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Industry News

Could KeyArena deal bring NHL to Seattle?

The Washington city of Seattle has this week submitted a formal application to take on an expansion franchise in the North American NHL ice hockey league, after earlier announcing plans to refurbish the KeyArena to house the team.

Oak View Group (OVG) is leading the effort to bring NHL to Seattle, with the bid group headed up by billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood film producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

According to the Seattle Times newspaper, the application has now been sent to the league, in addition to a fee of $10m(€8m/£7.1m).

The NHL has set Seattle an expansion fee of $650m, and the Seattle City Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OVG that commits the firm to a 39-year lease. This agreement also includes two, eight-year renewal options for a total of up to 55 years, with OVG to contribute $600m to the project and cover cost overruns associated with the development.

OVG chief executive Tim Leiweke confirmed the application in a statement: “We are excited for the next steps in the process and our continued partnership with the City of Seattle.”

However, this only forms part of the plan, with OVG having committed to a major redevelopment project at Seattle’s KeyArena. Should the city prove successful in its bid, OVG will spend $600m to renovate the 56-year-old venue in time for a potential debut season in 2020-21.

KeyArena is currently home to WNBA women’s basketball franchise the Seattle Storm and Seattle University’s Redhawks men’s basketball team, but previously housed NBA outfit the Seattle Supersonics before its relocation to Oklahoma City ahead of the 2008-09 season.

OVG has set a provisional start-date for work of before the end of the year, with the group hoping to reopen the venue in October 2020.

Image: Paulyb6