The National Football League is not only the most powerful league in the country, but also the most powerful voice in the stadium world. As we begin a new season, there is a fair amount of change on the facility front and it starts in the NFC. Up in Minneapolis, we have the grand opening of U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Vikings finally have a home after a few years on a college campus. Though I had an affection for the Metrodome as my favorite domed stadium because of the noise (and I love their horn), U.S. Bank Stadium reviews have been excellent. And, I’m happy to hear that it is quite loud, which is rare for new places as they tend to lose their noise and atmosphere (see Indianapolis). The other big story is the move of the Rams from St Louis to Los Angeles. Edward Jones Dome, now called The Dome at America’s Center, wasn’t the greatest, but of course it was suitable for football. It just wasn’t suitable to make the bajillions of dollars that the NFL and Team Owners want. St. Louis’ Dome isn’t even paid off (built in 1995) and it will sit empty, without a sports tenant. This should be a lesson to local/state governments willing to throw millions into new facilities for the lure of a team and to be smart with financing and lease agreements. But we know it won’t. As for the Rams, they will play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum until their palace is complete in 2019.
Elsewhere, Miami wraps up a major renovation to what is now called Hard Rock Stadium. It is a pretty impressive transformation and the canopy roof is a huge plus for fans attending games in the heat. This stadium is sooo Miami. Check out the Living Room Suites. Elsewhere, in a place completely opposite of Miami, Buffalo will see a stadium name change as New Era Field replaces the team owner’s name on the front of the building. Many people forget that Buffalo was one of the first places with a corporate sponsorship when Rich Stadium opened in 1973 (Rich is the name of a food products company). Denver has had some naming issues as The Sports Authority is no more, having gone bankrupt. However, Denver for now will still have that name on their stadium in what has become quite complicated. C’mon guys, just go back to the name “Mile High Stadium”. Finally, Overstock is no longer associated with the Raiders’ stadium and the endangered place is called the Oakland Alameda Coliseum. I can just hear Chris Berman now.