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KeyArena
KeyArena logo.png
KeyArena.jpg
Location 305 Harrison Street,
Seattle, Washington 98109
 United States
Coordinates 47°37′20″N 122°21′15″W / 47.62222°N 122.35417°W / 47.62222; -122.35417Coordinates: 47°37′20″N 122°21′15″W / 47.62222°N 122.35417°W / 47.62222; -122.35417
Opened 1962
Renovated 1994-95
Owner City of Seattle
Operator City of Seattle
Construction cost $74.5 million
(1995 renovation)
Architect NBBJ
Capacity Basketball: 17,072
Ice hockey: 15,177
Concert: 16,641
Boxing: 17,459
Tenants
Seattle SuperSonics - NBA
(1967-78, 1985-94, 1995-2008)
Seattle Storm - WNBA - (2000- )
Seattle Thunderbirds - WHL - (1977-2009)
Seattle SeaDogs - CISL - (1995-97)
Seattle Redhawks - NCAA - (1963-80, 2008- )
Washington Huskies - NCAA - (1999-2000)

KeyArena at Seattle Center, commonly known as KeyArena, is a multipurpose arena in Seattle, Washington. It is located north of downtown in the 74-acre entertainment complex known as Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World's Fair, the Century 21 Exposition.[1] It is used for non-athletic entertainment purposes, such as concerts, ice shows, circuses, and professional wrestling events.

It has a seating capacity for basketball games of 17,072,[1] ice hockey games and ice shows 15,177, end-stage concerts is 16,641, and center-stage concerts and boxing 17,459. Risers hold 7,440 on the upper level and up to 7,741 on the lower level, with luxury suites adding another 1,160 seats.

The arena's current primary tenants are the Seattle Storm of the WNBA[1] and the Rat City Rollergirls of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). Seattle University's men's basketball team played in the arena from 1963-1980 and returned in 2008-2009 season.[2]

KeyArena was home to the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics. On July 2, 2008, the Oklahoma City based ownership group of the SuperSonics reached a settlement deal with the City of Seattle, releasing the team from the last two years of their lease with the city and allowing the team to relocate to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 NBA season. After 41 seasons in Seattle (& Tacoma), the team became the Oklahoma City Thunder and the owners agreed to leave the SuperSonics name, logo, and colors in Seattle for a possible future NBA franchise.[3]

It was also home to the Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team in the Western Hockey League. The Thunderbirds hosted the Memorial Cup in the Seattle Center Coliseum pre-KeyArena remodel in 1992.

KeyArena is the first publicly financed arena in the area fully supported by earned income from the building.

Contents

History

Seattle Center Coliseum

The arena began life in 1962 as the Washington State Pavilion for the Century 21 Exposition. After the close of the Exposition the Pavilion was remodeled as the Washington State Coliseum, one of the centerpieces of the new Seattle Center (the former Exposition grounds). The Beatles played the Coliseum on August 21, 1964. The Coliseum became home to the Seattle SuperSonics beginning with their inaugural season in 1967 and remained so throughout most of the team's lifetime.[4] The Washington State Coliseum would later be renamed the Seattle Center Coliseum; operated by the City of Seattle and named after the Seattle Center grounds.

Notable events during the 1970s were a concert by Elvis Presley on November 12, 1970, and it hosted the 1974 NBA All-Star Game on January 15, 1974.

The Seattle Center Coliseum was the site of the only NBA game that was ever forfeited on account of rain. On January 5, 1986 the Sonics were hosting the Phoenix Suns during a rainstorm. Rain from the Coliseum roof leaked onto the court. Timeouts were called so ball boys armed with towels could do their best to stay ahead of the puddles, but even so, two players slipped and fell on the wet surface. Finally, during the second half, referee Mike Mathis called the game.[5]

Rebirth as KeyArena

The Coliseum was rebuilt between 1994 and 1995, bringing the arena up to NBA standards of the day. The local Seattle office of NBBJ, the second largest architectural firm in the country, was chosen as the architects.[6] In an unusual move, the Coliseum would be closed for a year during the renovation. Construction began on June 16, 1994.[1] In the interim, the SuperSonics played their home games at the Tacoma Dome located in nearby Tacoma, Washington.

