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|| News Item: Posted 2002-08-31

Seahawks new home
Trash bags, great workroom and 12-yards back

By Rod Mar, The Seattle Times

Photo by Rod Mar/Seattle Times

Photo by Rod Mar/Seattle Times

Seahawks Stadium with Mount Rainier in the background.
Hey, wanna come to Seattle, wear a great big green trash bag for a photo vest, and have to shoot from 12 yards off one end zone at an NFL game?

Then welcome to the new Seahawks Stadium! No, they haven't sold the naming rights yet. And in this day and age, can you blame them?

First the good news: It's better than the Kingdome.

Okay, I should go a little easier on the place. It is easy to find, just up Interstate 5 from the airport, just north of Safeco Field, and incidentally, it sits right where the old Kingdome used to be.

The light at night is more than adequate (1/500, f2.8 at asa 640), and although the design of the roof could throw ugly shadows down the hash marks (think Dallas), let's remember this is Seattle. The sun shouldn't be a problem most days.

More good news: there is an ample photo workroom now, right off the field, with more space, two restrooms, and real food. Any of you who experienced "the tent" at Husky Stadium (interim home of the Hawks for the past two years) will appreciate this.

It's equipped with dial-up phone lines, and some high speed plug-ins.The Seahawks have not made a final determination as of yet, but they may be charging for use of the high-speed. Check with the Seahawks media relations department (425.827.9777 -- it's in The Guide) before you come.

Both PC's and Macs have used the high-speed (it's DHCP server) but it's still a little buggy and it hasn't yet worked on OSX, so be warned.

The sidelines are ample.

But here comes the bad news.

Photo by Rod Mar/Seattle Times

Photo by Rod Mar/Seattle Times

The view from the Red Zone Suites at Seahawks Stadium. Nice for the rich fans but pretty awful for local sports shooters.
While there is plenty of room on the sidelines and ONE of the end lines, the other (north) endline could become problematic.

On the north end zone, the Seahawks have installed the league's first "Red Zone Suites". That's right, suites right on the field level.

They are elevated about four feet. But in order to preserve the view of the high rollers (three players, including All-Pro's Shawn Springs and Walter Jones have bought them for friends and family) the Seahawks have decided to keep shooters against the wall of the suites and back from the end line about 12 yards on a curve.

And this sucks. The team photographer tells me "it'll be great, because you and shoot everything with a 70-200mm!

And I didn't even know where to begin to explain to him why I thought losing my wide angle in the end zone sucked.

The real test will be the first regular season game there. If they keep the shooters 12 yards back but the network TV guy gets his spot just off the end line, we're really screwed and could get blocked, well, ALL THE TIME.

If he stays back near us ("yeah, RIGHT!"), it won't be so bad.

Photo by Rod Mar/Seattle Times

Photo by Rod Mar/Seattle Times

New Seahawks Stadium from the air with beautiful Safeco Field (home of Ichiro and the Seattle Mariners) in the background.
I plan to see how the first game goes, and then make my case heard. The Seahawks media relations team is top-notch. They really do what they can to help, but I have a bad feeling this suite thing might be out of their control.

Anyway you're coming to Seattle, give me a shout if you have any questions. I can't promise you a brat and a beer, but there are 267 latte stands within spitting distance of the stadium.

Oh, and the big green photo vests? At least they haven't sold the naming rights to those yet, either.

(Rod Mar is a staff photographer wit the Seattle Times. He is a frequent contributor to Sports Shooter and will be a speaker at the upcoming Sports Shooter Workshop & Luau. You can email Rod at

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