KeyArena Name Remains

The Seattle City Council and Cleveland-based KeyBank have agreed on a new naming-rights deal for KeyArena at Seattle Center but it literally comes at a price to the city.

KeyBank officials renegotiated its sponsorship contract, originally written in 1995, after it was canceled when the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City last year.

The new yearly payment reportedly is $300,000 a year instead of the $500,000 the city council was asking, but it’s being deemed a win-win situation, according to the Seattle Times.

“I think that we’re fortunate that we’ve got a company that’s willing to continue to pay to have the naming rights, because we don’t have quite the attention to the building that we did when there was a basketball team there,” councilman Tom Rasmussen told the paper.

City officials hope to have another NBA team interested in KeyArena by the time the new contract runs out in 2010. Seattle officials are working to secure the state legislature’s help in funding a $300 million arena expansion.

Sonics owner Clay Bennett paid the city $45 million to break the KeyArena lease and will also pay more than $30 million over five years if the city doesn’t attract another NBA team, according to the Times.

KeyArena isn’t at a loss for bookings, either, with the added flexibility of not working around a basketball team’s schedule.

Concerts on the books through November are Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler, Dane Cook, Depeche Mode and Peter Bjorn And John, Jimmy Buffett and a two-night stand with Billy Joel and Elton John.