Kingdome debt finally paid off 15 years after demolition

The Kingdome a few seconds after explosive charges were set off to demolish the venue on March 26, 2000.
Tim Matsui/Getty Images

By John Ferensen

It only took a scant 39 years — and exactly 15 years after its demolition — but the Kingdome, the hideous mound of concrete where CenturyLink Field stands today, has finally been paid off.

The Kingdome — where the Seattle SuperSonics won an NBA title (technically, they clinched it on the road, but played all their home games there), and where the Seahawks and Mariners mostly stank — opened for business in 1976, famously hosting a Led Zeppelin concert in its infancy. Attendees thought the roof would collapse. It didn’t, and it would only take 18 more years to happen.

The ceiling wouldn’t give out until July 1994, when falling tiles forced the Mariners onto the road the remainder of a strike-shortened season, while the Seahawks had to play an entire season at Husky Stadium across town. The Kingdome is also where Bo Jackson nearly ran to TacomaThe Double happened, where Michael Jordan entertained 38,067 people, and where Tom Chambers won the 1987 NBA All-Star Game MVP playing in front of a home crowd.

The Kingdome was rendered obsolete by the late 1990s, and was replaced by two sports palaces: Safeco Field and the aforementioned CenturyLink Field. To put the Kingdome’s terrible payment plan in perspective (the falling ceiling tiles only added to the cost), Safeco (opened in 1999) was paid off in 2011, while The Clink (opened in 2002) is on schedule to be paid off by 2021.

R.I.P. Kingdome. Finally.

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