Amazon announces naming rights to NHL Seattle arena, first zero-carbon arena in world

NHL Seattle

Amazon announces naming rights to NHL Seattle arena, first zero-carbon arena in world

History is coming to Seattle, Washington.

For the first time ever, KeyArena (former home to the Seattle SuperSonics, Seattle Storm and minor league hockey’s Seattle Thunderbirds) will be transformed and renamed into the first zero-carbon arena powered by exclusively renewable energy.

Just last week, NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke told The Seattle Times that both the name unveiling and reopening of KeyArena have been delayed. One week later, the arena has a new partnership and a new name.

The former KeyArena will now be named Climate Pledge Arena, and be home to the WNBA's Seattle Storm and the future NHL Seattle team.

The partnership is between Oak View Group, NHL Seattle and Amazon.

[RELATED]: Sockeyes? Totems? Seattle's NHL team is taking names

According to NHL Seattle: The partnership was formed to make the Climate Pledge Arena the first zero-carbon arena in the world, powered exclusively by renewable energy including both on-site and offsite solar rather than the widespread standard use of natural gas in arenas and stadiums. The arena will run solely on electric for daily operations, eliminating all fossil fuels from the building and installing the first all-electric dehumidification systems in the National Hockey League. 

Our goal is to make sure every visit to this arena will be enjoyable and memorable, and sustainability is a large part of that. It is not just about one arena, it's the platform. We challenge music, facilities, concert tours and sports. It is our time to step up to face the challenge of our generation. We must take steps to build arenas and stadiums that front-and-center align with our zero-carbon mission statement. — Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group and leader of the arena project.

Here is what you can expect from the upgrades:

- The first arena to ban single-use plastics and commit to functional zero waste. Fans will see only compost and recycling bins, no trash cans.  

- The first arena to fully offset the carbon emissions of all events and related transportation by fans, sports teams and entertainers, achieving carbon-neutral operations and use.  

- The lowest embodied carbon arena in the world; saving the landmark roof and the new arena's subterranean footprint significantly reduces façade materials needed and the associated greenhouse gas emissions.  

- The greenest ice in the world using rainwater, refrigerants with zero greenhouse gas emissions and electric Zambonis.  

- The largest coordinated effort of fan engagement with climate issues of any NHL team.  

Read more from the press release here.

There will be many opportunities for our fans to make a difference nightly. We will now look to involve our fans and the community to continue to help teach the world. Fans someday will demand more of these types of buildings. It is challenging and expensive but a small step out of the way relative to the issue of sustainability and global climate change. — Tod Leiweke

Jamal Crawford auctions off one of a kind jersey for COVID-19 relief

Jamal Crawford auctions off one of a kind jersey for COVID-19 relief

Seattle native and NBA free agent Jamal Crawford is giving away a one of a kind jersey to help with COVID-19 relief.

It seems like a lot of local athletes in the Seattle area, such as Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson, are doing therir part and stepping in during this COVID-19 pandemic to make sure the local community has what they need. 

Jamal Crawford decided it was his turn to help out.

The NBA veteran has recently teamed up with the Pledge It organization, which from the description of the website, is a free sports fundraising platform empowering teams and athletes to raise money based on their performance.

For the Pledge It cause, Crawford is auctioning off a signed one of a kind 12th man Seahawks Jersey that he wore during the raising of the 12th man flag.

Crawford only wore it once, so for any diehard fans, this is a one of a kind piece of material.

The donations are starting at $11 to enter for a chance to win the jersey, and greater donations are obviously most appreciated.

All the proceeds for the jersey are to help benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital. All for a good cause that Crawford believes this could obviously help a family in need.

Please give now. Because there’s another child at Seattle Children’s who is starting treatment. Because so many families, already worried for their sick child’s health, are counting on us to protect and care for their precious little ones while we manage the challenges that come with COVID-19. They need help. From someone like you. Please give as generously as you can. For our kids.


- Jamal Crawford

If you would like to place your donation and help with the proceeds for the Seattle Children’s Hospital, you can head to the website here.

Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine commits 12,500 meals to Seattle food bank

USA Today Images

Chicago Bulls Zach LaVine commits 12,500 meals to Seattle food bank

NBA players and owners all over the country have been doing their part with generous donations and other acts of kindness to not only help the sports world during this difficult time, but to also help the world work together to slow down the spread of COVID 19.

