It's more than a name.
Amazon has secured the naming rights to the new home of Seattle’s NHL team and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. The online retail giant has opted to name the 18,000-capacity arena, which is expected to open in 2021, the Climate Pledge Arena instead of naming it after the company.
The arena’s name stems from Amazon and Global Optimism’s 2019 Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040.
“We have a platform that could change the world and challenge, motivate and inspire an entire industry,” says developer and Oak View Group chief executive Tim Lewieke, who credits Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos with developing the unique concept and challenging OVG to help raise more than $100 million for climate initiatives.
“Instead of naming it after Amazon, we’re calling it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the importance of fighting climate change,” said Bezos in a release. “We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action.”
Climate Pledge is expected to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world and set a new sustainability bar for the sports and events industry. Fans will bring in recycled rain to create hockey ice, while the venue will utilize a nearby Amazon solar farm for all-electric operations to be powered with 100% renewable electricity. By 2024, the arena will eliminate all single use plastics from the facility as part of a plan inspired by Billie Eilish.
“Every decision we’re making is based on inspiring the cause,” Leiweke said. “Whether it be sustainability, giving back to the community or the $20 million we’ve already committed back to youth homelessness, this facility is a reflection of how great our industry can be.”
Leiweke said the partnership lives up to the promise of Seattle’s 1962 Worlds Fair, which helped restart the space race and companies like Boeing. It also gave birth to KeyArena, which is undergoing “the most difficult engineering feat in the history of building arenas,” essentially dismantling the current KeyArena and replacing it with a brand new arena that preserves the facility’s original rooftop. The unprecedented construction project was filmed and will be featured on a yet-to-be-announced TV special.
Through the partnership, the venue will seek to be the first arena in the world targeting net zero carbon certification by the International Living Future Institute, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to advancing sustainable building practices. Events at the arena will be made fully net zero carbon through investments in forestry projects, with organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, that will sequester any remaining carbon emissions from arena operations.
“Climate Pledge Arena will set a new sustainability standard for sports and event spaces around the world. I commend the commitments from Amazon and Oak View Group to develop this one-of-a-kind venue and inspire climate action,” said founder of the International Living Future Institute and CEO of McLennan Design Jason F. McLennan in a release. “The group’s innovative approach and sustainability mindset – embodied by naming the arena after The Climate Pledge – will provide a green, world-class event space at Seattle’s City Center for the region to enjoy for years to come.”
In addition, all operations and events at the arena will be “zero waste” through the use of durable and compostable containers. NHL Seattle and WNBA Storm tickets will also double as free public transit passes to promote use of public transportation for attendees, including on the refurbished Seattle Monorail.
“This is the moment for a new revolution for our industry. We want to inspire, we want to challenge. And we want to lead and go back to the facility industry and the music industry and the sports industry and say ‘this is our moment in time,'” Leiweke said. “This is a good cause and should be the cause of our generation. Artists like Billie (Eilish) have always been on the cutting edge and that’s what inspires us. I am absolutely convinced the entire music industry is going to rally around us on this transformational moment in time to make a difference and help heal our planet.”