Seahawks to expand CenturyLink by 1,000 seats for next season, sources say
CenturyLink’s first significant expansion would increase capacity to about 69,500 for Seahawks games in the 2015 season, sources said. The team won’t comment, but an official announcement could be made in coming weeks.
Seattle Times staff reporter
By the numbers
Key numbers in CenturyLink Field’s first expansion:
Seats added: 1,000
New capacity: About 69,500
Estimated cost: $5 million to $6 million
Original cost: Built for $430 million in 2002
Season tickets: 64,000 after expansion
Waiting list: 12,000
Rank: Will rank 16th in size of 31 NFL stadiums. Currently ranks 20th.
The Seattle Times
In the first significant expansion in the history of CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks are planning to add 1,000 seats in the upper level of the south end zone in time for the 2015 season, The Seattle Times has learned.
The expansion, which will be paid for by the Seahawks and cost an estimated $5 million to $6 million, is the centerpiece of a project that will be called the Toyota Fan Deck, according to sources with knowledge of the project.
The 1,000 padded seats will be sold as season tickets but won’t satisfy the NFL team’s long waiting list. The seats will be in two new sections flanking the area where the 12th Man flag resides, the sources said.
The project will include construction of a new 12 Flag Pavilion designed to enhance the experience of the raising of the flag, which is performed just before kickoff before every home Seahawks game, a tradition that dates to the 2003 season. The flag will be raised on the roof of the pavilion.
The team is working with the Washington State Public Stadium Authority (PSA) on the project, which will bring stadium capacity to just over 69,500, the sources said. The Seahawks had a CenturyLink record crowd of 68,538 for last Sunday’s NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers.
The Seahawks did not comment on the expansion but could make an official announcement in the coming weeks.
The expansion will help the team meet the growing demand for tickets. The Seahawks this year capped season tickets at 63,000, the most in the franchise’s 39-year history. Single-game tickets sold out in minutes when placed on sale in July.
The team has a Blue Pride season-ticket waiting list, which it has also capped at 12,000.
It’s unclear how much the new tickets will cost.
Ticket holders in the new section will have exclusive access to the Toyota Fan Deck, which will be a partially covered viewing area and gathering site on the south upper concourse between the new seating sections.
The fan deck will feature an 8-foot-long fireplace, multiple televisions showing NFL RedZone, other NFL games and the Seahawks game, views of the field, and exclusive food and beverage stands.
While adding more seats could help if the team ever pushes to bring the Super Bowl to Seattle, the sources said the project is not being done with that specifically in mind.
While the NFL lists that a 70,000 capacity is a basic requirement for hosting a Super Bowl, it has awarded the game in recent years to stadiums that are smaller.
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., where the Seahawks will play the New England Patriots next Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX, has an official capacity of 63,000. Indianapolis, which hosted Super Bowl XLVII in 2012, also is listed at 63,000, but drew 68,658 that year.
And when Detroit hosted the Super Bowl in 2006, a game the Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the game was attended by 68,206 (with the stadium having an official capacity of 64,500).
Super Bowls have been awarded through the 2018 season.
CenturyLink Field, which is considered one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, opened before the 2002 season. While there have been some improvements to the stadium, there has been no significant addition of seats since its opening.
The new area could also be used for seating during soccer games for Sounders FC, the MLS team that plays most home games at CenturyLink.
The stadium was constructed for $430 million and is overseen by the PSA.