Tim Leiweke Focused On Landing NHL Team In Seattle Due To Lack Of Options In NBA
Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke said that he is "'passionate' about bringing an NBA team" to a renovated KeyArena, but due to a lack of expansion options, he "insists he's hyper-focused" on landing an NHL team, according to Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. Leiweke said that he has "heard local commentary about how he’s not as committed to the NBA as Sodo District arena proponent Chris Hansen." But Leiweke said, "I’m more passionate about basketball than about hockey, if you look at my tenure in my last 30 years of where I’ve spent my time." Leiweke noted that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver "suggested three weeks ago during the NBA Finals that expansion was likely several years from happening." Leiweke said that means OVG can "best spend its efforts landing an NHL franchise he suggests would be imminent once he completes a deal with the city." City of Seattle Office of Economic Development Dir Brian Surratt said that a memorandum of understanding for an arena renovation "could be finalized between the two sides by year’s end." After that, the City Council "must finalize a formal contract with OVG sometime next year." Leiweke said that his group would "never have pursued the KeyArena renovation if it felt Hansen still had any shot at landing an NBA team" (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/23).