We start with an admission: When I first read that the arena at Seattle Center would be named “Climate Pledge Arena,” I legitimately thought it was a headline from the satirical website, “The Onion.”
But alas, that will be the arena’s name – at least for anyone contractually obligated to say it.
If you missed it this week, Amazon has purchased the naming rights, and the name reflects the company’s “Climate Pledge” to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. In turn, the arena itself will be fully-powered by renewable energy, and will attempt to produce zero waste, while using reclaimed rainwater in the ice system to create the greenest ice in the NHL.
There are those who find intense pride and satisfaction in such a public call for change.
And then, there are those who roll their eyes: The arena should have a “Tree Hugger Lounge,” one suggested. Another accused Amazon of virtue signaling and said we should call the new hockey team “The Alarmists.” You have to admit, it’s as Seattle as something can get.
As a sports fan, I personally wouldn’t care what it’s called, as long as we’re getting an NHL team with the hopes of one day getting an NBA team there too. And it’s commendable that Oak View Group has committed to building an arena that’s environmentally friendly and will essentially be making a “Climate Pledge” itself.
But “Climate Pledge Arena” is quite a mouthful, it’s pretty hard to remember consistently, and I don’t want to call it the CPA, lest we get it confused with accountants everywhere.
To me, it’s still “The Key,” but taking the lead of some on social media, I don’t mind calling it “The Greenhouse” either.
I mean, it’s easier to say, and the goals of the arena are to be as “green” as possible. Greenhouses in general are great for controlling temperature and environments, which should be spectacular for year-round events. And while we don’t know the team name yet, one of the Storm’s primary colors is green, and so is a Sonics team that one day could play there too.
And if you think it should be called the “Icehouse” before the “Greenhouse,” let me remind you that most of Greenland is actually ice, while most of Iceland is actually green.
But I digress.
Listen, “Climate Pledge Arena” probably won’t be the first building to dedicate naming rights to a specific cause. After all, we already have the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The NBA is now reportedly considering allowing players to wear personalized social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys instead of their names. And just this week, the Oregon rivalry got rid of “The Civil War” moniker because of its connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery.
So, to answer Juliet’s famous question of “What’s in a name?” It certainly seems to mean a lot. But in the specific case of this re-built arena in Lower Queen Anne, poke fun or call it whatever it means to you.
For me, “The Key” or “Greenhouse” rolls off my tongue the best. So for now, I’ll pledge to call it something like that.