Groundbreaking In Houston, Add Another Stadium To The List

On a beautiful sunny Saturday Afternoon in downtown Houston, a big festival was forming while dignitaries from MLS, City of Houston, State of Texas and the members of the Dynamo were all on a stage showing everyone what will entail for this 22,000 seat stadium that will be ready for the 2012 season.

MLS President Mark Abbott, President and CEO of AEG Tim Leiweke, Golden Boy Productions President and part owner of the Dynamo Oscar De La Hoya and many other politicians from Houston and the State of Texas came to celebrate a major achievement for the game in the United States.

A large crowd of Dynamo supporters came together and watched a great video explaining and showing where the stadium will be built and what it will have besides the Dynamo matches on real turf. The stadium will be close to the Toyota Arena that is home to the NBA’s Rockets and Minute Maid Park that is home to MLB’s Astros.

As always these discussions to create new stadiums for the game in the states are always a tough sell to local governments. Finally after all the red tape that keeps on blocking these projects, all the problems have been solved. The state of Texas will have two soccer specific stadiums in the suburbs of Dallas and in 2012 the city of Houston will join them.

No matter how you slice it, these stadium projects are very important to grow the league and grow the game in this country. I know I have always sounded like a broken record, but it still has to be said and it’s a reminder. Before we can implement all these things that has worked well in Europe, stadiums must be built and stop paying rent to facilities that our clubs don’t own.

Just as it’s exciting to see Sporting Kansas City building their stadium and starting in the middle of this season, PGE Park is making a transition to being a permanent Soccer stadium in Portland, Oregon. You can now add to the list of soccer specific stadiums in North America like Toyota Park (CHI), Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (COL), Crew Stadium (CLB), Pizza Hut Park (DAL), Home Depot Center (LA & CHV), Red Bull Arena (NY), PPL Park (PHI), Rio Tinto Stadium (RSL), and BMO Field (TOR).

Once again another home field advantage for our US Men’s & Women’s National Team is when it comes to friendly matches or World Cup Qualifying and a possible CONCACAF Gold Cup venue for the 2013 tournament. I know a few supporters who follow the Houston Dynamo that are very happy that this day has finally come. My good friend Warren Jones, Stacy Smith, of course Brian Zygo who was a guest on the MLS Talk Podcast, and of course Glenn Davis who covers the club on local Houston TV.

In my heart I am happy this day has come as well. It strengthens our players, the local supporters of Houston and our league to become better and better every single year. But once again more needs to be done to make our league stronger. We can’t sit back and assume it’s done, there should be something happening in our nation’s Capitol when it comes to DC United (as well as New England Revolution in the Boston area) to create new homes for the game.

30 thoughts on “Groundbreaking In Houston, Add Another Stadium To The List”

  1. I have to admit I only skimmed through this article, but I picked up on this:

    stadiums must be built and stop paying rent to facilities that our clubs don’t own

    While I generally soccer-specific stadiums are a good thing (so that you can have a decent atmosphere and no confusing lines on the field), I don’t see why the ownership/rental status of the stadium is so important.

    In New York, the Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Rangers all play at rented facilities, and it hasn’t done them any harm. In Italy, plenty of historic soccer teams have historically rented their stadiums (either from local municipalities or from other teams).

    1. I can’t speak to the Yankees, Mets etc.
      The way that I understand it, MLS teams are WAY more profitable when not renting, because of owning concession rights and things like that.

      “Before we can implement all these things that has worked well in Europe”
      I would love to see that list !
      Unlike MLS, I don’t see much working right in Europe. MLS stay the course.

      Kartik voted Houston the Best Soccer City ( or something like that ) of the decade, lets fill that place Dynamo fans.

    2. To Dave C: You are incorrect sir. The Knicks & the Rangers are owned by Cablevision and whoever owns the Knicks & Rangers also owns Madison Square Garden. So whoever owns Madison Square Garden owns both NHL & NBA NYC sides including the MSG Sports Network.

      The Steinbrenner family built the new Yankee Stadium and they own the stadium and everything that is in it. The only people who pay rent are the Hard Rock Cafe people & the other food consessions that make business in there. The Wilpons who own the Mets also own Citi Field.

      Like I have said before things work differently here in the States then they do in Europe. I understand that the Galaxy & Chivas-USA share the Home Depot Center and Chivas-USA pays rent to LA. This is not a Championship or League 1 sides here. We are trying to improve a Division 1 league here in the states.

      1. Daniel,
        Obviously I was wrong about the Knicks and the Rangers – I didn’t realize they were owned by the same people (and that those same people also owned MSG).

        But in the case of the Yankees and the Mets, I am definitely right. Steinbrenner and the Wilpons may have contributed towards the cost of building those stadiums, but they most certainly do not own them. The stadiums are City property, the baseball teams both have a rental agreement with the City’s Parks Department, under which they pay rent based on a certain percentage of their gross revenues. You can find audits of their compliance with these agreements on the NYC Comptroller’s webste.

        The USTA Tennis facility at Flushing Meadow is also operated under a similar arrangement.

        1. Also, why do you say “Like I have said before things work differently here in the States then they do in Europe“, when in the article itself you suggest that the exact thing we need to do is have teams with ownership of their own stadium (as is common in a lot of Europe) so that “we can implement all these things that have worked well in Europe.”

