On October 26, 1995, the KeyArena opened to join the Seattle landscape. Since then, over 15 million people have sat in its seats to enjoy concerts, family entertainment and sports.
The sport it is perhaps most well known for hosting is basketball. Currently, it is home to the Seattle Storm and was home to the Seattle Sonics until the team moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. However, the KeyArena has a much longer history, dating back to 1962.
The Washington State Pavilion
The KeyArena began in 1962 as the Washington State Pavilion for the Century 21 Exposition and the Seattle World’s Fair. After the Exposition had finished, the Pavilion was remodeled into the Washington State Coliseum. In 1967, it became home to the Seattle SuperSonics and later became named the Seattle Center Coliseum.
The Coliseum hosted a number of notably famous events. In 1964, the Beatles played an unforgettable concert, and in 1970, Elvis Presley made an appearance. In 1974, the Coliseum was the site of the NBA All-Star game.
Rebuilding into the KeyArena
Between 1994 and 1995, the Coliseum was completely demolished and rebuilt from the ground up. This was done to bring the arena into the 21st century.
It maintained the original architecture style of the building, with its hyperbolic roofline using four new diagonal main trusses, and much of the materials from the demolition were reused, including the Coliseum’s acoustical panels. But, the court was lowered 35 feet below street level so there could be an extra 3000 seats in the arena.
In 1995, the city of Seattle sold its naming rights to KeyCorp, the parent company of KeyBank. Thus, the Coliseum was renamed the KeyArena. In October of 1995, the KeyArena re-opened its doors as the home court for the Seattle SuperSonics. The newly renovated arena can seat up to 17,000 people for sporting events.
However, new features were added so that the seating layout and number could be adjusted for other types of gatherings, such as concerts.
In fact, since its opening, the arena has hosted over 150 concerts, from some of music’s most famous names. These concerts include appearances from Simon & Garfunkel, Pearl Jam, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, Aerosmith, George Strait and Elton John. The arena has even hosted Disney On Ice and World Wrestling Entertainment.
The Joining of the Seattle Storm
The year 2002 brought the Seattle Storm to the KeyArena. The Storm has brought a plethora of fans, as well as several National Championships to Seattle.
In addition to basketball, the KeyArena is also host to other sporting events, nationally touring concerts and Seattle University’s basketball team. Further, the Battle in Seattle tournament is held every year at the KeyArena.
Seattle Storm Merchandise
In addition to an excellent arena to play in, the Storm offer some excellent merchandise to their fans. You can get anything from a personalized Storm jersey to player jerseys to some really nice fleece hoodies. They also offer novelty items like mouse pads, coffee cups and pennants.