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Prospective Seattle NHL franchise owner breaks his silence

Earlier this evening, Chris Daniels from King5, shared info and a conversation with prospective Seattle NHL franchise owner, Victor Coleman. The article was full of important information and is one of the few times we have heard from one of the potential owners. Please read the entire article here and I will break down some of the critical pieces.

Survey results from the Puget Sound Business Journal

First off….

“I think the demographic base (in Seattle) and the desire of the NHL in that marketplace is the perfect match right now.  The expansion of the NHL into the Pacific Northwest, with Vancouver and the presiding area, makes it a perfect fit,” said Coleman.  “There are built in synergies.  That’s a ‘Day 1’ rivalry.”

There sounds great but there isn’t much that a lot of us know. We have had Bettman and Daly both speak well of the market & several NHL governors have spoken highly of the opportunity as well. A ton of you have confirmed this with your desire to purchase Season tickets. It is awesome to hear a prospective owner believe in the market but I expect that from an owner.

Coleman and co-investor Jonathan Glaser, who sits on the board of Hudson Pacific, met face to face with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine in separate meetings in Seattle.  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly were also on hand.  The parties all left without an agreement or plan to move forward.  Coleman says he feels like he’s made progress since.

“We have a clear path,” he said.

Key piece here is the last bit. He has made progress since and “clear path”. The City of Seattle’s position and role in this has been a little unclear. Yes, we have heard the Mayor and other city council members say there is no plan to change the MOU. Many reports suggest it is the risk associated to the NHL first vs. the NBA in the case of default and less about the financial (recovery) projections. Specifically, it is the value of an NHL franchise vs. the NBA. Forbes Valuations are historically in accurate but at least you can get a feel for the difference between the leagues (Forbes links: NHL and NBA). If that is the case, the prospective ownership group would need to do something to mitigate that risk. This is responsible by the city and can be resolved under the right situation.

Two sources with knowledge of the talks between Hansen and Coleman say that the two potential owners met in person a couple of weeks ago, and have been actively talking for months. In fact, according to the sources, the two potential ownership groups have signed a “non-binding” agreement which lays out the terms for Coleman’s contribution to the project and his potential revenue streams for a hockey franchise.

That is the money quote from the article right there. We have generally thought this was happening and to hear they could have a non-binging agreement is excellent. The best thing about it is that both Hansen and Coleman are actively working on a solution.

“There is obviously a deal in place that can get done,” said Coleman. “The semantics by which it gets done, and the priorities by which it gets done, are going to depend on city officials, the county, and the Hansen group.”

That just about sums up where we are at. We could be waiting for an NBA team or we might not but it sounds like they are moving to a framework that could land the NHL in Seattle. There is a lot of work to be done here and there are no guarantees so be patient with the League, Potential Owners and Elected Officials. There has been no call to action, rallies or public hearings but when the time comes you will know.

John Barr
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