Months after Amazon bought the naming rights to change KeyArena to Climate Pledge Arena, the signage representing that switch arrived for installation Wednesday morning at the site of the under-renovation venue.
Signage has been a somewhat controversial topic at the arena, undergoing a nearly-$1 billion private-funded overhaul beneath its historically preserved roof. KeyBank had stopped paying for naming rights a decade ago, but the venue’s “KeyArena” sign remained in place until last summer after city officials determined the cost of removing it was prohibitive.
Thus, the venue continued to be referred to colloquially as “KeyArena” — much to the consternation of the Oak View Group developer now in the process of doubling its square footage as well as the Seattle Kraken NHL expansion team preparing to play there starting late next year. Attempts to temporarily rename it “New Arena at Seattle Center” never really caught on and KeyArena thus stuck until the naming rights were sold and the private developer paid to have the old signage removed.
The new name is believed to be the first time a sporting venue has been dubbed for a social cause. Typically, a stadium or arena will simply assume the name of the corporation paying a new rights fee or purchasing another entity that already holds it — with local examples of both recently happening when Safeco Field was renamed T-Mobile Park and CenturyLink Field became LumenField.