KeyArena at Seattle Center (commonly KeyArena), is a multipurpose arena, in Seattle, Washington. It is located north of downtown in the 74-acre (300,000 m 2) entertainment complex known as Seattle Center, the site of the 1962 World's Fair, the Century 21 Exposition. It is used for entertainment purposes, such as concerts, ice shows, circuses, and professional wrestling events. It has a seating capacity for basketball games of 17,072, 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 University men's basketball team and the Seattle Storm of the WNBA. The Seattle University Redhawks men's basketball team are currently the arena's longest serving tenant, having played in the arena from 1963”“1980 and 2009 to present. Rat City Rollergirls of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association have been a tenant since 2009. KeyArena was also home to the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics and the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds. 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. The Thunderbirds, who had called the KeyArena home for 32 years, followed the SuperSonics out the door at the end of 2008 for a new arena in nearby Kent. KeyArena is the first publicly financed arena in the area fully supported by earned income from the building.

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). When the newly renovated Coliseum opened the Seattle University men's basketball team became the arena's first major tenant. 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. 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. 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. The arena also hosted the 1974 NBA All-Star Game on January 15, 1974. The arena has hosted concerts by many famous artists, spanning many different genres. Singer David Cassidy performed to a sell out crowd here at his first ever live concert on 26th March 1971. A notable performance by Metallica was in 1989, when they were supporting the Damaged Justice Tour. Their performance at the Coliseum was one of their first large arena concerts and it was filmed for their live album, Live Shit: Binge and Purge .

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. In an unusual move, the Coliseum would be closed for a year during the renovation. Construction began on June 16, 1994. 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. 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 m) 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. 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. Once KeyArena lost its major tenant, there was speculation that KeyCorp may try to amend the naming rights deal. 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. In 2009 the Seattle University Redhawks men's basketball team began playing their home games at Key Arena for the first time since 1980. In February 2009, the Seattle City Council approved a new 10-year lease that would keep the WNBA's Storm at KeyArena. In 2009 the arena hosted the WWE No Way Out Pay-Per-View and it will be the host of the 2011 WWE Over the Limit pay-per-view which will take place on May 22, 2011. In April 2011, the Professional Bull Riders will bring the Built Ford Tough Series to KeyArena for the first time. On January 21, 2011, Seattle Center announced that KeyCorp will not renew its agreement for naming rights of the Key Arena, after 15 years of sponsorship. The venue will remain known as Key Arena until a new sponsor is found.

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.

Building Activity

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