There's been a lot of talk recently on the prospect of the NBA returning to Seattle, and they're centered around reports citing hedge-fund manager Christopher Hansen's meetings with city officials, with the ultimate goal being a new multi-sport stadium in downtown Seattle.
Seattle Major Mike McGinn joined Ian Furness on SportsRadioKJR this week to talk about the behind-the-scenes action, with SportsRadioInterviews.com transcribing the conversation:
Is the city closer today than it was three or six months ago to building a new stadium:
"I think we have to say we are much closer than we were three months ago, six months ago or a year ago. I do think we have to say that. And I say that because Chris Hansen is a serious committed investor who appears to have the financial wherewithal and the business knowledge to move forward.
And we at the city side, when I met Chris and when we heard from him and his interest, and the fact he's from Seattle and interested in Seattle, we felt it was important for us to understand what our constraints were, to understand what we were could possibly do. And so to be in a position to make decisions and to talk with Chris. So those two things have occurred.
So you have on both sides of the equation a very serious level of commitment, and that's very different than it was a year ago. Now, again, I have to keep saying this: I cannot say how this all ends. Because I know there's a lot of excitement out there, and it would be a big financial commitment from the investors. They have to make their decision, we have to see how far they're willing to go and judge how far we're willing to go. Hopefully it will all meet in the middle."
On what the biggest hurdle is that investors must clear to getting construction started on a new stadium inside city limits:
"I would say the starting point is probably does it pencil financially from their side, and does it pencil out financially from our side. I think those are the two big questions. That's the first major hurdle, and if you can't get over that one, you can't get to any other hurdles.
And I think once we reach that point where we think we have something that protects our city budget, protects our long term interests as a city, and takes advantage of that opportunity, maybe other hurdles will emerge and at that point we'll see what they are. But I kind of think that's the starting point. And we've been very clear about what we think is important on our side."
Finally, the other question on everyone's mind...
Whether their would need to be a hockey team as well as a NBA team in order to make the deal work:
"My understanding is that they're interested in both, and that that's an important consideration to them."
Very interesting stuff from McGinn, and make sure you check out the rest of the interview here.