Souhan: Seattle offers all we really need in a stadium

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2012 - 7:14 AM

Those planning the next Vikings stadium should heed what was done there in creating a wonderful atmosphere.

hide

The Seahawks and Falcons take the field at CenturyLink Field before an NFL game last season.

Photo: Elaine Thompson, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

This weekend the Vikings will fly to Seattle, adapt to a different time zone, alter their watches for Daylight Savings Time, and set their calendars ahead to 2016.

Sunday the Vikings will play in what might be the best football stadium in the country, one combining shrewd architecture, rampant crowd noise, a dramatic sense of place and passionate fan involvement.

CenturyLink Field, nee Qwest Field and Seahawks Stadium, is what the architects for tentatively named Vikings Stadium should aspire to. In Twin Cities terms, it's as intimate as Target Field and as fan-friendly as Xcel Energy Center.

"I know it was a long, ugly fight in the Twin Cities, but the Vikings have a grand chance to build something special now,'' said former Seahawks and Wild executive Tod Leiweke.

"The atmosphere in that stadium is so good that I still have season tickets, and I moved here [to Minnesota] in 2007," John Carlson of St. Paul wrote in an e-mail.

"As far as I can tell, it probably is the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL," said longtime Seattle sports columnist Art Thiel.

It was Seahawks Stadium when it opened in 2002. It features 67,000 seats. Like Target Field, it is built on a remarkably small site. Like Target Field, CenturyLink takes advantage of the magic of cantilevering to keep fans close to the action.

In baseball, proximity creates intimacy. In the NFL, proximity creates waves of noise and a marked home-field advantage.

The Seahawks are 3-0 at home and 1-4 on the road. According to the Seahawks, they lead the NFL in false-start penalties by opposing offenses during home games since 2005, with 113. (The Metrodome ranks third, with 108.)

"The Seahawks knew they had a great audio advantage in the Kingdome and didn't want to lose it, even moving outdoors," said Thiel, co-founder of Sportspress Northwest. "When the bond measure passed and they designed the stadium, they kept in mind a design that would capture noise.

"When it opened, there were people who said they were enhancing the noise with audio blasted through the speakers. That's not happening. It's loud because of the reverb that's created by the lower-bowl grandstands and captured by the degree of overhang in the upper-deck roof."

Leiweke, now CEO of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment, has worked as the Seahawks' CEO and the Wild's president. He remembers seeing the construction of the Xcel Energy Center. "I thought, 'Wow, this place is going to have a soul,'" he said. "Buildings with soul capture the imagination of the fans, and that feeds on itself."

The Wild has survived many poor seasons by making fans comfortable and feeling like they are part of the team. In the Kingdome, Seahawks fans were so loud that, in 1985, they prompted the NFL to install a rule penalizing home crowds if opposing quarterbacks couldn't call plays at the line of scrimmage.

Their home-field advantage became known, predictably enough, as the "12th Man." At CenturyLink, a fan raises the "12th Man" flag before every game.

Thiel credits Leiweke with engaging a fan base that tired of former owner Ken Behring.

"Tod took over when the Seahawks were at low ebb," Thiel said. "He really grasped the need to get the team much more connected to the community in so many ways. He was the creator of, and the guy who pushed, the '12th Man' concept.

"I think you would find it unanimous among the sportswriters who dealt with him here that Tod was the best sports executive Seattle has had in its modern history. He saw around corners.''

CenturyLink also is home to the Seattle Sounders, which leads North America soccer clubs with an average attendance of about 38,000.

Leiweke raved about the sports fans of the Twin Cities, fondly remembering his days with the Wild. He envisions the Vikings playing in a stadium that could rival the Seahawks'.

"I know a lot of promises get made about sports facilities, and they don't always come true," Leiweke said. "The ones in Seattle came true, just like the ones in St. Paul. The baseball stadium and football stadium in Seattle changed the neighborhood. These places have a soul."

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco 0 Top 3rd Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 0 3rd Prd
Buffalo 5
Carolina 2 3rd Prd
Columbus 2
Pittsburgh 1 2nd Prd 9:51
Detroit 0
Montreal 0 1st Prd 13:09
Chicago 0
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Thursday in Green Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close