Key Arena ready for NBA basketball

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SEATTLE —

Until a new arena is ready, the Seattle Sonics will play at their former home.

 

The Sonics will not have to wait until a new arena is built in SoDo alongside the current sports stadiums.

 

They will play at the Key Arena, where the team played for 40 years until they were relocated in 2008.

 

Before the team can start playing at the arena, the venue will have to be renovated, and there is now money to fix it.

 

Officials at Key Arena told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter John Knicely that they have been working with the Chris Hansen group, and they said the infrastructure and personnel are ready to host NBA basketball.

 

One big issue at the venue has been the lack of luxury boxes for NBA games.

 

A spokesperson at the Key Arena said they’ve improved the suites, lounge areas and added more “cushy” courtside seats.

 

The Key Arena has been home to major concerts, the Seattle Storm and NCAA basketball.

 

With the new deal, $7 million will go to improvements, and $5 million of which would follow the Seattle Storm if they eventually follow the Sonics to the new arena.

 

The Hansen group will decide what to improve at the venue.

 

City Councilman Tim Burgess acknowledges they need to look at making the arena more ADA compliant.

 

When the Sonics last played at the Key Arena, Key Bank was paying more than $1 million per year for naming rights. In 2011, the company stopped paying all together.

 

Key Bank has been getting free advertising since then, but with the Sonics likely to come back, those naming rights could be worth money once again.