High school football state championship games are headed to Husky Stadium in 2023.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and the University of Washington agreed on a one-year deal to host six state championship games Dec. 1-2 in Seattle.
The arrangement, approved at the WIAA’s board meeting Sunday, marks the return of a single-site Gridiron Classic. State championship games have been held at three Pierce County high school stadiums since the Gridiron Classic left the Tacoma Dome after the 2018 season.
Three games are scheduled for each day with kickoffs at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. classes 1B, 1A and 3A will play Friday with 2B, 2A and 4A playing Saturday.
If the one-year trial works out, Husky Stadium could become a regular host. The WIAA will put out a bid to host the football championships for its next five-year cycle starting in 2024.
Seattle’s Kingdome hosted the “Kingbowl” state football championships from 1977 to 1994. The event then moved to the Tacoma Dome where it was re-branded the Gridiron Classic.
The WIAA voted to pull the Gridiron Classic from the Tacoma Dome after the 2018 season citing rising costs and declining attendance.
Camas won the 2019 state title at the first Class 4A championship game held at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.
Since then, some players, coaches and observers have argued that playing championship games at high school venues felt anti-climactic.
That won’t be the case at the 70,000-seat stadium on the shore of Lake Washington, according to WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman.
“The kids … get to play on a Pac-12 field in a phenomenal facility, which is cool,” Hoffman told Scorebook Live, which was first to report the move. “The fan is going to have to navigate getting there at certain times of the day. Will it impact attendance? I don’t know.”