The new home of the Seattle Seahawks is aptly named Seahawks Stadium, a $535 million
publicly funded venue opened this past August, and with its design, architecture, location
and fan amenities takes its rightful place among the great new venues in the NFL. The
stadium is located in a prominent location downtown, and is immediately adjacent to Safeco
Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. When traveling along interstate 5 one can't help but
notice these two imposing structures and the dramatic impact they make to the already
striking Seattle skyline.

Getting to the venue.
Driving to the stadium from all points seems simple enough... just take I-5 and follow the
signs. But life here is not that simple, for being right downtown, automobile parking is at a
real premium, so one needs a strategy before venturing out to the stadium. There is one
surface lot and a parking ramp on stadium property, and Safeco Field also has a ramp, but
these are sold out on a season permit basis or to premium ticket holders only. To the south
and west of the venue are industrial areas and parking ($10-$25) can be found there if you
look hard enough. Go north and you are in historic Pioneer Square, and parking in that
neighborhood is a chore even on quiet days. The best bet is to take public transportation...
Amtrak's Kings Station is right next door to Seahawks Stadium and various bus lines and
even a monorail takes you through downtown. The Seahawks publish a brochure, available
at guest services, which outlines transportation and parking options in great detail.

Outside the venue
Lots to describe here... there are two main entrances to the venue. The first is on the north
side, which looks onto the Pioneer Square District and the skyline. Here is a wide and
spacious public plaza, ticket windows, and a wide grand staircase taking you into the end
zone concourse, under the massive vertical scoreboard which bears cool circular art
renderings on the outside fascia. The second entrance is on the west side... here the street
is closed to traffic and vendors of all kinds line the route with their many food choices and
souvenir stands. Freshly popped kettle corn seems to be the big thing here, and the entire
scene is reminiscent of a big street party similar to those outside Fenway. All sorts of
colorful characters and entertainers (a few inspired born again Christians were holding
massive placards, shouting into their megaphones and exhorting the fans to repent and be
saved, or perish and fall into the eternal fires... why do these folks always seem to turn up
at sporting events?)

Connected to the stadium to the south is the Seahawks Exhibition Center. There are two
nice looking dot matrix video boards outside the Center which look quite imposing. This is
a 100,000 s.f. convention hall and is open to the public three hours before game time.
Essentially, what you will find here is a large indoor tailgate party. The hall is decorated with
banners, massive murals and flags. Live musical entertainment, exhibits to view, games and
prizes, seating areas with big screen TVs and concessions. One can walk right into the
stadium from the Center without having to go outside.

Also of note is the goings on at Safeco Field. The Mariners open up their left field
concourse before the game, and sell food and merchandise at their concession stands.
One can also find live musical entertainment, and visitors can walk through the bullpen
area and right onto the field. Adults can walk around the warning track and kids are invited
to run the bases. High above is the jumbotron showing Mariners highlights. All very nice,
Mariners!!!

The stadium itself is designed with a brown brick facade, and steel ramps in the corners,
with light colored rooflines on the upper deck. The most dramatic look of this venue has to
be its two distinctive arched roofs which span high above each sideline across the entire
length of the stadium. These roofs provide protection from the elements to about 70% of
the seats in the stadium. The building looks most striking at night, when it is beautifully
floodlit and can best be enjoyed from a distance. The "Seahawks Stadium" monikers are
emblazoned across the roofs and they can be seen from the sky or from a high vantage
point.

The seating bowl
There is seating here for just over 67,000, and seating is divided into two levels. Seats are
colored a very dark blue, with club seats in black leather. The lower level services the
terrace seats and the 200 club seats, although club seats have access to a climate
controlled concourse above their section. There is ramp access only to the 300 level seats.
which wraps around 75% of the seating bowl. We noticed that at the 50 yard line the upper
deck seats go at least 50 rows, so plan for a long climb!. In the north end zone is a
triangular shaped bleacher type section, offering the cheapest seats in the house.

Two Philips video boards here... the main one is in the south end zone but the one worth
mentioning has to be the VERTICAL video board above the north end zone bleachers. The
graphics and video here are just a bit different than the companion board and gives the fan
a different viewing perspective. Kinda neat!

At mid field is a one color dot matrix board offering basic information, and that board is
flanked by stationary, backlit, corporate logo marquees (similar to the set up at Raymond
James Stadium). Other than a few changeable ad panels in each end zone, we have to make
note of the "offense" and "defense" stat boards which are found in each corner high above
the seating bowl. These boards keep track of in game team stats in real time. They are
almost identical in concept and design to the "Sizzle" and "Fizzle" boards seen at Portland's
Rose Garden.

The concourses
We'll start you on the upper concourse, which is so hugely wide that space is even allotted
for tables and chairs. Not much in the way of congestion points and walking around this
venue is a snap. Most of the upper concourse is open air and exposed to the elements,
however. The lower concourse is also spacious, but with bare yellow walls and exposed
pipe and ductwork in the ceilings is a bit bland. The concession canopies bear photographs
of many of the natural wonders around the state of Washington and that adds a bit of color.

