Posts Tagged Husky Stadium

History of Husky Stadium

I just saw this short video about the history of Husky Stadium posted on  It’s short but does have some interesting information and images-including a quick tour into the first tunnel!

History of Husky Stadium

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New Husky Stadium Pics

In case you didn’t see the new images released of the upcoming stadium renovation:

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Husky Stadium Artists Rendition

Here is an artist’s rendition of a renovated Husky Stadium in 2013:

Husky stadium

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Husky Stadium Renovation

This is a short video clip concerning the upcoming renovation featuring Washington AD Scott Woodward.

Husky Stadium Renovation

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Will Husky Stadium Capacity Ever Hit 80,000?

Since its inception in 1920, Husky Stadium has increased its size on average every 17 years. It’s now been 23 years since the stadium increased its capacity to over 72,000 fans with no plans in sight to boost its size. Currently, the talk is how to keep the stadium from falling down as opposed to making it bigger. What’s keeping the stadium from growing – or rather what is keeping the fans away? Let’s take a look at the size progression over the years.


There have been four major seat additions in the past 90 years. In 1935, 16 years after the stadium was built, capacity grew 33% from 30,000 to 40,000. Then in 1950 15,000 seats were added. In 1968 another 4,500 seats were added. And finally, in 1987 after in addition of 13,000 seats, the stadium capacity reached 72,500 where it remains today.

Perhaps the problem is the surrounding population. Is the population of Seattle growing enough to support a stadium with over 80,000 seats? Surprisingly, the population of Seattle has been roughly constant for the past 50 years as it has stayed between 500,000 and 600,000.

Seattle's Population

But this alone does not tell the entire story. The population of the surrounding suburbs has increased dramatically. Since 1960, the suburbs of Seattle have added over one million residents bringing the total population of King County to two million.


The problem we find is the capacity of Husky Stadium is not growing in tune with the population of King County. Over 500,000 residents have moved to the surrounding suburbs in the past 25 years without the stadium growing by one seat. In other words we have a phenomenon where the ratio King County resident per seat is ever increasing (see chart below).


For its first 40 years, the people per seat ratio (hereafter P/S ratio) stayed roughly constant at 15 – going so high as 17 and as low as 13. Since 1960, the P/S ratio has increased from 17 to 26.

Plenty of factors could be contributing here. There was the introduction of other major sports teams, the Mariners, the Sounders, the Sonics, and the competing local NFL franchise – the Seahawks dividing the Husky fan base between pro and college sports. Also much of the growth of the area has come from immigration from other states as well as overseas. Transplants are often less likely to become loyal to local college teams than the professionals. I’ve noticed many of the new residents are not fans of American football to begin with but prefer soccer and cricket.

Will we ever see an 80,000 seat stadium? It’s possible. With a little math and the assumption both the population of King County and the P/S ratio continue to increase at their present rate, Husky Stadium will grow to be 80,000 seats in 15 years. Of course, this assumes the football team shakes off the past decade and rises to the upper echelons of the Pac-10 as order is restored to West Coast college football.

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Images of a renovated Husky Stadium

View from the 520 bridge direction:


View from Press box:


South end:


View from South-side lower bowl:


View form east end bleachers


View of stadium looking out at Lake Washington:


You can easily see the change in the old “U-shaped” horseshoe:


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How much will Husky Stadium renovation cost you?


As we enter 2010 the University of Washington will again ask the state legislature permission to use existing tax revenue for the Husky Stadium renovation. The current tax break down is as follows:


Revenue Source


Estimated Amount


0.5% food and beverage tax

Currently used to pay Safeco field bonds

$65 million


2% car rental tax

Currently used to pay Safeco field bonds

$15 million


1% car rental tax

Mainly used towards Kingdome bonds

$13 million


2% hotel tax

Currently used for the Kingdome and Qwest field

$37 million

Sales tax deferral

Sales tax is deferred during renovation.  This will be repaid after completion.

$20 million

If these “tourism taxes” as they are known are directed towards the renovation of the 90 year old facility, how much will the typical King County resident pay?

Food and beverage tax

I’m not the best cook in the world so I eat out often, perhaps three times a week. A typical restaurant for me is Red Robin, Coho café, Claim Jumper, etc. So I can spend $20.00 per sitting. At 60 bucks a week I’m easily spending $3,000 a year at restaurants. My tax would then be $15.00 (0.5% of $3,000) each year for three years. Total payment: $45.

2% car rental tax

How often do people rent cars where they live? Not very often, but I have done it on occasion to use on long driving vacations. Renting a Ford sedan for a week could be $300. My 2% contribution comes out to be: $6

1% car rental tax

From 2015 to 2028 we will see a 1% car rental tax (down from the 2% tax). For the sake of argument that’s again assume I rent a couple of cars for a week each during this timeframe. That’s two cars at $300 each. A 1% tax makes my total payment: $6

2% hotel tax

How often do I stay in hotels in King County? Let me think…mmm… never. Well okay, that’s not really true. My insurance company put me up in a couple hotels when my condo was being renovated – but I didn’t have to foot that bill. But let’s just say I rent a hotel for a couple nights during this timeframe that cost me $200. 2% of that: $4.

Total Cost

So how much will the Husky Stadium renovation cost me? $45+$6+$6+$4 = $61. A year? No, $61 TOTAL. That’s paying $61 over 16 years, or under $4 a year – roughly a quarter a month if you like.

How does this compare to my other costs? Here is a chart that spells out my monthly, yearly, and 16-year costs of common monthly payments (gasoline, iPhone, cable TV, Starbucks).


Monthly cost

Yearly cost

16-year cost









Comcast cable TV




Starbucks (once/wk)




Starbucks change

$1.45 ($.37 x 4)



Husky Stadium Renovation




Plotted as a Histogram it’s easy to see how minimal these taxes really are for the residents of King County:

Stadium Cost Histogram 2

Where will the residence of this county find this money? How about ordering water instead of a soda a few times a year? Or ordering a tall instead of the grande when you visit Starbucks? Or try the matinee instead of an evening movie every now and then. These are insignificant things to give up.

For the opportunity to renovate the oldest stadium west of the Mississippi – to help the football team who has faithfully entertained Western Washington for over a century – to assist the team with two national championships, seven rose bowl titles and owner of the nation’s longest unbeaten streak – to lend a hand to a team that won’t abandon the faithful fans of this state for another city – $4 is the deal of the century.

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