Forbes has an interesting slideshow of ten coming “super stadiums” scheduled to open in the next few years. There are four stadiums that will host soccer included, from both Europe and North America.
An accompanying article in Forbes notes the plans in MLS, though curiously fails to mention the numerous soccer-specific-stadiums that have already opened in recent years.
Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls are also building a cozy new home with 20,000 seats in nearby Harrison, N.J. The fledgling league is hoping to strike a chord with casual soccer fans by rescuing some of its teams from monstrous football stadiums—mausoleums to a soccer club playing to less than half capacity much of the time—and into soccer-only venues that bring fans closer to the action.
“The first row of seats will be just 21 feet from the touch lines, “says Red Bulls spokesman Andy McGowan, who also notes that a translucent roof will cover every seat in the house. “It will be the benchmark stadium by which all other soccer stadiums in North America are measured.”
As The Offside Rules recently noted, “Red Bull Park is pretty much a carbon copy –on the surface at least– of Austria’s Hypo Group Arena.”
The article also focuses on stadium development in Europe, discussing major developments in Dublin and Lyon and stating that “The website stadiumguide.com lists 78 new soccer venues across Western Europe that either opened recently or planned for the near future, along with a handful of others in Eastern Europe and South America. Most are scaled down models of the old giant soccer stadiums emphasizing seating rather than standing room, the better to minimize the chances for hordes of standing, leaning fans to fall and cause a crush.”
I’m not really convinced by that conclusion: given the rest of the article focuses on the economic-driven switch to more and more luxury suites and expensive seating, as one would think that’s a key factor in the decline of standing areas (not to mention the fact they’re forbidden in the top tiers of English football). Unfortunately, the writer fails to mention the redeveloped and new stadiums in Germany that have safe standing areas, or that fans in many new MLS stadiums are allowed in certain areas to stand on bleachers — dedicated standing areas would actually probably be safer than folks precariously perched on benches.
A final concern is the comment on what the writer calls the “formula” behind new development. “Build new facilities with fewer seats and more luxury boxes, charge higher prices, earn more revenue, hire better players and reap more wins. Then turn around and raise ticket prices.”
Maybe these stadiums aren’t all so super after all.