Consider a Sports Venue

By Tim Hansen

Sports complexes and arenas offer a unique setting for a meeting or event

Fans and non-fans alike will appreciate the special environment that the region’s sports venues provide for meetings and events. Accustomed to handling large crowds, these venues offer all the services and support planners require combined with interesting spaces for gatherings. These facilities are especially attractive during the off-season when more space options are available.

“Our meeting guests are thrilled by the aura of major sporting events they experience when they visit our stadium,” says Ashley Highsmith, vice president of guest services and event sales at Portland’s Providence Park.

Here is a selection of exciting options for your next meeting or event.

Portland, Oregon

Major League Soccer takes center stage at Providence Park, imparting the special aura of major league sports to any meeting or event. A rich history and recent major renovations combine to make this Portland landmark the area’s premier athletic venue. With several indoor and outdoor spaces making it suitable for a meeting or event any time of the year, the facility hosts a wide range of activities from a 20-person board meeting to a corporate event for 3,000.

The venue’s multi-purpose indoor spaces can accommodate a variety of events from an intimate board retreat to a large networking activity. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the field in the bright, stylish KeyBank Club. This room is the venue’s most enticing event space. The 3,400-square-foot room can accommodate 215 guests in a theater-style arrangement or 300 for a reception.

Two exclusive covered decks allow planners to incorporate the outdoors into their plans. The patio adjacent to the room allows planners to add fresh-air breaks or an outdoor reception to their event. The KeyBank Club Deck, located directly above the KeyBank Club is ideal for an outdoor banquet, reception or trade show. This space can accommodate up to 700 for a reception or 500 for a banquet.

Located adjacent to the KeyBank Club, the Providence Community Room also overlooks the field. With a capacity of 100 guests, this space is perfect for a corporate sales meeting, seminar or board retreat. Meeting participants will appreciate the modern styling and comfortable furnishings of the room.

The playing field is ideal for large events. The field can accommodate anything from a company picnic to a sports-themed wedding or fun team-building activity. Your meeting or event attendees can feel the thrill of playing soccer in a major league stadium with the Providence Park Field Experience package. With this package, groups can create their own soccer tournament with all the equipment provided by the Park.

Providence Park’s in-house catering department can create a menu appropriate to your group’s needs. The catering team is adept at everything from ballpark snacks to formal dining. The facility can provide professional audiovisual equipment and support, and complimentary WiFi is available in many indoor spaces. The downtown Portland location, adjacent to the MAX light rail lines provides convenient access from anywhere in the Portland area.

Ashley Highsmith, vice president of guest services & event sales

Seattle, Washington

The thrill of major league baseball will permeate the atmosphere when you take your meeting or event out to the ballpark. Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, offers a special opportunity for gatherings of all sizes. From a 10-person corporate retreat to a full-scale event for thousands, the facility provides a fun alternative to the traditional meeting and event venues.

With space for a 10,000-person reception or 1,200 guests seated at rounds, the playing field is well suited for large-scale events. Whether it is the general session for a conference, a fundraising dinner or a company picnic, the playing field offers a unique setting for any type of event. Your message will resonate with the group when it is displayed on the MarinersVision HD screen, the largest scoreboard in major league baseball.

A variety of additional outdoor spaces include the main concourse and several terraces. The 40-foot-wide main concourse wraps around the stadium, offering 88,000 square feet of space for a trade show or special event such as a casino night. The concession stands along the concourse can be open for group catering to provide a fun food and beverage experience. Built-in seating for 47,000 and high-powered audiovisual capabilities make the stadium suitable for an all-company meeting or any type of performance.

A wide array of indoor spaces offers the flexibility to accommodate a variety of get-togethers. Located on street level, the Ellis Pavilion can accommodate 300 theater-style or 400 for a reception. The Pavilion offers four alcoves that can be used separately for breakout or for meal activities. The space is popular for pre-game meetings allowing your group to end their day watching a ballgame. A meeting in the Visitor’s Clubhouse can be fun and inspirational. For a special touch, you can customize jerseys for your team and have them hanging in the lockers. The Press Box Suite, overlooking home plate, and the Owner’s Suite, decorated with baseball memorabilia, are suitable for a small receptions or intimate board meetings.

Safeco Field offers unrivaled opportunities for team building or simply fun group activities. Group activities include running or walking the bases, participating in a batting practice and conducting home run or speed pitch challenges. More adventurous groups can include a rock wall, a zip line or a laser tag experience in their event. Guest appearances by the Mariner Moose or past players and the opportunity to create co-branded merchandise will make any event special.

Alisia Anderson, director of ballpark sales and marketing

Spokane, Washington

Spokane boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting venues that planners may want to consider for a meeting or special event. Whether it is a business meeting, a small conference or a reception, the venues offer a variety of options. The outdoor spaces are ideal for team bonding or fun group experiences.

The Veterans Memorial Arena is a 12,500-seat multipurpose venue. The arena is home of the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League and has six meeting rooms with a total of 10,000 square feet of meeting space. The Integra Telecom Meeting Rooms provide 2,700 square feet of meeting space that can accommodate up to 250 theater-style. The meeting rooms can be divided into two spaces to accommodate smaller groups or breakout sessions.

