Honey, I shrunk the stadium: Low attendance is causing many sports teams to downsize

As attendance continues to shrink among American professional sports, many franchises are downsizing their stadiums to fit the new landscape.


February 27, 2019

As professional sports attendance shrinks in the US, Axios reports, so does the size of stadiums.

With in-home viewing reaching peak physical condition, people are less motivated to spend $200 to see the Browns get destroyed by [insert team here] than they are to watch the same bloodbath at home.

Shaping up as predicted

Per Axios, in the year 2000, futurist Watts Wacker predicted that stadiums of the future would be designed more like sound stages — with fewer seats and optimized for TV and budding innovations like VR.

Some franchises have already hung up their oversized cleats: In baseball, the Braves, Marlins, Twins, and Yankees have all downsized, and the Rays, a team already notorious for low attendance, are shrinking 31k seats to roughly 25k this season.

Many NBA arenas are cutting back on the amount of box suites hanging from the rafters, and the new 65k-seat stadium the Raiders are building in Las Vegas will be one of the NFL’s smallest.

Flag on the play

HD TVs, instant replay, controlled forecast — there are a million reasons not to see a televised sporting event IRL, and the high-speed internet generation is utilizing every single one of them.

With a new, future-forward core audience, the experience has shifted from actually watching 2 teams duke it out to an interactive experience — stadium architects are even beginning to reinvent upper deck seating, replacing seats with lounges and social spaces.

In other words, people want live sporting events to feel more like Coachella than the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl these days — and they may have a point.

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