Friday, February 8, 2013


Hey guys, it's been a while. But I want to try to get this blog back. I've seen some news, but just don't have the drive to type it up.

So is anyone still into me doing this blog?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stadium Report Cards: American Airlines Arena

Our friend Nick, who has done places like Marlins Ballpark, and Citi Field went to a Heat game and hooked us up with a report card.

Team: Miami Heat
Location: Miami, FL
League: National Basketball Association(Eastern COnference)
Built: 1999
Capacity: 19,600
My event: Regular Season Game vs Atlanta Hawks

1. Outdoor Design

The arena was beautifully designed. I like the feature on the roof, although you can not see it, of the American Airlines plane with the lights. Miami chose a great location for the arena right along Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami. You have a tremendous view of the Miami skyline. What really impressed me was the media mesh on the window of the main entrance. It covers up 12 window panes so it's big and it's beautiful and also very clear quality. The palm trees also gave it that Miani feel. 9/10 

2. Indoor Design

The concourses were nice and easy to navigate. The team store was not that big but that wasn't a big deal to me. The lower bowl is what stuck out to me. The red and orange color scheme that creates a flame was very impressive. Not a bad view pretty much anywhere you sit since it is a small arena. Still nicely done.  9/10

3. Prices
Normal prices for a sporting event. My friends and I got our tickets from stubhub for $30 otherwise they would have been $48. Food prices were typical as well. Souveniers from the team shop were lower than usual which was nice. Overall average prices.  7/10

4. Food
The Triple A provides a variety of food and drink options. From your typical pizza, burgers and hot dogs to choices of latin food. Nice variety although I didn't get to try it all.   8/10

5. Staff
Staff was a hit or miss. Some were enthusiastic and nice but others just seemed like they did not want to be there. They opened the doors a little later than normal, arguing with each other over who was going to stand next to whom so that got annoying. The concession attendants were nice and helpful as was one of the ladies doing the surveys whom was very nice to me. As I was leaving though one staff member was rude to me. I wanted to take a picture of the bay at night and she was nasty about it. Put a small damper on my night.   6/10

6. Cleanliness
Really clean arena and well kept. No complaints whatsoever.  8/10

7. Parking
Parking wasn't too bad. Typical prices but very accomidating. The only down side was leaving due to heavy traffic it was hard to get out but it is afterall Downtown Miami. No major complaints.  7/10

8. Atmosphere
This was the element I was anticipating the most and man did Heat fans deliver. Even on a Monday night in December the fans turned out and I don't hold it against them for being a little late to the game, for the arena did not really fill till midway through the first quarter, due again to traffic but the fans still came out and boy were they loud. They let the Hawks have it and supported their team. A LeBron alley-oop sent the crowd into a frenzy. The crowd was also very encouraged to make noise and have fun. The Heat fans did not dissapoint. 10/10

9. Playing Surface
The court design was nice. No issues with the court.  8/10

10. Scoreboard
A unique design to the scoreboard. It featured 4 big screens in a circle and 8 small screens above the big ones. In the center was a design that looked at first like an octopus but after a closer look was a sun with heat waves coming off of it that featured the lighting of the heat colors.  8/10

So overall that's a 80. I believe it, the Atmosphere should be nice, and the architecture is top notch.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Tampa SSS?

In Monday's State of the League address, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said that if the league is going to expand to the Southeast, better stadiums are a must.
By Wednesday afternoon, plans for a soccer specific stadium "in the heart of Tampa" — where the South begins or ends, depending upon what direction you're heading — backed by a slew of soccer folks and, apparently, the municipality itself, had suddenly come to light.
According to report at The Offside Rules, a group called VSI Flames, Inc., in conjunction with PRI Development Partners LLC, unveiled their vision of a 28,888 seat (expandable to 40,000) soccer-specific stadium that they intend to build in downtown Tampa by 2016. The location reportedly would be near the Ice Palace, where the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning play, and the available land is owned by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. Vinik is also a board member of Liverpool FC.
In the interim, there are plans for a modular stadium and a USL Pro expansion franchise to begin play in 2013. The team would become the second lower-flight franchise in the Tampa Bay area, as the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL just finished their third season across the bay in St. Petersburg.
The project website, with the headine "MLS Franchise in Tampa," is unambiguous about the overall intent:
"It is the stated intention of VSI to deliver and provide the soccer facility projects as detailed throughout this website in order to achieve its long term goal of securing an MLS franchise in the heart of the Tampa Bay community and in doing so will firmly put Tampa back on the world soccer map."
The list of VSI investors is impressive, including former English Premier League players Mark Hughes and Ian Wright, as well as current players Shawn Wright-Phillips, Mikel John Obi, Stephen Warnock and Danny Collins.
VSI's original foray into US soccer came back in 2011, when they partnered with Florida club West Florida FC Flames to create a youth academy. They also have an academy in Portugal.
Calls to VSI and PRI were not returned at the time of publication.

As you could expect, I'm super pumped about this. I would love to see pro soccer in Tampa, ran by functioning owners unlike the Mutiny. Also note the NASL champion Rowdies aren't the team pushing this. I think the best move IF this gets built is hook up with the Rowdies and have a community effort. Also the USL is based in Tampa, so that explains the team.

