Before Tim Leiweke was the President and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, he held the same position for Anschutz Entertainment Group, who own the Kings.
Two years ago, Leiweke left MLSE and formed his own company, Oak View Group, with Irving Azoff. Now, their company will reportedly be named the winner of a bid process to redesign the KeyArena in Seattle, Washington.
[Oak View Group] will spearhead a $564 million gut remodel of the facility on the Seattle Center campus. They are also bringing some blockbuster power with them – two prospective NHL owners.
A source close to the project says Leiweke will announce that his Seattle effort will be joined by Boston Celtics Minority Owner David Bonderman, a billionaire and University of Washington grad, and Jerry Bruckheimer, the Hollywood action movie mogul, who most recently pioneered the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
Both Bonderman and Bruckheimer are expected to announce soon their intention to attract an NHL expansion franchise to be an anchor tenant in the facility, according to a source close to the project.
One of the losing bids was backed by AEG.
With the expansion draft just around the corner, we all know who won the most recent bid to join the NHL. But you’d be forgiven for forgetting that until the deadline last June, when the NHL announced only Las Vegas and Quebec City would be making bid, Seattle was rumoured to be in the running.
The saga of securing investors to create a venue and then find a potential NHL owner is long and tortured, so counting this as a complete success now is a mistake.
Their are many details to be worked out with the City of Seattle, and the NHL doesn’t sound excited. Per the same report:
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said, “We have been made aware of Mr. Bonderman’s potential interest as part of the Oak View Group's bid to renovate Key Arena. But we have had no substantive talks with him or anyone else with respect to a potential franchise in Seattle, nor do we have current plans to have such talks. It is not something that is under consideration at this time."
The NBA isn’t showing interest in expanding either.
This sort of construction project isn’t fast, and this group has years to either bring this off or fail in the attempt. Don’t plan the parade, Seattle hockey fans.