Is retractable roof waste of money?

January 19, 2009
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LOSIt was partly sunny, and in the mid to high 70s yesterday in Glendale, Ariz. And the roof on the Arizona Cardinals’ football stadium was closed for the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles. It would seem to be almost ideal weather for opening the roof and letting some fresh air in on fans and players.

But the Arizona Cardinals players and coaches requested it be closed to make it louder inside. The Philadelphia Eagles chimed in that the decision was fine with them, because they’d rather play in air-conditioned comfort than in the Arizona sun. Huh? Earlier this year, I wrote a post on this site that some Indianapolis Colts fans complained that it was too hot inside Lucas Oil Stadium when the roof was opened and the sun streamed in.

Those fans were written off by some as being soft. Apparently Philadelphia Eagles players might also fall in that category.

Already, there’s been complaints that Lucas Oil Stadium isn’t as loud as the now demolished RCA Dome. This weekend’s game makes me wonder how long before the Colts start making the same stupefying decisions the Cards made this weekend, in the name of getting a bigger home field advantage. I have no problem with trying to maximize home field advantage, but I bet I won’t be the first taxpayer to wonder why on earth we even have a retractable roof. It’s certainly not for conventions. I seriously doubt it will be open for the Super Bowl. I wonder how long until that roof is closed permanently.

And while it’s easier to guard Larry Fitzgerald one-on-one than it is to pinpoint how much more the retractable roof cost than a standard roof, you can bet it cost taxpayers an easy eight-figure sum. The roof and structural steel on the building cost about $80 million of the $720 million project, and I’m guessing as would be the case for anything of this size with so many moving parts, there will be significant added maintenance expenses.

So again I ask, why is LOS a convertible? Maybe you have the answer.
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  • stupid stupid stupid. IMHO.
  • Not only was the convertable top a waste, but I wonder how much of the $720 million went into undercoating and the interior scotchgard package?!?
  • Hey, it's called keeping up with the Jerry Joneses!

    As a sidenote, since when is Hooey's opinion humble, huh?
  • Anthony, I COMPLETELY agree with you. I wholeheartedly support the reasoning behind the new stadium. I just don't agree with the extra money for the retractable roof when we're rarely going to use it...
  • I agree. The retractable roof was a gigantic waste of money.
  • I was just informed by someone with knowledge of the LOS deal that one of the big reasons for the retractable roof was band competitions. Apparently, an open roof makes it better acoustically.
  • The roof was open quite a bit this year. I doubt the Colts will close the roof so it is louder. The impact of crowd noise on a game is over-rated anyway.

    Let's wait to see how many times it is open during not only Colts games, but other events held at the Luke before we decide if it was a waste of money.

    Now as far as the one in Phoenix, I don't think they have ever opened that roof.
  • The roof was open when I attended a game this fall, and the sun beat down on me and was too hot the whole first half. If I want to be baked at a sporting event, I'll go to a baseball game. This was a very costly gimmick.
  • Sure looks pretty for HKS brochures
  • I think being baked in the sun at a football game is an absolutely terrible complaint. Joyce, you might enjoy sports on TV better, the couch is probably significantly more comfortable than that cheap stadium seat.

    Ever been to a college football game?
  • Do you want the Colts to beat an opponent based on their performance on the field, or because the other team was whistled for a couple of false-start penalties because they couldn't hear the snap. I agree, crowd noise is over-rated. It lets people think that they actually had something to do with the outcome of the game. Open, closed, sunny, cloudy, you are there to watch a football game, so watch it and enjoy.
  • Back on point, if LOS is louder and a bigger home field advantage with the roof closed, and the Colts realize that, and start closing the roof for that reason, I would tend to agree the retractability of the roof is a waste of money. And don't think the Colts won't seek any competitive advantage they can. Also, I seem to remember the RCA Dome being a fine host of band competitions for years. It also hosted its fair share of bigger shows, Michael Jackson, Monsters of Rock (hard rock), etc.
  • I have to agree with Mike. The roof will be open for many Colts games. It will also be open for conventions, the FDIC for one has already said they cannot wait for their convention under the sun. High School and College games will be played with the roof open. One of the reasons Bands of America moved here and have agreed to hold most of their events here is the open roof.

