In response to Jean Godden’s op-ed in the Seattle Times today, we would kindly object to any suggestion that the Seattle Storm is an afterthought in our Arena plans. We completely support the Storm’s future in Seattle — whether they remain in KeyArena or decide to play in the new Arena.
Our position has always been that the choice of where to play is the Storm’s to make, not ours, and that we will support that decision. As a matter of professional courtesy I shared our plans with Ginny Gilder, one of the Storm owners, prior to making them public. I have also met with Storm CEO Karen Bryant to discuss the Storm’s thoughts on the new Arena, and we included them in the preliminary analysis of how to upgrade Key – which was done by our Arena consultants, Arena 360 and Global Spectrum.
I would also point out that we do not own or control KeyArena, and are not a party to the Storm’s current lease. Our position has always been that we have no right to dictate plans for the future of KeyArena. The Key is a community asset owned by the City, and the decision of how best to repurpose KeyArena if the new Arena is built is the City’s, not ours. As we have stated since the outset of our negotiations, we are committed to improving the Key and are confident that we could bring some operating synergies and cost reductions if the City would like us to operate it.
Lastly, I would just share with all of you that I am personally a strong advocate of women’s amateur and professional sports. I have a 12 year-old daughter who plays three sports, and as with many fathers I spend a significant amount of my free time shuttling her to and from practices and watching her games. I am a Title IX advocate, die hard follower of the Women’s National Soccer Team, a Women’s College Hoops fan, a Women’s Ski Team fan (go Julia Mancuso!), and a WNBA fan. One of my most touching experiences as a parent was trying to explain to my daughter when she was 10 why Women’s Professional Softball did not enjoy the same fan support as Professional Baseball, and then watching with pride as she wrote a three page essay for school on how she personally planned to change that when she grew up.
Simply put, I support the Seattle Storm 100%. I think they are a remarkable franchise that stands for all that is good about sports, and I am personally committed to insuring that they have a great future in Seattle.
— Chris Hansen