A $500 million multi-purpose arena proposal may be a stepping stone to a NHL franchise in the Seattle area.
According to The Seattle Times, the Sonics have hired an independent research firm to determine if the Puget Sound market could support a National Hockey League franchise, principal owner Clay Bennett said Wednesday.
"We are beginning to work on an analysis for the NHL in the market, understanding first and foremost, is the product viable and then at the same time model the NHL in the building relative to revenue sharing, expense sharing with an NBA team," Bennett said. "Does it work? Certainly, I think it will add to the building and probably add to the overall value to the [NBA] franchise."
While true expansion is not really an option, the Seattle group hinted at a clause in the Nashville Predators ownership deal that would allow them to relocate if attendance numbers sagged to a certain point. The recent talk of the Penguins moving to Kansas City is also of interest to the Seattle group.
Bennett said he hasn't been in contact with either franchise, but insinuated he's had recent talks with the NHL.