    As far as closing the roof for noise, the most important time for this is the end of the season and playoffs. Most likely the roof will be closed at those times. As for the whiners about being too hot, too much sun, or too much wind. Feel free to give up your tickets, there are 25,000 people on the waiting list who would be happy to have them. As with Purdue Football games, season ticket holders know how to watch forecasts, know when the game is and can take precautions based on those facts. Everyone who goes to a Purdue game knows sunny morning games mean the west side of the stadium should be ready for sun. Sunny afternoon games mean those on the eastside should do the same. They even know to the hour when the sun will dip below the press box.
  • I went to the Kenny Chesney concert at Lucas Oil and I think they need to ask for a refund on the roof if they think it makes it acoustically acceptable for concerts.
  • Two words:

    Super Bowl.

    That's why LOS has a roof, imho. We would have never received a Super Bowl bid without it. Now, I haven't seen or have forgotten the proposed numbers on how much money the Super Bowl will flood into the Indy / Indiana economy, but I'll bet it's a good chunck of change that will defray the cost of that roof.
  • Yes. A retractable roof is an obscene waste of money.
  • It was previously reported that Mr. Irsay insisted on a retractable roof.
  • Indy got the Super Bowl because of its retractable roof? For a game in February? That's absolutely ridiculous. And I don't think too many of the band members are going to enjoy the open-air stadium when they can't even hear themselves playing from the horrible accoustics, whether the roof is open or closed.

    It's time to ask for a refund, Indianapolis.
  • Steve,

    Read the papers, Bands of America specifically wanted the retractable roof so that they would not hear themselves. Echo is bad when you are a musician, especially marching bands. Have you ever heard a large marching band play in a gym?

    No one really cared about having concerts at LoS because most Monsters of Rock shows are dead and gone. There are very few Stadium concerts anymore. One reason that the discussion was that Deer Creek/Verizon would not have been replaced. There are not that many 20,000+ concert tours anymore.
  • Time to ask for a refund? When you figure out how to get a refund Steve, let me know.
  • I'm a civil engineer by profession, and there's something that really bothers me about the stadium design. It isn't so much that the roof is retractable, but rather that the stadium was not designed with a drainage system beneath the field. With as much money as was spent on the project, I think a little bit more to install a contingency system in case water does get on the field would have been more than appropriate.

    It is my understanding that the roof cannot be closed during a game by NFL rules. I know that they wouldn't have it open if there is a chance of rain, but what if something weird happened. It is Indiana weather, after all. Or what if the roof drains burst again like they did during construction. Would that ruin the expensive field they installed?
  • Wow! A few cents on your dinner bill and everyone turns bitter.

    We won a Super Bowl, we are hosting a Super Bowl, we already are looking at a dozen or so Final Fours, Hundreds of Colts games, countless other events, conventions, attractions. This venue will be a Major Landmark for Downtown Indy.

    Leave it to hard-hitting Spin Master Anthony to give you the fuel-injected scoop on Indy Sports using skewed examples and stripped down insight. The Cardinals roof was closed, therefore we wasted money. Great Logic there Tony, umm, not so much.

    The roof was about 1/7th of the cost. A chunk of change sure. This venue will be around for probably around 35 years or so. Countless millions of visitors. It is an economic catalyst just as the RCA Dome transformed Indy's image, brought the Colts here, and served a prime Conv function. The Luke will do the same.

    THE NAMING RIGHTS DEAL ALONE pays for the roof and then some, which is a Top 10 deal in all of sports venues.

    The Dozen or so Final Fours alone will pay for the roof and then some.

    The Super Bowl alone pays for the roof and then some.

    Add them all together. Hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Indy. For a city that needs to appreciate its Sports Tourism, we really need to realize what this Venue does for this city.

    If you are going to do it, do it right. But then again, this is Indy, PEOPLE WILL COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING... even a Warm Sunny Day in October (because they did).

    ...all for a little extra change on your Dinner Bill.
  • This past regular season the roof was only opened for 3 out of the 8 Colts games. It was closed once because there was a threat of rain and the other times because of cool/cold temps. That was WEAK! It never rained that day and the radar even showed that there wasn't any precipitation in site. As for the other times was it that brutally cold for the roof to be closed? I believe temps were in the 30's/40's range. For a football game that's NOT cold.

    Quit pampering these soft football fans. Open up the roof or refund tax payers their money.
  • Leave it to “hard-hitting” Spin Master Anthony to give you the “fuel-injected” scoop on Indy Sports using skewed examples and stripped down insight.

    This question should have been asked long ago. It's a big waste of money that will see less use at time passes regardless of what FDIC wants.

    As far as closing the roof for noise, the most important time for this is the end of the season and playoffs.

    You're right those games at the beginning of the season don't count as much as the games at the end of the season so in the ultra-competitive NFL the Colts won't close the roof to gain an advantage. Uhh.
  • can open or close
    Can you open or close the dome between quarters? I thank you for the answer.

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