The prospective ownership group for a Seattle hockey franchise is set to announce season ticket sales, likely on March 1, National Hockey League sources said Tuesday.
The ownership group, led by Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and finance billionaire David Bonderman, is expected to seek deposits for approximately 14,000 tickets. The move, which still does not lock down a new professional hockey franchise, is designed to prove both market capacity and fan interest for a new major league sports franchise.
If the team does not materialize — unlikely but possible, said NHL sources who could not comment for the record — the deposits would be refunded. The upcoming sales push follows Tuesday’s expected announcement that the ownership group filed its formal application with the NHL for an expansion team.
The expansion application with the NHL — which involved a $10 million fee to the league, according to The Seattle Times — is in lock-step with an ongoing, $600 million plan by the Oak View Group to gut and rebuild KeyArena in Seattle Center.
Months ago, NHL officials told Bonderman, Bruckheimer, and OVG that any bid for a new franchise in Seattle would be ignored unless the city reached a deal to build a new arena or radically renovate the existing one that once housed the Seattle SuperSonics.
Enter Oak View Group, led by CEO Tim Leiweke. With his deep contacts in both professional hockey and basketball, the group secured the rights to redesign and rebuild what will be essentially a new arena in the shadow of the Space Needle.
The development group, which also will be an investor in the franchise if it is awarded, currently is in the process to finalize a development plan with the city and determine both environmental and traffic impacts in the center of a city with significant existing traffic woes.
Additionally, the Bonderman and Bruckheimer are rumored to have entered into a tentative deal with a major Seattle investor for an ownership stake. But it remains unclear who that investor is.