This weekend, history is being made in the city of Houston. With the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium, professional soccer has a permanent home in the city. The 22,000-seat facility is soccer-specific, and joins an elite few stadiums of its kind in the United States. After 6 years, the Houston Dynamo’s gamble of moving to The Bayou City has paid out in a big way.
But BBVA Compass is more than just the latest shiny pro-sports facility. It marks the 3rd stadium to come to downtown Houston, joining Minute Maid Park and Toyota Center. This type of planning is a true analomy for most American cities of today, as many professional teams (especially those in more auto-centric cities like Houston) build out in the city’s suburbs.
Houston’s facilities are not only in the urban core of the city, but are also in the core of a well-established transit network. Fans coming to the new stadium can arrive by bus, train or by their car. For citizens that may not have a car, professional soccer is a viable entertainment option for them, along with all of Houston’s other major sports franchises. The same cannot be said for FC Dallas fans, whose Frisco facility is 28 miles from downtown, and only reachable by car. Though I’m not aware of any significant study showing likely soccer fans that would use public transit, it’s reasonable to make the connection that more options could equate to more ticket sales.
So now, more than ever before, Downtown Houston is the hub of pro-sports in Southeast Texas. As alternative energy, sustainability, and regional mobility become increasingly important to American life, Houston is showing that it can be a real game-changer.
So GO DYNAMO!! And Go Houston!
(photo credit: brijonmang on HAIF)