Sonics ticket wait list knocked offline by “overwhelming response”

SEATTLE — An online priority wait list for future Sonics tickets via went live at 10 a.m. Thursday.

A few seconds later, it went dead, knocked offline by what Chris Hansen later wrote was an “overwhelming response.”

Hansen, who along with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is leading the effort to return the NBA to Seattle, planned the wait list in part to help reiterate to the league the support among fans to bring the team back.

Hansen released a statement Thursday night saying the priority wait list will stay open through April 1, after which results will be announced.

Not so coincidentally, a small group of NBA owners is expected to meet in New York on April 3 to debate the merits of the Seattle offer to buy the Sacramento Kings and relocate them, as well as Sacramento’s efforts to retain the team.

Hansen’s group in January announced it had reached an agreement to buy the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family with the plan to relocate them to Seattle beginning with the 2013-14 season. But that sale still must be approved by the NBA. A final decision is likely to be made April 18-19 when the NBA’s Board of Governors meets, also in New York.

Hansen wrote in a statement on his Web site that the unveiling of the wait list “was insane!”

He also wrote that he wanted to thank fans for the response as well as apologize “for the site going down this (morning). While we thought we had planned our peak capacity for even the most optimistic of sign-up assumptions — you clearly overwhelmed those!”

He further wrote that “while the first day clearly blew away our expectations, we would just like to continue to encourage all of you who have not signed up to do so.”

Hansen on Thursday also released two renderings of what the proposed Sodo arena would look like when designed for hockey.

Also Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that two Sacramento lawyers “are calling into question the validity of public funding for a downtown arena project, and warn the city they may take any City Council funding action to a public vote via referendum.”

The city is negotiating with 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle, who also co-owns the Pittsburgh Penguins, to assemble a term sheet for a new arena to present to the public by next Thursday, according to the Bee. That offer is expected to include roughly $250 million in city money to pay for the arena. Most of that would likely come from bonding against future downtown parking revenues, the Bee reported.