The Tacoma Dome in 2009, viewed from the north
|Location||2727 East D Street|
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
|Public transit|| Tacoma Dome Station|
|Owner||City of Tacoma|
|Operator||City of Tacoma|
|Capacity||5,000 – 23,000
|Broke ground||July 1, 1981|
|Opened||April 21, 1983|
|Construction cost||$44 million|
($113 million in 2019 dollars)
|Architect||McGranahan Messenger Associates|
|General contractor||Merit Co.|
|Tacoma Stars (MISL) (1983–1992)|
Tacoma Rockets (WHL) (1991–1995)
Seattle SuperSonics (NBA) (1994–1995)
Tacoma Sabercats (WCHL) (1997–2002)
NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship (1989–1990)
Seattle Sounders (USL First Division) (1994)
WIAA state football tournament (1995–2019)
WIAA boys' state basketball tournament
(2001–present) partial schedule
Upon winning an international design competition, local architects McGranahan and Messenger completed the Tacoma Dome at a cost of $44 million; it opened on April 21, 1983. At 530 feet (160 m) in diameter and 152 feet (46 m) in height, the arena seats 20,722 for basketball games, with a maximum capacity of 23,000. It is the largest arena with a wooden dome in the world by volume (the Superior Dome in Marquette, Michigan, is a larger-diameter geodesic dome at 536 feet (163 m), but is 143 feet (44 m) high and seats a maximum of 16,000).
The wood which was used to make the roof came from trees that were downed in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Unlike most other arenas of its size, the arena contains little in the way of fixed seating, so as to maximize the flexibility of the seating arrangements and the shape of the playing field. It can also host American football, albeit with seating reduced to 10,000.
The dome's first event was a concert by British musician David Bowie as part of his Serious Moonlight Tour on August 11, 1983. It was the Seattle SuperSonics' home floor for the 1994–95 season while the Seattle Center Coliseum was being renovated, and was used for various regular Sonics games during other seasons. It also hosted the Tacoma Rockets of the WHL from 1991 to 1995, the Tacoma Sabercats of the WCHL from 1997 to 2002, and the Tacoma Stars indoor soccer team of the MISL from 1983 to 1992.
The Dome was also the venue of the gymnastics and figure skating events during the 1990 Goodwill Games, and home to numerous other minor-league ice hockey and indoor soccer teams. The dome also hosted the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship in back-to-back years (1989 and 1990). It was the site of the NCAA Division I-AA football championship game in 1985 and 1986. The Tacoma Dome also hosted National Hockey League preseason exhibition games in 1983, 1984, 1988, 1992, and 1996.
Bon Jovi filmed portions of their music video for the song "Lay Your Hands on Me" during their May 10, 1989 show at the Dome. Mötley Crüe performed at the Tacoma Dome on October 15, 1987, as part of their Girls, Girls, Girls Tour. During this performance, drummer Tommy Lee realized his dream of playing a drum solo upside down in a 360-degree rotating cage. Michael Jackson was scheduled to perform three concerts there on October 31 and November 1 and 2, 1988, during his Bad Tour. Although all the shows sold out, the concerts were cancelled because of the performer's serious health problems. Billy Graham hosted one of his crusades in the Dome's first year of operation. He returned to the venue in 1991. During both crusades, Graham averaged 30,000 spectators every night.
The Professional Bull Riders hosted an annual Built Ford Tough Series bull-riding event at the dome between 2003 and 2009. World Championship Wrestling held their Spring Stampede pay-per-view at the dome on April 11, 1999. Diamond Dallas Page defeated WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, Hollywood Hogan and Sting (with Randy Savage as special guest referee) in a Four Corners match to win the title. During a Monster Jam event at the Tacoma Dome in January 2009, a piece of debris from a truck flew into the stands during a freestyle performance, killing a six-year-old spectator and injuring another spectator. This is so far the only fatality to occur at a Monster Jam event.
On February 2, 2016, the Tacoma Dome started new security procedures in light of its sold-out AC/DC concert. The new enhancements included metal detector wands at each entrance, a bag size restriction, the prohibition of backpacks, and the search of all bags before entry. In November 2016, the City of Tacoma approved a two-year, $21.3 million renovation project. The renovations took place over the summer of 2018, with the cost rising to $30 million, and were completed on October 8, 2018.
The venue hosted WWE's Stomping Grounds pay-per-view event on June 23, 2019, the first professional wrestling pay per view since Spring Stampede 20 years earlier. In addition, the qualifying matches for the eleventh season of American Ninja Warrior took place at the Dome.
The Tacoma Dome is also known for its controversial neon art. In 1984, a work by Stephen Antonakos displayed inside the dome became the subject of intense debate over public funding of artworks for public works projects.
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- Barnes, Brooks (June 26, 2009). "Michael Jackson: A thrilling pop icon, a troubled soul". Seattle Times. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
He was scheduled to appear at the Tacoma Dome in October 1988 — selling more than 70,000 tickets over three nights — but canceled the day before the opening show, due to the flu.
- "Security Update". TacomaDome.org. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
- Bryant, Tammi (November 30, 2016). "CITY OF TACOMA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO RENOVATE THE TACOMA DOME" (PDF). TacomaDome.org. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
Renovations will begin in summer of 2017. New seating will be installed during summer of 2018, with all renovations completed by fall of 2018.
- Riedtmulder, Michael (April 17, 2018). "My Favorite Things, Part II". The News Tribune. Retrieved April 18, 2018.
- King, Jennifer (October 8, 2018). "Tacoma Dome reopens after $30 million renovation". KING-TV. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
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