Thursday, December 22, 2005

MLS stadium followup (and name suggestions)

First, a few good name suggestions for the new MLS franchise: Houston Heat, Hurricanes, Drillers (oil & gas play on "drilling" one into the goal), Energy, or Tejanos (playing off the Texans).

OK, now that we got that out of the way, on to serious stuff: I posted last week questioning why Houston needs a new stadium for Major League Soccer. Today the Chronicle pretty much answered the question:

Like other pro-sports franchises, MLS teams demand soccer-specific stadiums because they can control scheduling and negotiate lucrative concessions and parking deals, Luck and Courtemanche said.

A soccer-specific stadium also provides a much better venue to watch MLS games, Luck said.

"Sports are all about atmosphere," he said. "When you put 18,000, 20,000 or 22,000 people in Reliant Stadium, there is no atmosphere. It's like putting six people in a ballroom for dinner."

The MLS regular season runs from April to October.

So they want to cut a deal with HISD or UH to build a joint-use $65-80 million stadium. I've got think there are many, many more important things both those educational institutions could spend that kind of money on. Their existing stadiums aren't extravagant, but I think they adequately meet their needs. And atmosphere? Like heat, humidity, thunderstorms and mosquitos? Has anybody explained to them about Houston summers? Or are they supposed to convince HISD or UH to build yet another domed stadium in Houston?

There was a time when Houston thought at least semi-rationally about stadium investments, like getting the Astrodome to work for both baseball and football and Reliant to work for both football and the rodeo. But now two sports with similar field requirements and complimentary seasons can't share an ultra-modern, air-conditioned, roof-opening, half-billion-dollar stadium because they might have to coordinate home and away games for a couple months? Or they can't get creative about noise, crowd energy, and hiding empty seats? (like the Spurs did with the Alamodome - or see my suggestion in the original post's comments) Or because they can't find an equitable way to share parking and concession revenue? Here's a radical off-the-wall idea: how about whichever team is playing gets the revenues for that game? Is there something I'm missing that makes that inequitable?

What's next? We get a National Hockey League franchise but the Toyota Center just isn't going to cut it? Come'on folks. Just a little practicality and common sense? Please?


At 3:47 AM, December 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Houston Republic FC.

You heard it here first.

At 8:17 AM, December 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about, " We Built This To Enrich Contractors, Developers and Team Owners Instead Of Hiring New Policemen, Improving Our Schools or Attracting New High Tech Industry to Houston" Memorial Soccer Stadium.

At 2:10 PM, December 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would almost be willing to have a public-funded soccer stadium if it carried the name that ttyler5 suggested!

Tory, I do like your proposed team name of the Tejanos. I think I'd shy away from Hurricanes... in 2005, that'd be about as popular as naming them the Roadside Bombers.

At 11:52 AM, December 28, 2005, Blogger kjb434 said...

The only public funded money to go to this facility is the land which will not change use from it currently being a sports complex. The MLS Franchise will pay for all the construction.


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