Jan 192015
 

If you were thinking that the Hansen Team’s secretive “what has been submitted, what is the city waiting on, what is Hansen delaying on” approach to getting an arena approved for building is not transparent, you’re not alone.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has to make a lot of calls to city workers and still can’t figure out what to write about, so “we need transparency” it is!

On Friday, the city’s department of planning and development revealed the proposed arena’s final environmental impact statement (EIS) had been delayed three more months because of the complexity of issues involved. That realistically pushes well into 2016 the time frame for issuing any permits for the project proposed by entrepreneur Chris Hansen.

And it prompted an unusual news release from Murray’s office — on Saturday morning, no less — saying he wants more transparency from the planning department his office oversees.

Translated into plain English: Murray is taking heat over the latest delay (ed: or he hates getting phone calls from sports reporters on Friday afternoon).

“There’s some frustration out there on both sides of this,’’ (Murray) said in a phone interview. “People on both sides are struggling to understand the process.’’

Murray is not exactly a huge sports fan, but does perform ceremonial functions (waves to the crowd) at playoff games.  Mayor Murray really has not been involved in any of the arena approval steps (they were before he took office) and, aside from Geoff getting him on the phone to talk about sports, I’m not sure what he’s supposed to be “ushering along” to please sports fans currently distracted by OT wins by a team playing the worst game of the season (until the last minutes of the 4th quarter).  But, transparency!

Frankly, this arena saga could use greater transparency from all sides.

….

Hansen also could be more transparent. Much of this now yearlong EIS delay stemmed from him not submitting requested paperwork until late September.

….

It’s also worth noting the city isn’t compiling the EIS. That falls to consultant Katy Chaney of URS Corp.

But we don’t know exactly why she needs more time. Neither does the mayor, from what he told me.

And that’s problematic. It’s OK in a democracy to request that anyone wanting public money be put through rigorous screening. What isn’t OK is dragging things out indefinitely for reasons few understand.

There’s no evidence that’s being done here. But when the public remains in the dark about a process — even if via ignorance — it can lead to abuse.

Murray needs to spread the word about how this process will unfold. Some sports fans might not like the result, but they’ll at least see it coming.

If only someone in the driver’s seat on EIS submissions, the state of the ownership group, if the Bucks are for sale, and very familiar with where things stand had a website they could put that on…..   but then what would Geoff do to keep busy?

  
Jan 182015
 

Economic Impact Analysis

If you’re wondering about what Pro Forma Advisors writes about the economic impact of an arena, they think it’s pretty swell with $30-34 million a year in net operating income a year. Amazingly, this is based on 82 annual events that aren’t NBA and NHL. The Pro Forma presentation is here and a topsheet is here.

  
Nov 132014
 

A great deal of hand-wringing from McGinn’s ousting has revolved around Murray’s lukewarm support of any NBA ambitions.  The NHL continues to explore the Seattle arena proposal, but nobody is committed to being Hansen’s deep-pocketed partner in making their mostly revenue-neutral* arena deal work.  Nobody in a power position is itching to re-open the MOU to renegotiation and Mayor Ed Murray made a NHL dream-shattering statement that an arena without an NBA team just wasn’t going to pencil out for the city, the NHL is not stable enough a partner to proceed with.  For video confirmation, watch the response at 55:50.

(* neutral to the city funds because we assume that the public is too math-illiterate to realize they’re paying higher property taxes due to the arena and, because those higher taxes pay arena bonds rather than tax stuff, we also assume the arena would not require any of the city/county services the taxes it generates would usually pay for)
 

  
Oct 052014
 

In this clip from the Seattle Channel’s Civic Cocktail program October 1st, Dow Constantine was asked about the NBA arena.

 

Dow is still thinking Hansen will bring basketball to Seattle, even without Steve Ballmer.  Then again, Dow and the county benefit greatly from a “free rider” position in the NBA arena if only one team, the NBA, is signed on by the time the building is completed.

  
Oct 022014
 

After months of delay and meandering careful collection of detailed analysis and predictions, Hansen’s team has submitted all requested info to the Seattle Department of Planning and Development.  As you can see by hours billed, work has been sparse, on the city’s side, for many months.

King5’s Chris Daniels continues to beat the arena drum, including dropping old details into his stories and not reporting the more negative finding that other outlets have (the leaders did not want to open the MOU to NHL first at this time).

The NHL is widely believed to be anxious to bring a team to the Seattle market. There was no formal presentation about the market during a league meeting on Tuesday. An NHL spokesman also said there were no formal talks about expansion during the owners meetings in New York City.

