Lynden and Hockinson team captains meet for the coin toss before the 2018 2A State Championship game at the Tacoma Dome.
Photo: Doug Lange
Football State Championships Leaving Tacoma Dome
June 3, 2019
Posted by Doug Lange Bellingham
Say goodbye to the Tacoma Dome. At least for prep football title games.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association will be looking for a new home after their Executive Board voted Sunday not to renew its contract with the Tacoma Dome as the host site for the Football State Championships. The WIAA cited fan experience and financial implications as the primary reasons to make the change.
“Ultimately, the Executive Board needed to evaluate whether holding the Gridiron Classic in the Tacoma Dome made sense for the Association, student-participants and fans," said outgoing WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese. "Costs of renting the facility have continued to increase and WIAA staff received criticisms regarding the new seating arrangement for football.”
The new seating arrangement at the T-Dome made it's debut for the two day Gridiron Classic last December. The change did away with may rows of seats. The seating no longer slopes downward to the front row near field level. The seating is now approximately 15 feet away from the field, but only allows a view of the near sidelines for the first few rows of spectators.
TDLN heard plenty off complaints about the sight lines when Lynden played Hockinson in the 2018 2A state championship game at the Tacoma Dome. As shown in the photos below, most Lions fans were unable to see their team on their own sideline during the contest.
According to Colbrese, the Tacoma Dome will continue to host for state championship wrestling and basketball with the Mat Classic and Hardwood Classic events. As for football, the WIAA Executive Board and staff will begin looking at potential sites to accommodate the State championship games. Locations are expected to be finalized by the fall of 2019.
The change will most likely bring an end to the single-site championships format.
“While the Tacoma Dome offered the ability to have all State Championship football games in one location, we anticipate that using multiple sites will have its own benefits,” Colbrese said. “Fans will see lower ticket prices by no longer paying the service fees associated with the Dome, and related costs of attending the event, such as parking and concessions, will be significantly reduced as well.”
The Tacoma Dome has hosted the Gridiron Classic since the 1995-96 season, replacing the Kingdome as the final site. The facility has been involved in the WIAA Football Tournament in some capacity since the 1983-84 season, when it first began hosting assigned semifinal games.
- Doug Lange
* Information via WIAA press release used in this story.
Many Lynden fans were unhappy with the new seating arrangement they experienced at the Tacoma Dome in the 2018 2A Gridiron Classic. PHOTO: Doug Lange