        2. You are right with the Yankees and Mets…BUT:

          It is completely different. Who is the City going to rent a baseball stadium too ? The Yankees and Mets hold ALL the cards.

          Not the case with the Dynamos and others using someone else’s football stadium. Seahawks-Sounders obviously the exception with the semi-joint ownership/management group.

          1. You’re right that the Yankees and Mets hold all the cards. I wasn’t trying to make a statement as to the political rights or wrongs of the situation of having a stadium owned by a municipality and rented to a team. I was just pointing out that it is factually incorrect to say the Yankees or Mets own their own stadiums.

            I don’t think it’s an inherently bad thing for a team to rent a stadium from someone else (whether that be a local government, a rival team, a property developer or whatever).

          2. Dave,

            I know the situation differs from stadium to stadium. But I was told by someone who I believe is in the know that it cost RBNY between $200K and $250K just to open the doors for a match at the Meadowlands. Tack on no money from concessions or parking, and you can see why it was a losing proposition. I would imagine costs elsewhere wouldn’t be near that amount, but still, how can you possibly afford to pay player salaries, never mind the associated costs of running a club, under that type of situation?

          3. I’m sure you’re probably quite right about RBNY’s situation at Meadowlands… but that doesn’t mean that rental arrangements in themselves are bad. They just had a crappy rental arrangement for a stadium that didn’t really suit their main purpose.

            I think the main issue here is not who owns the stadium, or who rents from who, but whether or not the stadium is fit for MLS purposes.

          4. Dave C: I understand that the Yankees & Mets are probably not the True landloards of their own stadiums because of special tax breaks or what have you, but once again they make the rules of what goes into the stadium. They control who uses it like allowing that college football bowl game. Pinstripe Bowl and other things.

            And Clampdown is correct. It costed Metro/RBNY $250,000 a game to open the stadium for a league match, that’s why they moved Open Cup games to different venues for a cheaper price. They never got money for the food, drinks, consessions, Parking, none of that from the NJSEA, Only ticket sales. At Red Bull Arena RBNY can have any event they want without handing over a check for rent. They are paying Harrison property tax for sure but that’s why they were able to allow the Big East to have their College Soccer tournament to play both semi-finals & Final.

            No matter what the situation is, the only way the game is doing well is not paying rent to a facillity that is owned by someone else. The price is way to high unless they are decent and wants to charge less.

            Just to let you know about the New Meadowlands stadium. Both the Jets & Giants of the NFL own it and they have a say in what’s being performed in it. Once Giants Stadium went to the ground the NJSEA has no control over the stadium. They just collect the taxes. The only control the Horse racetrack & IZOD center. That’s it.

        3. @ Dave C.

          The Yankees and Mets stadium situation you presented while factual correct is misleading. Wilpon and Steinbrenner specifically requested they NOT be the owners and elected to pay nominal rent so they wouldn’t have to pay property tax and insurance on the billion dollar stadiums. It is the same thing the Dynamo owners are doing.

  2. MLS building stadiums is like building a Ferrari with a go-kart engine. Got to change the product on the field before declaring a success.

    FC Frisco have a shiny new stadium that sat empty for the past several seasons. Hopefully FC Frisco will pack that stadium since they are now MLS Champions.

    1. Ummm, FC Frisco is not MLS Champions – Colorado is.

      FC Frisco – as you call them – explains the problem, the stadium is in the far northern suburbs of Dallas.

      The Dynamo Stadium is located in Downtown Houston, walking distance to Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

  3. I’m supprised that Robert Kraft hasn’t tried using the state of Connecticut and it’s tax pays as leverage to get a soccer specific stadium in the Foxborough complex.

    1. Why would Kraft do a half-@ssed thing like that? If he wanted to build a SSS in Foxboro, he could do it now. Nothing stopping him. But why put a SSS right next to Gillette when Gillette is only used by the Pats 10 times a year plus a few playoff games? Waste of money putting a SSS there.

      If Kraft builds a SSS it will be inside 95, preferably near public transportation. Possibly in Somerville or at the former Wonderland dog track in Revere. Not happening soon, but makes much more sense than playing at Foxboro, out in the suburbs. A SSS at Foxboro would be another Pizza Hut Park, too far from the main center of population.

  4. Get rid of our freaking owners in NE, The Revolution is a f*ing joke! We need our own stadium in Boston and we need to be rebranded. Come one, Boston has so much local history how are we not using this!

    CELTIC BOSTON FC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. The fact is that in all sports new stadiums sells tickets at least for a while. Many American’s have never experience the joys of a soccer specifc stadium unitl one is built.In Chicago’s Toyota Park sells the game. I often take people to Fire games to see their first game of soccer. Everyone comes away in love with Toyota Park and later tries to learn the game to enjoy the experience better.

    If it takes soccer specific stadiums to grow the game in the US thats fine by me. Houston fans enjoy!

  6. I am glad Houston will have its own stadium. There is no doubt that this will help the League grow. Go LA Galaxy!!!

    1. Explain yourself ExtraMedium – are you saying that non fans are paying for the Dynamo stadium? If so then you’re utterly clueless as to how the funding for the stadium in Houston is being worked out. The Dynamo are paying for the building of the stadium. The small amount of tax money, which is raised via a TIRZ that is collected only in the area the stadium is located in, goes to the land and infrastructure. Walmart & Continental have gotten more tax payer money from Houston & Harris County than the Dynamo Stadium is getting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *