Feb 26, 2019

Professional sports teams are downsizing their stadiums

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After years spent believing "bigger is better," America's professional sports teams are changing course and building smaller, more intimate venues.

What's happening: Stadiums are shrinking because of lower attendance and millennials' viewing habits.

  • Lower attendance: Thanks to things like HD TVs, instant replay and social media (aka, the "second screen"), fewer people are going to games. The in-home viewing experience is simply too good.
  • Those darn millennials: Watching a game isn't enough for them. They want to socialize and wander around. In response, stadium architects are beginning to reinvent the upper deck — removing seats and replacing them with things like lounges and social spaces.

By the numbers:

  • MLB: The Braves, Marlins, Twins and Yankees have all downsized since 2009, and the Rays plan to reduce seating at Tropicana Field from a league-low 31,042 to roughly 25,000 this season, per JohnWallStreet.
  • NBA: New arenas in Sacramento, Calif., Milwaukee and San Francisco will all have 40 or fewertraditional suites, a huge decrease from their predecessors.
  • NFL: Only the Cowboys and Jets/Giants have built 80,000-seat venues this century, and the 65,000-seat stadium the Raiders are building in Las Vegas will be one of the league's smallest.

The bottom line: Fans are attending fewer games than they used to — and when they do show up, the focus for many of them is on having a shared live experience (similar to what you get at, say, a music festival) rather than merely watching two teams compete.

What's next: In 2000, futurist Watts Wacker predicted that stadiums of the future would be turned into sound stages with a few thousand seats optimized for TV. That could be where we're headed — especially if/when VR headsets that put you on the 50-yard-line take over.

Go deeper:

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Why space is good politics for Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's exuberance around today's scheduled SpaceX launch — including his decision to travel to Florida to watch — goes beyond a personal fascination with astronauts, rockets, and how to make money and wield power in the next frontier.

The bottom line: There's a presidential election in November, and the U.S. space program enjoys wide support across party lines. It's good politics for Trump, at least for now.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 5,595,091 — Total deaths: 350,752 — Total recoveries — 2,300,985Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,681,418 — Total deaths: 98,929 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  6. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

When going back to work isn't safe

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As states open up, businesses are starting to call their employees back to work, but many don’t feel safe going back.

Why it matters: This is poised to be the next big challenge in the American economy: workers may be forced to chose between their health and their livelihood.