44K sign up for Sonics season tickets as investors, Seattle officials make their NBA pitch
Investor Chris Hansen managed to slip past media waiting outside the St. Regis hotel before his meeting with NBA owners Wednesday.
When Hansen makes his pitch to buy the Sacramento Kings in New York, he is armed with a little extra ammo: requests to buy over 44,000 season tickets if the Sonics return.
He announced the results of his Priority Ticket Waitlist Tuesday, calling the results “nothing short of stunning.”
The NBA owners meeting will include two pitches for ownership of the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. In the morning, they will hear form Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. They have been joined by King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn.
The investors agreed to buy the majority stake from the in the Kings from the Maloof family for $341 million, but the deal needs league approval.
When the deal was made public, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson rushed to put together his own investment group that could keep the Kings in his city. Johnson will meet with the owners Wednesday afternoon.
Hansen will likely use the results of the ticket waitlist as part of his presentation to NBA owners, in hopes they will approve the sale of the Kings to Hansen’s group and the team’s relocation to Seattle for the 2013-14 NBA season.
In a message on his Seattle Arena website, Hansen said there were also requests for 268 suites and 983 businesses expressed interest in sponsorship opportunities.
“Perhaps even more stunning is that we received over 32,000 Full Season Ticket requests in the first 24 hours of our Priority Waitlist going live — including a frustrating first 30 minutes when you all were able to knock our site offline with over 6,000 hits per second!” Hansen wrote.
“Seattle, this is one of the biggest days of my life and a seminal moment for our City,” Hansen wrote. “I know I am carrying the hopes and dreams of so many of you with me and I again just want to thank all of you for the privilege of having the opportunity to carry the torch for our Town. It is hands down one of the most meaningful things I have ever done in my life.”
Hansen also debuted a new video montage featuring Magic Johnson, Macklemore and others he said “show[s] the world the passion that exists here for the return of the NBA.”