No Tacoma Dome for future state football championships

By: 
Roger Harnack
Publisher

If the Colville Indians football team repeats as the state 1A champions, it won't be in the Tacoma Dome.
That's because the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association executive board voted Sunday not to renew its Tacoma Dome contract as the host site for all Gridiron Classic football championship games.
The association — the athletic and activities club schools join to compete in sanctioned events — plans to start surveying potential sites and make a determination where title football games will be played in the fall.
Officials said the change will likely revert to the practices of the past where games were held at various sites across the state, which was commonplace prior to 1998.
The Gridiron Classic series was moved to the Tacoma Dome in 1998. Prior to that, games took place in multiple venues around the state.
For example, the 1A title game in 1997 between Okanogan and Royal took place at Lampson Field in Kennewick. That same year, the 2B title game was in the Tacoma Dome, the 3A game was in Kent, etc.
“The Tacoma community and the Tacoma Dome have been great hosts for many WIAA state championships over the years,” Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. “They will continue to provide an exceptional experience for the WIAA Mat Classic and Hardwood Classic events.”
Although Colbrese said the Tacoma Dome will continue to host a large state wrestling tournament and the state basketball games, some Hardwood Classic games are already hosted at other venues.
The state 1B and 2B championships take place in Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and the 1A games take place in the Yakima Valley SunDome in Yakima.
And in years past, small-school state wrestling championships took place at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake as well as in Spokane.
“Ultimately, the executive board needed to evaluate whether holding the Gridiron Classic in the Tacoma Dome made sense for the association, student-participants and fans," Colbrese said. "Costs of renting the facility have continued to increase and WIAA staff received criticisms regarding the new seating arrangement for football."
The association plans to start surveying potential sites and make a determination where title football games will be played in the fall. 
Officials said the change will likely revert to the practices of the past where games were held at various sites across the state.
“While the Tacoma Dome offered the ability to have all state championship football games in one location, we anticipate that using multiple sites will have its own benefits,” Colbrese said. “Fans will see lower ticket prices by no longer paying the service fees associated with the Dome, and related costs of attending the event, such as parking and concessions, will be significantly reduced, as well.”
The Tacoma Dome has hosted some Gridiron Classic games since the 1995-96 season, replacing the Kingdome as the final site.

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