In hosting millions of fans each year, NFL stadiums are generally considered landmarks in their respective cities, a center for events of all types — from NFL games to music concerts. As a result, rushing the development of a stadium can have disastrous effects, with Levi’s Stadium serving as a relevant example.
The 49ers’ home had its opening delayed due to construction issues, while also being the subject of much scrutiny regarding field conditions and infrastructure when it hosted Super Bowl 50.
Levi’s Stadium: An Example of What to Avoid
Concerns over Levi’s Stadium were evident well before the Super Bowl when Ravens kicker Justin Tucker literally sank into the ground when kicking off. Other glaring miscues happened closer to the big game, like when the grounds crew accidentally painted the Broncos logo in both end zones, suggesting a lack of coordination among stadium staff in general.
It is widely speculated that the Tucker incident and others were due to a construction error concerning the field’s support base of gravel and sand. That particular foundation has become overused, with events like numerous concerts, WrestleMania, an outdoor hockey game and a Manchester United-FC Barcelona soccer match contributing to substantial wear and tear, in addition to 49ers home games, of course.
Although Super Bowl 50 didn’t suffer from any significant issues, the concerns over Levi’s Stadium concerns have given the team and its fans headaches that teams developing and renovating their stadiums, like the Miami Dolphins, hope to avoid. Regardless of last-minute attempts to fix the stadium and some crafty PR work, Levi’s Stadium has already had its share of criticism in its early life.http://gty.im/454039140
Miami Dolphins Stadium Renovations
Starting in January 2015, a privately funded $350 million stadium renovation was launched for New Miami Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins, as well as the University of Miami Hurricanes college football team. Upgrades include additional suites, an open-air canopy over primary seating sections and video boards in each stadium corner. Also new are 32 four-seat pods in the lower bowl, featuring a living room arrangement with TV screens and premium furniture.
Completion of the renovation is expected to be complete in time for the beginning of football season, though there is skepticism that it will happen on schedule. Dolphins management is aiming to keep their stadium project on track and not have it delayed for their first game, which takes place Sunday, September 25th against the Cleveland Browns. The hope is that they learn from disasters like the Levi’s Stadium debacle and enjoy a timely and headache-free opening day for the changes.
What the Dolphins Can Do
Although there’s the chance of bad weather interrupting construction, the Dolphins still believe the renovations will be complete ahead of the fall football season. Assuming that does indeed happen, several things they can keep in mind to avoid mishap like Levi’s include:
- Avoid Overuse: If possible, the team should limit events at the stadium as much as possible. It already hosts Dolphins and University of Miami Hurricanes home games, so severely limiting other events like concerts, soccer matches and outdoor hockey games can improve the field’s longevity and decrease wear and tear on the foundation. One of Levi’s Stadium’s biggest errors was essentially serving as an entertainment center without the infrastructure to back that up.
- Designated Leadership Structure: A designated leadership structure is likely already in place with respect to the actual construction, though it’s also recommended that the Dolphins have a clear structure in place regarding post-renovation progress to avoid mishaps like Levi’s Stadium — specifically, when the grounds crew painted the Broncos logos on both sides of the field ahead of Super Bowl 50.
- Don’t Rush It: Obviously, the Dolphins want the renovations to be done in time for football season, though there’s no need to put fans and players in danger if that’s not the case. A PR nightmare would ensue, so it’s better to ensure through rigorous testing that the field is playable and does not expose players to injury, just as any additions for fans are thoroughly vetted beforehand.
Keeping these things in mind, while looking at the Levi’s Stadium construction process as a reference of what not to do, should allow Dolphins management to ensure that their renovations are well-received and do not become a PR nightmare.