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Your move, KeyArena: Russell Wilson joins Chris Hansen’s SoDo arena group

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The Seahawks quarterback throws his PR weight behind one arena proposal

The cold war brewing between those who back Chris Hansen’s SoDo arena plans and those who back KeyArena renovations just heated up with the news that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has joined Hansen’s Sonics Arena Group.

Shortly after the tweet, Hansen released a statement, referring to Wilson as his “business partner” and outlining how Wilson’s addition to the partnership will help.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that Russell is joining our partnership and continued efforts to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle.

“As you are all aware, we have always kept our focus on doing this for the right reasons – Our love for the City, our love of basketball, and our belief that pro sports has the ability to positively influence our youth and bring communities together in a way very few things in this world can.

“It is with this shared view that we welcome Russell, a young, smart and passionate entrepreneur, as our business partner. We know that his enthusiasm, positivity and ‘never give up’ attitude will make a huge difference in our effort.’’

Many folks figured Hansen’s proposed arena was dead in May when the Seattle City Council said no to selling a stretch of Occidental Avenue that he needed in order to complete the arena plans. Meanwhile, Hansen continued buying up SoDo property, eventually making the surprise announcement last month that he and his investors were willing to forgo public funds and pay for the arena themselves. That deal is still contingent on the vacation of that stretch of Occidental as well as tax incentives.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Murray was quietly working with KeyArena on potential renovation proposals that could bring it up to speed for NBA and NHL franchises instead. This alternative was thought to be less costly and less intrusive than the SoDo plan.

Now, it’ll be interesting to see how Wilson’s involvement changes things, if it does at all. Wilson doesn’t hold much sway with the city council but he is the town’s biggest sports star and the number one player on it’s favorite team. Where Wilson goes, so go Seahawks fans. And if they weren’t already leaning towards Hansen’s arena proposal, they might be now.

KeyArena

305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109