RECENT ARTICLES
  • Rival Schools Unite to Create One-of-a-Kind Rooftop Stadium

    by Michael Popke June 2010

    Two rival schools in New Jersey unite to create a one-of-a-kind rooftop stadium.

  • Professional stadium and arena sustainability

    by Michael Popke May 2010

    Professional sports teams, led by Major League Baseball, put greater emphasis on environmental programs.

  • Ballpark Fall Turns Fatal at Miller Park

    by Paul Steinbach May 2010

    Having reported on fatal falls involving ballpark upper decks, I was particularly shocked to read minutes ago of a death involving a fan who fell 14 feet from a lower-level railing at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

  • The Longer Arm of the Law

    by Paul Steinbach May 2010

    An unarmed teenager bolted into the outfield at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia last night. Fans hooted as he managed briefly to outrun a lone police officer and several uniformed event security personnel. But ultimately the long arm of the law was made longer by a Taser - its incapacitating shockwaves dropping the trespasser to the turf, where he lay motionless for a full 30 seconds. By then, many among the Philly faithful had begun booing.



    Tasers have been used with increasing frequency to control crowds at professional and college sports venues on down to high school athletic events. Today, Philadelphia police defended the deployment of a Taser in apprehending the teen, even though he was outnumbered and his arrest appeared imminent.

    Put yourself in a seat at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night. Are you cheering or jeering the use of a Taser in this instance?

    UPDATE: Fans running onto the field in Philadelphia are getting older, if not wiser, but one wonders if Citizens Bank Park security personnel have learned something this week.

    A 34-year-old Phillies fan gained access to the field Tuesday, one night after a 17-year-old was tasered to the outfield turf by a police officer. The latest trespasser was apprehended without use of a Taser.

  • Staging Hockey Games in Outdoor Stadiums Remains Delicate Balance of Nature vs. Nurture

    by Paul Steinbach April 2010

    As the popularity of stadium ice hockey solidifies, staging events remains a delicate balance of nature versus nurture.

  • Venue Bending

    by Paul Steinbach April 2010

    With the NCAA crowning champions in three major sports this week, it's clear which among them reigns superior with the ticket-buying public, as evidenced by the adaptation of the host venue to each sport. In previewing the men's basketball Final Four in Indianapolis, one commentator described Lucas Oil Stadium as "a football stadium built for basketball." With the court positioned dead center on the surface typically occupied by the NFL's Colts, and surrounded by temporary and permanent seating in such a way that the seating chart looked like a study in near-symmetrical arena design, Duke defeated Butler on Monday night before 70,930 fans. That's roughly three and a half times the combined capacities of the combatants' home venues - Cameron Indoor Stadium and Hinkle Fieldhouse, respectively.

  • Take Me Out to the Ballpark

    by Paul Steinbach April 2010

    To welcome the Major League Baseball season, ABCNews.com today offers its list of "America's 7 Best Ballparks." The subtitle of the piece authored by Scott Mayerowitz reads "These Baseball Stadiums Make It a Great Day Out Whether or Not Your Team Wins."

    With the help of expert opinion, Mayerowitz lists "high-end food" as drivers of the gameday experience in today's best parks, and he quotes Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Heyman, who adds of park design, "They've gotten away from the cookie-cutter park, thank goodness."



    Mere mention of "cookie cutter" in describing dated ballpark design nearly makes me want to slash my wrists with one. So I'm not going to go there myself.

    But I did go to MLB.com and looked up the 2009 home records of the clubs occupying Mayerowitz's magnificent seven to see which fans were most likely to have a great day out AND see their team win.

    Red Sox Nation enjoyed the best odds, as Boston won 56 of 81 regular-season games played last year at Fenway Park - the oldest, quirkiest stadium in the bigs. San Francisco fans faired nearly as well, witnessing 52 wins at AT&T Park. Safeco Field in Seattle, Wrigely Field in Chicago, Citi Field in New York and PNC Park in Pittsburgh weren't as hospitable, with home victory totals of 48, 46, 41 and 40, respectively. The club least likely to cap a great day at a great park with a W? The Baltimore Orioles, the only team on the list aside from Pittsburgh with a losing record at home - in this case, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the design of which is often credited with spawning the retro-park revolution in 1992.

    The eventual World Champion New York Yankees owned last season's best home record - 57-24 - and their now two-year-old stadium earned an honorable mention from Mayerowitz's experts. The worst home showing, by the way, belonged to the Kansas City Royals, who went 33-48 at Kauffman Stadium, which got no mention from ABC. Built with unique visual amenities (including a centerfield fountain) in the 1970s, the waning years of the - oh, I'll just spit it out - cookie-cutter era, the park has undergone renovation and incorporated ticketing innovation in an ongoing attempt to attract fans.

    To what degree a park's appeal actually puts butts in the seats is difficult to pin down, as stadium capacities vary widely, but I checked ABC's list against team attendance rankings anyway. With league-wide attendance down 6 percent last season, none of the chosen parks cracked MLB's top-five destinations. However, Wrigley, Citi (in its debut season) and Fenway followed at numbers six through eight, and AT&T landed in the 10th spot.

    PNC Park, meanwhile, saw fewer fans trip the turnstiles than 27 of the league's 30 teams. So when the Pirates host Los Angeles in their home opener Monday, here's hoping fans enjoy the view of Pittsburgh's skyline and riverfront, even if they lose interest in what unfolds on the field.

  • Crowded Arenas: Supply Exceeds Demand, Spelling Trouble for Some

    by Michael Popke March 2010

    A glut of multipurpose facilities has created serious supply-and-demand issues during the current recession.

  • Sports Lighting Design Now A Valuable Player in Stadium Aesthetics

    by Nicholas Brown March 2010

    Sports lighting design, while still ultimately ruled by functionality, is now a valuable player in stadium aesthetics.

  • Packaging Food With Tickets Works for Teams, Concessionaires

    by Paul Steinbach February 2010

    Packaging food with tickets has yielded agreeable sales strategies for teams and concessionaires alike.