Arsenal from England vs ACF Fiorentina from Italy at the Panthers’ stadium in Charlotte (very nice stadium, although perhaps not as elaborate/ornate as I expected for an NFL stadium). It was nice and steamy, 93 at kickoff, but fortunately my son and I had seats at the shady end, and it was a fun way to spend two hours (soccer has managed not to let TV extend its matches; a match is almost always over in less than 120 minutes unless there’s extra time in a tournament).
Arsenal won 3-0 while playing their JV, essentially; all three goals were scored by players age 20 or younger. But it got me thinking about what if college football had promotion and relegation like European soccer does. Our football team would have been relegated last year after 0-8. Fortunately basketball and baseball are safe though.
Wonder where we’d be relegated to? Sun Belt? AAC? Big 12?
Arsenal played their front line people last week against Bayern and last night against Real Madrid, as did both of those opponents. Fiorentina was by far the weakest team on their ICC schedule and they played the kids. Lacazette, Ozil, etc., did come in during the second half Saturday and Alex had two assists. Still did a lot of substituting in all games, which is why their front line guys weren’t around for the PKs last night.
I went back and looked at the lineup when I saw Arsenal in London in April 2016 compared to Saturday. One starter was the same, left back Nacho Monreal. Not a lot of people are even still on the roster from '16; Koscielny is on strike, Ozil was on the bench Saturday. Chambers was on the bench then, played Saturday. Sanchez, Ramsey, Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott, and several others… all gone.
Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte isn’t that old, but it is one of the older ones in the NFL. It will move even higher up that list once the stadiums are finished in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
It reminds me a little bit of a couple of MLB stadiums, Turner Field and Globe Life Park, in the sense it was built just before the current wave of modern stadium designs. The Braves and Rangers did/do not need to move away from those parks that were built in the 1990s, but made the decision to build something new to provide their fans with the same bells and whistles that most everyone else has.
I remember it was built shortly after the Panthers came into the league; they played their first season at Clemson. Completed in 1996, which does make it one of the older NFL buildings. The oldest is Soldier Field, but that hardly counts since it became an entirely new stadium with the 2003 reconstruction (essentially a new building inside the old one). Then LA Coliseum for one year, Lambeau (also massively redone), Oakland (soon to be abandoned), Arrowhead, Buffalo, the Superdome, Miami, Jacksonville and Charlotte.
If you want a tremendous experience go to the new Mercedes Benz stadium in Atlanta to watch Atlanta United with 70K “Hooligans”. The fans are crazy.
I thought Dallas had the best stadium, but Atlanta beats it and the prices are reasonable. The only issue is they’re losing home field crowd noise because people are out of their seats and up in the food courts where they drink, eat, and watch the game.
The Arkansas Alumni Atlanta chapter is sponsoring a game in a few weeks. Can’t wait.
The one thing I dislike about all of the stadiums is the billionaire owners allow the taxpayers to pay millions toward the cost of the structures. Don’t blame the billionaires but the taxpayers should not pay for a business but in non sports, tax write off for the companies exist so the tax payers do pay for a lot of privately owned businesses. I concede if I were a billionaire and I could get the taxplayers to pay for some of my operations, I would do it.
The amount of tax dollars that come back in is pretty substantial with everything that comes through those stadiums, hotels, and eateries. But, I don’t want to get into a political discussion. The cities can ask themselves, “Do we want the events to come here, or somewhere on the other side of the metro area?” That usually takes care of it. Now, I don’t like it that it lines the owners pockets, but there are benefits for sure. You can look at what has happened to War Memorial Stadium and the lack of UA games there and wonder, “Should we have done something to keep up?” Maybe so.
Like Clay said, there typically is a strong financial incentive for the cities to help finance the building costs. I do think that those benefits are always oversold to generate public support, but there are economic benefits. Look no further than Arlington, Texas, for proof. The area around AT&T Stadium has completely transformed with shops and restaurants, and entertainment venues, not to mention higher-cost living areas that replaced older homes that were bought and demolished via eminent domain.
In Arlington, the city gets a nice percentage - around 5 percent, I think - of the naming rights for the Cowboys’ stadium. There is also a sizable hotel tax and a rental car tax, and altogether the city is about seven years ahead of schedule in paying off the debt on the stadium.
If managed properly, I think most NFL cities can rapidly pay down the debt on their professional stadiums because of the amount of revenue they produce, not only through sports, but concerts, conventions and other special events.
