Type a real letter to your city council about the
importance of bringing the NBA back here … just make it
heartfelt and real,” Hansen told “The Kevin
Calabro Show” on Tuesday. “Spend some time and be creative and I
think that will be very well received.”

Hansen is calling for fan support just hours after
announcing an online campaign on his new website, sonicsarena.com. He’s also spreading the word on
Facebook and Twitter and holding a rally at Occidental Park on June 14.

Hansen fears people in Seattle sit back and just hope
things will happen, but says now is the time – as the county and
city councils review his arena proposal – to let them know the
NBA is welcome back.

While there’s certainly a laundry list of hurdles before a team returns,
Hansen says he’s concerned people are
worried about the revenue and the traffic issues. He’s
reassuring drivers that the arena typically wouldn’t open before 5:30 p.m.
and tip-off is usually in the 7 o’clock hour.

As for the $200 million or more the public would be
responsible for, Hansen says he’s hearing from opponents
that it could be better spent on more important things
like infrastructure and schools. But he says it’s a
different kind of funding that will create more debt
capacity by generating more revenue for the city.

As for the NBA’s position on moving a team to Seattle,
Hansen says “they’re very supportive of the NBA being back in Seattle.”

Hansen’s proposal includes $290 million in private investment. The city
and county would contribute $200 million, which would be repaid through
taxes and rent generated by the arena.

He has locked up seven parcels of land south of Safeco Field where he
wants to build the new basketball and hockey arena. He says most sales
should close within the next few months.

As for what a team would be called once it relocates to Seattle, Hansen
is certain it would be the SuperSonics.

“I can’t envision them being anything other than the Sonics,” Hansen
said. “The city owns the rights to the Sonics, but the history is shared.”

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Chris Hansen wants fans to voice support for new arena