Momentum is building at the state and local level to bring the NHL to Seattle, as well as to bring the NBA back to the city after the Sonics were swept away to Oklahoma City just a few short years ago. It's been mostly an independent affair since the Sonics left, with groups like Sonicsgate rallying support for an arena in Seattle, hoping to lure the NBA back to Washington, where it rightfully belongs. But now, lawmakers are getting more involved, beginning with the formation of the Sonics Taskforce.
State representatives Mike Hope (R-Lake Stevens) and David Frockt (D-Seattle) led the taskforce meeting on Monday, presiding over a brainstorming session with the goal of finding ways to fund a new arena in or around Seattle. The goal, they say, is to bring the NBA/NHL to Seattle with a plan that involves no additional tax-payer money.
"Our proposal to bring an NBA/NHL team to WA State will mean hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state revenue every year while helping interject new money into businesses around WA State," said Rep. Hope.
Developing a plan that would not raise taxes or cost the tax-payers any money is the primary objective of the Sonics Taskforce meeting. "Funding professional sports teams is not the responsibility of the tax-payers. We will only move forward with a plan that benefits our economy, adds revenue to our cities and brings new opportunities to WA State without costing the tax-payers money," said Rep. Hope.
While the meeting was preliminary, it's a good sign for a possible arena deal somewhere down the line. Community members and organic groups, such as Arena Seattle, have been rallying support, but any plan is almost destined to fail without some kind of nudge from lawmakers.
The group will reconvene next month after breaking with action items to attend to on Monday.
For more on the progress of the Sonics Taskforce, stay with this StoryStream.