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You Might Have Been Here at Ye Ol’ Royal Dome

Greetings readers,

For today’s post, I wanted to try something different. I wanted to talk about the arenas of old that are no longer with us.

Today, I’m talking about the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington.

It seems like I’ve been talking a lot about the Mariners lately. Well, count this article as another one.

Before 1999, the Mariners played in a stadium known as the KingDome. It was approved by voters back in the 60’s for the Seattle Pilots. The Pilots never did see the light of day in the KingDome and were relocated after one season.

The first football game played in the KingDome was in the month of August in 1976, for the brand new NFL team in the Seattle Seahawks. It was known as the loudest stadiums in the league, due to the concrete design and the rowdy fans. The arena also was the home of the 1977 Pro Bowl game. Along with an NFL team, some college football games were played in the dome, such as the matchup between Washington State and Southern California. However, many of the college football games would be played in the Tacoma Dome.

The Mariners called the Kingdome home in 1977 against the California Angels. While the Kingdome was a great place for football, it wasn’t the same case for baseball. Rather than being a true multipurpose arena, it was a football arena that could be converted into a baseball field. Fans didn’t pack the arena until 1991, due to the poor play of the Mariners. They also used to place a tarp in the upper deck to make the arena seem fuller. Once the Mariners started playing better, the place became an awesome place to play. The Kingdome was known as a hitters park and an “arena baseball” field due to everything hanging from the ceiling.

The SuperSonics also played here for a short time. From 1978 until 1995, Seattle’s NBA franchise played on a portable court and a very loud environment. The Kingdome was the home of the 1987 NBA All-Star game. When the Sonics made the playoffs, however, the Mariners didn’t allow them playing their playoff games in the Kingdome. The SuperSonics moved in 1995 in the recently opened the Seattle Center Coliseum, renamed as KeyArena. They would stay there until the franchise was moved to Oklahoma City.

There would be Final Fours hosted at the Kingdome three times, with the last time being 1995 when UCLA won their first National Championship since the John Wooden days by defeating Arkansas.

In 1994, part of the ceiling collapsed in the Kingdome. They wanted to fix a coating in 1993 by sandblasting it, but that failed and was replaced with pressure washing. As a result, four 26-pound titles fell into the seats during warm-ups for the Baltimore Orioles vs. Mariners game,  forcing the Kingdome to close until November 1994.

Threats of moving teams came from owners, due to safety concerns. The Seahawks were bought by Paul Allen, and was required to build a brand new stadium on where the Kingdome stood. The measure passed in 1997, and the Kingdome was doomed.

The last game for the Mariners in the Kingdome was 6/27/1999 before moving to Safeco Field. The Seahawks were moved to the Washington Huskies stadium for a few seasons while Qwest Field was built where the dome used to stand. The Sonics were playing in KeyArena already. On March 26, 2000, the Kingdome died of an internal explosion. In the Guinness Book of Records, the Kingdome was the biggest, and fastest building to be blown up.

Today, the SuperSonics are known as the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Mariners still play at Safeco Field, and the Seahawks are in Qwest Field along with the Seattle Sounders.

There you have, a brief rundown on Seattle’s old dome.

Until next time,

-Lee

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