Rams stadium to serve “regular fans” by giving them place to drink beer and not watch the game

When you’re locked in a flamewar with the legislators you need to pass your football stadium funding plan, what can you do to get people excited about it again? Release new renderings of what the stadium might look like if it ever gets built!

55e61e893f6ba.imageNow, sure, you or I might look at this and think, “Wow, those upper deck seats are going to be a million miles from the field, sitting atop two (or three?) levels of luxury suites and looking down even on the scoreboard.” But that’s not how HOK designer Eli Hoisington thinks of it:

“There’s a trend where everything is luxury, everything is suites now. And we put the general die-hard St. Louis fan front-and-center, embedded in the experience.”

Hoisington’s example of “front-and-center”: Fans will get a three-story brewpub on the outside of the stadium, where they can buy beers and look out at the Mississippi River. Also a 30-foot-wide observation deck for looking at, again, not the game.

Here’s where I would normally make a joke about a slow, muddy river being more entertaining to watch than the Rams, but you know what? This isn’t about what the Rams have done on the field lately, or what they’ll do in the future, or even whether diehard fans might enjoy watching the team through good times and bad, because that’s what diehard fans do. This is about stadium designers thinking that the best thing can do for “regular fans” is give them a really big place to get drunk while watching the game on TV monitors. The saddest part of which is that in the modern NFL-watching experience, it may actually be true.


12 comments on “Rams stadium to serve “regular fans” by giving them place to drink beer and not watch the game

  1. “And we put the general die-hard St. Louis fan front-and-center, embedded in the experience.”…………..In other words far away from those that are fortunate enough to be embedded in a life of luxury…..We don’t want the general die-hard fans near those other “fans.”

  2. Neil’s words are so true. Was at Levi’s stadium for Niners-Wahsington last year on a pair of free tiks in the lower bowl with access to the UNited Airlines Bar and its seemed like half of the lower west side bowl was in there enjoying the comforts and watching the game on TVs. So sad (but comfy!)

  3. That might help explain why one team is setting up to defend a goal-line stand while the other is wandering aimlessly across the field.

  4. Great observations again!

    That’s why franchises are trying to get the public to pay for these ghastly huge “entertainment districts” next to sports venues. The Milwaukee Bucks claim they will create a “community living room” and the “country’s biggest outdoor sports bar” with Jumbotrons surrounded by places to buy beer and brats. They’re calling it a public space but it will be controlled by the Bucks. Same with plans for a “park” adjacent to Vikings arena that will be controlled by the team and closed off for their exclusive use as they choose.

    Since there can be only one “biggest,” the next city will have to build a bigger one! And yes, the new Bucks arena will have 1,700 fewer seats, since they already have trouble selling game tickets. Now they’ll just settle for poaching all the existing sports bars.

  5. Neil,

    Upper tank is too high primarily because of the desires of rank-and-file fans, not because of luxury boxes. Ordinary fans prefer steep seating, and it pushes the upper decks way the heck up. You said it yourself when you posted about Nationals Park. You were pleasantly surprised with how low the upper deck seats were. Nats Park has multiple decks of boxes, but because the pitch of the lower and middle bowls are less steep, you were lower in the upper bowl.

  6. Sport industry league directors. franchise owners, pol’s who benefit from the
    previously mentioned, building designers can subscribe to the mentality
    “…because you’ll buy anything…” (taken from early SNL parody commercial)
    because their easily-led sheep customers DO.
    Big-time sports is the opiate of the masses, time to break free of the addiction.

  7. Many of us have been expecting that the “next wave” (though they don’t really come in waves, more of a continuous drain on public coffers…) of NFL stadia would be designed almost entirely to cater to the well heeled fan.

    I believe Neil has suggested that there could be a 25-30,000 seat “all premium” seat stadium designed around staggeringly opulent boxes and loges, and prime seating for fans who can afford the price (which I would suggest might be in the tens of thousands for a pair of season “seats” and all that comes with them).

    The question is, will the fact that the NFL (and in some respects all sports) is essentially discarding it’s rank and file (wage earning) fan affect the ability of the owners to extort public money to build these palaces?

    Logic says no, that when ordinary fans can no longer even afford access to the building, let alone a nice seat, that the taxpayer would turn his/her back on this form of entertainment. But then again, logic would also suggest they wouldn’t be lobbying for higher taxes so that they can sit nearly twice as far from the entertainment and pay extra for the privilege as well.

    There is no Santa Claus and a Dodger dog is, I’m sorry to say, really just a hot dog.

  8. This is a genius move by the Rams: redefining “fan” itself to mean someone who doesn’t watch the games and drinks beer. After a decade of abysmal football, they can surely count on having about 2,975,000 fans in the metro area alone.