National Hockey League ticket drive in Seattle gets off to hot start

Tim Leiweke

The NHL may or may not be coming to Seattle. On Thursday, the city did its best to prove it is ready.

As their push for a Seattle NHL expansion franchise continues, the prospective team's owners are expressing interest in a role with a Seattle NBA team.

The Oak View Group led by Leiweke, David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer has proposed a $600 million renovation of KeyArena.

"I'm shocked that happened as quick as it did, but I'm not shocked that it happened", Leiweke said to Lalji of the number of season ticket deposits made.

If all goes well, fans who placed deposits today could be sitting down in their season-ticket seat for a Seattle hockey game by the 2020-21 season.

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The ownership group that applied to bring the NHL to Seattle, David Bonderman, Jerry Bruckheimer and Tim Leiweke, are hoping to not only land the 32nd hockey team but also to add an National Basketball Association franchise to the city.

Seattle City Council approved a memorandum of understanding in December with Oak View Group to privately finance a roughly $600-million remodelling of the city's aging KeyArena that would almost double its square footage.

Seattle is so excited for the possibility of another professional sports team that people are already clamoring for tickets for a franchise that doesn't yet exist.

That's a very promising sign for Seattle's chances of landing a team, which would play at a redeveloped KeyArena, former home of the Sonics. The privately-funded remodeled stadium is expected to seat 17,500, so expect a rather lengthy waiting list for season tickets.

The deposits are seen as a key barometer as to whether the league will award a franchise. Should the opportunity arise down the road, both Bonderman and Bruckheimer say they would be interesting in having an ownership stake in a Seattle NBA team.

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