Domed Stadiums: A Look Into the Future of the New NFL Stadium

Domed Stadiums

When the Astrodome opened to the world in 1965, the National Football League saw something that would lead to a look into the future. The “eighth wonder of the world” has a fixed roof, and is big enough to allow football to be played indoors. While the Astrodome is currently closed at this time, it’s legacy as a domed stadium is still shown.

 At the moment, going on which stadiums will be used for the 2020 National Football League season. 10 “fixed” or “retractable” roof stadiums are in use within the NFL. That is three for every 10 stadiums. Not exactly a big number, yet notable at the same time. There has also been an uptick of domed stadiums being built. Nine of these 10 domed stadiums have been built in the last 20 years. So the question has to be asked, is the future stadium that will be used in the National Football League going to have a roof? 

Why Domed Stadiums Are the Way of the New NFL

You can already expect that some people that would be a big fan of the idea of a roof over their heads during a football game. The idea of not having to deal with the heat, the possible rain or snow with the open stadiums, and other potential outdoor problems is a plus for many fans coming to watch. The dome eliminates all those potential issues, and always a scenario that would be great for fans.

Another big negative for open roof stadiums is the issue of heat. Open roof stadiums allow the sun to bear down onto fans. When the new Levi’s Stadium opened up in 2012, the heat was an issue. The sun and heat from it caused many complaints from fans that were documented. An entire side of the stadium decided to leave their seats and go insides the walkways of the stadium because of the heat during a game. 

For the players, this could also be seen as the perfect place to play a game. No wind that disrupts the passing while the quarterback attempts a game-winning touchdown. No worrying about the possibility of fumbling the balls due to rain making it wet. Players also no longer wonder when playing in certain cities, if they will have to deal with a blizzard. A domed stadium allows for the perfect playing conditions for teams, putting everyone in a great place to play.

However, you will also have those who disagree, who say that the weather is a part of the game. To them, the images of the play about to begin, while snow is bearing down on the field. The old school mentality of different weather factors forces teams to adapt to these new conditions. Think of the images from Buffalo near the end of the season. When the big snowstorm has come from the north, and how different the game is. The snow games that are played would be lost 

Pricing is also a factor when it comes to building domed stadiums. The added price of an extra roof often inflates the budget of a stadium. A retractable roof can cost up to $150 million. A fixed roof can add around $40 million extra to a stadium. Any city or financier of a stadium would not want extra tens or hundreds of millions added to their stadium project because of an “unnecessary” component. 

The number of new stadiums in the NFL grows every year. The trend has been over the past two decades to have a dome with a new stadium, but with the pricing and old school mentality, will that change? All signs point to that not being the case, as the two new stadiums opening up for the 2020 NFL season will have domes. However, will the amount of extra money needed for these large roofs kill that in other cities?

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