Blog: Dome Stories
Minneapolis hosted the 2018 Super Bowl inside its gleaming, new $1.129 billion U.S. Bank Stadium. An architectural marvel of glass and geometry, the ceiling alone contains 200,000 square feet of glass providing fans with an outdoor feel. It took years of financial finagling and legislative heavy lifting to get the stadium built. Its final cost was $130 million over budget.
U.S. Bank Stadium is a recent example of a big money pro sports stadium. For developers considering new athletic facilities – such as a college, university, school or community – air-supported fabric domes are an affordable option.
A dome will cost a fraction of traditional brick-and-mortar athletic facilities and have a shorter construction timetable. Domes can also be built on a small footprint if there are land and space constraints.
Some municipalities have successfully owned and operated profitable domes for decades. In Plymouth, MN, the city recently upgraded its Creek Center dome at zero cost to taxpayers. “We looked at the models and the numbers seemed to work,” explains Chris Fleck, facility manager for Plymouth Creek Center.
“It needed to be self-sustaining and it has been.”
In West St. Paul, MN, the city’s massive Regional Athletics Center outperformed revenue projections for 2017. “You can do a lot more with a lot less cash,” said Mark Bigelbach, the facility’s manager.
Schools are also cashing in on dome rentals and contracts outside of their traditional users. The available hours for Providence Academy’s seasonal dome were solidly booked six months before the winter season began.
“We know how to schedule and use this space,” said Bigelbach of West St. Paul. “We’ve got everything from fly fishermen to sportsmen’s shows that come in here. It’s phenomenal.”
New facilities offer exciting potential to support sport teams and leagues. The real potential, however, might be a dome that can be used to generate revenue – something that makes good dollar sense.