Hollywood film producer Jerry Bruckheimer and billionaire investment banker David Bonderman are joining the Oak View Group’s efforts to renovate KeyArena for NBA and NHL use.
The addition of Bonderman and Bruckheimer, to be announced at a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at KeyArena, provides the strongest signal yet that OVG intends to bring an NHL team to Seattle near-term and an NBA team further down the road. Bonderman has been a minority owner of the Boston Celtics for more than a decade, and Bruckheimer is a close acquaintance of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and has long expressed a desire to become a franchise owner.
“These are the real deal,” OVG chairman Tim Leiweke said in an interview. “And they will join us and help us in pursuing an NHL and an NBA franchise.”
Leiweke repeated his long-held stance of not wanting “to get ahead of league commissioners” until they are ready to offer up teams. But he said the presence of Bonderman and Bruckheimer as “equal partners” in OVG’s renovation effort will leave his group positioned to take advantage of any new opportunities.
The NBA is believed to be five to 10 years from expansion. But the NHL, which will launch a new Las Vegas franchise this fall, has an imbalance between its Eastern and Western conferences and could even things out by adding a Seattle franchise in the near term.
Bonderman, 74, is a former University of Washington graduate and longtime friend of Mariners owner John Stanton. He is the chairman of buyout firm TPG Capital and is listed by Forbes as having a net worth of $2.5 billion. Representatives of the Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders are expected to attend Wednesday’s news conference.
Bruckheimer, 73, has an estimated net worth of $900 million, according to Forbes in 2015. He has produced blockbuster films such as Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Flashdance and Pirates of the Caribbean.