New stadiums: Seattle and Santa Clara
source: StadiumDB.com; author: StadiumDB.com team
This closes the list of MLS stadiums for the moment. Now, with CenturyLink Field and Buck Shaw Stadium we can proudly say we have them all. Until next expansion in 2015, that is.
Seattle's largest stadium was built near the docks and just several blocks from the city's downtown. Construction was carried out in 2000-2002 after voters agreed in 1997 for the arena to receive public funding. Overall the venue cost $360 million, of which 300 were public funds.
The stadium was designed by Ellerbe Beckett and LMN Architects. Its northern end is partially open, revealing the skyline of high-rise district nearby. Vast majority of the seats (some 70%) are placed along the pitch and covered by roof supported by two large arches. Facades were mostly covered with brick.
Though only NFL franchise Seahawks had financial contribution in the stadium, football has also been played here from the start with Sounders first staging their USL games and then MLS fixtures here.
Regular football capacity is 38,500, with upper tiers not available for fans. However, if demand reaches the level, further sections are opened up to 67,000, which is the regular capacity for Seahwaks games. Should this also not prove sufficient, up to 5,000 temporary seats can be added.
The stadium provides some 7,000 business seats (82 skyboxes) and 1,400 disabled supporter allocations, much more than average. Also, 3,100 cars can be parked just outside the stadium and additional 8,400 in close vicinity.
Sounders most ardent fans traditionally occupy the south end of the stadium.
Up to 2004 the stadium's name was Seahawks Stadium. This changed with a 15-year naming rights deal with Qwest. The name was changed before the deal passed to CenturyLink Field due to the latter company taking over Qwest. The naming rights deal is worth some $75 million.
Buck Shaw Stadium
Opened in 1962, the stadium initially served primarily for baseball (thus the L-shaped stands) and American football. No wonder that Buck Shaw, player and coach of the latter discipline remains the stadium's patron.
However, in twenty-first century both the baseball and American football selections of Santa Clara University moved to other venues, while this one was left for commencement ceremonies for the university and for football, called 'soccer' by locals.
Initially used by university team Broncos, the stadium eventually became the home of MLS franchise Earthquakes, who began to play here in 2008. Amendments were made ahead of their move – pitch brought closer to the existing stands and a new temporary stand with individual seats was created to the west. Thanks to this capacity went from 6,800 to 10,300 and with other upgrades MLS infrastructure regulations were met.
Though not among USA's top football stadiums, it played a symbolic role as Brazil's training centre ahead of the 1994 World Cup, which Brazilians eventually won. Also, the Romanian team trained here before their quarterfinal match.
Earthquakes are to move to a new purpose-built stadium in 2014.