The Arena’s 4.500-square-foot Champions Room is ideal for a reception of up to 300. Additionally, Meeting Rooms A and B are smaller spaces suitable for a board meeting or planning session. The venue can provide a full range of catering and bar services. Complete audiovisual support is available from the multimedia services department. During the hockey season, groups can conduct a productive meeting and then adjourn to catch the thrills of a professional hockey game.

Joe Albi Stadium is a grand outdoor arena that hosts a variety of sporting and non-sporting events throughout the year. With a capacity of 26,000, the stadium regularly hosts concerts, sports games and community activities. The stadium is ideal for large-scale outdoor events.

Adjacent to Joe Albi Stadium, the Dwight Merkel Sports Complex has softball fields and six athletic fields including two full-size athletic fields featuring artificial turf. Groups looking for space to conduct a team-building activity have a wide variety of options at the complex. The facility also has a one-mile paved hiking trail that connects to Spokane’s Riverside Park and views of the Spokane River.


Spokane Arena
Matt Gibson, general manager

Joe Albi Stadium
Diana Termer, event services specialist

Dwight Merkel Sports Complex
Staci Hazelbaker

Eugene, Oregon

During the late summer and autumn months, collegiate football occupies the attention of sports enthusiasts nationwide. Impressive facilities, such as Autzen Stadium in Eugene, have been built to host the hordes of fans that flock to the games.

While 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium, home of the University of Oregon football program, was designed to host large crowds, it also has a variety of meeting and event options for planners. Large groups can take advantage of the entire facility for an event or utilize a portion for a meeting, conference or special activity.

The North Concourse is the ideal space to set up tables for a banquet or reception. With direct access to the playing field, attendees can head out to the gridiron for some outdoor fun and team building. It is easy to imagine the stands full of cheering fans as your group conducts a field goal kicking contest.

Indoor spaces include the East End Zone Terrace, with a capacity of 100 to 125 and views overlooking the field, that is ideal for a conference or seminar. The Club Level offers 10,000 square feet that can accommodate a banquet for 500 or theater seating for 600. The Club Level’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer scenic views across Eugene to Spencer Butte.

Large events can take advantage of the Moshofsky Center adjacent to the stadium. This full-scale indoor practice facility holds up to 6,000 for an event. PK Park, next door to the stadium, is home to the Eugene Emeralds minor league baseball team. The covered pavilion along the right field line can accommodate 100 for a warm-weather reception or banquet. During baseball season, a group outing to the game can be a fun post-conference activity.

Matthew Knight Arena, located on the university’s main campus, is a state-of-the-art facility. The 12,000-seat arena has earned LEED Gold certification, and it regularly hosts large conferences and concerts in addition to sporting events. Two practice courts are can accommodate several hundred for a reception or banquet.

The lower concourse areas feature open spaces that are suitable for a reception, while the upper-level concourse offers nice views over campus. The Arena floor can be set up with rounds for a banquet or theater-style for a conference. The Founders Club and McArthur Club are elegant spaces that each hold up to 100 guests for a meeting or luncheon.

Both venues offer full-service catering for any type of meal from an intimate luncheon to a banquet for thousands. Both the stadium and the arena feature the latest in audiovisual equipment and offer an abundance of parking.


Mike Duncan, senior associate athletic director

Boise, Idaho

Located along the Boise River only minutes from the center of town, the four-level Stueckle Sky Center offers a memorable meeting experience. The Center towers over of the famous Blue Turf of Albertsons Stadium, home of the Boise State University Broncos football team. With a variety of meeting and event spaces, including three banquet areas, it offers state-of-the-art amenities and panoramic views.

The Double R Ranch Club is a grand space with floor-to-ceiling windows offering some of the best views of Boise and the surrounding region. This 7,114-square-foot room is ideal for large a meeting, banquet or conference. The space has a capacity of 450 in a theater-style arrangement or 500 for a reception.

Located one floor above the Double R Ranch Club, the Loft offers meeting space for up to 100. Offering space for breakout sessions, or a comfortable setting to keep the entire group engaged, the room beckons meeting planners to schedule additional time to enjoy the stunning sunsets over the valley.

The Skyline Room, atop the Stueckle Sky Center, features panoramic 240-degree views. The space can accommodate 300 theater-style or 200 for a banquet. Also located on the top floor, the 711-square-foot Conference Room is an intimate space that is ideal for an executive meeting or board retreat. The room can accommodate 18 in a classroom setting or 32 for a plated dinner.

Whether it is break-time snacks or a full-service banquet, Classic Fare Catering, the exclusive caterer for Stueckle Sky Center, can provide whatever food and refreshments your group desires.

All rooms feature built-in audiovisual equipment, and the facility provides full technical support. WiFi is available and the venue offers teleconference support to facilitate remote attendees. Access to the Blue Turf of the football field for activities or a photo session is possible, however it must be approved in advance by the Boise State University Athletics department. The Stueckle Sky Center Event Coordinator can provide details about the approval process and pricing.


Jentry Walsh, university event services manager