Steady-state economics and stadiums

Using the Date of Ecological Maturity to conceptualize and govern sport facility construction

Authored by: Christopher M. McLeod , John T. Holden

Routledge Handbook of Sport and the Environment

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138666153
eBook ISBN: 9781315619514
Adobe ISBN:


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Sport facility construction and operation utilize scarce resources and produce waste during a time where humans are operating outside the Earth’s finite capacity to sustain conditions for life (Mallen & Chard, 2012; Myer & Chaffee, 1997; Rockström et al., 2009; UNEP, 2007). Moreover, stadiums are being demolished and reconstructed at an increasing rate, which multiplies the sport industry’s strain on the environment. In 1990, Baade and Dye wrote, “Rather than physical deterioration … new stadium construction is inspired by economic obsolescence” (p. 5). In 1998, Frank, Lopez, and Santana estimated the average life of arenas at 17.7 years and stadiums at 35.5 years. In 2014, Isidore estimated that the average lifespan of a National Football League (NFL) stadium had decreased to 31 years. Across all professional leagues in the United States, stadiums with shorter lifespans are more appealing given the availability of direct and indirect sources of public funding. In 2017, the Atlanta Braves will play in a new stadium opening just 20 years after playing their first game at their previous facility.

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