Chris Hansen: NBA “rooting for us”

Sep 14, 2012, 9:56 AM | Updated: 12:31 pm
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Investor Chris Hansen shares a beer with fans to celebrate passage of an arena deal by a Seattle City Council committee.

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Investor Chris Hansen shares a beer with fans to celebrate passage of an arena deal by a Seattle City Council committee (AP image)

Investor Chris Hansen predicts an NBA team will be playing in Seattle within the next five years, now that a Seattle City Council committee has approved an agreement to build a new arena in SoDo.

In a live interview with Brock and Salk, Hansen said “within the next five years it’s incredibly likely and I’m willing to be that patient.”

Hansen says there are still plenty of steps ahead before he can secure a franchise, starting with an environmental review that could take over a year.

“You know the NBA has made it clear that they want to make sure a new arena is going to be built. So if there’s doubt, if we’re at a stage in the EIS process where there’s some significant doubt about the project and the project site then I think they’d like to wait.”

But Hansen said he’s had a number of positive talks with the league and is confident NBA officials want to see the league return to Seattle.

“They’re rooting for us. They would love to see us get this done. They’re not going to guarantee us a team or anything but they’re very happy with the progress that we’ve made.”

Hansen said there’s no process for landing a team. He said it could come via one on one negotiations or through an auction, so his group is doing all it can to be prepared for whenever such an opportunity presents itself.

“We continue to try to put our best foot forward with the NBA, we keep them abreast of everything we’re doing and continue to market to them that Seattle’s the best market,” Hansen said.

Hansen also expressed optimism an NHL franchise would be playing within the next five years, but said it likely wouldn’t come before an NBA franchise is secured.

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