n 1996, Paul G. Allen obtained an option to purchase the Seattle Seahawks and launched a campaign to win public support for a new world-class football/ soccer stadium and exhibition center. Six years later, the dream became reality as the Seahawks opened the 2002 preseason against the Indianapolis Colts in Seahawks Stadium, renamed Qwest Field on June 2, 2004. After seven seasons, the stadium was renamed CenturyLink Field on June 23, 2011.
The CenturyLink Field stadium complex includes CenturyLink Field and the 200,000 sq. ft. CenturyLink Field Event Center. The versatile Event Center is often converted into an intimate music theater to host a wide array of musical acts from Paul Simon to Snoop Dogg. CenturyLink Field and CenturyLink Field Event Center host approximately 185 events that attract more than two million attendees annually. In 2011, the stadium served as host to U2 with more than 70,000 fans in attendance, the largest attended event since the stadium opened in 2002.
First & Goal Inc.
In June of 1997, Washington State voters approved a funding package to build a new football/soccer stadium and exhibition center. With that, Paul G. Allen and Football Northwest created First & Goal Inc., to manage the stadium and event center on a daily basis.
CenturyLink Field Funding
The $430 million facility is owned by the public and was funded by a private-public partnership. Private contributions totaled at least $130 million, while the public contributed up to $300 million through a lottery and a variety of taxes generated by events in the stadium/exhibition center.
A breakdown of the funding package:
$130 million private investment led by Paul G. Allen
$127 million from new, sports related lottery games, similar to the Mariners’ baseball-themed scratch games
$101 million in sales taxes collected in King County attributable to events in the stadium/event center
$56 million from facility admission and parking taxes
$15 million from extending King County’s share of the existing hotel-motel tax
Paul G. Allen agreed to pay for any construction cost overruns
$1 million per year of in-kind advertising for the new lottery games will be provided by Paul G. Allen
All excess stadium revenues will fund youth athletic facilities throughout Washington State in addition to a $10 million contribution from Paul G. Allen
$14 million of the public contribution will come from interest earned on the $50 million private contribution from Paul Allen
As an added measure, the debt on the Kingdome was retired, freeing property taxes for other purposes