Ballpark Village

The in-stadium experience versus watching a game on an Ultra HD 4K 65-inch TV at home or at your favorite local establishment is still an ever present battle for team owners, stadium operators, and university athletic departments alike.

Recent trends in new stadium developments and renovations have been to enhance the in-stadium experience through upgrading current amenities and incorporating these cutting-edge advancements in technology. The size and quality HD LED scoreboards and video displays have been dramatically enhanced. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the new holder of the world’s largest HD display, with new end zone displays that may or may not be viewable from space, measuring in at a whopping 60-feet high by 362-feet wide. That same manufacturer, Daktronics, has now been awarded the contract to build the biggest scoreboard to date, coined as the “Halo Board,” which will ring the top of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Technology has also been an increasing buzzword in the sports industry and specific to venue operations/fan experience. The days of a stadium with little-to-no WI-FI connectivity are nearly extinct and have quickly become an added expense to stadium operations. The number of innovative tech apps that have been developed in recent years to enhance the in-stadium experience may warrant their own novel. However, one recent partnership between an NFL team (the Jaguars) and Uber may be the most intriguing as the results and possible success of that partnership could have a significant impact on the future footprint of stadium development and the always challenging situation of parking.

While technology in-and-around the stadium seemingly knows no limits, the in-stadium entertainment experience is limited to the venue’s size and capacity. This forces teams and owners who are looking to expand their reach and enhance their revenues to venture outside of the facilities for additional development. Many of the planned stadium developments in the next few years focus on leveraging the adjacent real estate around the venue to create the ultimate fan experience/entertainment destination. Parlaying the recent opening and success of the Ballpark Village at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, several teams across the “Big 4” have been planning these “districts/villages” as the norm of future sports venue development.

Only time will tell if this evolution from a stand-alone sports venue to becoming an anchor for a massive mixed-use development centered around the motto of “live, work, and play” will be successful. One thing we do know from recent stadium district proposals in Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Detroit, Michigan, is that the evolution in venue development will continue to surpass expectation.

Los Angeles Stadium 

Los Angeles Rams Stadium

City: Inglewood, California

Total Estimated Development Cost: $2.6 Billion

Planned Opening: Fall 2019

Architect: HKS

Program: The recent relocation of the NFL’s Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles has been accompanied with the vision of building the most expensive stadium ever and surrounding it with ancillary developments. Those involved with the project are referring to the 300-acre site as “NFL Disney World.” The stadium itself is expected to seat 80,000 while the entire development is planned to have a 6,000-seat performing arts center, more than one million square feet of retail and office space, as well as ample residential and hospitality space.


SunTrust Park

The Atlanta Braves

City: Atlanta/Cobb County, Georgia

Total Development Cost: $1.5 Billion

Planned Opening: Opening Day 2017

Architect: Populous (SunTrust Park), Wakefield Beasley (The Battery Atlanta)

Program: The development of the Braves new home ballpark, SunTrust Park, will also include a mixed-use portion appropriately named, “The Battery Atlanta.” The location of the Battery Atlanta is adjacent to SunTrust Park, at the intersection of Interstate 75 and Interstate 285. The developments’ plans include residential, commercial, corporate, entertainment, and hospitality buildings. In total, there will be 550 residential units, 400,000 square feet of retail and office space including Comcast’s regional corporate headquarters, several fine-dining options, the 4,000-seat Roxy Theatre, and a 260-room Omni Hotel.


Bucks Arena 

New Bucks Arena

City: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Total Cost of Development: $1 Billion

Planned Opening: 2018

Architect: Populous

Program: $500 million arena (700,000 square feet, 17,500 seats); $500 million accompanying development (60,000-square-foot plaza, parking garage, Milwaukee Bucks practice facility). The entire development—phased over 10 years—could encompass 30-plus acres, 3 million square feet of office, entertainment, retail, residential, hotel, commercial, and parking space.


 Detroit Red Wings Arena

Detroit Red Wings Arena

City: Detroit, Michigan

Total Cost Development: $650 Million

Planned Opening: September 2017

Architect: HOK

Program: The development includes a 20,000-seat arena, with approximately $200 million in ancillary developments, which includes: approximately 185,000 square feet of new office and retail buildings as well a hotel and renovated historical building for additional residential and office space. FM

(Images: Facebook, HKS, Populous, HOK)