Will new stadium translate into victories?

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 11, 2012 - 12:00 PM

Sparkling new NFL stadiums can provide countless amenities and pad teams' coffers, but recent history shows they cannot guarantee success on the field.

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Artist's rendering of Vikings stadium

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Like it or not, the cost of doing business with the NFL was overdue in Minnesota.

Before the Vikings' stadium deal was approved Thursday, 78.1 percent of the league's 32 cities had, since 1995, already built new stadiums (21), significantly renovated old ones (Green Bay, Chicago and Kansas City) or recently reached an agreement to build a new stadium (San Francisco).

With the Metrodome being the sixth-oldest venue that wasn't renovated, it was only a matter of time before Minnesotans had to pony up or say goodbye to the Vikings. Unfortunately, choosing the former, even at a cost of $975 million, doesn't come with any guaranteed on-the-field success.

Most of the league's revenue -- about $4 billion in 2011 -- comes from broadcast deals and is shared evenly among 32 teams. Ticket sales also are split, with 60 percent going to home teams and 40 percent to the visitors.

What's not shared -- except for a 10 percent tax on the highest-revenue teams -- is revenue from the sale of luxury suites and stadium concessions. Hence the need for new stadiums that produce more revenue, higher profits and the capacity to keep pace with player costs.

But this is still a league that adheres to the core principle of parity. So new stadiums don't turn teams around by themselves.

Since 2000, 12 existing teams and one expansion franchise have gotten new stadiums. Of the 12 existing teams, five actually had a better record during the equal number of years before moving into the new stadium. Overall, those 12 are a combined 777-660-3 (.541) since their new stadiums opened compared to 722-717-1 (.502) in the equal number of years immediately before that.

Those 12 teams have made 44 playoff appearances and gone 51-39, including 5-7 in Super Bowls, since moving into new stadiums. During the equal number of years before their new stadiums, those teams made 38 playoff appearances and went 34-34, including 4-3 in Super Bowls.

Coincidence also plays a role.

The Patriots, for example, are 46 games better in their first 10 seasons in Gillette Stadium (123-37) than they were in their final 10 seasons at Foxboro Stadium (77-83). But they won the first of their three Super Bowls during the final season (2001) in their old stadium. And their current run of success has more to do with selecting Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft than any one player they acquired while in the new stadium.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, reached their first Super Bowl and their first NFL title game in 51 years during their third season (2008) in University of Phoenix Stadium. But the origin for that success came a year before the new stadium opened when Arizona got quarterback Kurt Warner off the street for a paltry one-year, $4 million deal.

There's no way to gauge how teams would have fared competitively or whether they could have even survived financially had they stayed in their old stadiums. But here's a before-and-after look at the 13 teams that have gotten new stadiums since 2000 (and notice just how much the cost of doing business with the NFL has increased in the past decade):

BENGALS, 2000: Paul Brown Stadium, $455 million.

New stadium, first 12 seasons: Record: 81-110-1 (.424). Playoffs: 0-3. Super Bowls: 0.

Old stadium, last 12 seasons: Record: 72-120 (.375). Playoffs: 3-2. Super Bowls: 1 (0-1).

Comment: Cincinnati has had two home playoff games in 12 seasons in its new stadium.

• • •

BRONCOS, 2001: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, $401 million.

New stadium, first 11 seasons: Record: 94-82 (.534). Playoffs: 2-4. Super Bowls: 0.

Old stadium, last 11 seasons: Record: 105-71 (.597). Playoffs: 8-4. Super Bowls: 2 (2-0).

Comment: John Elway retired three years before the new stadium opened.

• • •

STEELERS, 2001: Heinz Field, $281 million.

New stadium, first 11 seasons: Record: 118-57-1 (.673). Playoffs: 12-6. Super Bowls: 3 (2-1).

Old stadium, last 11 seasons: Record: 102-74 (.580). Playoffs: 5-6. Super Bowls: 1 (0-1).

