AEG Courts Sonics

The Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., is still looking for a pro sports team to host, and AEG President Tim Leiweke recently said the company is talking to one in Seattle.

Despite conceding that the arena will be without an anchor for the 2007-08 season and reportedly giving GM Brenda Tinnen the go-ahead to release dates, Leiweke is still casting a wide net for possible tenants.

Appearing at an International Economic Development Council conference in Kansas City recently, Leiweke said AEG is talking with Seattle SuperSonics chairman Clay Bennett about bringing the NBA team to Kansas City, according to the city’s Star newspaper.

Bennett, an Oklahoma City businessman, is frustrated with Seattle’s inability to come up with a plan for replacing the outdated KeyArena and has set an October 31st deadline for Seattle to produce one.

"We’re talking to Clay, I’ll leave it at that," Leiweke told the Star after addressing the conference. "But let’s be honest here. If that franchise does move, the odds-on favorite is Oklahoma City. That said, Kansas City is in the mix."

While OKC made a name for itself as a basketball town by providing a temporary home for the Katrina-displaced New Orleans Hornets the last two seasons, it is still the 45th-largest television market in the country. Its Ford Center seats 19,599 for hoops but has just 49 suites, according to the Star.

The $276 million Sprint Center, on the other hand, sits in the 31st-largest market and offers 72 suites and 1,706 club seats.

Of course, one of the risks of getting in the hunt for a disgruntled team angling for a new building is finding you’ve been used for leverage. Leiweke hopes to avoid that.

"This is the game we thought we were going to have to play," Leiweke told the Star. "It’s going to take some patience. If people want me to be a pessimist, fine, but we won’t get a team that way. We’re going to continue to be optimists, and we’re going to continue to sell Kansas City."