What are all the other NFL stadiums missing? A moat, that's what!
The Washington Redskins of the National Football League believe they need a new stadium in the area of the nation’s capital. They believe that because their current home, FedEx Field, was built in 1997, and by the time a new stadium is built, FedEx will be more than 20 years old, and we all know that’s too old for an NFL stadium to be.
Like every other NFL franchise that has had a new stadium built recently or is planning one, the Redskins are expecting the community to contribute. While FedEx was built on $180 million in private funding and just $70 million in public funds, the new stadium site will be determined by which local governing body can provide the best support for the idea of a move, and that support would include some sort of break on land usage and tax considerations and probably a load of cash.
The current stadium is in Landover, Md., but Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has stated determination to get the team back into the city limits someway, somehow, somewhere. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has suggested a site in his state as well.
The Redskins hired famed Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to come up with a stadium design, and they came up with a doozy. Before we move on, remember that BIG is the company hired by Google to design its new headquarters, and has already worked on a new design for the Smithsonian’s National Mall.
While all discussion is very preliminary (in part because the Redskins have a lease with FedEx Field that runs through 2027), the stadium design information that was released last week will keep Redskin fans talking until the day construction begins.
The main talking point about the new stadium design is:
IT HAS A MOAT!
That’s correct. The entire stadium is surrounded by a waterway. Think of a lazy river design at your local water park, but add the hydraulic jets that will turn the moat into a surfing venue. Designers suggest that the moat could be used for kayaking, and converted into an ice rink in the winter.
Outside of the moat is a large walking path, which designers envision to serve as an exercise lap for walkers, runners and whoever still rollerblades these days. The walls of the new stadium, which will somehow be made of “mesh”, will be undulating, looking perhaps like what a still shot of splashing water might look like if you drop a bowling ball into a pond. Those walls, according to the BIG design, could be used for recreational wall-climbing or rappelling, in case any Redskin fans want to practice their international spy techniques.
This is Washington, D.C. after all.
The idea, according to BIG, is to forego “the traditional, tiered design of most American Football stadiums to create one big bowl where all the fans can see each other and cheer on their respective teams in unison.”
If you thought the moat was the weird part, wait until you hear this. The proposed stadium would have a seating capacity of only 60,000, losing one-third of the capacity of the current Redskins home. That detail is certain to change.
The National Football League is forever criticized for perceiving itself as larger than life, and certainly larger than any single fan who might be interested in attending a game. The average ticket price for an NFL games ranges from the whopping $432 average to see the Seattle Seahawks to the $125 average price to see the Kansas City Chiefs. Multiply those numbers by at least two (because no one goes to a game alone), add in parking and concessions, and the average fan can spend at least $500 and much more than four figures to see an NFL game.
The image the NFL projects of being the sport of kings will not change any time soon. Revenues continue to climb, which means salaries will continue to climb, and this being America, the free market plays a role in the escalating cost of attending an NFL game.
The league does not worry too much about accessibility when it does not need to. There is no economic forecast on the horizon that might suggest the NFL’s days of compiling stockpiles of cash will end any time soon.
So perhaps it makes sense that the latest new NFL stadium design includes a moat. Because nothing screams “Peasants Not Allowed” like a moat.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.