Life expectancy of Arenas

I often see that people question how long an arena can last and therefore questioning the 30 year term of the Bond payback schedule in the SoDo Arena. So I decided to do some research on the Current NBA franchises and their arenas.

Of active arenas being used in the NBA, the average age is 16. That includes Oracle Arena (Golden State) at 48 years young and Barclay’s age zero. Or if you need some visuals…

On the surface people might be concerned at “average age of 16” but that really isn’t a good approach because there was certainly a boom of arenas in the 90s and it is unclear how long these areans could last. So let’s look at some Arenas that have since closed their doors. So if you look at arenas that have closed and were once used as NBA home courts, the average age is 32 years of service, but that doesn’t really include Arenas that are still being used. There are 9 other arenas that have lives over 30 years that were once used by an NBA Franchise. When you include those active facilities, the average life goes to 38 years.

Now there are some duds of arenas out there that can be used as poster children for an Arena gone wrong:

Amway Arena, Richfield & Miami Arena all had lives of about 20 years. US Airways (DC), Market Square and the Omni had lives of about 25 years….but keep in mind that these Arenas are the exceptions and I am sure that everyone is learning from those mistakes.

I will be doing the same thing for the NHL next week.

Take Action: Email your city council members today!!!!

As I’ve followed stadium financing deals for the last year, I was well positioned to investigate and understand all the key components of the SoDo Arena plan and would advise you to pass the MOU. I’ve read countless articles, studies and data on the proposed SoDo Arena from city and county council members, national experts, local journalists, the Hansen camp and the Port. I feel I am as well studied on the general topic of stadium financing as you will find in the general public. I am a huge fan of I-91 and believe the public’s interests should be protected on sports stadiums and Arenas.

The short of it is that this is an excellent proposal that should absolutely be passed by the City Council.

 Let’s review some of the hottest topics:

  1. This is I-91 Compliance. There has been some debate on what I-91 compliance means since it was poorly written to only consider the “cash on cash basis” scenario. There is no doubt in my mind that the structure of this deal is compliant with I-91’s intent.
  2. The Port’s claims are baseless and just a leverage play to get something they want. How could adding an arena that has half the capacity of Safeco impact the Port traffic? 47,000 is greater than 19,000. The Port should be focused on making their operations more efficient to compete with Vancouver and Tacoma. They have some serious challenges facing their operations that are well outside the SoDo district.
  3. Additional $ coming into the city. This one is tough to articulate with actual numbers. It’s very challenging to determine economic impacts. I am not going to try to articulate exactly how much money will be spent in the city if the Sonics and NHL team return to the city limits but I will give data points to consider:
  • I have friends that work retail in downtown Seattle and they see firsthand the people that come into town.
  • I know several people that work in the Hospitality Business (hotels) and they always have spikes in occupancy rates for sporting events.
  • Within the last few weeks, the Toronto Blue Jays played the Mariners. I happen to drive on I5 after one of their games and I was passed by at least 20 cars with British Columbia or Alberta license plates in a mile or two span of I5. This wasn’t scientific and certainly isn’t a great case study but it is obvious that there will be imported dollars by way of Canadian Hockey teams (& Raptors) playing in Seattle. Odds are an NHL team in Seattle will be located in the North West Division, meaning playing Calgary, Edmonton & Vancouver several times a year.
  • Money is leaving the state and country for residents to get their NHL fix in:

i.  I have several friends who have season tickets to the Canucks.

ii.  Several other friends of mine get 2 – 6 sets of Canucks tickets to go check out games.

iii. I book a domestic vacation every year to check out an NHL game. I’ve attended 14 NHL hockey games in 7 years living in Seattle.

We need to get this approved. Please email your city council members to let them know you support this arena deal. Be firm and respectful! We might never have this opportunity again. Do it now!!! Info to email your City council members here: