BBVA Compass Stadium set to mark dawn of new era for Dynamo

117_WTZ3105-1830289707-O

Photo by Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

By FRANCO PANIZO

The stage is set and eyes around the league will be fixated on southeast Texas this weekend, where the latest gem in MLS will be on display for all to see.

BBVA Compass Stadium, the latest soccer-specific stadium built in the United States, will open its doors on Saturday to put an end to the Houston Dynamo's extensive search for a place to call their own. Having played home games mostly at multi-purpose facility Robertson Stadium since their inception in 2006, the Dynamo now have a sparkling new 22,000-seat stadium that is much more attractive to fans and players alike.

Smack dab on the eastern side of downtown Houston, BBVA Compass Stadium offers a better location and more intimate soccer experience than Robertson Stadium. Fans are closer to the action, and the orange seats that make up the $95 million stadium add to the Dynamo's luster, not to mention the downtown Houston skyline that is visible from parts of the stadium.

"This is my fifth season and now that we have our own stadium, it's like, 'Wow, we're an official franchise,'" said Dynamo centerback Geoff Cameron. "The stadium is state-of-the-art, it's downtown Houston, it looks over the entire skyline."

May 12 has been a date that anyone involved with the Dynamo organization has had circled on the calendar for some time now, but the buzz surrounding the stadium's opener has been growing steadily as the date has neared.

Even the Dynamo players, who have been forced to spend the first two months on the road as the finishing touches were put on BBVA Compass Stadium, have taken notice of the excitement.

"You have sold out for the first three games or something like that, and almost 12,000 season ticket holders," said Cameron, who recently described playing in the stadium as playing inside an oven because of the lack of wind coupled with the Houston heat. "That's pretty good coming from 5,000 or 6,000 at Robertson Stadium. It just shows you how hot of a ticket Dynamo games are."

BBVA

Photo by Scott DeWoody

The increase in attendance should come as no surprise. Aside from the novelty that comes with a new facility, BBVA Compass Stadium is sitting in a great location for sports. It is within walking distance of the homes of the city's professional baseball and basketball teams, a big difference from Robertson Stadium, which is further away from the city center and located at the University of Houston.

The more enclosed setup of the stadium is also a key difference from what Robertson Stadium provided, and that should give the Dynamo the type of home-field advantage that teams like Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers have been enjoying the past two years.

“Robertson (Stadium) was so big that the sound just carried out of the stadium,” said Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall. “With the new stadium, it’s closed in, and the seats are steep, so it should create a great atmosphere."

BBVA Compass Stadium should be jam-packed and rocking when the Dynamo kick off against D.C. United on Saturday, even with there being a chance of rain during the game. That's because the match will signal the official end of Houston playing inside of a facility meant for football and other sports, and the beginning of playing inside of their own home after years of patiently waiting.

“It took a little bit longer than anticipated but we’re happy it’s finally materializing,” said long-time Dynamo forward Brian Ching. "The Houston community has embraced us tremendously, in part because of our success and based on what guys have done in the community. It’s pretty special to see the stadium being built and the amount of excitement that the city is showing for our team.”

BBVA2

Photo by Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Houston Dynamo. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to BBVA Compass Stadium set to mark dawn of new era for Dynamo

  1. Huey says:

    I was there last night for the “soft opener” featuring the U-17 Academy vs. U-17 USMNT.

    Maybe four or five thousand showed up and when it got loud, it sounded about as loud as Robertson typically was.

    I really can’t imagine just how loud it’s going to be tomorrow with 22k on hand.

  2. Kodi says:

    Got tickets to the Timbers game! CANT WAIT!

  3. Jamie says:

    Interesting question-assuming all things equal in terms of stadium location, team quality(obviously not possible but for the sake of argument), marketing, etc., how would you rank the current MLS markets? Would a city like say Boston that has been neglected by ownership still be one of the first 10 MLS markets you would choose if you were redoing MLS with current knowledge? I think Houston would have to be pretty high up there.

  4. cj says:

    It is a an awesome stadium. I was there last night. Reminds me of a lot of the European stadiums. Will be rocking tomorrow.

  5. Gnarls says:

    Hot damn, that’s a good looking stadium. Congrats, Houston.

  6. JD says:

    Fantastic.
    Well played Houston.
    Well played MLS.

    Viva Soccer.

  7. MiamiAl says:

    DC United will spoil the good time! ;)

  8. Gnarls says:

    I like the part where you begin my telling us your question is interesting. ;)

    Obviously neglecting the Pacific Northwest was the largest “screw up” by MLS during the 90s. I grew up in Portland, so I can attest to the sport’s loyalty long before MLS was conceived.

    With all due respect to Foxborough, Commerce, Dallas (now Frisco) and Columbus, I’m not so sure those were the ideal locations for franchises.

    But hindsight’s 20-20. This organic fandom that we see in the PNW, Eastern Canada, and elsewhere obviously was not a factor when the powers that be planned MLS.