Comment: Pittsburgh won six division titles in new stadium compared to five in its final 11 seasons at Three Rivers Stadium.

• • •

LIONS, 2002: Ford Field, $430 million.

New stadium, first 10 seasons: Record: 47-113 (.294). Playoffs: 0-1. Super Bowls: 0.

Old stadium, last 10 seasons: Record: 72-88 (.450). Playoffs: 0-5. Super Bowls: 0.

Comment: The Lions started the Ford Field era with nine consecutive losing seasons.

• • •

SEAHAWKS, 2002: CenturyLink Field, $430 million.

New stadium, first 10 seasons: Record: 81-79 (.506). Playoffs: 5-6. Super Bowls: 1 (0-1).

Old stadium, last 10 seasons: Record: 69-91 (.431). Playoffs: 0-1. Super Bowls: 0.

Comment: Seattle switched from the AFC West to the easier NFC West in 2002.

• • •

TEXANS, 2002: Reliant Stadium, $352 million.

New stadium, first 10 seasons: Record: 65-95 (.406). Playoffs: 1-1. Super Bowls: 0.

Expansion team.

Comment: The Texans didn't make the playoffs until last year, their 10th season.

• • •

PATRIOTS, 2002: Gillette Stadium, $325 million.

New stadium, first 10 seasons: Record: 123-37 (.769). Playoffs: 13-6. Super Bowls: 4 (2-2).

Old stadium, last 10 seasons: Record: 77-83 (.481). Playoffs: 6-4. Super Bowls: 2 (1-1).

Comment: Tom Brady became a starter and won a Super Bowl in the final year of the old stadium.

• • •

EAGLES, 2003: Lincoln Financial, $512 million.

New stadium, first nine seasons: Record: 87-56-1 (.608). Playoffs: 6-6. Super Bowls: 1 (0-1).

Old stadium, last nine seasons: Record: 75-68-1 (.524). Playoffs: 5-5. Super Bowls: 0.

Comment: The first two of four consecutive NFC title games came when the team was still at Veterans Stadium.

• • •

CARDINALS, 2006: University of Phoenix Stadium, $455 million.

New stadium, first six seasons: Record: 45-51 (.468). Playoffs: 4-2. Super Bowls: 1 (0-1).

Old stadium, last six seasons: Record: 30-66 (.313). Playoffs: 0-0. Super Bowls: 0.

Comment: The Cardinals struck gold by getting Kurt Warner a year before new stadium opened.

• • •

COLTS, 2008: Lucas Oil Stadium, $720 million.

New stadium, first four seasons: Record: 38-26 (.594). Playoffs: 2-3. Super Bowls: 1. (0-1).

Old stadium, last four seasons: Record: 51-13 (.797). Playoffs: 5-3. Super Bowls: 1 (1-0).

Comment: The Peyton Manning-led Colts won four consecutive division titles in their last four years in the old RCA Dome.

• • •

COWBOYS, 2009: Cowboys Stadium, $1.3 billion.

New stadium, first three seasons: Record: 25-23 (.521). Playoffs: 1-1. Super Bowls: 0.

Old stadium, last three seasons: Record: 31-17 (.646). Playoffs: 0-2. Super Bowls: 0.

Comment: The Cowboys went 13-3 and had the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed two years before their new stadium opened.

• • •

GIANTS, 2010: Met Life Stadium, $1.6 billion.

New stadium, first two seasons: Record: 19-13 (.594). Playoffs: 4-0. Super Bowls: 1 (1-0).

Old stadium, last two seasons: Record: 20-12 (.625). Playoffs: 0-1. Super Bowls: 0.

Comment: The Giants won Super Bowl two years after the new stadium opened and another one three years before it opened.

• • •

JETS, 2010: Met Life Stadium, $1.6 billion.

New stadium, first two seasons: Record: 19-13 (.594). Playoffs: 2-1. Super Bowls: 0.

