About the Sonics Arena

The Sonics Arena Project is a public/private partnership to build a world-class, multi-purpose sports and entertainment Arena in Seattle’s Stadium District. A majority of the investment is being made by private investors, and the project represents one of the largest private investments for an Arena project in North America.

The public consideration for the Arena plan is “self-financing,” as the debt service on the City and County’s $200 million contribution will be funded by tax collections that would not exist if the Arena were not built, and NBA and NHL teams were not returned to the market. Any shortfalls are paid and guaranteed by the private investors.

Unprecedented safeguards have been put in place to protect the City’s contribution and insure that taxpayer dollars are not at risk, and that even under the direst circumstances the City and County will be repaid in full.

In addition to bringing the NBA and Pro-Hockey back to Seattle, the project will make Seattle a preeminent concert destination, resulting in an increased number of world-class concerts and shows returning to Seattle.

Arena construction will create more than 2,000 sorely needed construction jobs, and the return of the NBA and NHL, along with increased concert activity, will drive additional economic benefits and tax collections for the City and County as patrons from outside Seattle and King County attend events at the Arena and spend money on related activities (dining, bars, hotels, souvenirs, etc).

But perhaps most importantly, the NBA and NHL will contribute in a meaningful way to Seattle’s unique community and culture. In addition to the civic pride, passion and sense of unity professional sports can bring to a community, the impact professional athletes can have on our underprivileged urban youth is perhaps most profound.

  1. State of the art Arena will include significant improvements to seating, AV, and load in and load out as compared to Key Arena, which would make it the premier concert venue in the Pacific Northwest.
  2. The largest portion of the $490 million cost comes from private investment, with the balance from City/County bonds that will be repaid solely by rent and tax revenue generated by the Arena – revenue that would not exist but for the existence of the Arena.
  3. Size: Approximately 700,000 square feet
  4. Capacity: 18,500 attendees for NBA games, 17,500 for NHL games, 19,000 for concerts
  5. Investor Group guarantees to build the Arena to a stipulated level of design quality, including full capacity to host NBA and NHL teams as well as world-class touring acts.