Pristine and nostalgic are two characteristics that describe the home of the Seattle Mariners. For over two decades fans who wanted to see the Mariners play had to watch them at to the concrete and sterile Kingdome. It was revolutionary when it opened in the 1970s, but by the 1990s a new wave of ballparks were being built in baseball and the Kingdome was outdated by then. The Mariners wanted a new state of the art facility for their fans and because the team saw a new ballpark as a way to increase revenues, as they were losing $17 to $20 million in 1993 and 1994. The team would not sign a long term lease to stay in Seattle if ground was not broken for a new ballpark by 1996. A new ballpark was seen as a way to solidify the city’s sense of community and lead to economic development. In 1994 the King County Stadium Alternatives Task Force was established after tiles from the Kingdome’s roof crashed onto several seating areas forcing the team to play on the road for the rest of the season. One year later the Governor and King County developed the Public Facilities District to oversee site selection, design, construction and management of a ballpark. Voters rejected a proposal to increase the sales tax in September 1995. However, a month later the State Legislature authorized funding for a stadium. There were three sites chosen for possible construction, north and south of the Kingdome, and the Ackerly location. The site directly south of the Kingdome was chosen and in February 1997 the Mariners unveiled plans for their ballpark. The ballpark followed the same neo-traditional pattern as every new ballpark built in the 1990s. It has a brick facade, natural grass and a retractable roof. A retractable roof was necessary because of Seattle’s rainy weather and because the team estimated that 40% of its fans come from a hour away. The team wanted to make sure fans were comfortable and always protected from the wind and rain. Seattle based Safeco bought the naming rights to the ballpark for $40 million over 20 years in June 1998, therefore the ballpark was named Safeco Field. Following the 2018 season, the ballpark was renamed T-Mobile Park after the cellular company purchased the naming rights for $87.5 million over 25 years.
Tenant: Seattle Mariners (MLB)