In the 21st century, indoor sports isn’t that big of a deal in many American cities, or throughout Europe. Millions of attendees take in Soccer, Baseball, American Football or other large sporting events within the confines of an indoor facility where they don’t have to worry about temperature or inclement weather. You go to the game and have a great time.
But 48 years ago, that wasn’t the case. No one had ever thought to hold what most considered an “outdoor sport” like football, and put it indoors. No one did, until Houston did it. On April 9th, 1965 with the President of the United States, the Governor of Texas and a host of other major dignitaries in attendance, the Harris County Domed Stadium–the Astrodome– opened its doors to the general public. And with that opening, the world of professional sports changed. Here’s more from Jere Longman of the New York Times…
The Eighth Wonder of the World, as the Astrodome was nicknamed, with its 200-foot-tall roof and nine-acre footprint, became the most important, distinctive and influential stadium ever built in the United States.
It gave us domed, all-purpose stadiums and artificial turf and expansive scoreboards. It gave us seminal respect for women’s sports when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs at tennis in 1973. It gave us the inventor of the end zone dance in 1969, Elmo Wright of the University of Houston. It gave us the first prime-time national television audience for a regular-season college basketball game, with the famed 1968 meeting between Houston and U.C.L.A.
Whether you’re in Houston or New York, passions run high when people discuss the future of the famed Astrodome. The fate of the historic structure will be decided this Fall by Harris County voters, which is why many have turned to some interesting news this week. In the inaugural poll for the 2013 municipal elections, KHOU/KUHF found that 45% of voters surveyed favor the bond issue to save the dome (and raise property taxes to do it), 35% are opposed and 20% are still undecided. By most accounts, this is viewed as good news for supporters of the Astrodome, because they have less people to convince than the other side. Plus with less than one month to go before early voting, there is still no formal opposition to the bond measure.
Which leads to this impressive video released by The New Dome PAC… a political action committee founded specifically to help with the bond measure’s passage. The video finally details the County’s plans for the Dome in a way that even average voters can understand. It’s a big first step in this process. Texas Leftist formally endorses Proposition 2… the plan to save and update the Astrodome. As an exhibition hall, the Astrodome conversion would turn Reliant Park into the largest Convention Facility in the state of Texas, and one of the largest and most interesting in the country. All in all, a good plan.
The Astrodome ‘changed the game’ of the 20th century, but it’s up to Harris County voters to see it live in the 21st century.