Amenities driving up cost of new stadiums

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 8, 2012 - 10:23 AM
hide

MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Photo: Julio Cortez, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Most of the frills and extras planned for the Vikings football stadium that rises on the Minneapolis skyline next year will take months to shape.

But for $975 million, expect plenty.

High-definition scoreboards will replay the big plays, and spacious, well-lit concourses will give fans plenty of elbow room.

A retractable roof, if built, would open the playing field to the autumn sun. A retractable window could offer a picturesque view of a scenic downtown skyline.

Skyways will link to nearby parking lots. A public plaza will promote car-less tailgating. A team museum and Hall of Fame will showcase the best in franchise history, which some day might even include a much-coveted but extremely elusive Super Bowl trophy.

"Football is so good on television that the experience both in coming into the stadium and during the game needs to be something where you say 'Hey, I don't want to miss that,' " said Ted Mondale, executive director for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public body working with the Vikings to develop the project.

"When people go to their first game here, just like Target Field, they need to walk out and say 'Wow! That was worth it.'"

Building an attraction

With groundbreaking still a year away, the 1.5 million-square-foot, multipurpose stadium is on target to become the fourth-most expensive NFL stadium ever built.

Three stadiums already have topped the $1 billion mark: MetLife Stadium, the league's largest with 82,566 seats for New York Giants and New York Jets fans; Cowboys Stadium with its retractable roof; and the under-construction new home to the San Francisco 49ers.

Those costs are more than double those of a decade ago, when NFL stadiums were built for between $400 million and $500 million, said Prof. Robert Boland of New York University's Tisch Center for Sports Management.

Inflation is partly responsible. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drove up steel, concrete and labor costs, too, Boland said.

But the trend toward larger, more sophisticated state-of-the-art fan attractions has had the greatest pricing impact, said Mike Cramer, director of sports and media at the University of Texas-Austin, who has been involved in building 13 arenas and stadiums nationwide.

"You are not just building a home for your football team. You are building an attraction," Cramer said. Everything matters, from the overall design to the width of the concourses and loading up premium areas with better finishes and more amenities.

"Most of the modern stadiums are going for everything," Cramer said. "Better finishes inside in the premium areas will generate, in theory, more income. So you are really seeing teams trying to upgrade substantially. In order to sell something at a higher price, they are spending more money."

TV competition

A few older sports venues, such as Boston's quirky Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox baseball team, or Green Bay's Lambeau Field, home of the NFL Packers and site of several memorable championship games, are fan attractions because of their rich history.

"Green Bay is not worried about having quite as many amenities because it is a shrine," Cramer said. "People will go just to say they've been in Lambeau Field.

"But," he added, "the Vikings have to have a better building to sell."

Jack Hill, project executive for the new 49ers stadium who also oversaw construction of Cowboys Stadium, said to get that, franchises are loading up on extras, from spacious luxury suites and greater food options to better in-stadium technology and more restrooms.

"You can boil this down to the simple fan experience," Hill said. "What NFL teams are competing against is [the comfort of] your living room."

People don't want to sit in traffic for hours or stand in line for food or bathrooms, Hill said.

Added Cramer: "What people want are good sightlines and good parking and bathrooms and more of them. But you don't have to be a construction manager to know that the more bathrooms you build, it costs a lot more money."

Roof decision

Under the financing plan approved by legislators, the Vikings will build a 65,000-seat stadium that could be expanded to accommodate 72,000 fans.

Roughly $828 million of the $975 million will be spent on construction of a "fixed roof" stadium. Another $100 million will be spent on roads, ramps, parking and curbs.

Nearly $26 million will be used to acquire several nearby properties. About $22 million will be spent on relocation and stadium improvements and operations at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, where the team will play at least one season while the new stadium is built.

If land costs run higher, or the Vikings play more than one season at TCF, the team and authority would have to cut from other parts of the budget, which could include trims to some extras, said Lester Bagley, a Vikings vice president and team point man on he project.

"The building also is programmed for baseball, soccer and basketball," Bagley said. "And all those budget items will put pressure on the 975."

Every detail of the stadium design, from the size of locker rooms to the style of countertops installed in the luxury suites, will be decided by the team and the stadium authority in the months ahead.

The Vikings hope to open the stadium by the 2016 NFL season.

"Look, everybody is not going to get everything they want," Mondale said. "If that's the process, we'll never deliver this project on time. But there will be some good discussions on what is in this building and what isn't."

One of the major decisions involves the roof. The stadium legislation calls for a fixed roof, but the Vikings have the option of building a retractable roof, wall or window.

The inspiration for the feature comes from Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in 2008 at a cost of $720 million. The stadium, home to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, has a mechanized retractable roof and a moveable window wall that opens to downtown.

While the retractable options are expensive -- Hill estimates $30 million to $50 million -- Bagley said any design savings could be directed toward a retractable feature. The bottom line, he said, is that it must be doable within the $975 million budget.

"We're confident," Bagley said, "that we can deliver a great project for that number."

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close