Plans for new Seattle sports arena in the works?

SEATTLE - Plans for a new Seattle sports arena could be announced Thursday afternoon at a special news conference.

A press release issued jointly by the city of Seattle and King County says a "major announcement" will be made at 2 p.m. Thursday at Seattle City Hall. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine will both be at the news conference.

So far, the mayor hasn't confirmed or denied reports that a new sports arena could be in the works, and the man who could finance the deal is only hinting at it.

Nevertheless, people are buzzing about the possibility. The new stadium would be located just south of CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field in Seattle's SoDo district.

Chris Hansen, hedge fund manager and Seattle native, tells KOMO News there will be a big announcement Thursday.

But, if Hansen is going to build an arena with his own money, the big question is - will it be for a new Sonics team or an NHL hockey franchise - or both.

Seattle Seahawks owner Paul G. Allen issued a statement saying, "It's exciting to think about the NBA coming back to Seattle and renewing the rivalry with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, it is too early for me to comment any further without a specific plan or proposal to review."

Peter McLoughlin, president of the Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, and Adrian Hanauer, owner and general manager of Sounders FC, issued a joint statement welcoming the possibility of a new sports arena.

"We support anything that is good for the Seattle community and downtown development. Both the Seahawks and Sounders believe that the economic and cultural benefits of professional sports are a central and important contributor to any community's growth," the statement said.

Sally Clark of the Seattle City Council, also talked with KOMO News about the issue.

"There's certainly a lot of questions to ask of a proposal," she says. "How it would work? How would it benefit Seattle? We certainly have a lot of folks, in that area of town in the Sodo Stadium area of town, that would also have questions about it."

If Seattle gets a basketball team to replace the SuperSonics - many are asking who it would be. And most analysts say it would be the Sacramento Kings.

That team is in a battle with the city down there to build a new arena - and March 1 is the deadline for a plan.

Many Seattle fans are ecstatic about the possibility of new sports teams coming to the city.

"I think it's a wonderful thing - I love sports," says hockey fan Lars Ditlev.

Brandon Lee of the Pyramid Brewery says, "It would just be great to have a basketball team in general ... just because basketball is a fall sport, a winter sport - that's our slowest time of the year. So it would increase business by fourfold for us over that period of time."

"It would be great to kind of rejuvenize the city - revive old traditions - the Sonics," he adds.