The league’s commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly both flew to Seattle earlier this year, along with potential owner Victor Coleman. They all met with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine. Bettman later said the meeting was to get an update on the status of the arena. Murray says the league leaders also asked the city about the possibility of changing the Memorandum of Understanding on the arena, to allow for an NHL team to prompt construction.

 

Paul Allen Wants to Put NHL in Portland

Humorously, one ex-Microsoftee who actually lives in Seattle is speaking publicly about their desire to put an NHL team into the underutilized arena his LLC owns. Once you own the building, it really helps to have as many events in it as possible (and it’s best if the potential team owner is interested in doing that to minimize their sunk arena costs, or else you end up with Ackerley).

  
Jun 102014
 

Donald Sterling has reversed course, instead vowing to fight the sale of the LA Clippers to Steve Ballmer.  Yes, we all saw this coming, but that doesn’t make this any less amusing.

“From the onset, I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers,” he said in the letter. “I believe that Adam Silver acted in haste by illegally ordering the forced sale of the Clippers, banning me for life from the NBA and imposing the fine. Adam Silver’s conduct in doing so without conducting any real investigation was wrong.

“The action taken by Adam Silver and the NBA constitutes a violation of my rights and fly in the face of the freedoms that are afforded to all Americans.”

Different circumstances, entirely, but it will be entertaining to see what goes on in a lawsuit against the NBA (like so many had suggested Hansen should do re: the Kings).  Will LeBron and the Players Association follow through on their threats to boycott ?

  
May 292014
 

We’re all in (LA bitches, Seattle can keep their rain clouds)!

Steve Ballmer has had enough time on the sidelines and, now that he’s retired, doesn’t need Hansen as his “the city should have some skin in the game” pauper beard anymore.  $2B to buy the LA Clippers, with a promise not to relocate.

Of course, the Sterlings still have to interject some drama here.  Per ESPN:

 The agreement is going straight to the NBA for final approval and does not require additional approval from banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling, according to sources.

The Sterling family trust, which owned the Clippers, had rules and guidelines regarding mental incapacitation, sources told Shelburne and ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell. Very recently, sources said, Donald Sterling was found by experts to be incapacitated. His wife Shelly Sterling then became the sole trustee and had the power to deal directly with Ballmer, according to sources.

If I were to coin a hashtag, I guess Hansen got #Ballmered

Art Thiel’s perpective on all this:

Ballmer was Seattle’s muscle when it came to getting the NBA back to town. He partnered with Seattle native Chris Hansen to seek an arena in SoDo and relocate the Kings from Sacramento, a futile 15-month saga that previously led the Can You Top This? list of implausible sports-business stories.

When Sacramento, led by Kevin Johnson, an ex-NBA star turned Sactown mayor and forever the pet of former commissioner David Stern, found the money and the arena plan one year ago to keep the Kings, it was the beginning of the end for Ballmer’s Seattle ambitions.

  
May 272014
 

Ok, so this could all be bluster, but this is absolutely an insane amount of money for an NBA team.  Maybe we all vastly under-estimate how profitable this game is.  Remind me again how Ballmer and Hansen couldn’t pay for their own building ?

 

From Sterling’s response, it sounds like I need to pick up some popcorn.

INTRODUCTION
On the basis of remarks made in a livingroom during a “lovers’ quarrel,” which were illegally recorded and then disclosed months later in retaliation for a lawsuit by Mr. Sterling’s wife, the NBA seeks to forcibly strip Mr. Sterling and his wife of their ownership interest in the Los Angeles Clippers. The NBA’s use of this illegal recording constitutes a clear and blatant violation of Mr. Sterling’s California constitutional rights. The authors of the charge did not have the courage, decency, or honesty to acknowledge the circumstances surrounding Mr. Sterling’s jealous rant or even that the source of their information was borne from the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” So, in reality, Mr. Sterling is being banned for life, fined $2.5 million, and stripped of his ownership for a purely private conversation with his lover that he did not know was being recorded and that he never intended would see the light of day. We do not believe a court in the United States of America will enforce the draconian penalties imposed on Mr. Sterling in these circumstances, and indeed, we believe that preservation of Mr. Sterling’s constitutional rights requires that these sham proceedings be terminated in Mr. Sterling’s favor. This is particularly true when over its entire history the NBA has never fined anyone as much as $2.5 million, never suspended any owner for life, and never undertaken to confiscate an owner’s team for any offense, much less an alleged offense originating in a conversation in a private setting that was illegally recorded

 

I Missed My Chance ?

update 5/28  at 7PM PST

 

Bids are In

update 5/29 at 4 PM

The first round of bids are in, Ballmer may be in the lead.

Sources close to the process believe that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s group currently has the leading bid, however the situation remains fluid as negotiations continue with the two other strong groups and Shelly Sterling works to persuade her husband of 58 years to agree to sell the team.