An ideal Coliseum renovation

By: NYTrojan



I decided to try a fun little exercise and draw up my "Pie in the sky" future coliseum.  This isn't realistic, but I'd argue it's not impossible and something closer to this is what we should have been striving for than what we're getting.  It's clear to me the powers that be decided that really fixing the problems with the stadium was an unnecessary step when their only real goal was to better monetize the stadium.

Anyway, here's my dream.

Metlife stadium (The Jets/Giants) is the largest normal gameday NFL stadium with a capacity of 82,500. AT&T stadium in Dallas is bigger for special events and has a mammoth footprint, but if you're looking at a basic modern stadim that is very large Metlife works very well.

I took its dimensions and overlaid them on top of the Coliseum; it actually works pretty well.  The depth of Metlife's bowl (by which I mean the number of linear feet from the shell of the stadium to the field is almost identical to the Coliseum.  

In the image below, the outer ellipse is the size of the new stadium.  The rectangle in the middle is the playing field, and the odd shape in between is grass surface.  Everything between the grass surface and the outer ellipse are seats.

Imagine you ripped out all the seats and such inside the coliseum, you just left the outer wall up as a shell.  The new seating arrangement would go up at a steeper angle, but it'd go from the field to the west just as far.  

Now move the coliseum's field to the west about 20 feet.  You'd have to lose some seats along the bottom of the bowl as the coliseum is more of a drawn out elipse than Metlife, but you'd bring the majority of the seats at that end of the stadium closer to the field.  

Close off the east side of the bowl.  This goes about half way up the stairs where the retired uniforms are now.  

The areas between the outer shell and the bowl itself west of the yellow line would not be available to the public.  Wall them off and turn them into storage, administrative offices, and staging areas for concessions.  From the yellow lines to the east would be open to the public.  Fill it with one of those mall/park/museum things modern stadiums love.  It's roughly 70,000 square feet of space.  

It cost roughly $690 million dollars in 2015 to do something similar with Soldier Field, and that's with NFL level amenities, a luxury box that spans the entire stadium and even less of the original structure usable.  It doesn't seem entirley unreasonable to think that something similar could be achieved here for a similar cost.

Now, let's not mince words, that's still incredibly expensive.  Nearly 3x the current renovation.  It's not something I'd expect done at once... but I could see something like that done in stages.

Stage 1:  Moving the field.  This would involve modification of the lower bowl.  The least work stage, but also there's no additional money to be made from it.  This is a prep stage, much like the current plan's new video board stage.

Stage 2:  Building the new luxury suites and reshape the north and south seating.  Once the field has moved, luxury suites would no longer be misaligned with the final location of the field.  This is where demolition of the interior of the bowl would occur and rebuilding the north and south on top of the existing structure would take place.  The luxury suites are the big money maker for this stage.  Capacity would drop into the 70k range 

Stage 3:  Complete the eastern side.  Not as much work as you'd think since it wouldn't be a bowl so much as a horseshoe, however it is all new construction: there's less existing structure to build on here.  The additional seating and monetizing the eastern side's public mall would be the money maker here.  Capacity returns to around 85k.

Realistic?  No.  Like I said, ideal...  but even a few steps towards giving fans a modern football stadium, instead of an ancient olympic stadium with a few really expensive luxury boxes would have gone a long way.

 

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