Amazon buys naming rights for NHL's new Seattle arena

A rendering of Climate Pledge Arena, the future home of the NHL's 32nd franchise. (NHLSeattle/Twitter)

Renovations for Seattle’s KeyArena have long been underway in preparation for the NHL’s return to the Pacific Northwest, but only now can work begin on the official signage.

Amazon’s billionaire founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced Thursday on Instagram that his Seattle-based online shopping empire has bought the naming rights for the home of the NHL’s soon-to-be 32nd franchise.

The arena won’t, however, use Amazon in its name, instead calling it Climate Pledge Arena — as to “serve as a regular reminder for the urgent need for climate action.”

Climate Pledge Arena intends to be the first “net zero carbon certified arena in the world.” Its plans include using recaptured rainwater to make the ice and sourcing a significant amount local food for concessions, while operating on “zero waste” and powering the arena with “100 percent renewable energy.”

Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group, and the principal investor in the expansion franchise, told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan that this is a “transformative moment in our industry,” heaping praise on Bezos and Amazon for the initiative:

“We spent a lot of time trying to figure it out, and get through the complications to pull it off. It wasn't easy. But to the credit of Jeff Bezos and Amazon, they said 'We'll act like a naming rights partner, but let's do this the right way. I don't need any more branding. What I need is to go save the planet.' It was brilliant."

While these are some undoubtedly positive initiatives included in the arena deal, Amazon has long come under fire for the massive carbon footprint it creates. And while the company has made efforts to reduce waste and improve efficiency in recent years, the carbon footprint recently grew 15 percent year over year as the company continues to flourish, according to the Associated Press.

How much Amazon has paid for the naming rights is unknown, but the deal will apparently last for at least a decade.

Seattle’s expansion NHL franchise announced last week that it will delay the unveiling of its team name, citing issues around trademarking and sensitivity to health and social issues.

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