Ft. Lauderdale Strikers' SSS

I remember, back in 1998, when the Miami Fusion (RIP) hosted D.C. United and then-head coach Bruce Arena at the newly refurbished Lockhart Stadium.
"This is great," Arena said in the pregame interview on ESPN (or ESPN2, I don't remember which). "Now we need a dozen more like it."
A decade-and-a-half later, there's more than a dozen not just "like" Lockhart, but "significantly better than" the storied old facility out in Fort Lauderdale. And while the Fusion are long gone, the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers have been reborn and are thriving in the (also reborn) NASL, North America's second division.
On Tuesday, Strikers owners Traffic Sports announced that either Lockhart will get another facelift, or they'll just build a brand new soccer-specific stadium of their own.
“Traffic Sports has given me a mandate to seek a permanent, first class home for the Strikers,” said Tim Robbie, newly named managing director of team personnel and stadium development, in a press release. “Our top priority is to work with the city of Fort Lauderdale to renovate Lockhart Stadium as part of the overall development of the area.
"However, we are prepared to explore any and all options for a new soccer facility in the South Florida area. Given the numerous meetings and conversations I have had on the matter, I am optimistic our efforts to find a worthy, long-term home for the Strikers will be successful.”
If "Tim Robbie" sounds familiar, it's because he's the son of Joe Robbie, the first owner of the Miami Dolphins. In 1987, Joe was able to put together a financing package that culminated in the construction of Joe Robbie Stadium, now known as SunLife Stadium (and still home of the NFL's Dolphins).
This all comes on the heels of MLS Commissioner Don Garber's State of the League address last week, in which he said that for southeastern expansion to happen in MLS, better stadiums are a must. Almost immediately following that, a new Tampa group announced its own plans for a soccer-specific stadium, an eventual MLS franchise, and a USL Pro team in the interim.
For now, however, the Strikers seem content to give it a go in the NASL.
“It’s an honor to serve as the president of one of the most historic soccer franchises in America,” said Tom Mulroy, who succeeds Robbie in that role. “It’s very exciting to become president of the clubwith the growth of the NASL and to have the opportunity to work side by side with Tim Robbie to fulfill this commitment of establishing a permanent home stadium for the Strikers. I am thrilled to be part of it all.”

I like to think this is because of the Tampa stadium plans that were announced. The team plays at a less than half empty Lockhart Stadium now in the NASL. I like to think that the MLS will just expand and US soccer just goes nuts.

Queens MLS Stadium

NEW YORK — We've heard MLS officials present the proposed stadium plan for a second expansion team in NYC to press gatherings and on media conference calls.
But for the first time on Tuesday night, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and league president Mark Abbott showcased the project to more than 500 locals at a townhall meeting held at the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Park, just a stone's throw away from the proposed construction site. They also took some hand-written questions from those in attendance.

"I am a Queens guy," Garber told the crowd, which included a vociferous representation of the Borough Boys supporters club. "Like many of you, my family, my parents, my grandparents came to this country and they moved to Queens. This is where I spent the majority of my childhood … I know when my grandparents first came here they probably could never have dreamed that a kid from Queens could be sitting here today talking to all of you about fulfilling our dream, our dream of having this great game having a home right here in New York City."
The Commissioner proceeded to give the crowd an outline of the 100-percent privately financed stadium plan: the timeline, the 2,100 jobs it would create, the $60 million in annual economic activity and the promise of community service.
In addition, there was a detail about the stadium's capacity that was likely new to some following the story.
"We’re looking to build a 25,000-seat stadium," Garber said. "Sometime in the next 30 years, because we believe that this will be a popular team, we are looking for the right to expand it to 35,000 seats. We will not take any more land. We will not have to raise any roofs and we will not have to build it any higher."
The impact to the park itself was also a major topic, with MLS reiterating its plan to relocate the park space acre-for-acre — a "commitment by contract" — and renovate the popular soccer fields that are in desperate need of a facelift.
"[Local players] complain, 'Why don’t they fix the fields?'" said Luis Montoya, president of the Big Apple Soccer leagues, which play on the fields. "It's simple. [The park] doesn’t have money to do it. Now this problem is over."
Montoya was one of a number of representatives from various local organizations, who attended to show their support. They ranged from union chiefs (union workers gave the loudest cheer during Garber's address), Chamber of Commerce representatives and even the head of the Queens Hispanic Pastors Association. Queens high school championship teams also made the trek.
Local elected officials addressed the audience and expressed their interest in learning more about the final terms of the financial deal with New York City and the specifics of the replacement park land.
But many of those same officials still voiced their support for a stadium plan that would not only change the face of soccer in New York City. But it could also change the face of the league, according to Garber.
"Our goal is to be one of the top soccer leagues in the entire world by 2022. This team and this stadium will help us achieve that," Garber said. "You can’t be a dominant soccer league without having a dominant team in the largest and most important city in the world."

During the MLS championship game, the Commissioner said that NYC would be the 20th team, so take that how you will. The new Cosmos will start playing in the NASL next year. The team will play the 2nd half of next season, due to not having a playable roster, or stadium deal. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I have report cards for the FSU basketball arena, and Miami Heat arena for you all. Also new posts about soccer specific stadiums, and a few other arenas. I have finals, but soon my friends.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Big things in Brooklyn

So the Nets opened up their shiny new home in central Brooklyn this past week. The team was supposed to play the Knicks, but Hurricane Sandy came through and pushed back the home opener to the Minnesota game tomorrow. The team has played a few preseason games, but nothing that counts
The arena has a weathered rust look, which I heard was actually stronger than a non weathered one due to the layers of metal(or something). I kind of think it's ugly, but it's a modern ugly. Also I love Brooklyn, so it's fine. All these scoreboards take up the nooks and cranies of the stadium.
BUT THATS NOT IT. The Islanders announced plans to move to Brooklyn in 2014. They figure, since their arena in Uniondale isn't good, moving to a place where current fans could still go is better than shipping to Seattle, or Kansas City. They didn't build the arena to fit hockey, so it'll be a bit weird. But this stadium will be a landmark in Brooklyn soon enough, and it looks way cooler than MSG. If anyone is in Brooklyn and goes to a game, feel free to do a report card. I would love to hear about it.