Seattle Arena Plan Moving Forward

The city of Seattle, King County, and investor Chris Hansen have reached an agreement on an arena proposal for Seattle in hopes of bringing the NBA back to the city, according to an AP report (via Lynn Thompson of the Seattle Times first reported that the "memorandum of understanding" would be announced today.

According to pair of reports, the arena proposal calls for $490MM in funding, including at least $290MM in private investment. Only an NBA team — as opposed to both an NBA and NHL franchise — would be needed to start construction, should the Seattle City Council and King County Council approve the memorandum. If both an NBA and NHL team were acquired, the city/county contribution would be capped at $200MM, whereas it would be capped at $120MM with only an NBA team involved.

Hansen is hopeful that the city will approve the memorandum by June so he can take it to the NBA's board of governors. However, with "in-depth financial analysis" of the proposal still to come, that timeline may be a little optimistic, says Thompson.

"Our receipt of the documents is when the Council's formal review begins," said city council president Sally Clark. "We want Mr. Hansen to be successful, but the Council has a duty to scrutinize the agreement carefully."

Commissioner David Stern and other league officials have said repeatedly that expanding the NBA beyond 30 teams is unlikely, so relocation would probably be Seattle's only chance to land a franchise.

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