I remember early in this process being insanely frustrated with potential ownership's effort and concern over managing expectations as opposed to building excitement. The sentiment then, as now, was that anyone who wanted to be involved in this undertaking would need to understand just what a long, hard haul it could wind up being.
We've done our best to maintain excitement while trying to keep people from getting ahead of themselves but it is not always perfect. Some days I honestly think that we would be better off just pulling the plug, letting sports fans focus on the Sounders and Seahawks for a few years, and allowing Chris to re-engage when the team's return actually happens.
That hasn't happened because we have to be in position to help if and when we are needed on the EIS process AND because we continue to have more fun than is probably warranted given the circumstances. Those of you who still read this are the true die hard fans and, for the most part, have also become friends. So we just stay in, stay ready, and try to make the ride as bearable as possible. Thanks for being a part of it all.
This morning I sent the following update to my former Arena Solution advisory committee members. I thought it was appropriate to share with the valued readers of this site:
I know that many Sonics fans were very disappointed that the NBA did not provide a commitment to return to Seattle when meeting last week with Mayor Ed. Murray. As much as we would like to hear more positive commentary from the league, it is important to put this meeting in perspective and remember what a positive step forward it is for the Mayor of Seattle to be in New York, updating the commissioner on our progress, and expressing our region's commitment to bringing the NBA back to Seattle. A lack of cordial conversation between our city and the league has been a substantial obstacle in recent years, and we can hope that Mayor Murray breaking the ice was a positive step that will lead to regular candid and friendly talks between our city and the NBA.
The NBA’s public position has been that there is no formal process of expansion underway. They are not expected to change that position in a way that would initiate a chaotic bidding war between cities or show initial favoritism to any market. Given the lack of an ongoing expansion process it is hard to imagine any other response the league could have provided to a request for assurances or timelines to return to Seattle. Our role as a city continues to be preparing an arena to house a team so that when their position changes we are ready with a superior market and a hungry fan base.
Of greater concern to me is the slow progress towards an EIS allowing construction on our building. Mayor Murray has expressed his frustration, asking DPD "to review the EIS timeline and to bring greater transparency to the process surrounding the arena proposal, for all who have an interest in it." By all accounts the EIS is very close to completion and when it is, the Mayor also indicated a willingness to consider the financial merits of an "NHL First" amendment, allowing construction for an NHL team after "the NHL and Bettman made it known to him that it would like to put a team in Seattle."
It has been a slow and humbling journey but progress has not stopped and potential ownership remains committed.
I hope to see many of you in Arizona this weekend. GO HAWKS!