Three years ago, the University of Nevada considered a radical new design for a proposed new 40,000-seat football stadium that could quickly be converted into a 20,000-seat hockey or basketball arena.
Think Transformers, but on an even more massive scale.
That never came to pass, but in the meantime sports venues have been transforming themselves, from places that were dedicated to a single sport, and often a single team — appearances by the Beatles at Shea Stadium or the Pope at Yankee Stadium were once as notable for their diversion from the stadia’s usual purposes as by the celebrity of their visitors — to a multipurpose design, intended to allow a much wider use of the facility, and more often.
They have to: costs for the current generation of sports facilities have gone through the (retractable) roof.
Three of the newest pro football stadiums — Lucas Oil Stadium, Cowboys Stadium and MetLife Stadium — cost $720 million, $1.15 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively. Major League Baseball is not far behind, with the three most expensive ballparks in history (Nationals Park, $611 million; Citi Field, $900 million; Yankee Stadium, $1.5 billion) all finished in recent years.
Basketball, is no slouch, either, with the Brooklyn Nets’ two-year-old Barclay’s Center coming at an even $1 billion and the just-completed-three-year-long renovation of the New York Knicks’ storied Madison Square Garden costing a reported $1.1 billion.
Teams, counties and municipalities that are increasingly on the hook for these costs are understandably demanding that new sports venues find ways to pay their own way.
And commercial integration and design firms are lending their expertise to infuse these increasingly multi-purpose arenas with the technology necessary to support such extracurricular endeavors.
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