Major Sports Arenas with no Nearby Businesses

In Columbus, OH Nationwide dumped a bunch of money to build Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL Blue Jackets. Now that area, the “arena district” of Columbus, is one of the nicest parts of the city. I think just the fact that someone is willing to put a lot of money into an area is usually going to draw other businesses. Even Columbus’s AAA baseball team recently built their stadium in the arena district. But without Nationwide Arena, you wouldn’t see all the nice bars and restaurants that have sprouted in the area.

Scotiabank Place in Ottawa wins.

If you can link to a more desolate arena location, I’d sure like to see it.

There’s three types of shitty arena locations.

  1. The stadium in the middle of fucking nowhere. Usually the land was cheap and some collar suburb or unincorporated area gave the owner a massive tax break and ponied up the costs to put themselves on the map. There’s lots of examples of this. The old Foxboro and Cowboys stadiums are prime ones.

  2. The stadium in the middle of an industrial area. This is usually a practical matter. These areas are usually easy to acquire land in and are able to include parking lots and generally have awesome access to the freeways. Arenas out by the airport fall into this category. It makes sense and rust belt cities like to think that this will drive the failing industrial area to convert into commercial and residential. It rarely works. The United Center and Miller Field are examples of this one.

  3. Stadiums in plain old shitty neighborhoods. This is the trickiest one since these tend to be organic and often have been shitty alongside the stadium for generations. Yankee Stadium and Comiskey Park are the most obvious examples of this to me. They’ve coexisted for nearly a century and the shittiness of the neighborhood overpowers any benefit of the team and fans vacate the area as fast as they can after the game.

On a side note, isn’t Foxboro actually closer to Providence, RI than Boston? If so, wouldn’t that make it a suburb of Providence rather than Boston?

San Antonio’s AT&T Center is definitely in category 2.

Haven’t actually been there but the Pats are associated with Boston almost exclusively and it’s in Massachusetts and on the Boston side of the Narragansett. While the official distances favor Providence I suspect Foxboro residents would identify with Boston and their sphere of media influence is almost exclusively Boston.

Only slightly closer, but anyway Providence itself is a suburb of Boston. :wink:

There’s a mall next to the stadium now - Patriot Place, with all the usual mall stuff plus a CBS Scene, sort of like an ESPN Zone, is where the old stadium was.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were just lost in Richfield Coliseum, which has been turned back into green space along I-271 (there’s no trace of the place anymore). Basketball is a downtown game anyway.

And there are a number of NFL stadiums with nothing close but a freeway exit.

While I love Camden Yards, let us give credit where it is due; modern stadium location and construction began with the SkyDome in Toronto, which was the first of the new “luxury box superstadia,” and which was planted right downtown. That was three years before Camden Yards opened.

Yes, the Dome is now surrounded by a western extension of downtown; when it was built, it was on the outskirts of downtown.

It is now surrounded by condos on the west, the CN Tower immediately to the east, the convention centre on the north and east, the Gardiner Expressway on the south, and the rail lines on the north. But there are bridges and walkways over and under the roads and railways, and just beyond are things like the waterfront condos, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the CBC Building, and Metro Hall, many of which didn’t exist when it was built (1989).

Just to the east, down Bremner Blvd, is the Air Canada Centre, a hockey/basketball stadium that is actually connected to the main railway station (and through it, the subway system). In between are more skyscraper condos and office blocks, incorporating things like hotels and the Real Sports bar.

Both venues are becoming woven into the city in a way that parking-lot stadiums aren’t. Most people arrive in the area by train or subway. Thousands of people live within a stone’s throw. Toronto was lucky in having a huge swath of former industrial land right next to downtown to put all this stuff on. And with all that going for it, it’s still taken twenty years to arrive at this degree of connection.

But even so, the Dome can’t be said to have made a profit, unless you use Hollywood accounting. It cost something like 500 million dollars to build, and Rogers picked it up for $25 million (!). Link.

