SEATTLE — The Storm reached an agreement with the University of Washington to play 2019 regular-season games at Alaska Airlines Arena while KeyArena undergoes a two-year $700 million renovation.
Co-owner Lisa Brummel characterized the deal as a one-year “trial” and added “assuming it goes well, we’re all of the mind that we’d like to continue for 2020.”
For at least a year, Alaska Airlines Arena becomes the primary site for the Storm, but it’s uncertain how many of its 17 regular-season home games will be on campus.
Additionally, there are no guarantees the building will be available if the Storm advances to the postseason.
“We’re hopeful we can play there during the playoffs, (but) now you’re really running into volleyball season and getting into football season,” Brummel said. “What we’ve agreed to with the university is that we’ll continue to look at that with the hope that we can play there.”
Moreover, the Storm is considering hosting its one home exhibition at an off-campus facility.
The Storm considered relocating to the Renton’s ShoWare Center and the Angel of the Winds in Everett, but opted to remain close to home.
“We are excited to host a portion of the Storm’s 2019 home season here in Alaska Airlines Arena,” UW Athletic Director Jen Cohen said in a statement released by the Storm.
Seattle’s 2019 schedule will be released along with the WNBA schedule at a later date.
Brummel indicated navigating the logistics of a building that occupies UW men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams was the No. 1 obstacle.
The Storm and UW also had to work through the potentially thorny issue of the 91-year-old building, also known as Hec Edmundson Pavilion, not having air conditioning.
Because WNBA rules require teams to play in air-conditioned venues, Brummel said portable air-conditioning units will be used next season for Storm home games at UW.