Pin It

Chair Force 

Spokane Arena considers the costs and benefits of adding more seats

click to enlarge art14941.jpg

The macho bellows of the loudspeaker reverberate through the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, commanding the blue and orange masses to respond. And they do: With screaming football fans flooding the entire arena, the entire game’s an ebb and flow from rumble to roar.
Except for one place. On the upper deck of the west side, it’s silent and empty. There aren’t any seats up there: Just metal panels and a scoreboard.

The shell of the arena could house 14,000 people. But it doesn’t. Right now, it has only 12,000 permanent seats. Sometimes even fewer. For Shock football games, 10,775 attendants is a sellout. (Saturday’s game had 10,378.)

But to host the first rounds of the March Madness basketball tournament, the NCAA requires 12,000 sellable seats. Seats reserved for bands, non-participating athletes and members of the press aren’t included in that total.

For now, there’s an easy fix. Spokane Arena General Manager Kevin Twohig says the Public Facilities District plans to fill in about 500 temporary seats throughout the Arena. “Everything we’ve heard so far is that our current arena seating capacity will suffice under the requirements,” Twohig says.

Still, the Spokane Arena has begun to investigate what, specifically, would be the costs and consequences of adding more permanent seats. Converting the barren west side into a new seating area would likely be a massive, expensive task, Twohig says, including:

• Removing the rigging grid, and placing new mechanical units in the rafters.

• Hanging the scoreboard in the center of the arena.

• Demolishing the restrooms, concession stands and spotlight landings on the west side, then rebuilding them from the concourse level up.

• Adding heating, air conditioning and electrical services.

Even after construction is complete, the monthly costs would continue. “Our electrical costs go up, our air conditioning goes up,” Twohig says. The benefit from extra seats, Twohig suspects, would often be negligible.

“We can’t use those seats for virtually any of our concerts,” Twohig says. “They’d be behind the stage. Most of those biggest events we do, do not sell out.”

The two permanent Arena tenants will be consulted about any possible seating changes. Shock General Manager Adam Nebeker says he’d love more seats. “We have eight home games each year, and every game since we’ve started has sold out or come within a few hundred of selling out,” Nebeker says.

New seats may not help the Spokane Chiefs hockey team, however. They play more games on more days. The Chiefs, Twohig explains, need Saturday nights to sell out, forcing fans to buy tickets on less popular nights. More available seats means more fans on Saturday, but fewer on Wednesday.

Dave Pier, vice-president of marketing for the Chiefs, says he expects the arena merely to add the number of seats required by the NCAA basketball tournament.

“We always believe what’s good for the building’s good for the team, and what’s good for the team is good for the building,” Pier says. “There’s an old saying: You don’t build a church for the amount of people who come on Easter Sunday and Christmas.” 

Tags: ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Sports

Latest in News

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Starting Small
  • Starting Small

    A village of tiny houses in Spokane Valley could serve as a model for fighting homelessness in the region
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Drastic Action
  • Drastic Action

    Spokane among seven school districts sued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction; plus, trio of police-chief finalists are in town
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Daniel Walters

Most Commented On

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone



election 2016

trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Manufacturing Fear
  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation