When the news hit in the past couple of months that Bay-Area Hedge Fund manager Christopher Hansen had plans in place for a multi-sport arena in SoDo that could house NBA and NHL franchises, the city and her sports fans rejoiced. The logistics seemed nightmarish for all the plans to actually come to fruition, - city hall approval, site approval, the red tape that goes into building such a structure, the funding, the land, all that. Nonetheless, Hansen went on buying up land in that area, just south of Safeco Field and CenturyLink - home to the Mariners and Seahawks, in the steely determination to make things happen.
One other hurdle that many proposed might derail the efforts was pushback by the Mariners - an organization that would probably be facing some potential NBA and NHL schedule overlap and would have to deal with the competition for ticket sales and interest, not to mention traffic and logistical issues with two teams infrequently playing at the same time.
Now, reportedly, there has been a letter uncovered by KJR Sports Radio in which Mariners' CEO Howard Lincoln officially voices those concerns to Mayor Mike McGinn, and risks possibly alienating an already struggling franchise from their fanbase even more.
In that alleged letter, available for viewing at KJR's website, Lincoln writes:
The proposed SODO location, in our view, simply does not work. It would bring scheduling, traffic and parking challenges that would likely require hundreds of millions of dollars to mitigate. We doubt that an arena could succeed financially at this location, given mitigation costs and necessary scheduling limitations. Without highly restrictive scheduling limitations, traffic gridlock would put all of the area's teams at risk.
It's unclear at the moment what this means. The letter has yet to be officially authenticated - though it certainly looks to be the real deal and only confirms what many had speculated wa true - that the Mariners are openly supportive of a new area with NBA and NHL franchises, just not in the proposed location (so, not supportive of it, really). This is a potentially major conflict that the investor group, city counsel, and mayor will have to deal with.
For more on the Mariners, head to Lookout Landing.