Seattle is "going forward with its arena plan whether or not the Kings become available next month,” according sources cited by David Aldridge of NBA.com. The idea is for the NBA to “have no choice the next time a team is sold or is interested in moving.” And with “a new building, Seattle folk believe their city will vault to the top of the relocation list, ahead of towns like Kansas City that already have NBA-ready arenas built.” Seattle views its “opponent as Anaheim, not Sacramento.” The idea would be to “once again renovate Key Arena, where the Sonics played, until a new building was on line.” The new arena “will not be built unless there is a commitment from an NBA team to come to Seattle.” The city is “also monitoring what happens” with the sale of the Coyotes. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman “made no secret that that league would love to have a team in Seattle -- if there is a new building constructed there” (NBA.com, 2/14). In Seattle, Jerry Brewer writes four years ago the city was “robbed” and “here we are in 2012, though, trying to get in position to do the same” to the Kings or Hornets or Coyotes “or any other team that would make us feel whole again.” Brewer asks, “Hypocritical? Perhaps. But should we feel guilty? No. Not at all” (SEATTLE TIMES, 2/14).
In Minneapolis, Jim Hammerand noted U.S. Bancorp Chair & CEO Richard Davis has made it known that “neither he nor his bank has made any such offer” for a naming-rights deal with a potential new Vikings stadium. Davis said that the opportunity “makes sense for the bank, but that such discussions would be premature since there’s no stadium location or financing plan yet” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/13). Minn. State Rep. Morrie Lanning yesterday said that he is “hoping for details this week about Minneapolis’ plans to finance a stadium.” Lanning also said that there “needs to be an indication from the city council that it will back the stadium plan.” So far, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and city council President Barb Johnson “have been leading the charge, but support from the council is iffy” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/14).
CLOSING THE GAP: Legacy Connections Campaign Dir Andrea Van de Kamp said that a “private fund-raising group aiming to plug the Rose Bowl renovation's $20 million financing gap has received $5.7 million in pledges so far.” Van de Kamp added that about “$3.4 million of those are signed pledges in writing while the rest are verbal” and only $500,000 of that amount “has been delivered.” In Pasadena, Brenda Gazzar noted Legacy officials “hope to raise at least $20 million by the time the $160 million stadium renovation is complete in 2014” (PASADENA STAR NEWS, 2/11).
RECRUITING TOOL: In Knoxville, Andrew Gribble noted Univ. of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley led an “exclusive tour" for the media Thursday through the new practice facility, "which could become the new standard in the SEC recruiting arms race.” The building will “have four areas that Dooley considers to be recruiting showpieces: the weight room, the grand team meeting room, the hydro therapy room and an eating area that Dooley will refer to only as a 'restaurant.'" The weight room leads straight into the “7,000 square foot locker room, which will feature 125 lockers equipped to charge iPods and cellphones” (GOVOLSXTRA.com, 2/10).