Sunday, July 23, 2006

NBA in Okc - The Key Arena

If Seattle has to come to terms with providing a new facility (or expand the existing one) prior to October 2007 to meet the "clock is ticking" condition of Clay Bennett and company, what does Seattle need to agree to do (passing in this post upon revised lease requirements that are another part of the condition)?

First, a few snippets of history. The NBA arrived in Seattle on in 1967, 39 years ago. The arena was then known as the "Seattle Center" (constructed in 1962) as part of Seattle's World's Fair construction. See and According to the latter,
In 1983, the franchise was sold to Barry Ackerley, and for the next 20 years the team experienced many ups and downs (mostly downs). Under his threat to move the team, the City transformed the Seattle Center Coliseum, whose leaky roof led to the only "rain out" in NBA history, into Key Arena in 1993.
From the little I've read, it appears that the 1993 product is substantially the same as is in place today. At 17,072 maximum capacity, it is the smallest NBA arena. All NBA arena capacities (including Oklahoma City) are ordered by arena capacities, smallest to largest, below:

18K - 18,999
19K - 19,999
20K - 20,999
21K - 21,999
22K +
Seattle (31)
Orlando (30)
Sac (29)
NOLA (28)

Memphis (27)
Houston (26)
Indiana (25)
Phoenix (24)
Boston (23)
Milw. (22)
S. Ant. (21)
L.A. (20 x 2)
Minn. (18)
OKC (17)
Denver (16)
Toronto (15)
G. State (14)
Miami (13)
New York (12)
Portland (11)
Utah (10)
New Jersey (9)
Wash. (8)
Atlanta (7)
Phil. (6)
Dallas (5)
Charlotte (4)
Cleveland (3)

Chicago (2)

Detroit (1)

See for arena pics and capacities.

In the context of this post, can/will the Key Arena be expanded (or a new facility be built) to place it at least in the middle of the pack, at or better than Oklahoma City's capacity? Toronto's 19,500 is presently "at the middle" (Okc's Ford Center is 19,163). Seating capacity does not only equal more ticket sales, it relates to concessions, gear, box seats revenue, parking, etc., which occur on game days, assuming that the team's contract allows all or a substantial portion of those revenues to flow to the team. But, that is a different topic, for another day. This post is only intended to cover arena capacity issues, if they are important.


Anonymous said...

I read something in one of the chat rooms out there about Key only being ~400k sq ft and Ford being ~600k sq ft (~800 post renovation), and how that was the issue not the seating (ie less room for suites, concessions, etc, so generating less revenue). If you get the time someday maybe you could do a square footage comparison between NBA arenas... :)

Doug Dawg said...

Thanks for your comment, Shawn. I wrote this article in 2006 and, since then, it became more evident to me that seating capacity wasn't as much of an issue about the Key as were the other income-generating amenities ... # of club suites, places to buy food & things ... anyway, it's pretty much history now but maybe I'll have a look at what you suggest ... would be interesting to know.