Oakland is a strange one. If you’re driving, there is nothing in the area. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve been staying in San Francisco, so I just hop on the BART back to San Francisco.

The Miami Dolphins/Florida Marlins stadium is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It is close to the Florida Turnpike and that is it. There is nothing around at all.

That is true.

Fed Ex Field is pretty damn isolated.

Talladega was out in the middle of nowhere the last time I went, but that was over 10 years ago. I assume most race tracks originally were built in the middle of nowhere though.

I thought this discussion was about professional sports teams and then you start talking about the Redskins :slight_smile:

Yeah, the Coliseum is mostly surrounded by factories and warehouses. The closest area with lots of restaurants that I know of is the Fruitvale district, which you can get to by driving up San Leandro Blvd. to High Street (or by taking BART one stop to the Fruitvale station). This area has a lot of Mexican restaurants and shops.

The (previous, havent checked the new one) Yankees Stadium is a great illustration of this. Its certainly got restaurants and shops around it – but mostly the same ones youd find elsewhere in poor/industrial areas of the Bronx, which is to say businesses you dont expect do a ton of tourist business. I’ll grant that it didnt help that the stadium was (seemingly, and Im usually cool figuring out where to go in the Bronx) stuck between multiple freeways, and lacking a clear “frontage”. Always felt like you were entering from an alleyway :slight_smile:

Of course, at the (previous, again) Shea, you had literally nothing but rusting Elevated tracks, that gigantic cinema (Whitestone Cinemas, thats it), and the airport, which provided the lovely, ear-splitting flyovers to liven up the game.

Ahem, for all that said, I liked the design (interior-wise) of both stadiums – but outside, nothing much happening.

The real problem is that the stadium construction is seen (often by both boosters and detractors) as a discrete decision, when it should be viewed as one component within a large picture of interlocking design decisions. The best stadium/ballpark neighborhoods are great, with obvious synergy between the venue and surrounding businesses. But such places are not created simply by deciding to plop down a stadium–the city must facilitate the growth, both by appropriate building code decisions for surrounding properties and by the physical design of the stadium property. For example, if the stadium is separated from surrounding properties by vast sunbaked parking lots, or high-traffic roads, very few people are going to feel like walking there from the restaurant, or vice-versa.

In the context of sports stadia, no. The “outskirts of downtown” isn’t right next to the CN Tower, in Toronto, it’s Etobicoke. In the context of sports stadium construction, that’s what we’re talking about here; stadiums were being built MILES from downtown, not a 300-yard walk from the entertainment district. SkyDome was constructed quite literally as close to downtown as was physically possible at the time without blowing up existing businesses. If you can stroll there in five or ten minutes from a downtown theatre or restaurant, that’s still downtown.

To use a particularly awful counterexample, I give you the Palladium/Corel Cetre/Scotiabank Place, built in a different municipality (at the time) than the city it represented, forcing fans to take a drive on an overcrowded freeway miles out of town to get to a game. I love my Senators, but going to a game there is such an enormous pain in the ass I can’t even begin to explain it.

Not for the taxpayer. It sure made the Blue Jays a lot of money. (I’m not sure it did the Argonauts any good.) Pro sports teams don’t care if the government loses their shirts, they just wanna make money for themselves.

The point here is that Camden Yards wasn’t the stadium that changed major league baseball stadium theory; SkyDome was. Camden Yards did have the effect of making the “retro ballpark” fashionable, but the economic model - a “mallpark,” a stadium built downtown and designed with heavy emphasis on luxury boxes and seating and high-priced amenities, subsidized by government - was proven by SkyDome, which became an absolute gold mine for the Blue Jays. That’s what every MLB team since has tried to emulate and why we’ve had such an explosion in the construction of major league ballparks; 22 of 30 teams have since replaced their home parks, and most of the ones who haven’t have made major upgrades to accomodate these factors.

Whitestone Cinemas? Those were in the Bronx. The other item near Shea/Citifield is Arthur Ashe Stadium and the rest of Flushing Meadow Park.

Hey - they blow. But it is a major arena!