Providing instant local culture and cool, KEXP will handle all of the music at renovated KeyArena when Seattle's new NHL team begins play in 2021.
Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” already seemed like a natural fit for Seattle’s new NHL team’s goal song. And with Tuesday’s announcement that radio station KEXP will handle all in-arena music for the new franchise, chances seem to have increased that the grunge anthem will blare after the new team scores a goal at renovated KeyArena in 2021.
KEXP, on the air since 1972 and a KeyArena neighbor in Seattle Center since 2016, instantly lends some local flair, culture and cool to a franchise looking to build an identity from scratch. The station will be able to promote local music — and specifically “new and emerging artists whenever and wherever possible,” per the announcement email — while providing the soundtrack to goals, penalties, in-game breaks and more.
“Music is a wonderful part of life in Seattle and it is going to be a big part of how we present our games,” Tod Leiweke, NHL Seattle CEO and president, said in a news release. “We could not have a better partner than KEXP in shaping our music platform. From anthems to goal songs to live music we will leverage the great expertise and music passion of KEXP.”
Take note of “live music” from Leiweke there. How that will fit in with live sports is an intriguing opportunity for some creativity — or maybe it’ll just provide for a handful of postgame concerts. Other teams use house bands to play between periods. The Seattle Times has reached out for more clarity on that detail.
“We hold a deep belief in the power of music to connect and inspire,” said KEXP Chief Content Officer and Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole. “This partnership with NHL Seattle is a remarkable opportunity to create new traditions, connect fans with our incredible local music, and bring a new sound to professional sports in Seattle.”
While we wait for more details on NHL Seattle’s partnership with KEXP, we kicked around some other ideas for appropriate arena songs. Maybe the new team should be named the Seattle Grunge.
Alternate goal song: “Punching Goodbye Out Front” — Kinski
Penalty music: “Man in the Box” — Alice In Chains
Alternate penalty music: “Take It Like A Man” — Mudhoney
Game goes to overtime: “Everlong” — Foo Fighters
Pregame music, delayed due to the Mercer Mess: “Crosstown Traffic” — Jimi Hendrix
We’ve compiled these songs and more into a Spotify playlist:
Seattle Times reporter Michael Rietmulder contributed to this story.