SEATTLE - The prospective owner of the Sacramento Kings is calling on fans in Seattle to sign up for a "priority ticket waitlist" as a way to show the NBA how much interest there is in bringing pro basketball back to the area.
Chris Hansen made the announcement on his SonicsArena.com website on Monday. It was his first statement since the announcement of the sale of the Kings from the Maloof family to Hansen and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Jan. 21. Hansen and Ballmer have a signed agreement to acquire a 65 per cent stake in the Kings for $341 million from the Maloofs. That sale is pending league approval.
"In addition to helping us understand and prioritize the demand for tickets, 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 wrote.
Hansen said no inference should be drawn between the start of a ticket waitlist and the efforts in closing the purchase of the Kings and relocating them to Seattle for the 2013-14 season.
"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," Hansen wrote.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said last week that a counteroffer to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle needs to be increased financially before the league's owners would even consider the bid. The league has scheduled a meeting for April 3 in New York to avoid rushing debate on the issue. Representatives from Sacramento and Seattle will have a chance to present their case at that meeting, Stern said.
The NBA Board of Governors will convene April 18, when a vote is expected to take place on the sale and relocation of the Kings franchise. A sale of a franchise requires a three-fourths majority approval of owners, while relocation requires just a simple majority.
Hansen said efforts would be made to contact former season ticket holders from the final season of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007-08 and provide them a chance at their same seats should a team return. Hansen's proposal calls for the team to play up to three seasons at KeyArena while a new arena is being constructed.