Bettman and Daly visit with Seattle Mayor and King County Executive

If you have been paying any attention to any hockey news in the last 24 hours, you may have heard that Gary Bettman & Bill Daly, visited Seattle last week to meet with King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. Both sides are saying the meeting was informal and the NHL wanted to check the status of the meeting.


The original news broke from our local man Chris Daniels here:


Then everyone piled on citing the same report:, The Hockey News & myNorthwest bettman_gary640all pretty much say the same thing Daniels said.


OK, this is great news but before we get too excited, the hurdles still remain. I love that Bettman took the time to visit our local officials and it sends a great message how seriously he values Seattle as a potential hockey market. If nothing else, he is building a relationship and relationships take time. It is clear that the NHL really likes the Seattle market, a comment that was stated by Daniels, Geoff Baker and Brian Robinson last Saturday at our Hockey Hangout media panel at the Angry Beaver.


The Hurdles

The Arena. The Arena is still the largest hurdle facing the prospects of landing an NHL team in Seattle. Actual next step is under debate. Brian Robinson from ArenaSolution seems to think the Letter of Intent (LOI) must be signed with the NHL and prospective ownership groups. Geoff Baker believes that a conditional LOI can be signed to begin the steps of negotiating with Hansen/Ballmer to partner on the arena. I tend to lean in the camp that says if an LOI is signed with the NHL and prospective NHL ownership group, chances are they are already close on a deal with Hansen/Ballmer and all parties are reasonably confident that opening the MOU for an NHL first scenario can and will be achievable.


Next Board of Governors Meeting

This might be all leading up to some kind of proposal, announcement or resolution at the next NHL Board of Governors meeting that will take place during the Stanley Cup Finals. Is it possible that we hear something come out of the BOG meeting?  Perhaps, but I think it is a relatively low probability of happening. Probably the same odds I would have given the New York Rangers  in coming back from a 3-1 deficit to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

8 thoughts on “Bettman and Daly visit with Seattle Mayor and King County Executive

  1. So the Rangers came back to win. Does this mean it’s happening now?

  2. What I am wondering is if the conversation is still about SoDo or Key Arena renovation? I have a strong feeling Hansen/Ballmer won’t commit to moving the arena without the NBA. I don’t think they have any interest in the NHL first scenario. Also, Bettman’s most recent comments are that SoDo is not the route for the NHL unless Hansen agree’s for NHL first. Recent conversations I have had with folks with some knowledge have stated that the NHL in SoDo is not likely but that getting an NHL is much more likely than getting the NBA anytime soon. This leads back to a major overhaul of Key Arena in my estimation.

    • Good question. There appear to be 3 potential (NHL) ownership groups in play but the only one we know of is Ray Bartoszek. About a month ago is when we heard references to Key Arena. The context around Key Arena was it was Bartoszek that was looking at options when it appeared that the NBA is unlikely to come to Seattle anytime soon. Then, about a week after that report he was quoted as saying he is just investigating options and is not sure if Key Arena is really an option until he investigates it. Last Saturday, during a media panel about the NHL coming to Seattle, Geoff Baker (Seattle Times) mentioned that Bartoszek had “west coast” investors that wanted him to look into a Key Arena solution. That is all I’ve heard and know about the KeyArena option.

      I would not conclude that Hansen is against an NHL first option, but to make the economics work, it is probably unlikely. The Potential NHL owner will probably need to kick in a lot of $$$ to make all parties happy.

  3. I suspect that Bartoszek’s so-called “west coast” investors know little or nothing about the architecture of the Key and don’t realize that breaking down the present enclosure of the seating and starting anew would probably cost as much a building a new arena. If RB can’t kick in $$$ to satisfy the parties enough to kick start the SODO project, how the heck can he afford a rebuild unless he expects the city and the county to pick up the tab?

    I’m getting the sinking feeling that if Hansen/Ballmer don’t get their NBA team in the next couple of years, the NHL will tire of the “d*cking around” in Seattle and talk to America’s biggest Jimi Hendrix fan about a franchise.

  4. So what you’re saying is that the top 2 men in the NHL come to Seattle in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs and meet with the top 2 executives in Seattle/King County, but that the meeting was just a friendly “get to know you” situation? Let me present an alternative scenario. Bettman and Daly want into Seattle, but not at the price Hansen/Ballmer were asking, which is likely $300 million plus on top of the franchise fee. So Bettman conducts a public interview where he backs down from all the Seattle expansion talk because of arena issues. Then Bartoszek comes out and says that he is “looking at Key Arena options”. Fast forward a few weeks and we have the NHL leaders meeting with the area’s political leaders. So what we have here in my book is NHL leadership telling Seattle political leadership that if they can get an arena remodel done at the Key, with a LOT less cost to local municipalities than the Hansen/Ballmer deal, the NHL and Bartoszek will kick in a hefty part of the price tag IF the arena is an NHL ONLY solution.

    Costs? Maybe $150 million for the 2 municipalities, $125 million from Bartoszek, who gets to run the arena, and maybe $75 million more from the NHL. Total: $300 million.


  5. I am skeptical that Bettman came to Seattle for tire kicking and relationship building. I think there is a proposal and they were either in town to make the deal or make it clear the NHL won’t come to Seattle on speculation. I think the timing is tied to the BOG meeting in June one way or the other.

  6. The city says it is worried about the risk involved with the NHL. The city council needs to do its homework. In every major economic factor related to fan consumption at the live event the NHL exceeds the NBA. The average attendance by tickets sold, % of capacity and sellouts, average ticket price and for average socio-economic status NHL fans exceeds the NBA and all major sports. This means the tax base for the NHL team is larger, so the revenue from sales tax and admissions tax will exceed that of the NBA. This means more money to payoff bonds and reduce the risk of a new arena.


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