Forgetting the Basics: Where Modern Stadiums Go Wrong

Kevin GilhoolyContributor IJanuary 14, 2009

There's one thing that owners tend to forget when building their shrines to themselves. Unfortunately, it's a critical item to many fans, even though it's not directly part of the game itself.

Here are a couple of examples—see if these sound familiar:

We went to a Texas Rangers game a year or so ago, and their ballpark is in Arlington, half-way between Dallas and Ft Worth. It took us about a half-hour to get from our house in Dallas to the game. It took almost an hour just to get out of the parking lot and back onto the highway to get back to Dallas.

We went to a couple of Dallas Cowboys pre-season game during the fabled "last season" at Texas Stadium. If took almost an hour to get into the stadium. There were reports of people stuck in traffic before the last home game that never got in at all—they just left.

Jerry Jones is opening the world's most fabulous, magical stadium next year - it doesn't have a name yet, but it's going to be great! There's just one problem - like the Cowboys current home, it's going to be really painful to get there.

I-30 travels between Dallas and Ft. Worth—the new stadium is near the half-way point between the cities—in fact, it's next door to the Rangers ballpark that we couldn't get away from. I-30 is under construction (again.) Where? Near the half-way point. It should be completed some time after the stadium opens.

Here's the root problem that I see—stadium designers worry about sight lines and seat sizes and wine bar locations, but nobody seems to remember that eighty to ninety thousand people are going to be leaving the place at the same time.

I think before any more public money is donated to team owners who don't want to spend their own money on a project, cities should insist the owners include public transportation as part of the package. If you don't need acres and acres of parking lots, you can have stadiums with smaller footprints. If you don't have thousands of cars, you won't have traffic nightmares after the game.

Especially in the DFW area, where there is light and heavy rail in place already, would it really take that much to run a train line to Jerryworld? It would make life much easier for all the fans.