Alaska Airlines has signed on as the latest founding partner of NHL Seattle, with the company set to take on significant naming rights at the revamped KeyArena which will be home to the ice hockey league’s expansion franchise.

The Seattle-headquartered company will become the team’s official airline, as well as a founding partner of NHL Seattle, the New Arena at Seattle Center and the franchise’s Northgate Ice Centre training base.

As a key element of the partnership, the New Arena at Seattle Center’s atrium will be named ‘Alaska Airlines Atrium’. The atrium is a 36,000 square-foot feature of the brand-new building, to be located on the south side of the New Arena. It will serve as the main entrance for all events, featuring stories and images reflecting the Pacific Northwest and the travel opportunities within the region and across the world.

NHL Seattle is due to commence play in 2021, with a $930m (£713.1m/€836.2m) project currently underway to transform Seattle’s old KeyArena into the team’s new home. Alaska Airlines signed the sponsorship deal with NHL Seattle and Oak View Group (OVG), the company which is leading the arena development.

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of OVG, told the Seattle Times newspaper that the atrium was designed as a largely stand-alone part of the new arena and the idea was to sell a separate naming rights package for it. This leaves the main naming rights contract still to be decided for the arena, which Leiweke has said will be a “top five” music venue in the world.

“We don’t put our name on the entire arena,” Natalie Bowman, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of marketing and advertising, added. “But by putting it on the front door and putting it in the lobby of the venue – we hope that it becomes the meeting place for everyone who’s going to attend the 300-plus events. So, ‘Meet me in the Alaska Airlines atrium’ is the vernacular that we’re hoping to create within the community.”

NHL Seattle named Symetra Life Insurance Company as its first founding partner and sponsor of the new arena in June. In September, a sponsorship deal was agreed with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe’s Muckleshoot Casino.

Images: Alaska Airlines