So lets just disregard Lynn Thompson and her constant yapping on behalf of the Mariners. We know they don't like this idea and think that Felix Hernandez needs to call an emergency meeting to explain the difference between losing a game and being a loser. This stuff takes its toll on a franchise.
Chris Hansen on the other hand gets it.
I haven't talked to him much about arena stuff lately but know from past conversations that Chris approaches these things first and foremost as a Seattle sports fan. His design ideas are going to be cutting edge and they are going to be custom tailored to the things we like to do.
These latest drawings are a great example. Having learned a little bit about Arena's I can tell you that the "bowl" is in many ways a separate component from the rest of the building. On the concourses an emphasis is placed upon having room and mobility. It has to be comfortable to move around, get food and be entertained. Inside the bowl the emphasis is 100% on an intimate feel, sight lines and the ability to enjoy the event.
When I first saw the drawings without color I did not really fully understand that the designers had essentially gone further than anyone previously to seperate the bowl component from the rest of the building/concourse area.
Why did they do that?
My guess is that it is as simple as the fact that Chris understands that people in Seattle like to feel like they are outdoors even when they are in buildings. During the summer we like to take advantage of the sweeping views and gorgeous landscape of the region. During the winter we just don't get out enough and are always looking for alternatives that make us feel less cooped up. He gets it because he goes to Mariners game as a fan and like other fans prefers to wander the stadium, grabbing BBQ and a view of the city at the upper deck or hang out in the center field bar.
In this design he has managed to almost completely separate the "in game" component of the bowl with the "destination" feel of the concourse. So while the bowl experience will be 100% game oriented it looks like the "destination" experience will be one that maximizes the feeling of being out in Seattle with views of the water and the city. In the dead of winter you will be able to wander through this glass castle and feel like you are outdoors.
I expect to see more efforts to take the things that Seattle sports fans love about our region and venues incorporated into the building. . I expect some very cool designs replicating the center field experience at Safeco Field and the intimacy of games at the Key. Look for stuff like standing room options, high tech approaches to amazing sight lines and innovative ways to bring the crowd closer to the players and the game.
He's going to do it like we would do it because he cares about the same thing. This building will be an amazing experience.