Chicago Bulls guard and Washington state native Zach LaVine is working to make a difference in the Northwest.
LaVine announced on Twitter that he is committing 12,500 meals to those impacted by COVID-19 pandemic in the Seattle area through Feeding America.

LaVine was born in Renton, Washington and has always talked fondly of his days attending Bothell High School in Bothell, Washington.

As a senior at Bothell HS, he averaged 28.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He was named the 2013 Associated Press Washington state player of the year and Washington Mr. Basketball.

With Seattle and the surrounding area being one of the biggest parts of the county affected by COVID-19, LaVine stated that partnering with Feeding America is just the start of how he plans to help is hometown through the coronavirus crisis.

In King County, which includes the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metropolitan areas, the Department of Health total was 74 deaths from 934 COVID-19 cases in recent reports.

There have been at least 1,793 confirmed coronavirus cases with at least 94 deaths in Washington statewide, according to the latest Department of Health numbers released Friday.

Seattle is selling hockey tickets the way Starbucks sells coffee

Seattle is selling hockey tickets the way Starbucks sells coffee

So all of a sudden, Seattle is a hockey town? Seriously?

I must admit, I'm shocked. Deposits for season tickets for a potential NHL expansion team were taken for the first time Thursday at 10 a.m. online and in just 12 minutes 10,000 commitments -- at either $1,000 or $500 -- were recorded.  That crashed the system, but within an hour, it's been said that 25,000 commitments were received.

It took the latest NHL expansion franchise, in Las Vegas, about six weeks to sell 10,000 season tickets. Of course, ultimately the tickets are going to cost a whole lot more than those deposits and refunds will be given to those who aren't serious buyers or who aren't satisifed with ticket locations. And of course, there won't actually be 25,000 season tickets available. The renovated Key Arena won't be that big. To an extent, this was more a test of hockey interest in Seattle than it was an actual ticket sale. And to a greater degree, it was a publicity stunt.

I'm hearing it was done to help the team acquire a list of possible ticket buyers because the expansion team is going to be granted to Seattle as soon as next week. We shall see.

All I know is what I've heard from my friends in and around the NHL -- league commissioner Gary Bettman is nuts about getting a team in Seattle, even though Portland has been a better hockey town than Seattle for only about the last 50 years. You can talk about the professional WHL and the Buckaroos vs. the Totems or the junior WHL with the Winterhawks vs. the Thunderbirds.

In fact, I think I've figured out how all those ticket deposits came in so fast.

About half of them probably came from Portland.

TBT: Delta Dome and how Portland's big-league dream was barely derailed in 1964

TBT: Delta Dome and how Portland's big-league dream was barely derailed in 1964

Do you ever get frustrated that Portland doesn’t have an NFL team? A major-league baseball team?

Well, let me tell you how close we came to having both, way back decades ago –- back at a time when even politicians were on board for an exciting Portland sports future.

It was 1964 and the Houston Astrodome was being built and everyone knew that at some point, major-league sports had to come to the Pacific Northwest. And didn't a domed stadium seem like the right way to get them?

Seattle and Portland were on equal sports footing at that time – minor-league baseball franchises in the Pacific Coast League and minor-league hockey in the Western Hockey League. Seattle was still three years away from landing the NBA Sonics.

The idea of a domed stadium was originally part of a plan for a Portland bid to host the summer Olympics, which in those days was still an affordable plan. The centerpiece of that bid was a domed stadium in Delta Park, north of Portland, surrounded by a myriad of other sporting venues.

Eventually, when it was apparent the Olympic bid was  going nowhere, people began to get the idea of chasing pro football and major-league baseball – beating Seattle to the punch.

Then-governor Mark Hatfield and Portland mayor Terry Shrunk were behind the proposal and pushed hard for it and a hastily put-together campaign began -- to get a ballot measure passed in the city to fund what was then a $25-million project.

The 46,000-seat stadium would feature a dome that would be plexiglass and would not enclose the stadium – just cover it. There was to be a breezeway between the roof and the seating area, meaning it would not have been climate controlled. Still, for its time, it was a very innovative project.

Even better, there was a very real possibility of big-league sports being lured to Portland.

The American Football League Oakland Raiders were still uncertain about their future in that city and the prevailing rumor was that their youthful general manager, Al Davis, was ready to load the moving van and bring the team to Portland if the local ballot measure passed.

