Could The Tarps Be Coming?June 18th, 2012
Joe has been to a handful of NFL stadiums, including a few trips to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville (Joe’s not sure what that place is called now, and frankly doesn’t care — it will always be the Gator Bowl).
That place may be one of the most underrated tailgating facilities in the country. But it also has the NFL’s worst eyesore: tarps in the upper deck.
Joe had only seen tarps in an upper deck once before, that was at a Pirates game in the old Three Rivers Stadium.
Then, as now, empty seats look better.
Now the great Mike Florio, the creator, curator and overall guru of ProFootballTalk.com, by way of Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, reports the Dolphins are seriously considering added tarps to the upper deck of Joe Robbie Stadium (or whatever the hell it’s called now).
Well, I don’t know how the Dolphins would add seats in the lower level without actually adding seats physically, but they can definitely adjust the numbers of seats in the upper deck without actually touching the place. They can simply ask the NFL to consider certain seats basically invisible. The Dolphins can just lower capacity by giving the NFL a new capacity number and then not selling, say 10,000 seats in the upper deck, for at least one season.
Other teams — Jacksonville for example — have done it. Unable to fill an extreme number of seats, the Jaguars just threw a tarp over whole sections of seating. The Hurricanes do it at Sun Life for their home games. The Miami Heat did it for a couple of years before LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade on the roster and seating demand skyrocketted.
The Dolphins can simply pick out a section of seats and cover the area. Or they can just black out certain seats or sections from being sold and those would simply be empty on game day.
So, let’s do some math here: In a state where the economy is still in the dark recesses, where selling tickets to just about anything is a task given few have expendable income, where two of the three NFL teams have or are seriously discussing tarps in the upper deck, could the third team, the Bucs, be far behind?
Joe sure hopes not. Those tarps are just painful to look at.
An interesting item Florio wrote about is that Dolphins officials confess their stadium is too big. That’s the way society is going in regards to football games. Fighting the convenience of watching games on your 50-inch HDTV on the leather couch in the mancave at home, with replays via DVR at your fingertips, and ample cold beer just steps away, getting people off that leather couch to is becoming harder and harder for NFL teams (and college teams as well) to tackle.
Yeah, sure, the Rays have tarps too. Those aren’t so much eyesores as they are well out of public view and to be honest, the Fruitdome has a whole lot more problems than a few tarps (that foster few sellouts) out of view.