The Washington high school football state championship will have a new home in the fall. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has decided fan experience and financial implications were two of the main reasons for the decision to leave the Tacoma Dome that has been the home to the Gridiron Classic since the mid-90’s.
“The Tacoma community and the Tacoma Dome have been great hosts for many WIAA State Championships over the years,” said WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese. “They will continue to provide an exceptional experience for the WIAA Mat Classic and Hardwood Classic events.”
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. Costs of renting the facility have continued to increase and WIAA staff received criticisms regarding the new seating arrangement for football.
The Executive Board and WIAA staff will begin surveying potential sites that can accommodate State Championship games and will plan to finalize locations in the fall of 2019. The change will most likely bring an end to the single-site championships format, moving toward the design of nearly every other WIAA State Tournament where Championship games are 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.”