Season-ticket sales for potential Seattle franchise hit 25K in first hour

Seattle fans have spoken: They want hockey.

The Oak View Group, the prospective owners of a potential NHL franchise in Seattle, say they reached 25,000 deposits within the first hour of their season-ticket drive Thursday. That exceeds the goal of 10,000 deposits -- which was reached in the first 12 minutes.

The group says its website has slowed down because of the influx in traffic, though deposits are still being accepted. Fans were required to put down a deposit of $500 per ticket or $1,000 for club tickets.

The OVG reached a deal with the city of Seattle for $600 million to renovate KeyArena downtown. As a hockey venue, it is expected to seat about 17,000.

In February, the OVG submitted paperwork, including a $10 million down payment, to the NHL to be its 32nd franchise. The league is likely to accept the bid pending the results of the season-ticket drive.

The Vegas Golden Knights ran a season-ticket drive in 2015; that campaign received 5,000 deposits in the first two days.

The OVG is led by investment banker David Bonderman, Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Tim Leiweke, a longtime sports executive. On Wednesday, Bruckheimer told ESPN he was optimistic the group would meet its goal.

"Based off the responses we're getting, there's a lot of momentum working in our direction," Bruckheimer said.

Leiweke told ESPN he already has been approached by a half-dozen companies for naming rights to the arena.

"For the first time in my 40-plus-year career in building facilities, naming facilities and running franchises, they're chasing us." Leiweke said. "It's a remarkable change from everything else I've ever done. It's a first for me. Usually we're out aggressively pursuing. The fact that we've had so many people approach us and sit down and talk to us about naming rights is, I think, a very good indication about the pent-up demand and the opportunity in this marketplace."

Seattle has a rich hockey history. The Pacific Coast Hockey Association's Seattle Metropolitans were the first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup, in 1917.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.