Chris Hansen is busting a PR move, drumming up action by creating a “priority ticket waitlist” for future Sonics games this fall at KeyArena.
In his first public remarks since his offer to buy the Sacramento Kings was accepted, Hansen will open a list on his website, www.sonicsarena.com, at 10 a.m. Thursday that invites fans to sign up so he can get an idea of demand. KING5 TV first reported the news late Monday afternoon.
Hansen wrote on the site that “registering your interest will be a critical step in demonstrating to the NBA and basketball fans around the country the unbelievable passion that exists in the Emerald City to BRING BACK OUR SONICS!”
Hansen was careful not to get out over his skis, because the purchase and relocation is not yet done. The deal faces a counteroffer from Sacramento to keep the Kings, and the NBA has asked the parties not to speak about the deals or NBA actions.
But there is no ban on speaking with supporters about, well, support.
Hansen wrote: “It’s also important that we reiterate that no inference should be drawn between our establishment of the Priority Ticket Waitlist and our efforts to close our acquisition of the Sacramento Kings. We are in the midst of working through the approval and relocation process with the NBA, and we would expect a determination to be made at the Board of Governors meeting in mid-April.
“If our efforts prove successful, we anticipate a Sonics sales team member will contact you in May to discuss available seating options. However, a confirmation of your status on the Priority Ticket Waitlist should in no way be seen as a guarantee of tickets.”
Hansen has put down a $30 million nonrefundable deposit to buy the Kings, besides the nearly $60 million he spent acquiring land in SoDo, and an unknown amount in pre-development costs for a $490 million basketball/hockey arena. He has already requested dates to play at KeyArena this fall.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said Friday that he has asked for Seattle and Sacramento make their cases at a special meeting of the league’s relocation and finances committees in New York April 3. Clay Bennett, the owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder that was the Sonics until the city released the team from its lease for $45 million in 2008, heads the relocation committee. NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the franchise purchase and relocation April 19.
“From the incredible outpouring of emotion from the 5,000 of you who showed up for our rally, to the relentless outreach to the City and County Councils and the legions sporting the Green and Gold in our city, we would never have reached this point without all of you!” Hansen gushed on his webiste. “With this in mind, I’m reaching out to ask for your help once more. It’s the home stretch people and we really need your support on this to help carry us past the finish line!”
A spokesperson for Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told KING5 there are “no plans right now” for the mayor to be at the April 3 meeting.