The cities that are hurt most by publicly financing sports venues are the ones that bid to host Olympics and World Cups because of their short durations. The list of cities/countries that endured financial hardships after hosting those events is long. Once those events leave town, many of the newly-constructed facilities never find tenants, fall into disarray and fall well short of the economics that were promised.
The problem, though, is that the competition is within the same area. Atlanta was very well served with the old Georgia Dome. It was very nice. The new Mercedes stadium is nicer, but I can’t imagine Atlanta really notice a major improvement because it got nicer digs 100 yards away. I suppose Arlington got a coup & Irving got screwed when Jerry built his new place. The City of Dallas lost something when the Cotton Bowl lost the Cowboys to Irving. However, I’m not sure the cities do so well. Oh, they’re better off with a pro franchise than without one I suppose, but the problem they’ve got is the NFL (or NBA) gets to bargain as a monopoly & the cities do not. If the States of Texas & Georgia prohibited cities from making those concessions, you can bet Atlanta & DFW would still get top-flight pro franchises. It’s just that the owners would have to absorb more of the cost.
War Memorial is a completely different animal. Little Rock would love to have the Razorbacks & would profit from them playing there. But it would cost Washington Co & the UA a bunch of money. (I’m ignoring, of course, the other arguments in the GSD)
I was in Panther Stadium when we blew that big lead to VT in the Belk Bowl. I thought it was a nice enough stadium. Wasn’t blown away by it, but I was comparing it to Jerry World & the Georgia Dome.
I was in the Super Dome when we played in the 2010 Sugar Bowl against OSU. It is old & outdated. I had some of the more expensive seats, but I’d have preferred cheaper ones in the UD. I was under one of the cantilevered decks & while I could see plays on my end of the field (I was in the EZ), I couldn’t see the ball if it was punted, kicked or even passed, anywhere above my sight lines.
Haven’t been to either one of those. JerryWorld has all the bells and whistles from all reports, Georgia Dome maybe not so much (and it wasn’t much older than BofA Stadium in Charlotte). I’ve been to the Superdome several times, starting with the 1980 Sugar Bowl, for both hoops and football. UD is WAAAAY up there; Superdome was the first stadium with video screens suspended over the field for a good reason. Otherwise you’re watching ants on the field below.
One thing about BofA I should mention. If you’ve seen my Facebook feed this week, you saw that my son is a big boy (he got that from his momma; he’s 6-5 and 300+). He and his mom have had issues at some stadiums both with leg room and with fitting into armchair-type seats. No such problems at Charlotte, except that the cupholder in front impinged a bit on his legroom when there was a cup in it. He was surprised that the capacity there is actually slightly less than RRS (on the Wikipedia list of largest US stadiums, RRS is 29th and Charlotte is 30th), but larger seats and more legroom may explain why. More comfortable than he was in New Orleans in 2011, put it that way.
When I was a UA student, there was a course offered for one semester called Sports in America, which was kind of a sociological look at sports. Amazingly, there were no athletes in it. It was a serious class, though; he required a paper and the tests were not easy at all. I wrote my paper on the need to expand War Memorial Stadium. This was the Holtz era, when both stadiums were sold out on a season basis and there were usually four Little Rock games. I looked at several options, including upper decks, and pushing back the east stands and lowering the field to add more field-level seats (which would also force them to upgrade things like plumbing and drainage). Doing all of that would have pushed capacity well over 70K and the GSD might never have happened. RRS still needed to be expanded eventually, but a modernized, larger stadium would have resolved a lot of issues.
I would have to respectfully disagree with you. They are selling out most of the games here in Atlanta. Arthur Blank (owner of the Falcons and Atlanta United) is using an approach that it is affordable for families. The concessions are very reasonable. I don;t know the exact numbers but they say a family of four can go for half the price of Philly or NY. While it is almost next to the old stadium, it feels safer. They continue to build around the stadium to stay after the games. They have done the same with the Atlanta Braves Stadium except moved it farther out of town. Millennials buy $7.00 tickets and get into the stadium where they have no seat assignments but just stay where they drink and eat. In both areas, people want to move there and that was not the case previously. They come early and stay late after the games. It’s working well here. Tax revenues are up. Property values are up which means property taxes are up. Construction is booming. I think the tax payer is getting a return on their investment and more.
My comment has nothing to do with ticket prices or whether sports franchises are good for a city in general. My comment has to do with the competition between cities or even cities within the same metro area to give the owners more than they should to wrest the franchise away from another city or another part of town.