As brilliant and exuberant as Pel� was, the star of the evening was the stadium itself. The Kingdome is an unadorned gray hulk squatting just a few blocks south of America's original "skid road," Yesler Way, and the Pioneer Square historical district. The building cost $66.2 million, which figures out to $1,018 per seat, half what it cost to put a seat in the Superdome in New Orleans. Kingdome not only doesn't have a coat of paint on its exterior but also very few frills on the interior—no cushioned seats, no exploding scoreboard, no private boxes furnished like a seraglio.
The seats may be hard, but very few of them afford a bad view. The Telescreen may be dim, but at least it doesn't spoil anyone's view of the field as the screens at the Superdome do. And there are folks in Seattle who are happy with the Kingdome's drab concrete and brutalist-style architecture. A lively local weekly called, originally enough, The Weekly, seemed quite fond already of the stadium's unromantic ramps and ventilator shafts. "The Kingdome is a blood-and-guts sports arena, pure and simple," said the paper, "a fitting addition to a city built by longshoremen and lumberjacks."
There were surprisingly few snafus for an opening night, perhaps because the Kingdome had already been through a gala entertainment opening a couple of weeks earlier. The burritos were hot if a bit too doughy. People who found that the seats they had bought had not yet been installed were quickly put into comparable seats that the Sounders' management had set aside for that purpose. No chunks of reinforced concrete plummeted to the plastic sod. The politicians kept their speeches short. And the expected traffic jam outside never developed, although crowds of people were still waiting at nearby bus stops long after the match was over.
One minor disappointment was that Pel� left the pitch with his green Cosmos shirt still on his back and apparently didn't give it to anyone. The Sounders' management decided next day to send for it so that it can be enshrined in the sports museum that will soon be installed on the Kingdome's second level. One hopes that it will remain unwashed, to suit a brutalist blood-and-guts arena.