Chris Hansen Rumors
Plans for a proposed multipurpose arena in Seattle’s stadium district can move forward after a final environmental impact statement released Thursday found no major issues to block the project. The FEIS on investor Chris Hansen’s plans for an arena near Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field was released by the city after nearly two years of work. “We’re one step closer to bringing NHL hockey and NBA basketball to Seattle,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement.
The release of the documents comes about a week before Seattle is expected to release its final environmental impact statement on a proposed arena just south of downtown. A memorandum of understanding is in place with investor Chris Hansen, the city and King County for arena funding but only if Hansen is able to secure an NBA franchise. The MOU has a five-year window that expires in late 2017. Hansen was nearly able to purchase the Sacramento Kings in 2013 and move them to Seattle before a local buyer was found and a new arena approved for the team.
Although there have been rumors that Seattle businessman Chris Hansen — who nearly bought the Sacramento Kings in 2013 with the intention of moving them to Seattle — is also going to make a bid for the Hawks, the high likelihood is that the franchise will be sold to a group which will keep the team in Atlanta. “Basketball is my first priority, but if we buy the team it’s not going anywhere,” Webber said. “And while we’re creating the basketball identity, I go into the community and I re-tie the bridges with the community. It could be something as simple as when I was growing up in Detroit, Isiah Thomas did a commercial that said ‘look before you dig with the Detroit Electric Company, so you don’t shock yourself.’ ”
Hansen told The Associated Press on Monday that he is confident he’ll be able to find investors to take Ballmer’s place in his group. He said it will likely take more than one person to replace Ballmer’s investment, and he will not put a limit on the number of investors at this time. Seattle’s hopes seemed to take a blow last week when Ballmer agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. Hansen said that six or nine months from now, he’ll still be trying to get his proposed arena built and acquire a franchise for Seattle.
Investor Chris Hansen says he remains committed to getting the NBA back to Seattle even though he just lost one of his biggest partners in the process. Hansen released a statement Friday congratulating former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on his agreement to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. Hansen says Ballmer’s commitment will make him a ”great owner and strong asset for the league.”
Seattle Arena investor Chris Hansen reiterated his commitment to the city Friday, after one of his biggest financial partners has apparently moved on. Steve Ballmer acknowledged earlier in the day that he has entered into an agreement to purchase the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. “First, I would like to congratulate Steve Ballmer on his apparent successful bid for the Los Angeles Clippers. Steve’s passion for basketball and commitment to the NBA will make him a great owner and strong asset for the league,” said Hansen in a statement. “I would also like to assure Seattle fans that my remaining partners and I remain committed to bringing the NBA back to Seattle. The environmental review process for the Seattle Arena is nearing completion and we will soon be in a strong position to attract a franchise back to the Emerald City.”
So … what happened? Apparently there’s been a late flurry of offers from at least two other parties — not the Seattle guys — and now, incredibly, the price might be climbing and/or Kohl might be wavering to see if he should play this out longer. I thought I had this story nailed two days ago; now, I’m not sure. Will Lasry and Edens land the Bucks? Will someone else swoop in? What promises will be made to Adam Silver, who has demanded a new arena in Milwaukee by 2017 at the latest … or else? And can the Bucks and Kings really go for a combined $1.1 billion or more???? Good Lord! My money is still on Lasry and Edens, but I can’t believe this process is still dragging along. You know, kind of like the Bucks.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to cheer for the Seattle Bucks. As I tweeted last weekend, the Seattle guys (Steve Ballmer and Chris Hansen) aren’t getting the team — even though they were willing to go higher than anyone else, they dropped out because Herb Kohl (the longtime Bucks owner and a fearless champion of mediocre basketball) wouldn’t sell them the franchise unless they agreed to keep it in Milwaukee. The guys who thought they had it as recently as two days ago? Hedge-fund billionaires Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, who slid under the radar this entire time and thought they landed the Bucks with an offer in the $550 million range (slightly more than Vivek Ranadivé paid for the equally unappealing Kings). As recently as Wednesday, Lasry and Edens were expecting the NBA to vote on their bid at next week’s Board of Governors meeting.
