Three major Sodo District pro teams and backers of a proposed arena reached an agreement to avoid scheduling conflicts in advance of Seattle City Council vote Monday.
A city-brokered deal on event scheduling was announced Thursday between the three major Sodo District professional teams and backers of a proposed multi-sport arena project.
The deal, reached Wednesday night, sets a three-hour minimum between the projected end of one game and the start of another on the same day and prohibits arena events that overlap with major CenturyLink and Safeco Field crowds. It also prevents any arena events from starting between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weeknights and requires an NBA team to try to avoid scheduling any games that overlap with Mariners and Sounders contests.
“At the Council’s urging, the key stakeholders came together and I think discovered they had many common interests when it comes to scheduling and access,” Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess said in a release. “Now we know for certain that if a new arena is built we can avoid the scheduling and access conflicts that have been discussed for so long.”
The deal makes it more likely that the council on Monday will approve giving up of part of Occidental Avenue South to entrepreneur Chris Hansen to build a planned arena. If it passes, sources confirmed Thursday that the Port of Seattle will hold a news conference Tuesday announcing a lawsuit against the city alleging it improperly handled an environmental-impact study of the Sodo arena project.
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A separate lawsuit by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union would also be filed within the next few weeks. It is not known whether the Mariners, who have voiced opposition to the proposed arena in Sodo despite signing off on Thursday’s agreement, would join any litigation.
The Seahawks had been the driving force behind the talks, which intensified after city council president Bruce Harrell last week said the lack of scheduling progress would be a “deal breaker” for him in voting to give up Occidental Avenue South for the arena project. Hansen needs the street to finalize permitting so he can try to land an NBA franchise before an arena-funding deal with the city and King County expires in November 2017.
Four of nine council members are known to support the proposal — Harrell, Burgess, Rob Johnson and Mike O’Brien — while Sally Bagshaw and Lisa Herbold oppose it. The remaining council members — Kshama Sawant, Debora Juarez and Lorena Gonzalez — are undecided, but only one more vote in favor would pass the motion. The vote is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday.
Both the Seahawks and Mariners had lobbied the city hard in recent weeks to bring Hansen’s side to the negotiating table on scheduling. New Mariners CEO John Stanton likened the proposed arena to a “big ugly house right at the end of your driveway” at a Wednesday news conference about the agreement.
Mariners executive Randy Adamack confirmed Thursday that the team’s position on not wanting an arena in Sodo remains unchanged. Adamack said the team is not opposed to the NBA or NHL, but that the Sodo location will require “compromises by all the facilities” to avoid traffic and parking chaos.
Hansen can’t start construction until he acquires an NBA team.