Old stadium, last 12 seasons: Record: 18-14 (.563). Playoffs: 2-1. Super Bowls: 0.

Comment: Reached AFC title game in the last year of the old stadium and the first year of the new one.

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Buffalo 17 FINAL
New England 9
Cleveland 10 FINAL
Baltimore 20
Dallas 44 FINAL
Washington 17
Indianapolis 27 FINAL
Tennessee 10
Jacksonville 17 FINAL
Houston 23
San Diego 7 FINAL
Kansas City 19
NY Jets 37 FINAL
Miami 24
Chicago 9 FINAL
Minnesota 13
Philadelphia 34 FINAL
NY Giants 26
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Tampa Bay 20
Carolina 34 FINAL
Atlanta 3
Detroit 20 FINAL
Green Bay 30
Oakland 14 FINAL
Denver 47
Arizona 17 FINAL
San Francisco 20
St. Louis 6 FINAL
Seattle 20
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Pittsburgh 27
Arizona 1/3/15 3:35 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 1/3/15 7:15 PM
Pittsburgh
Detroit 103 FINAL
Cleveland 80
Houston 106 FINAL
San Antonio 110
Oklahoma City 107 FINAL
Dallas 112
New York 79 FINAL
Portland 101
Toronto 116 FINAL
Denver 102
Phoenix 116 FINAL
LA Lakers 107
Toronto 4 FINAL
Florida 6
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Wisconsin 68
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California 52
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
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(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
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(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
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(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
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(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
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Arkansas State
Drexel 71 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 54
Holy Cross 63 FINAL
Norfolk State 62
East Carolina 62 FINAL
South Florida 69
(10) Oregon State 63 FINAL
(8) Tennessee 74
Providence 51 FINAL
Boston College 79
Florida A&M 47 FINAL
Miami-Florida 83
Oakland 69 FINAL
Central Michigan 74
Chattanooga 59 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 49
Fairfield 59 FINAL
La Salle 73
St Francis-PA 59 FINAL
Pittsburgh 97
Milwaukee 72 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 78
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Longwood 63
New Hampshire 58 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Bucknell 68 FINAL
Binghamton 57
Northeastern 70 FINAL
Albany 67
George Mason 70 FINAL
Towson 72
Richmond 59 FINAL
William & Mary 56
Tulane 60 FINAL
Cincinnati 50
North Florida 51 FINAL
Florida 63
(14) Georgia 51 FINAL
Seton Hall 70
Tennessee St 75 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 87
American Univ 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 77
Massachusetts 78 FINAL
Boston U 57
Quinnipiac 69 FINAL
Saint Josephs 67
Lafayette 49 FINAL
Saint Peters 34
Northwestern 61 FINAL
(20) Michigan State 57
Duquesne 82 FINAL
Lehigh 75
George Washington 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 49
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Indiana 51
(24) Green Bay 66 FINAL
Dayton 72
Western Mich 55 FINAL
Stony Brook 59
Davidson 67 FINAL
Virginia 57
UNC Greensboro 61 FINAL
LSU 82
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North Texas 55
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Houston Baptist 86
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Rice 97
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Alabama 71
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Eastern Illinois 49
Middle Tennessee 98 FINAL
Tenn Tech 76
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(23) Iowa 77
Purdue 62 FINAL
Illinois 55
DePaul 99 FINAL
Illinois State 62
Sam Houston St 46 FINAL
Wichita State 70
South Dakota 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 69
(4) Notre Dame 82 FINAL
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Niagara 70
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Siena 80
Michigan 53 FINAL
Wisconsin 63
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Yale 51 FINAL
(25) Arizona State 69
UC Santa Barbara 34 FINAL
(16) Stanford 90
Long Island 63 FINAL
Long Beach St 71
Jackson State 56 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Eureka 50 FINAL
Western Ill 91
Cornell 59 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 76
Temple 58 FINAL
Memphis 57
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