The fate of the Sacramento Kings is still up in the air, but investor Chris Hansen is taking the first steps to eventually sell tickets for the NBA team in anticipation of a move to Seattle.
In his first public comment since the Kings sale was announced, Hansen issued a statement Monday on his Sonics Arena website saying he's creating a "Priority Ticket Waitlist" for future Sonics tickets.
The waitlist, which goes live Thursday, will give priority to season ticket holders from the Sonics final season in 2007-2008 at KeyArena. They'll have the opportunity to secure the same seats if the team returns.
Hansen says the waitlist will help him "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!"
But Hansen says even though he's going ahead with plans to begin the ticketing process, "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."
Hansen says his group continues working through the approval and relocation process with the NBA, and if he succeeds sales team members will begin contacting people in May to discuss available seating options.
"However, a confirmation of your status on the Priority Ticket Waitlist should in no way be seen as a guarantee of tickets."
Hansen has signed an agreement with the majority owners of the Kings to purchase the team and relocate it to Seattle pending approval of NBA owners. He's also reached agreement with Seattle and King County to build a $490 million NBA/NHL sports arena in Sodo.
A team of investors in Sacramento has filed a counter proposal to Hansen's agreement in hopes the league will side with them and prevent the Kings from relocating.
NBA Commissioner David Stern has summoned both the Seattle and Sacramento groups to New York for a special meeting in New York on April 3 to make their cases.
Having a list of prospective ticket buyers could be a big boost for Hansen's effort.
"From the incredible outpouring of emotion from the 5,000 of you who showed up for our rally, to the relentless outreach to the City and County Councils and the legions sporting the Green and Gold in our city, we would never have reached this point without all of you! With this in mind, I'm reaching out to ask for your help once more. It's the home stretch people and we really need your support on this to help carry us past the finish line!" Hansen wrote.