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New for 2021: Climate Pledge Arena

Well, this is a first: Amazon has purchased naming rights to the rebuilt KeyArena, set to house the new Seattle NHL team beginning in 2021-2022, with the result being Climate Pledge Arena.

The renovated arena will also house WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

The naming-rights deal stems from a 2019 initiative from Amazon and Global Optimism: The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040—a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement. With investment from Amazon and Oak View Group, the venue is expected to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world and set a new sustainability bar for the sports and events industry.

“We’ve secured naming rights to the historic arena previously known as KeyArena. Instead of naming it after Amazon, we’re calling it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the importance of fighting climate change,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action.”

“There is no question that the state of our planet is a critical issue for all of us,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO, Oak View Group. “We have a responsibility to future generations to try to leave them with a better world. We love that Amazon is using its naming rights for a cause we care deeply about—this partnership is a visionary step for the facilities business and sport and music industries. Our goal is to be the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable venue in the world. It is not just about one arena—it’s a platform for us to step up and heal our planet.”

The arena was previously named Washington State Coliseum and the Seattle Center Coliseum. It began life as the Washington State Pavilion for the Century 21 Exposition and Seattle World’s Fai. Designed by Paul Thiry initially as an expo space, the Washington State Pavilion featured a signature hyperbolic roofline—a roofline that survived two renovations, one to convert the facility to an arena and a later expansion to the KeyArena configuration. Those renovations took great care to minimize the impact on the roofline: the arena floor was lowered 35 feet below street level to allow for 3,000 more seats during the past renovation, for instance. The current Seattle Center features plenty of World’s Fair buildings dating back to the 1962 event, as well as the venerable monorail still running from downtown.

Highlights of the naming-rights deal:

  • First arena in the world targeting net Zero Carbon certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), a leading non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainable building practices.
  • Arena will have all-electric operations and be powered with 100% renewable electricity, both from on-site solar panels and off-site renewable energy. Events at the arena will be made fully net zero carbon through investments in forestry projects with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy that will sequester any remaining carbon emissions from arena operations.
  • Carbon emissions and sustainability performance of the arena and all events will be measured and publicly disclosed.
  • All operations and events at the arena will be ‘zero waste’ with durable and compostable containers. A minimum of 95% of all arena waste will be diverted from landfills on a weight basis.
  • Arena will use reclaimed rainwater in the ice system to create the greenest ice in the NHL.
  • Original 44-million-pound roof from the arena will be reused in construction to significantly reduce the embodied carbon of the building.
  • At least 75 percent of the arena’s food program will be sourced locally on a seasonal basis to support regional farmers and producers, and all viable unused food from events will be donated to local community food programs.
  • NHL Seattle and WNBA Storm tickets will double as free public transit passes to promote use of public transportation for attendees, including on the refurbished Seattle Monorail.
  • Amazon and OVG will form the Climate Pledge Arena Sustainability Advisory Council in partnership with community groups to support local environmental initiatives.

The 18,100-seat venue is expected to host 200 events each year, including NHL Seattle, three-time WNBA world champion Seattle Storm, live music and entertainment, and City of Seattle community events

Renderings courtesy Oak View Group.

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