Amazon acquired naming rights to what had been called KeyArena in Seattle. But the ecommerce giant isn’t going to splash its own name or logo on it.
Instead, the company will call the arena “Climate Pledge Arena,” the new home for the city’s future NHL franchise and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Currently undergoing a renovation, the 18,100-seat venue is slated to reopen in June 2021.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s mega-billionaire founder and CEO, said the new name is intended to be “a regular reminder of the importance of fighting climate change.”
News of the arena’s new name came two days after Amazon announced its creation of the $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund, a venture-investment vehicle to fund companies in industries including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization, manufacturing and materials, “circular economy,” and food and agriculture.
In February, Bezos announced the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund to invest in projects that will combat climate change. The exec had previously said it would start doling out to grants this summer to scientists, activists, and non-governmental organizations.
Amazon is investing in the overhaul of the KeyArena facility, in conjunction with the Oak View Group, the sports and entertainment company founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff that is leading redevelopment and operations of the arena. According to the companies, the new Climate Pledge Arena is expected to be the world’s first “net zero carbon” footprint arena. In 2019, Amazon and Global Optimism announced the Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.
“We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action,” Bezos said.
The Climate Pledge Arena, located in the Seattle Center complex (near the city’s famous Space Needle landmark), is expected to host 200 events each year. That will include the home games for the NHL Seattle team and the Seattle Storm, live music and entertainment, and community events.
The partners aim for the arena to be the first such facility to receive net zero carbon certification by the International Living Future Institute. They say Climate Pledge Arena will be powered with 100% renewable electricity (from on-site solar panels and off-site sources) and that all operations and events at the arena will be “zero waste” with durable and compostable containers (with less than 5% of the arena’s waste stream going to landfills). Among other green features, it will use reclaimed rainwater for the ice rink.
The city’s NHL expansion team is owned by Seattle Hockey Partners, comprising TPG Capital founder David Bonderman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and sports exec Tod Leiweke.
Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group (and Tod’s older brother), said in a statement, “We have a responsibility to future generations to try to leave them with a better world. We love that Amazon is using its naming rights for a cause we care deeply about—this partnership is a visionary step for the facilities business and sport and music industries. Our goal is to be the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable venue in the world. It is not just about one arena—it’s a platform for us to step up and heal our planet.”
Pictured above: Artist’s rendering of the new Climate Pledge Arena