New Arena at Seattle Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

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Barely a year after morphing from a plan into action, a spaded shovel has broken ground and turned dirt over toward a new era in Seattle sports and entertainment.

Construction of the new home for an NHL franchise has begun in earnest on the Seattle Center campus. Mayor Jenny Durkan and Seattle City Council members joined with community leaders, OVG-Seattle’s Tim Leiweke and NHL Seattle to do the honors Dec. 5.

“Yesterday was a momentous day in the history of sports and in the history of the City of Seattle,” said Tod Leiweke. “Today is another step toward our newly awarded franchise taking the ice at a new Seattle Center Arena.”

It’s been a whirlwind of activity on the part of all interested parties to get this far, this fast. It was only 52 weeks ago, on Dec. 7, 2017, when the NHL Board of Governors agreed to review an expansion team application from prospective owners David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer. Earlier this week, the NHL formerly approved adding Seattle as the 32nd team in 2021.

The groundbreaking is a golden moment in erecting a world-class arena, a building that moves forward with its own existing history – and the prospect of making much, much more. The new Seattle Center Arena will serve as the stage for NHL hockey, Storm basketball, Seattle University basketball and – hopefully soon after – the NBA’s return as well. In all, over 140 sporting events, concerts, entertainment and family activities can be hosted each year.

“We know that fans are going to be amazed at the new arena, our neighbors and community will be proud, and we can’t wait to open the doors in time for the Seattle Storm to begin its 2021 season, with the inaugural NHL Seattle season soon to follow,” said Tim Leiweke.

The dream is real. It’s now tangible, if not visible. Much of the activity around the arena’s massive renovation, much like an iceberg, is out of sight, either subterranean or hidden by the iconic canopy of the structure which opened as the Washington State Pavilion for the 1962 World’s Fair. A lot of history has been made under that sloped roof and, beginning in 2021, those memories will meld with new ones.

Seattle Center Arena / NHL Seattle Milestones

DECEMBER 4, 2017
Seattle City Council approves Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Oak View Group for the renovation of KeyArena.

DECEMBER 7, 2017
Commissioner Gary Bettman announces that the NHL Board of Governors agrees to review a Seattle expansion team application from prospective owner David Bonderman and business partner Jerry Bruckheimer.

FEBRUARY 20, 2018
NHL Seattle announces that season ticket deposits will be accepted online, beginning March 1.

MARCH 1, 2018
NHL sells 10,000 season ticket deposits in the first 12 minutes and 25,000 after one hour. By the following day there are 32,000 total commitments. A waiting list continues to add fans.

APRIL 11, 2018
– Tod Leiweke is introduced as CEO of NHL Seattle. Leiweke is formerly CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment (Seattle Seahawks, CenturyLink Field, Portland TrailBlazers, Moda Center) and COO of the NFL.

JULY 31, 2018
Oak View Group announces Skanska and AECOM Hunt as general contractors for the new, state-of-the-art Seattle Center Arena.

Oak View Group reaches an agreement with City officials for the proposed new Seattle Center Arena and introduces local representation among the ownership group.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2018
Seattle City Council unanimously approves OVG renovation of KeyArena.

OCTOBER 2, 2018
NHL Seattle delivers a proposal to NHL Executive Committee for acquiring an expansion franchise for 2020.

OCTOBER 8, 2018
NHL Seattle announces that Northgate will be the site of Seattle Ice Centre, featuring the club headquarters, training center and three NHL regulation rinks.

DECEMBER 3, 2018
NHL Board of Governors vote to approve the Seattle expansion franchise as its 32nd team in 2021.

DECEMBER 5, 2018
Official groundbreaking for Seattle Center Arena.