Photo provided by Philip Greenspun
We were inspired by TJ Oshie using the Metro to get to his Stanley Cup-winning games, but he wasn't the first athlete to use the subway on game day! During the 2017 NBA season, LeBron James and his teammates went viral when they rode the NYC subway to their game against the Knicks. Classic city stadiums, such as Madison Square Garden, are setting examples for smart cities to rethink where and how they're building new stadiums.
If King James understands the value and ease of using public transit to get to games, then shouldn't you, too?Leaving a game early so that you can "beat the traffic" is one of the most annoying situations possible... next to the act of actually sitting in traffic as hundreds of cars shrink down to a single-file line. This is one of the biggest problems facing suburban stadiums: convenience. Bringing stadiums into urban areas increases their mobility, entertainment value, and overall fan experience.
Audi Field recently opened its doors as DC United's brand new, transit-oriented stadium. It's replacing RFK Stadium, which hosted the team for about 10 years. Why the change, aside from the fact that RFK is literally falling apart? The team wanted to be better integrated into the city itself, like Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and Wrigley Field before it. We outlined the many ways you can get to Audi Field, highlighting the stadium's focus on being a transit-forward, eco-friendly arena.
DC isn't the only city changing up its game; Seattle, Atlanta, and New York are also relocating some of their teams to a more urban zip code. A major benefit of pulling sports arenas out of the suburbs is increasing the fan's experience. Fenway and Audi Field have integrated TransitScreens so that you can see the plethora of options at your disposal. Taking the subway, bus, ridehailing, bikeshare, and even electric scooters becomes a possibility for those living in the city! Want to keep celebrating at bar, grab some food, or simply sightsee? All of these options become incredibly easy when you're able to ditch your car.
Making sports stadiums more urban can also open doors to more jobs. Audi Field has set up shop in Buzzard Point, an area that used to be a mix of military bases and small neighborhoods. Since the development of Audi Field went underway, the community is expecting a new waterfront hotel and affordable apartment complexes with retail space that will be part of a block-long development. These spaces will allow for new stores, businesses, housing, and overall community growth.
Downtown, easily accessible stadiums create a positive impact on communities and sports fans alike. Centralizing monumental teams into the hearts of their cities allows people to get a real experience focusing solely on the game and not worrying about how they're going to get home. With expanding transit options and developments, our mobility within cities will only continue to grow.