WNBA’s Seattle Storm search for temporary home could lead to Kent’s ShoWare Center

Just preliminary talks so far as team needs facility during KeyArena renovation.

Guard Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm. COURTESY PHOTO, Seattle Storm

Guard Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm. COURTESY PHOTO, Seattle Storm

Could the Seattle Storm of the WNBA be considering a move to the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent?

The Storm needs a new temporary home for the next few years after the Seattle City Council this week approved a $600 million renovation of KeyArena to help bring in a NHL team and possibly the return of a NBA team.

“The accesso ShoWare Center would be a great fit for Storm games,” said ShoWare general manager Tim Higgins, in a Friday email. “We have had very preliminary conversation, and hope to continue these conversations.”

Storm officials declined to answer questions about the relocation plans, including what sites are under consideration.

“We aren’t quite ready to share specifics,” said Storm spokeswoman Kimberly Veale, in an email. “We are still moving through the process.”

In May, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to approve a 10-year lease extension between the Storm and KeyArena. Per the agreement, the Storm will play all of its home games at KeyArena through the 2028 WNBA season. But the contract also included a provision that the city will pay relocation costs if the Storm has to move during arena construction. The new arena is expected to be done in October 2020.

A move from KeyArena to the ShoWare Center has happened before. The Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League moved to Kent in 2009 from KeyArena when the ShoWare Center opened. The T-Birds junior hockey team remains the anchor tenant of the 6,200-seat arena.

High school teams, the Harlem Globetrotters and Seattle University basketball teams have played games at the ShoWare Center.

The Seattle area, of course, also has other arena options for the Storm. Everett has a city-owned arena slightly larger than the ShoWare Center. The University of Washington’s Alaska Airlines Arena could be another option.

The WNBA season runs from about May to September, so the ShoWare Center wouldn’t have many conflicts with the T-Birds, whose regular season goes from September to March . The Storm plays 34 regular season games, 17 at home and 17 away.

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