Saturday, November 27, 2010

Are We Going to Enter Another Era Of Multi-Purpose Stadiums?

If you are in your mid-30s ... like me ... you remember the days where your local baseball team and football team shared the same stadium. The baseball experience gave us more foul ground and less fan interference. The football experience gave us funky site lines and blown knees.

We may have to get used to seeing that again. Maybe sooner than you think.

In our current economic climate, cities may look at getting more out of their stadiums. Last week, Wrigley Field (built nearly 100 years ago) hosted the Illinois-Northwestern football game. That night, New Yankee Stadium hosted Notre Dame-Army and will host the Pinstripe Bowl this winter.

While it isn't co-tenetcy (sorry if that's not a word) in the old fashioned sense, it is providing new revenue for an expensive lot just sitting around doing nothing. Right now, only two stadiums are homes to both an NFL team and an MLB team: Oakland Coliseum (Raiders, Athletics) and Dolphin Stadium (Dolphins, Marlins).

Back in the day, this was the norm:

-Three Rivers Stadium housed the Steelers and Pirates
-Riverfront Stadium housed the Bengals and Reds
-Shea Stadium housed the Jets and Mets
-Astrodome housed the Oilers and Astros
-Memorial Coliseum housed the Browns and Indians
-Memorial Stadium housed the Colts and Orioles
-Jack Murphy Stadium housed the Chargers and Padres
-Mile High Stadium housed the Broncos and briefly the Rockies.
-Veterans Stadium housed the Eagles and Phillies
-Metrodome housed the Vikings and Twins
-Fulton County Stadium housed the Falcons and Braves
-Kingdome housed the Seahawks and Mariners
-Candlestick Park housed the Niners and Giants
-Busch Stadium housed the both the football and baseball Cardinals
-Anaheim Stadium housed the Rams and Angels

That doesn't even take account stadiums like RFK, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or many of the really old digs that were NFL, AFL and baseball homes.

Of those 14 stadiums listed above, only Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm), Metrodome and Candlestick Park still operate as either an NFL or MLB stadium. The rest have been replaced by two brand new stadiums.

-Pittsburgh built Heinz Field and PNC Park
-Cincinnati built Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark
-New York built New Meadowlands Stadium and CitiField
-Houston built Reliant Stadium and Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park)
-Cleveland built Browns Stadium and Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field)
-Baltimore built Ravens Stadium (now M&T Bank) and Oriole Park
-San Diego built PetCo Park.
-Denver built Invesco Field and Coors Field
-Philadelphia built Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park
-Minneapolis built Target Field
-Atlanta built Georgia Dome and Turner Field
-Seattle built Qwest Field and SafeCo Field
-San Francisco built Pac-Bell (now AT&T) Park
-St. Louis built TWA Dome (now Edward Jones) and New Busch Stadium

I doubt that we will see anything like that again and certainly not soon. Every city that has both a baseball and football team has a relatively new stadium that doesn't need replaced. But would a city ... especially a smaller market ... consider down the road building a multi-purpose stadium to save costs?

Until then, we may see some more college football games in baseball stadiums. College football could be the driving force behind what stadiums decide to do. Not only is Yankee Stadium hosting a bowl, but so does AT&T Park, Tropicana Field and Sun Life Stadium. Twelve NFL stadiums will host 15 bowl games this winter (University of Phoenix Stadium, Qualcomm Stadium and Superdome host two apiece).

Niche games like the ones played at Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium could be more attractive. It's worked in the NHL where baseball stadiums have hosted the Winter Classic hockey game on New Year's Day.

1 comment:

Dustin Fulton said...

The Rogers Centre in Toronto is also multi-use (just not NFL yet). While it was built in the early 90's and is outdated in many ways, it does have several innovations that makes this more tolerable. The main innovation is that the entire lower bowl is on what appear to be train tracks. It splits in half and rotates about 90 degrees to make the seats more suitable for football. If we go back in the direction of multi-purpose, hopefully innovations such as that will be considered.