May 11, 2012, 8:20 PM EDT
HOUSTON – You may be reading a lot about BBVA Compass Stadium. For instance, you’ll read about how important downtown stadiums are. And they are.
You’ll read about how they nailed the angles and kept every seat (almost perilously) close to the green, green grass. And they did. Nailed it good.
You might even read about getting the naming rights sorted out quickly, about how important that is. (Marketing mavens insist: miss the opportunity to name a stadium right away means leaving millions on the table. Columbus, for instance, missed coming out of the gate, continued to overvalue from there and remains today in search of a naming rights partner – and how many millions have they left on the table in 13 years?)
But this might be the single most impressive and perhaps most important 12 characters you’ll read ahead of tomorrow’s grand-occasion lid lifter:
That’s what this stadium cost. And you know what? They did a blue ribbon job of stretching the dollar on this orange splashed baby.
Heck, I want Dynamo president Chris Canetti negotiating my next car purchase, because he darn sure knows how to stretch a coat of orange paint, along with every other construction cost, apparently.
(That’s Chris Canetti on the left in the picture; not the best look at him, I know. He’s giving a personal tour there to MLS commissioner Don Garber.)
Compare that price tag to the $200 million for Red Bull Arena and the same for Livestrong Sporting Park outside Kansas City. Not bad, eh?
What does the extra cash get you? In New York, a bigger capacity for one thing; The 25,000 capacity is about 5,000 more than BBVA Compass Stadium. (The land costs were surely more substantial, as well.)
In Kansas City the extra cash is in all the little bells and whistles of technology, in addition to lots more “premium” seating. The five clubs, for instance, really help make Livestrong something special.
But do know this: at whatever price, BBVA is exactly what Houston needs. It’s functional. It’s downtown, which add so very much. It looks great, the aluminum exterior blending perfectly with the industrial surroundings. (The stadium is downtown, but it’s stuck right on the outer edge, the way a balcony comes off the side of a house.)
Houston is a port town, something of a blue collar place. Which means “functional and well-put together, without a lot of ornamental frills” is spot-on perfect.
You might be saying, “Why not just add the bells and whistles? Why squeeze the green so hard?” The answer is simple: These things sometimes don’t get done if the price isn’t right.
By the way, Canetti told me the actual construction cost was $80 million; the other $15 million was land acquisition cost, which makes the whole thing even more impressive.
As I said, I want that man riding shotgun on my next trip to the Home Depot Center – the building supply spot, that is, not the stadium.
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