(It doesn’t sound as if expansion is likely.) “I’m not saying that. I wouldn’t say that at all. I wouldn’t say expansion isn’t the way to go. I would think that post the NBA getting its television contract figured out, my personal point of view is that they may be more open to talking about expansion at that point. But I don’t think even the commissioner speaks on behalf of all of the owners. This is a collective decision that needs to be made on what’s best for all of them. I think they’ll be a lot more open to it once the majority of their teams that may be struggling from a financial viability standpoint have turned the corner, they have new TV deal in place and they keep seeing how persistent and passionate our fans our. I think they’ll be a lot more open to it.”
Hansen: You may not talk about some of the difficulties that we’ve gone though in the last year, but the entire nation got to see how passionate Seattle sports fans are. The best marketing for the case of the NBA in Seattle, I had nothing to do with. And they come out for the NFL and soccer too. The entire world has had a chance to see what a great city this is and how much things have changed since the last time the Sonics were here. How vibrant our city is and how much it’s grown. I don’t want to talk badly about other cities, but I don’t think there’s anyone that is even close to what we have to offer.
(Are you by nature a patient person?) “Very patient.” (So then what’s your message to Sonics fans who may not be as patient as you are?) “Does anybody really think that Seattle is not going to have a NBA team at some point in the future? I think everybody can get really impatient when things don’t happen on their own agenda whether it’s something like this or accumulating wealth at a certain point in our life or accomplishing some professional goal of yours. It’s real easy to get impatient and ahead of yourself. It’s inevitable Seattle will have a basketball team. It’s just a question of when. Our job is to get the arena through the EIS process and done and evaluate opportunities as they come up. The next time an opportunity comes our way, we’re going to be in a lot better position. We’re not going to have to prove to the NBA that we’re likely to get an arena built. We’ll have a fully-baked, signed off on deal. There’s not a lot of other cities in this country that can say that.
The investor who attempted to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle says his investment group is solely focused on pursuing the NBA and is not interested in owning an NHL franchise. Chris Hansen told The Associated Press on Wednesday that no one in his ownership group has interest in being the majority owner of a hockey franchise even as rumors continue to circulate about the NHL having interest in Seattle as a possible market in the future.
The investment group trying to bring men’s professional basketball back to Seattle is remaining focused on the NBA, even if landing a hockey franchise could happen sooner. “No one in our ownership group is interested in being a majority owner in an NHL franchise. That’s been the case since the start,” said Chris Hansen, who led the unsuccessful effort last year to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle. “I’ve certainly queried our ownership group about this. I think if someone really wanted to it would be easier than bringing in an outside party. “But the most important thing is the passion is just not there for the NHL among our ownership group that is there for basketball. Getting involved in hockey solely because basketball hasn’t worked out right now, when it’s not something your heart is in, would be a disservice to the fans here.”
The investor who attempted to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle says his investment group is solely focused on pursuing the NBA and is not interested in owning an NHL franchise.
Chris Hansen told The Associated Press on Wednesday that no one in his ownership group has interest in being the majority owner of a hockey franchise even as rumors continue to circulate about the NHL having interest in Seattle as a possible market in the future. Hansen says the focus of his group is getting all environmental reviews finished on their proposed arena so that if an NBA franchise becomes available via sale or expansion, Seattle can be at the front of the line ready to go. Hansen says his investment group remains the same, including former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Supporters of the effort to build a new arena and bring the NBA back to Seattle say they are confident things will remain on track, even though mayor Mike McGinn lost his reelection bid. McGinn was a leading force in crafting the deal to build a new arena with investor Chris Hansen and had strong backing from official Sonics fan groups, who turned out in force to support the mayor throughout the campaign. “There have been a lot of people that have told me sports fans don’t have influence and don’t vote,” says Brian Robinson, co-founder of Save our Sonics. “We proved that our values matter and people will step up to the table. The last component of it was showing that we can bring out campaign dollars and campaign volunteers and votes, and we did that convincingly in the primary. I’m really proud of the job we’ve done since.”
The group looking to put the downtown Sacramento arena plan before voters next year announced Tuesday it has received 18,000 signatures that used donations from would-be NBA owner Chris Hansen. Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork spokesman John Hyde said the group is now processing the signatures and plans to submit them to the city clerk’s office to qualify a ballot measure, despite outcry from those trying to keep the plan off the ballot. The group has pointed out the signatures have to be submitted under the law for ballot petitions, as long as they were collected legally.
