It has been quiet of late on the proposed SoDo arena front, as the environmental impact study is thought to be wrapping up in September. Given recent news, it appears the arena could be a ways off. The Mariners appear quite firm in their stance of not wanting the arena in the proposed location. They’ve suggested previously that they’d support an arena in other locations. Meanwhile, Hansen’s group was considered financially solid, at least until the Ballmer news, and still may be so. But news items have suggested that the various NHL groups considering the area would need to contribute funding to help in getting the SoDo arena built if the league is to arrive before the NBA.
Putting this all together, it seems the Mariners could take a minority stake in an NHL investment group, say 10-20%, help get an arena built in the area other than SoDo and, by means of their investment, solidify another team’s telecasts for ROOT Sports NW. In most cases, they would do this if they became somewhat convinced that the SoDo arena would be built eventually. By contributing to an arena while the SoDo arena is still in the planning stages, they might be able to prevent it from being built. This, of course, could be viewed as smarmy. Conversely, again if they become convinced that the SoDo arena will be built, they could do all of the above, but contribute as an NHL minority investor in the SoDo arena rather than a different proposal. The organization could reap all the same benefits, become even more invested in the Stadium District and earn the goodwill of sports fans throughout the region.