Concessions
In keeping with the plan we have seen at the newer venues, we found a myriad of food
selections here and Seahawks Stadium definitely does not disappoint. The west coast
staple of garlic fries is in abundance here, and folks around these parts just love their
kettle corn. We even spotted a stand in the upper deck end zone offering Vietnamese fare
(and the lines were long there so it must have been good stuff). Interestingly, the menus at
the concession stands are displayed on TV monitors, such as we have only seen before at
the Rose Garden. That's when it hit us... doesn't Paul Allen own both the Seahawks and the
Trailblazers? Good concepts deserve to be imitated and used elsewhere if they are
successful.

The main Seahawks team store is right at the west plaza entrance, and there are many
additional merchandise stands scattered trhoughout the venue.

Premium seats
We had club seats for this game so we can offer our perspective of this area here. Club
seats are a hard sell here, and the Seahawks repriced their cheapest club seat at $95 (top
price is $280). An NFL club seat costing two figures is rare in this day and age, so we took
advantage of the "deal". The club concourse here is climate controlled, and there are
several lounge areas with indoor seating, offering carving stations and premium
concessions. At the 50 yard line lounge there is a seating rail offering a view of the field. In
the end zone behind the scoreboard is a well appointed premium restaurant, offering a pre
game buffet. (Reservations were needed on this sold out night). Some of the tables have a
view of the field as well. One level above is a suite level, and in the north end zone, there
is a row of dugout suites right at field level.

Banners/retired numbers
The Seahawks have not had too much success on the field in their quarter century of
existence, but their '88 and '99 division championship banners are displayed in the corners.
On the visitors sideline along the suite level is a ring of honor. Until tonight it bore six
names, but tonight a seventh, defensive standout Kenny Easley, had his name unveiled and
enshrined onto the ring in a nice halftime ceremony. The theme of this honored wall reads
"Honor the past... challenge the future".

Touchdowns, extra points, fumbles
Fumble - to the sphincter police ushers, whose quest to say the words "tickets please"
seem to attempt to shatter some sort of record. Many fans here simply wear their stub on a
lanyard and hang it around their neck. Also, one usher stopped Peter and tried to prevent
him from taking photographs, insisting that our camera was a motion picture device and
thus prohibited. He got out of there before more trouble ensued!

Touchdown - to the Seahawks for displaying a very cool mural in the 100 level concourse...
acknowledging the work of all the local building trades who worked on the construction of
Seahawks Stadium. This display recognizes the roster of the locals very tastefully and we
give thumbs up for the nice props to those who made this building possible.

Touchdown - to the synergy of the neighborhood and how a football game is a real event
here. Being downtown and little surface parking there is not much room to tailgate, but the
pregame events in the Exhibition Center, Safeco Field, the street vendors and all the
goings on outside made for a really festive event. Seahawks football is really a daylong
event to savor!

Extra point - The game ended around 9:10 pm PT, yet most of the eateries and bars nearby
and in Pioneer Square were either closed or closing. Party town??? These guys have a lot
to learn! We finally found a tavern that wasn't too crowded, had a pitcher and called it a
night.

Fumble - With the Seahawks taking a 21-20 lead early in the 4th quarter, we thought the
USRT karma would strike again, but it was not meant to be as the favored 49ers got the go
ahead touchdown and then played ball control, winning the game 28-21. Since our next
game is seeing our Bills play at Pro Player against the Dolphins, we'll be happy if the karma
takes a snooze till our following journey in November.

Summary
It is absolutely amazing how these new NFL venues are pushing the envelope to offer the
fans the newest and latest in design and amenities. Seahawks Stadium is an architectural
jewel. It is a beautiful addition to downtown Seattle, and the view of the Seattle skyline from
the seating bowl is magnificent. Food selection, video boards and event presentation is
also outstanding. The downtown setting adds so much to the stadium experience... which is
so totally different than attending an NFL game in a remote location away from the city. It is
unfortunate that Seattle fans are not packing this place. The team hasn't had much success
in the last couple years and the fans are getting impatient. This was a sold out game for
Monday Night Football but tickets were in abundance for the remaining schedule.
Nevertheless, we can find little at fault about this venue and add it to the list of the top
stadiums going.

Scoring:
Architecture: 9.5
Food and team store 8
Scoreboard and electronics 9
Ushers 3
Fan support 4
Location and neighborhood 4.5
Banners and history 7
In game entertainment 5
Concourses/fan comfort 9
Bonus: Tailgate scene 1, Vertical video board 1, Sharpie incident 1, Convention Center pregame party 1
Total 63
CenturyLink Field
#115



Seahawks
Stadium



Seattle
Washington                      


October 14,
2002




San Francisco
49ers
at
Seattle
Seahawks



(renamed
Qwest
Field,
2003
season

renamed
CenturyLinkField,
2011
season)