On April 11, 1995, the city sold the naming rights to Cleveland-based KeyCorp, the parent of KeyBank, which renamed the Coliseum as KeyArena. [7] The renovation cost the city of Seattle $74.5 million and the SuperSonics approximately $21 million. The naming rights cost KeyCorp $15.1 million.

The remodeled arena maintained the architectural integrity of the original roofline by using the existing steel trusses in combination with four new main diagonal trusses. The wood, steel and concrete from the demolition was either reused in construction of the new arena or sold to recyclers. The original acoustical panels, the panels attached to the roof that keep the space from echoing, were refurbished and reused. The court was lowered 35 feet (10.5 meters) below street level to allow for 3,000 more seats. The doors opened on the newly renovated arena on October 26, 1995.

The first regular season game for the SuperSonics was played on November 4, 1995, against the Los Angeles Lakers. [8] It hosted the 1996 NBA Finals, when the SuperSonics lost to the Chicago Bulls. The last SuperSonics game played there was on April 13, 2008, a 99-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks.[9]

Once KeyArena lost its major tenant, there was speculation that KeyCorp may try to amend the naming rights deal.[10] In March 2009, the city and KeyCorp signed a new deal for a two-year term ending December 31, 2010, at an annual fee of $300,000.[11]

In February 2009, the Seattle City Council approved a new 10-year lease that would keep the WNBA's Storm at KeyArena.[12]

Controversy

In late 2004, proposals for expanding KeyArena to nearly twice its current size to accommodate new restaurants, shops, and a practice court (the cost was estimated at $220 million) were debated. These proposals never came to fruition and were cited by current and former SuperSonics' owners as a reason KeyArena is no longer viable.[13]

Gallery

References

  1. ^ a b c d http://www.wnba.com/storm/tickets/keyarena.html
  2. ^ "Redhawks, Seattle University Men’s Hoop To Play 20 Division I Games In 2008-09". http://www.goseattleu.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=18200&ATCLID=1584436&SPID=10773&SPSID=89901. Retrieved 2008-09-18.  
  3. ^ "SuperSonics, Seattle reach last-minute settlement". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3471503. Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  4. ^ "Key Arena - Seattle Supersonics Stadium". Buyselltix.com. http://www.buyselltix.com/nba/stadium/supersonicsStadium.php. Retrieved 2008-07-13.  
  5. ^ "Leaky Coliseum roof halts Seattle SuperSonics-Phoenix Suns game, the first National Basketball Association contest called on account of rain, on January 5, 1986.". Historylink.org. http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=7860. Retrieved 2008-07-13.  
  6. ^ http://www.ballpark.org/design.htm
  7. ^ http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?d=CBOR&s1=116474.cbn.&Sect6=HITOFF&l=20&p=1&u=/~public/cbor2.htm&r=1&f=G
  8. ^ http://www.vividseats.com/venues/key-arena-tickets.html
  9. ^ Eskenazi, Stuart Sonics' home finale stirs memories, recriminations, The Seattle Times. April 14, 2008
  10. ^ Virgin, Bill (2008-07-22). "KeyArena lost a tenant; will it lose a name?". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/virgin/371623_virgin22.html. Retrieved 2008-07-22.  
  11. ^ http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?d=CBOR&s1=116474.cbn.&Sect6=HITOFF&l=20&p=1&u=/~public/cbor2.htm&r=1&f=G
  12. ^ http://www.wnba.com/storm/news/lease090202.html
  13. ^ Williams, Eric D. (2008-07-03). "KeyArena Still The Big Issue". Tacoma News-Tribune. http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/sonics/story/403823.html. Retrieved 2008-07-13.  

Notes

Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Seattle Storm

2000 - present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by

first arena
The Kingdome
Tacoma Dome
Home of the
Seattle SuperSonics

1967 – 1978
1985 - 1994
1995 - 2008
Succeeded by

The Kingdome
Tacoma Dome
Ford Center (as Oklahoma City Thunder)
Preceded by
Kamloops Memorial Arena
Home of the
Seattle Thunderbirds

1977 - 1994 (with Mercer Arena)
1995 - 2008
Succeeded by
ShoWare Center
Preceded by
first arena
Home of the
Seattle SeaDogs

1995 – 1997
Succeeded by
last arena
Preceded by
Chicago Stadium
Host of the
NBA All-Star Game

1974
Succeeded by
Veterans Memorial Coliseum







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