The King County Multipurpose Domed Stadium might not be a name that you are familiar with, but you will know simply The Kingdome. This multipurpose stadium in Seattle Washington was home of some of Seattle’s best teams, covering the sports of baseball, football and basketball: Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders, Seattle Mariners, Seattle SuperSonics.
Opening in 1976, the Kingdome was actually visualized as far back as 1959. The existing stadiums in Seattle were simply not large enough to support any of the major leagues. The citizens of King County finally voted in approval for the Kingdome in 1968 and previewed around 100 different sites in the King County and Seattle areas for the project. Without a confirmed major league franchise, the stadium broke ground on King Street. It wasn’t until 1974 when the new stadium was awarded the NFL franchise of what would eventually be the Seattle Seahawks.
The stadium didn’t seem to have good ‘karma’. Only two months from the opening date there were leaks in the roof. 1993 attempts at the repair only seem to cause more difficulties and the roof had to be stripped off and a special coating was added. The stripping process was almost the undoing of the roof as they tried sandblasting as well as high pressure – pressure wash techniques. The pressure washing caused water leakage, with roof tiles falling into the seat areas. Additional tiles were seen falling on the Mariners as they prepared for the game just 30 minutes before the opening gates. The problems with the roof caused the Kingdome to be closed for the repairs.
Over the years, there was no loss for attendance at the Kingdome. The fans attended the Seahawks games and were known as being some of the rowdiest in the nation. College football was also a favorite with many of the largest record crowd. Even high school state championships were played at the Kingdome in what was called the King Bowl and the Tacoma Police and Seattle Police Departments held their annual Bacon Bowl game there for charity efforts. Baseball’s Seattle Mariners held their games at the Kingdome, however, the set up was not beneficial to all of the fans. Many of the seats didn’t allow views of certain field areas. The protests led many to refer to the areas as “The Tomb” or “Puget Puke”. The stadium’s acoustics were also problematic with major echo effects. The 1978 and 1979 season also brought about the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics; bringing attendance to over 40,000.
Not just a sports stadium, the SuperDome hosted many rock concerts. In spite of the echo problems, the seats were filled with such notables as: Wings, Led Zeppelin, The Monsters of Rock Festival with Metallica, Van Halen, Dokken, Scorpions, etc. and Guns N’ Roses along with their partners on the tour, Metallica played in 1992.
In 1994 ‘ceiling tile’ event was the last problem that the owners of The Kingdome wanted to face. Other stadiums were under construction and some completed. After final repairs, the Kingdome did reopen but it was agreed that the stadium was no longer a viable location.
No matter what the sport, millions of Washington State fans walked through the doors of the Kingdome. It was decided to implode the Kingdome, allowing it to set a Guinness World Record for, by volume, the larges building to every use implosion to demolish.