Tim Leiweke Rumors
The ownership group that applied to bring the NHL to Seattle is optimistic as it begins a season-ticket drive Thursday. It is also leaving the door open for another feat: bringing an NBA franchise back to the city. “The answer is absolutely,” investment banker David Bonderman told ESPN. “If there is a franchise to be had from the NBA, we want to be up there fighting for it for Seattle.” Bonderman joins longtime sports executive Tim Leiweke and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer as leads for the Oak View Group, which is hoping to found the NHL’s 32nd team. Earlier this month, the OVG submitted paperwork and a $10 million down payment to the league. The NHL is likely to accept the bid pending the results of the season-ticket drive.
Dressed in a dark suit and sporting a wide smile, Tim Leiweke — the former AEG exec and longtime L.A. sports power player — pressed pen to paper and delivered a message Seattle fans have been craving. “Ten years ago, you had your heart ripped out,” Leiweke said. “We’re going to get you a team.”
David Aldridge: The vote puts the Seattle city government squarely behind OVG, headed by longtime sports executive/AEG CEO Tim Leiweke & entertainment manager/mogul Irving Azoff, instead of billionaire Chris Hansen, who has sought to build an arena in the South Downtown section of the city.
Dolan’s interest in Toronto executive Masai Ujiri is real, not to mention the preferred choice of the folks inside the NBA’s league offices who want nothing more than this Knicks machine to run smoothly one day. There’s already a built-in connection as well: Tim Leiweke, the former CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment group who hired Ujiri as Toronto’s general manager in 2013, is serving as a Knicks consultant. He’s the CEO of the sports and entertainment consulting firm, the Oak View Group, as well as a partner of Irving Azoff, the longtime friend of Dolan’s who played a significant role in bringing Jackson to the Knicks.
Marc Stein: In Knicks news: League sources say former Raptors exec Tim Leiweke is poised to help them as an advisor in wake of Phil Jackson’s exit.