Sonics Arena

Chris Hansen, the Bay Area hedge fund manager who is leading the charge to bring NBA basketball back to Seattle, has been very tight-lipped about the process ever since striking a deal in January to purchase the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family. This week, he began his final push leading up to a presentation in front of the NBA’s Board of Governors on April 3rd — a date set by commissioner David Stern — before an April 18th final vote on whether or not to approve a sale to Hansen’s group.

On Monday, Hansen announced he was opening a waiting list for potential ticket buyers — with former season ticket holders from 2008 getting first dibs — in order to gauge interest in tickets if a team were to return. A little more than twelve hours before Thursday’s 10 am signup, he strategically released interior plans for a Sonics arena that would rest just south of CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field someday:

Sonics Arena

Sonics Arena

Some features of the interior:

  • Improved Viewing Angles: The creation of the Sonic Rings and resulting ability to significantly increase steepness of the lower bowl, results in MARKEDLY improved sight lines for all seating categories
  • Reduced stratification between seating levels: Creating a more vibrant, festive, and social experience in the upper levels and giving typically premium seating amenities to all of our fans
  • Increased Intimacy, Energy… and Noise: We believe that pushing the entirety of the seating bowl closer to the court and having 2,000-4,000 fans literally overhanging the game not only creates the most intimate venue in the NBA, but will also provide you with the opportunity to create the loudest, most energetic atmosphere in yet another pro sport—or better yet two!

Hansen’s design also introduces a luxury suite concept similar to CenturyLink Field, providing lower level loge boxes only ten rows away from the court:

There are unconventional elements in the premium seating areas as well. The lower levels suites are located less than ten rows off the floor—and even closer to the ice. They’re designed as “pocket” suites that give direct suite access to the suite holders without creating an unsightly gap in the camera view of the lower seating level. We believe the upper suite level also represents both an evolution in Arena design and a recognition of the unique attributes of the Seattle Business Community. Instead of creating a level of “hermetically sealed” suites with a dedicated corridor that speaks to status superiority and isolation, we have instead opted for a flexible “Loge Suite” design that will allow us to offer varying suite layouts to groups and businesses of all sizes. The suite layouts provide a much more social, inclusive and fun atmosphere around shared bars and amenities with a balcony that overlooks the main club.

Sonics Arena

So, how does Hansen’s vision compare to other modern NBA arenas? Here it is, superimposed on Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center and Orlando’s Amway Center:



Update 3/14 7:52 p.m. EST:

With hopes that a new basketball team will attract other professional teams from different leagues to Seattle, a rendering for what the arena would look like if it were converted into a hockey rink has been released.