Sonics Hire Icon

The new owner of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA’s Storm has hired consultant Icon Venue Group, a joint venture between developer Romani Group and Anschutz Entertainment Group.

Icon is expected to evaluate possible sites for and develop a new arena.

The Professional Basketball Club, the team’s Oklahoma City-based owners, is likely to look outside Seattle’s city boundaries in the wake of a voter-approved initiative that requires pro sports teams to pay at or above “fair value” for any municipal goods, services or facilities.

The new ownership group had vowed not to move the Sonics from Seattle if awarded the team, but with passage of the ballot measure they are expected to at least head for the suburbs.

Both teams currently play in Seattle-owned Key Arena and have leases that expire in 2010.

Previous Icon projects include Invesco Field At Mile High Stadium in Denver, Staples Center in Los Angeles and Comiskey Park in Chicago.

The firm and team owners expect to name an architect for the proposed arena within a few weeks and announce a site selection in early 2007, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The team is reportedly working on a financing package it hopes to present to the state legislature when it reconvenes in January.