Seattle is revving up its own public campaign to show its strength as an NBA market.
Chris Hansen, the hedge-fund manager who has a deal to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, announced on his website today that he'll launch a "priority ticket waitlist" Thursday for fans who want seats in that city's new basketball arena. He wrote on the site that the pledge drive is "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!"
Sacramento launched its own season ticket pledge drive in January in an attempt to show the NBA a robust level of support for basketball exists here. As of 5:30 p.m. today, 5,561 fans had pledged to buy season tickets for a new arena in downtown Sacramento - including 14 in the first half-hour after Hansen made his announcement.
Television station King 5 was the first to break the news of Hansen's plans.
In his statement, Hansen said: "It's also important that we reiterate that no inference should be drawn between our establishment of the Priority Ticket Waitlist and our efforts to close our acquisition of the Sacramento Kings. 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."
Call The Bee's Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at sacbee.com/citybeat. Follow him on Twitter @ryan_lillis.
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