Silver said the NBA has more immediate concerns, namely negotiations on a television contract that expires in 2016. “Obviously the league has grown over the years and there may come a point to look at it,” Silver said, regarding expansion. “But right now coming off of our new collective bargaining agreement, we really want to make sure we have 30 franchises that are all financially sound and with great competition in their markets. “That’s where our focus is right now.”
Given the fact there aren’t any teams currently for sale, the bigger question is whether the 30-team NBA is going to expand anytime soon. “That’s up to commissioner Silver,” Stern said. And Silver replied: “I would never say it’s never going to happen. There’s nothing in the works at the moment. We were very clear when we were going through the issue with Steve Ballmer and Mr. Hansen that expansion was not in the cards right now.”
Chris Hansen’s secret contribution to a group opposed to a new arena in Sacramento will not hurt the billionaire’s efforts to deliver an NBA team to Seattle, said incoming NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “I would say it won’t affect Seattle’s chances,” Silver said Sunday in Springfield, Mass., before the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony. “I haven’t talked to Chris since those allegations came out. I think as he said, he got caught up in the moment.”
San Francisco hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and two political consultants have agreed to pay a $50,000 fine for failing to disclose a campaign contribution to a group seeking to block a new Sacramento sports arena. Hansen was accused of making an anonymous $100,000 donation in June to a signature-gathering effort to require a citywide vote on public subsidies for sports facilities. Under California campaign-disclosure laws, the contribution should have been reported by July 31.
Billionaire Chris Hansen must pay the California Fair Political Practices Commission $50,000 for his role in a secretive effort to funnel money to a group trying to thwart Sacramento’s efforts to build a new downtown arena. Hansen gave $100,000 to a group gathering signatures to force a vote on the city’s plan to help build a new home for the Sacramento Kings. It came just days after the NBA rejected his $625 million bid to buy the team and move it to Seattle.
Once prospective NBA owner Chris Hansen and two of his associates will face a joint $50,000 penalty for their involvement in anti-Kings arena efforts. California’s Fair Political Practices Commission has reached an agreement on fines with Hansen and the top official and treasurer of his political committee Citizens for a Vote in Government.
A Sacramento group says investor Chris Hansen has not responded to its request to prevent signatures, secretly gathered to authorize a public vote on a publicly subsidized arena there, from being turned in. The group is now calling on Seattle city leaders to lean on Hansen, claiming that Seattle’s NBA future may be put at risk. After Hansen failed in his bid to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, it was revealed this month that he contributed at least $80,000 to pay signature gatherers who were trying to get the public subsidy for a new Sacramento arena on the ballot. The California Fair Political Practices Commission said the group behind the petition violated state law by refusing to disclose the donation.
Hansen’s “local boy who loved the Sonics” image has been tainted by revelations of his political skulduggery, to undermine Sacramento’s effort to hold onto its NBA team. That opens the door for Ballmer to take a more prominent role in the campaign to bring a team to Seattle. Perhaps Ballmer will buy out Hansen’s stake and take over the effort after the transition is sorted out in Redmond.
Microsoft’s loss may be Seattle basketball fans’ gain. Steve Ballmer’s going to need to do something in his retirement besides mow the lawn at his Hunts Point mansion. He’s also clearly been bitten by the pro sports bug, after nearly winning an NBA franchise for Seattle over the last year. Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen was the face of the Seattle basketball campaign but Ballmer was clearly the lead investor and sure to be the most passionate member of the ownership group Hansen assembled.
Sacramento’s arena war hit new levels of intensity this week after Seattle financier Chris Hansen was revealed as the secret source of money for a petition drive to put the city’s arena plans to a public vote. Seizing on outrage at the news, arena supporters took to the streets Saturday, hanging more than 1,000 fliers on front doors asking residents who signed the petitions to withdraw their signatures. “Don’t let Seattle money steal away our chance at 4,000 jobs for Sacramento!” the fliers urged. Arena backers, a group that includes many of the city’s prominent business people and politicians, argue the Seattle funding offers proof that the two-month-old petition drive is really an attempt to derail the city’s downtown arena plans and push the Kings out of town.