Multi-purpose Stadium - Replacement and Retention

Replacement and Retention

The first real departure from the multipurpose stadium design occurred in 1972, when the Jackson County Sports Authority in Kansas City, Missouri opened the Truman Sports Complex, which houses Kauffman Stadium (named Royals Stadium at the time of opening) and Arrowhead Stadium. The Truman Sports Complex was the first example of multiple stadiums being built for specific sports at the same time. The designers, Kivett and Myers, were then absorbed by Kansas City architecture firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum to become HOK Sport + Venue + Event (now the independent firm Populous), who went on to design many pro sports venues in the United States. Though hailed as revolutionary at the time, the Truman Sports Complex model of stadium design was widely ignored for the next twenty years, though the influence of both Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums were easily seen in venues such as Giants Stadium.

The true end of the multi-purpose era began in 1987, when Buffalo's Pilot Field, a stadium built for the Buffalo Bisons minor league baseball team and a potential MLB expansion franchise, opened. During the 1990s and 2000s, most of the multipurpose stadiums used for Major League Baseball in the United States were replaced (most, but not all, of those replaced have been demolished) by "retro" style ballparks. These parks come in two varieties: "retro-classic" parks, which combine the interior and exterior design of the "classic" ballparks with the amenities of newer facilities; and "retro-modern" parks, which have modern amenities and "retro" interiors but have modern exterior designs. The first "retro-classic" park in Major League Baseball was Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, which opened in 1992 and was based mostly on the Pilot Field design. (Comiskey Park had opened a year earlier in Chicago, but it was very modernist in its design and had little in common with the later retro-classic parks. However, due to extensive renovations over the years, Comiskey Park now enjoys many of the same amenities.) The "retro-modern" park made its first appearance in 1994 with the opening of Jacobs Field, in Cleveland. Many football teams that shared a stadium with a baseball team had their stadiums converted into football-only facilities shortly after the baseball tenant left (e.g., Qualcomm Stadium), while other football teams followed in the footsteps of their baseball counterparts and had new football-only stadiums constructed.

The widespread adoption of FieldTurf and similar modern artificial turfs beginning in the early 2000s also has had a role in the decline of the multi-purpose stadium. While first-generation, short-pile turfs such as AstroTurf lent themselves well to multiple sports (one could have a turf for football, roll it up and replace it with one for baseball, soccer or lacrosse), this was not the case with FieldTurf and its competitors. Modern artificial turf requires a more permanent installation, including sand and rubber base and/or infill that is not easily removed, and thus does not lend itself well to multi-purpose stadiums. Because of such turfs' superiority in other features compared to the earlier turfs, it has been seen as easier to build new stadiums for each sport rather than attempt to share an inflexible turf installation among multiple sports.

The Miami Marlins, who changed their name from the original Florida Marlins in November 2011, moved to Marlins Park, a new retractable roof stadium in Miami, in 2012. Sun Life Stadium is soon to be renovated to eliminate its baseball functionality, making it a football-only stadium.

With the Marlins' relocation, the Oakland Athletics are the only team left in the U.S. still sharing a stadium with an NFL team (the Oakland Raiders), Coliseum. The A's and Raiders are both seeking new places to play; the A's recently commenced plans to build Cisco Field. The Raiders have no concrete plans to move, but have suggested a move back to Los Angeles, where they played from 1982 to 1994. There have also been suggestions for the Raiders to share the proposed new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara with the San Francisco 49ers. The Raiders' lease on the Coliseum expires after the 2013 season.

Currently, soccer-specific stadiums are now required by North America's three main soccer leagues, Major League Soccer, the North American Soccer League and USL Pro.

In Canada, smaller, more specialized stadiums have generally become more popular, but none of the major multi-use stadiums of the 1970s and 1980s have been demolished as of 2012. The Toronto Blue Jays currently share Rogers Centre with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and began sharing the facility on a part-time basis with the Buffalo Bills of the NFL in August 2008. The Toronto Argonauts have twice publicly announced plans to leave Rogers Centre only to end up staying, though Toronto FC built their own, soccer-specific facility, BMO Field. The Blue Jays presently do not have any plans to leave Rogers Centre. BC Place in Vancouver is still used by the BC Lions and was also the Olympic Stadium for the 2010 Winter Olympics, although the Lions played their 2010 season at the temporary Empire Field while BC Place was being renovated to replace the original air-supported roof with a retractable roof. The Vancouver Whitecaps, which entered Major League Soccer in 2011, shared Empire Field and are sharing the renovated BC Place with the Lions. This was intended to be a temporary arrangement until the MLS team could build their own Whitecaps Stadium, but local opposition to the planned stadium has led the Whitecaps to make BC Place a long-term home. The Montreal Expos' owners often cited the inadequacy of Olympic Stadium as a reason for the team's financial troubles which eventually led to relocation to Washington, D.C. The Montreal Alouettes moved out of Olympic Stadium to Molson Stadium. In soccer, the original Montreal Impact built the smaller Saputo Stadium, which was expanded to accommodate the team's 2012 entry into MLS. Both the Alouettes and Impact continue to use Olympic Stadium for playoff games and other special events when extra capacity is needed. Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton received major upgrades to host the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, and continues to host the Edmonton Eskimos, but is not hosting the new soccer team, FC Edmonton, which began play in 2011.

An added benefit of single-sport stadiums that was impossible with the "concrete donut" design of the multi-purpose stadiums is improved panoramic views of areas outside the stadium, such as mountains, bodies of water, or city skylines. Examples include CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field, which replaced the Kingdome in Seattle, and Heinz Field and PNC Park, which replaced Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh.

Still, however, several modern baseball-specific stadiums are able to be (and have been) converted for football use. In addition to the aforementioned Safeco Field, which has hosted occasional college football games, San Francisco's AT&T Park (which hosted the XFL's San Francisco Demons and hosts the annual Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, and hosted California Golden Bears football games in the 2011 season while that team's stadium was being renovated), Phoenix's Chase Field (which hosted the Insight Bowl from 2000–2005), and St. Petersburg's Tropicana Field (which was built as a baseball specific stadium but began hosting a college bowl game in 2008) have all been used to host professional and college games since they were built; Tropicana Field, being an indoor stadium, has also hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning ice hockey team for a time. (It should also be noted that Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., was to be the original host of the EagleBank Bowl before that game was moved to RFK Stadium) Yankee Stadium hosts the Pinstripe Bowl and occasional college football and soccer matches.

Furthermore, some teams in the United Football League have played their home schedule at a baseball-specific stadium. The California Redwoods played their home games at the aforementioned AT&T Park; though they moved to a football stadium in Sacramento (Sacramento Mountain Lions) in 2010 and 2011, they moved back to a baseball park (this time Raley Field) for 2012. Although their home field was the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, the Florida Tuskers played one 2009 home game at Tropicana Field. The team has since moved to the Hampton Roads area as the Virginia Destroyers and is now playing in a soccer-specific stadium. The Omaha Nighthawks played their inaugural 2010 season at a baseball park, Rosenblatt Stadium, and will play in Rosenblatt's baseball-specific replacement, TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, for the foreseeable future.

Read more about this topic:  Multi-purpose Stadium

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