  9. Berlin says:

    Totally agree. It’s going to be deafening. The partial roof does a great job of rolling the sound back down on the field. Plus the upper endline seats have metal floors so the echo when those get rolling is going to be intense.

  10. Jamie says:

    Haha fair enough I was typing ‘out loud’ :)

    I do think it is interesting that a sport that is often pigeonholed as a sport for ‘ethnic minorities and immigrants’ is strongest in some cities that percentage wise are some of the most Caucasian in the nation-Portland, Seattle, St. Louis, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Columbus in the early days, Minneapolis and Nashville to lesser extents.

    link to oregonlive.com

  11. BSU SC says:

    That is a thing of beauty.

    Once San Jose have their own digs, DC United will be the only financial drag on the league due to not having a stadium. Funny that DC just happens to be the opponent for Houston tomorrow.

  12. Bromigo says:

    I wanna bro out in this stadium.

  13. Quen47 says:

    C’mon DC, time to get Buzzard Point done!

  14. elgringorico says:

    vamos UNITED!

  15. fish says:

    Uhhh…I would say New England is far worse

  16. Rob in SJ says:

    Congrats to the Dynamo and all of thier fans! This is very much deserved good news.

    Hopefully SJ will be the next MLS team to open thier own stadium. I smell a ground breaking cermony soon.

  17. Gnarls says:

    That is an astute observation. I would add that LA and New York under perform in terms of attendance for cities in highly multi-ethnic metro areas.

  18. Gnarls says:

    I think DCU rents RFK, while NE technically owns Gillette; thus DCU is the last financial drag.

  19. b says:

    After this and San Jose MLS still needs new stadiums in DC, Boston, NYC for MLS20, plus Columbus (something downtown with seats and a roof), and Chivas needs their own stadium, either elsewhere in LA or in Orange County, plus a complete rebranding job. After that the next step is renovations, so many stadiums could be improved with roofs (scorching hot Dallas first and foremost).
    So the progress in the last decade has been incredible but there is still a long way to go.

  20. The Imperative Voice says:

    Few comments:
    After the Pizza Hut experience, as well as the corporations that have gone bankrupt while holding naming rights (Enron ahem), I wish we’d snuck “Dynamo Stadium” into the title alongside the sponsor. FWIW, I am also a bit leery of having the mortgage company all over the place. I wouldn’t feel entirely at home in “My Mortgage Company’s 4-Bedroom” until that was paid off…..like they own the place.

    In theory it could have been built with Robertson capacity (~30K) while implementing the features you like. Just like I’ve never been a fan of MM being too small for really big baseball crowds (compared to the Dome before it), I wish 22K was not it for the Dynamo Stadium.

    I’ve already bought day game tickets — and there are surprisingly many coming up — and Cameron basically said the place is insanely hot during the day with the metal and concrete. Not that Robertson was cool for day games. But I’ll be interested how the closed in stadium with the roof you like works on hot summer days….at least the Rob had air flow…..and palms in the corners.

  21. The Imperative Voice says:

    I’ll be interested to see how Houston plays out after a year or so of strong crowds in a park they control. But right now it’s handled like a small market team with no DPs, struggles to sign marquee names, and even if things go well we still have to convince the Boyds of the world to play in the heat.

  22. The Imperative Voice says:

    I doubt Kraft is charging his own team much to play in Gilette. Ditto Seattle. People forget the best attended team in the league does not play in a SSS or own its own place.

  23. Charles says:

    Sounders stadium was built for socer and is the best in MLS. Turf maybe not the first choice aside.

  24. KevDC says:

    The stadium looks great. Way jealous here in DC.

    Sorry we have to spoil the opener for you. ;-)

    Vamos United!

  25. Eric says:

    Seattle stadium was not built for soccer. IT was built for the NFL while also providing great soccer sight lines which it does but the soccer appeal was also largely political and to some degree propaganda. It is clearly not the best in MLS. That is a ridiculous statement. It is great for Seattle and the location is fantastic. The only thing better would be if a SSS was built on the site of the current Memorial Stadium. However, there probably is not enough space there to build a 30,000-35,000 SSS so the Clink is the best option. As it is, the stadium situation in Seattle is great and probably can’t be improved on. Let’s just be real though. Any of these new SSS with natural grass trump the Clink.

  26. jim b says:

    Wow. Serious homer glasses on eh? Lsp & rba are both sooo much better that it really isn’t worth comparing. Add bbva to the list. Plastic grass? Really?

  27. eddie says:

    Sounders have a great club, but let’s add to the reality of their stadium issues. Frankly the pitch is horrid, playing on plastic never works. Their stadium as you mention is not for soccer, but for gridiron. No gridiron stadium will ever complement soccer in anyway like a soccer specific stadium will. The Sounders need to resolve the stadium issue and the plastic pitch which effects the game tremendously. The game is not meant to be played on plastic.

  28. agnigrin says:

    Congrats on the digs Dynamanians!