Amazon Secures Naming Rights for Future Seattle NHL Home, Named Climate Pledge Arena

July 7, 2020

Populous-designed Climate Pledge Arena’s new naming rights were officially announced.

Amazon secured the naming rights to the new home of Seattle’s new NHL team and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and is calling it Climate Pledge Arena. Designed by Populous and developed in partnership with Amazon, Oak View Group and NHL Seattle, the venue is expected to be the first net-zero carbon certified arena in the world and will set a new sustainability bar for the sports and entertainment industry.

Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed the partnership in an Instagram post where he said, “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. We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action.”

The 58-year-old arena is currently undergoing a $930 million renovation that removes nearly every element of the venue other than the historic roof and exterior glass façade, and excavates the site an additional 16’ beyond the previous event level while also significantly expanding the footprint in all directions.  This effectively doubles the square-footage and results in a state-of-the-art arena that accommodates modern amenities and expansive operational and back-of-house program.

The arena’s partial demolition and excavation began in 2019. Today, it is in the midst of being transformed into a brand-new arena under the landmark Paul Thiry-designed roof. The 44-million-pound roof required a support structure to keep it “floating” above the construction site. All of the existing arena’s 30,000 square feet of glass was saved, pulled off the arena, cataloged and stored. It will soon be reinstalled while Mortenson, the project’s general contractor, is constructing the seating bowl and remainder of the new arena. The Populous team along with partners CAA Icon and Mortenson were tasked with the challenge of revising arena plans in February of 2020 to integrate the new brand story into the historic landmark. The NHL Seattle expansion team plans to play at Climate Pledge Arena when it enters the league for the 2021-22 season.

“There is no question that the state of our planet is a critical issue for all of us,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of 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.”

This project continues Amazon’s commitment to worldwide sustainability. In 2019, Amazon and Global Optimism announced The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net-zero carbon across their businesses by 2040 – a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement. Additionally, Amazon and Oak View Group will form the Climate Pledge Arena Sustainability Advisory Council in partnership with community groups to support local environmental initiatives.

“Inspired by the grounds of the World’s Fair and the culture of neon signage in Seattle, we created a design that is truly authentic to the city and its history of innovation while also focusing on the future standard of sports venues,” said Kelly Holton, Associate Principal at Populous. “It’s an honor to help tell the story of such a historic venue while also integrating the groundbreaking Climate Pledge brand.”

Sustainable highlights of the new 18,100 seat multi-purpose Climate Pledge Arena include:

  • A goal of achieving Zero Carbon Certification from the International Living Future Institute, becoming the first live entertainment venue to achieve the milestone. Inside the venue, daily operations will remove fossil fuels and run on electric power, using an all-electric dehumidification system, a first for an NHL building.
  • The 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.
  • 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.
  • NHL Seattle plans to be the first in the league to completely phase-out single-use plastics by 2024 and use only aluminum or biodegradable bottles when it opens.
  • The arena will use reclaimed rainwater and refrigerants with zero greenhouse gas emissions in the ice system to create the greenest ice in the NHL.
  • The original arena’s 44-million-pound roof will be reused in construction to significantly reduce the embodied carbon of the building.
  • NHL Seattle and WNBA Storm tickets will double as free public transit passes to promote the use of public transportation for attendees, including on the refurbished Seattle Monorail.

Climate Pledge Arena continues Populous’ commitment to designing next-generation multi-purpose entertainment venues. It joins recent projects in Populous’ portfolio like T-Mobile Arena and Fiserv Forum. It also joins more than 50 other Populous sustainable venues like the University of Colorado Champions Center and Georgetown University’s Thompson Center.

For more information on Climate Pledge Arena:


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