The New Sonics Arena Is Basically A College Arena On Steroids

As D-Day approaches for determining the future of the NBA in two cities, potential owner Chris Hansen is doing his version of a full-court PR press in order to gain support for his attempt to bring the NBA back to Seattle. Thanks to gag orders, Hansen has had to keep his mouth shut recently, while Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson gets to be a public cheerleader for his own local cause. Fortunately, that gag order doesn’t apply to information about the arena Hansen plans to build in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.

In a previous story about renderings of the new Sonics Arena, there were mentions of Sonics Rings, a three-tiered upper deck that sounded like it could help create the most raucous atmosphere in the NBA. Today, we can report that not only was our hunch correct, but that we totally undersold its potential as a devastatingly intimidating building that is essentially a college arena on steroids.

Those initial renderings released a few weeks ago showed a steeper lower bowl angle compared to other modern NBA arenas. But the latest batch of renderings indicate the Sonics Rings are literally on top of the game, going straight up from (and hanging over) the lower bowl, rather than gradually sloping further from the court. Also, it appears to potentially be a standing room shit show, similar to what currently occurs over at the Safeco Field bullpen (although it’s much quieter over there because nobody goes to Mariners game), except this drunken party would wrap around the entire arena.

To make a more outlandish comparison, it seems almost Thunderdome-ish (ouch, I just said “Thunder” — there’s another dollar for the swear jar), which means everyone should root for the NBA to come back to Seattle (in some manner (relocation or expansion), just so we can see this thing fully realized.

Also, a fun time waster is identifying all the characters Hansen’s artists inserted into the crowd shots (Capitol Hill hipster is the obvious one). It’s a Sonics version of “Where’s Waldo”.