Amazon backs Seattle’s sand climate initiative

Amazon secured naming rights for the downtown Seattle arena that will house the new NHL team, as well as the WNBA Storm, but the company name will not appear anywhere in the building.

Instead, the arena will be called the Climate Pledge Arena and will feature several green initiatives.

“I think this will be a transformative time in our industry,” Tim Leiweke, Oak View Group CEO, told ESPN. “We spent a lot of time trying to figure it out and overcome the hassle to get it done. It was not easy. But to the credit of Jeff Bezos and Amazon, they said, ‘We will act as a partner naming right, but let’s do it the right way. I don’t need any more brands. What I need is to go save the planet. ” It was brilliant. “

Climate Pledge Arena is seeking to become the first arena in the world to obtain net zero carbon certification by the International Living Future Institute.

Among the unique features:

• Ice for hockey games will be made from recaptured rainwater. Leiweke says there will be a “massive tank hidden underground next to the building” that can collect rainwater from the roof, but the team is also looking for a way for people in the community to bring rainwater from their own backyards.

• All events will be “zero waste,” a decision, said Leiweke, who was inspired by singer Billie Eilish. Leiweke said that a few months ago, when Eilish planned her last tour, she asked each arena to remove as much plastic waste as possible. “I thought, I can’t believe I received a whole syndication of arenas to finally tackle this problem,” Leiweke said. “I was so amazed that she made this part of the deal. When we were debating this, I told her that if she could do it for one night, couldn’t we do it for 365 nights?”

• At least 75% of the sand food program will be purchased seasonally by local farmers and producers. Viable unused food will be donated to community food programs.

• The arena will have fully electric operations. The carbon emissions and sustainability performance of all events will be measured and publicly disclosed.

“This will be the most complicated engineering feat of any arena,” said Leiweke. “But we can do it. It won’t be cheap. But we understand exactly what we are trying to do here. We are trying to find a way to really focus on trying to heal this planet. We have to come here and try to help Earth, because she is sick. “

The cost of the building has been estimated at more than $ 900 million. The 18,100-seat venue is expected to host 200 events each year, including concerts and the NHL and WNBA games. The building is under construction on the Seattle Downtown campus on the site of the former KeyArena that was the primary home of the Seattle SuperSonics.

Oak View Group decided to restore the original £ 44m roof. It was billed at the time as a move to restore a historical artifact, but Leiweke said it was also to reduce the building’s built-in carbon; The roof restoration inspired planners to embrace the full green initiative.

There have been some construction delays, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the building is expected to be open in time for the Seattle NHL team’s debut in 2021-22.

“We still have work to do until we know what date this building will work on,” Leiweke said. “To some extent, it will be affected by the pandemic. We are on the pandemic timeline; I don’t know how to predict that yet. That said, we are confident that we will be fine with the NHL and we will be able to be part of the the WNBA, depending on what happens to them in their programming. “