But wrestling Mat Classic will continue there, WIAA reports

RENTON — Tacoma Dome no more for prep football.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board voted May 26 not to renew its contract with the Tacoma Dome as the host site for the Football State Championships, the association posted last week. WIAA cites “fan experience and financial implications for both the WIAA and spectators” as the primary reasons to make the change.

The Tacoma Dome will continue to be the venue for the WIAA Mat Classic (state wrestling) and some Hardwood Classic (state basketball) events.

“The Tacoma community and the Tacoma Dome have been great hosts for many WIAA state championships over the years,” complimented WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese. 

However, 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. The costs of renting the facility have continued to increase and WIAA staff received criticisms regarding the new seating arrangement for football, Colbrese said.

The Executive Board and WIAA staff will begin surveying potential sites that can accommodate state championship football games and will plan to finalize locations this fall. The change will most likely bring an end to the single-site championships format, WIAA says, moving toward the design of nearly every other WIAA state tournament that scatters championship finals to 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 the Gridiron Classic since the 1995-96 season, replacing the Kingdome as the final site. The facility has been involved in the WIAA Football Tournament in some capacity since the 1983-84 season, when it first began hosting assigned semifinal games.