OVG's Leiweke Details Specific Vision For What Renovated KeyArena Will Look Like
Oak View Group is in charge of a $600M renovation to Seattle's KeyArena, and CEO Tim Leiweke has a "specific vision for what the refurbished venue will look like," according to Mike Johnston of SPORTSNET.ca. Leiweke: "What we’re doing is we’re keeping the outside of the arena as is because this is 1962 and the World’s Fair and so there’s a great deal of history and tradition but we’re going down and completely gutting the bowl and completely gutting the concourses and doubling the size of the arena to 660,000 square feet. Imagine, essentially, it will look an awful lot like the Air Canada Centre and like the Air Canada Centre we’ll have an atrium that essentially gets people down -- so you’ll enter on the top level and then go down to the rest of the building and the bowl." He noted the arena will be "very tight" and feature 17,500 seats, but be "economically designed in a way to be top third of the league in revenue." Leiweke said the upgraded arena will feature premium suites and a lower bowl that "will be one of the larger lower bowls in the league." Leiweke: “The environment will be amazing because it will be tight." Meanwhile, Johnston noted OVG will "not be the sole owners of an NHL franchise should that come to fruition." Leiweke said, "We will own a small piece of an NHL team because I’m not capable of writing whatever cheque the (NHL) owners may or may not want. So what we are doing is my company is putting in half the money on the arena but my company can’t own a hockey team. We had to go find an owner, or in this case two, that were prepared to write that cheque and in order to make sure that we were aligned we gave them half of the interest in the arena" (SPORTSNET.ca, 9/19).