When they first joined the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks played their home games in the Kingdome from 1976 to 1999 and the Husky Stadium in 1994 and then from 2000 to 2001. The temporary move in 1994 was necessitated by urgent repairs at the Kingdome after its ceiling collapsed. In 2002, the franchise moved to the newly constructed CenturyLink Field. The stadium has been the Seahawks’ home venue since then.
Originally, the stadium was called Seahawks Stadium until June 23, 2004 when it was changed to Qwest Field after Qwest (the communication carrier) acquired the stadium’s naming rights. In June of 2011, CenturyLink acquired Qwest and renamed the stadium to CenturyLink Field.
The stadium takes a U-shape design so that the north end is open to offer a great view of downtown Seattle and the north plaza while Mount Rainier and the roof of Safeco Field are clearly visible from the south end. One of its most amazing features is its 13 storey tower that is located at the north end. It features a vertical scoreboard at the top and a “Hawks’ Nest” (a bleacher seating with a capacity of 3,000) at the base. The tower complements Seattle’s skyline in breath-taking perfection.
The Seahawks played at the CenturyLink Field for the very first time in the 2002 NFL season. The first game was played on August 11, 2002; a preseason match against the Indianapolis Colts. The Seahawks lost 28–10 and then went ahead to finish their debut season at the stadium with a 7–9 record.
Location and Facilities
The CenturyLink Field is located within a mile of Seattle’s CBD. It is accessible by various forms of transit; including multiple freeways. The venue is not only great for field events like football and soccer but is also friendly for other events such as trade shows, concerts and consumer shows. That is because it has a variety of facilities that aid the uses.
The stadium has a whopping 48 concession stands alongside multiple lounges and restaurants. They are famed for offering some of the best Dungeness crab cakes, Pacific salmon sandwiches and a variety of local and typical snacks and dishes. It also features a complex that holds a theater, public plaza and a parking garage.
The CenturyLink Field was built between 2000 and 2002. Construction was commissioned after a June 17, 1997 statewide election that saw voters approve funding for its construction. The vote also created the Washington State Public Stadium Authority that was tasked with overseeing public ownership of the facility; thus creating a public-private partnership.
The vote of approval came barely months after Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder) has acquired the Seattle Seahawks. He formed First & Goal Inc. to construct and operate the facility. The company hired Ellerbe Becket and Loschky Marquardt & Nesholm Architects of Seattle to design the 1,500,000 square feet (or 140,000 square meters) project. Paul Allen himself was closely involved with the design as he had particular ideas that he wanted to see incorporated.
The design process took 14 months after which First & Goal created a $6 million fund for mitigation purposes just in case the project affected the nearby community in a negative and adverse way.
In September 1998, construction on the exhibition center and parking garage began. The two were completed and open by October of the following year. On March 26, 2000, the Kingdome was demolished in order to create way for the construction of the new stadium; a process that started immediately.
During construction, the Seattle area was struck by a 6.8-magnitude earthquake but the structure held its own. It responded exactly as the designers had anticipated and there was very minimal damage. Eventually, the project was completed one month ahead of schedule and exactly on budget.
Cost and Costing
The project’s budget was $430 million broken down as follows:
- 360 million dollars for the construction of the stadium itself
- 44 million dollars for the construction of the Event Center
- 26 million dollars for a parking garage
Of the total cost, First & Goal was to pay $130 million and cover any cost overruns while the public was to contribute the remaining $300 million.
The CenturyLink Field has a capacity of 69,000 but can be expanded to 72,000 when the need arises (such as a Super Bowl game). In many cases, it is usually filled to capacity when the home teams are playing. The major home teams are the Seattle Seahawks that play football and the Seattle Sounders that play soccer. The Sounders are known to attract very large crowds to the stadium. On August 25, 2013, they broke the home field attendance record after 67,385 fans turned out for their match against Portland Timbers.
On their part, the Seahawks fans are known to be the most enthusiastic and loudest when their team is playing on home ground. In fact, they broke the Guinness World Record for the loudest crowd roar in an outdoor stadium On September 15, 2013 in a game that featured the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers. The roar measured 136.6 decibels. Although they lost the record to the Kansas City Chiefs’ fans barely a month later, they reclaimed it again with a roar of 137.6 decibels on December 2, 2013 in a game against the New Orleans Saints.
The large attendance and loud noise have undoubtedly contributed to the team’s good performance when playing on home ground.
As mentioned already, the stadium has played host to many major events like sports, trade shows, exhibitions and concerts. They include all Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders home games, college and high school games as well as the annual Supercross races. However, it is one of the few state-of-the-art stadiums that have never hosted a Super Bowl.
Since its construction, the CenturyLink Field has been in outstanding shape and has not required any major renovations. In 2005, a Toyota Fan Deck was added to the stadium in an expansion bid that saw 1,000 seats and 12 flag raising platforms added.
In February 2016, a new turf field was installed to replace the original FieldTurf artificial field that combines plastic fibers and a mixture of ground rubber and sand. The new turf field now features FieldTurf Revolution 360.
Tickets to the CenturyLink Field usually vary depending on each individual game. However, the average cost is approximately $66.