Believe it or not, in 1964 that didn’t bring about a whole lot of excitement. Nobody knew at that time the AFL, behind Davis as its commissioner, would force a merger and become part of the NFL. In fact, the NFL wasn’t even that big of a deal in those days.

There was also hope for a major-league baseball team because there were franchises in trouble and rumors of expansion.

Sadly – for sports fans at least – the ballot measure failed in Portland by fewer than 10,000 votes. Later, the same measure was put up for a vote in Multnomah County and failed by about the same margin.

Seattle, of course, landed the MLB Pilots in 1969 and they played in tiny Sicks’ Stadium, the Triple-A ballpark. That team left after one season and Seattle didn’t get an NFL or big-league baseball team until after the Kingdome was built in 1976.

I’m convinced Portland could have beaten Seattle into both leagues with that dome.

And that ballot measure should have passed in Portland, by the way, but mistakes were made.

First off, the advocates didn’t do a very good job of convincing Portlanders that big-league teams could be lured to the stadium, But history shows they probably could have – a domed stadium would have been impossible for expansion-minded NFL and MLB owners to pass up.

Yes, even in those days, it was difficult to convince the locals we could actually become a big-league city.

The biggest reason for the measure’s defeat, though, was the location. First of all, it would have been better to get the stadium measure passed without naming a location.

Delta Park was too much to overcome. The fact that 1964 was fewer than 20 years after the Vanport flood, which saw the area of Delta Park under water, really hurt the effort. Even though they were assured that Columbia River dams would keep that tragic event from happening again, too many people were worried the new stadium would end up floating away in a flood. There were also complaints at the time that the stadium would be closer to Vancouver -- which was not paying any part of the bill -- than Portland.

As it turns out, the area has never been flooded and the city of Portland has pretty much extended past Delta Park. And Portland remains pretty much a minor-league town other than the Trail Blazers.

Because of a paltry 10,000 votes.

Editor's note regarding photo:

"A postcard of a proposed stadium in Portland, Oregon which was up to a vote on the county ballot. Measure 2 approval would have meant the Delta Park area of Portland would have been converted into a 40,000 seat domed multi-purpose stadium. Votes ultimately rejected the bond."

Seattle has a plan to renovate Key Arena -- likely for the NHL

Seattle has a plan to renovate Key Arena -- likely for the NHL

A private group based in Los Angeles seems to have a plan to renovate Seattle's Key Arena, with the idea of finally making it suitable for hockey and, of course, eventually land an NBA franchise for the city.

The group, Oak View Group, is headed by Tim Leiweke, who has been involved in the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, as well as other sports ventures. Dynamic super-manager/promoter Irving Azoff serves on the board of Oak View.

Leiweke has virtually guaranteed that if the arena project is completed, Seattle will get "a team:"

"We're going to get you a team," OVG CEO Tim Leiweke told reporters following the winning bid. "Mark it right here. I promise you … we're going to get you at least one team."  

That team quite obviously is in the NHL, which now features an odd number of teams and needs another franchise in its Western Conference. I have two things to say about this announcement:

  • First, it means Portland's immediate chance of landing an expansion team in the NHL are likely zero. That league has seemed totally sold on Seattle over Portland for a while now and this pretty much locks it up. The chance of moving an existing struggling franchise to Portland still exists, however -- although I have heard nothing about such a thing in a while.
  • I've never been all-in on the idea of renovating an existing arena or stadium. It's been done before at Key Arena and didn't have much of an impact. At the cost of this renovation ($600 million) it seems like a very big project. But it's a fixer-upper, just the same. I've seen cities do this in an effort to save inadequate arenas and stadiums and they usually end up not working. Better to just find a plot of land and build something new. I've seen Portland's stadium go through so many iterations to get to the point of being Providence Park and it's still a stadium with charm -- but inadequate concourses, rest rooms, concession stands and sightlines. For all the money spent on it over the years it would have been better to build something updated and more comfortable. I'd say the same for Portland's Memorial Coliseum -- the only renovation that would work there is to just level it and start anew. In Seattle, they better have a great plan because these remodels are often tied to an inadequate structural support system. And that's enough money to come very close to constructing a new arena. Politics, though, have made that almost impossible in Seattle.