Alaska Airlines Arena becomes the primary site for the Storm next year, but there are no guarantees the WNBA team will play there during the postseason. And there's uncertainty about how many of its 17 regular-season home games will be on campus.
The Storm reached an agreement with the University of Washington to play 2019 regular-season games at Alaska Airlines Arena while KeyArena undergoes a two-year $700 million renovation.
Co-owner Lisa Brummel characterized the deal as a one-year “trial” and added “assuming it goes well, we’re all of the mind that we’d like to continue for 2020.”
“To be fair to everybody, we want to make sure that this is the right solution by getting there, playing there, figuring out what the kinks are and figuring out if it really works for everybody,” Brummel said.
For at least a year, Alaska Airlines Arena becomes the primary site for the Storm, but it’s uncertain how many of its 17 regular-season home games will be on campus.
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Additionally, there are no guarantees the building will be available if the Storm advances to the postseason.
“We’re hopeful we can play there during the playoffs, (but) now you’re really running into volleyball season and getting into football season,” Brummel said. “What we’ve agreed to with the university is that we’ll continue to look at that with the hope that we can play there.
“We typically play on days where – at least the past two years – where volleyball and football haven’t played.”
Moreover, the Storm is considering hosting its one home exhibition at an off-campus facility.
“We may get more creative from our own business side and maybe look at some other places as well to try to expand our base,” Brummel said.
The Storm considered relocating to the Kent’s ShoWare Center and the Angel of the Winds in Everett, but opted to remain close to home.
“We are excited to host a portion of the Storm’s 2019 home season here in Alaska Airlines Arena,” UW Athletic Director Jen Cohen said in a statement released by the Storm.
Seattle’s 2019 schedule will be released along with the WNBA schedule at a later date.
Brummel indicated navigating the logistics of a building that occupies UW men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams was the No. 1 obstacle.
The Storm and UW also had to work through the potentially thorny issue of the 91-year-old building, also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion, not having air conditioning.
Because WNBA rules require teams to play in air-conditioned venues, Brummel said portable air-conditioning units will be used next season for Storm home games at UW.