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Behind the Scenes

Stadium tours are fascinating sport heritage experiences. The idea of going “behind the scenes” to see locations not normally on public view has become one way in which sport heritage has been commodified; going to the “sacred spaces” of a team locker room, or seeing artefacts from championship seasons can be a powerful experience for fans and supporters.

However, as Sean Gammon at the University of Central Lancashire raised the observation in his excellent chapter “‘Sporting’ new attractions? The commodification of the sleeping stadium” that people on, say, a stadium tour aren’t always major supporters – if fans at all:

…stadia tours will often comprise of highly identified fans, who display a degree of veneration towards many of the tour highlights, as well as the less-attached visitors whose interests are far more casual, and ephemeral at best. (p. 125)

In terms of visitors to stadia, and certainly this has been my observation as well, that many people go to them – and perhaps go on a tour, but on many occasions go just to be near the venue.  Or, as Gammon again contends:

…the stadium has grown in importance, from an often aesthetically indifferent utilitarian structure into an iconic symbol of a place, team, sport and/or event. (p.116)

Indeed, part of the appeal of touring sports stadia is that they are, in some sense, a repository of a community’s culture.  This is, of course, not to say that sport is all encompassing when it comes to representing culture, but rather that sport – and the places where sport is played – can become one of the representations of culture and cultural performance.

In any event, touring famous sports stadia can be an important tourism experience as well.  Places like Boston’s Fenway Park and Barcelona’s Camp Nou are some of the most visited attractions in their respective cities – and, given that each community hosts millions of visitors annually, the stadiums’ touristic importance cannot be ignored.

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Having been on dozens of different stadium tours in several countries, and being one of a handful of scholars who study stadium tours, I can attest that many tours follow similar paths and patterns.  Almost all begin or end at the team or stadium shop (stadium tours are, after all, a good way of driving retail services on non-game days and in the off-season), and most include stops at the media centre, a luxury suite, at or near the top of the stadium (The “birds-eye” view), the change rooms, and beside the playing surface or pitch.

However, not all stadium tours are alike.  I have been on awful stadium tours where I was deeply interested in the team or venue, and been on wonderful stadium tours where I knew little or nothing about the home team (and, sometimes, even the sport!). Of course, what a good stadium tour can do is connect the committed supporter more closely with his or her favourite club, and perhaps even make the nominal or non-supporter gain an interest in the club, venue, or sport.

With that in mind, these are some of the facets I believe makes for a good stadium tour:

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  1. Knowledgeable and passionate guides: Obviously, the abilities of the guide is important on any tour – stadium or otherwise – but, I believe, the best stadium tour guides are the ones that have a strong cultural memory of the club or venue (particularly those with some memories or nostalgia of visiting the venue in their youth), know about the current club, can deviate from the “script” when appropriate, and can answer virtually any question about the stadium’s history and legacy.  This is a tough ask, but I have been on a few tours when the guide demonstrates (or, flat-out states) that s/he has no interest in the venue, or the sport/team that plays at the venue.
  2. Employing the senses: Stadium tours are, of course, about seeing places not normally open to public view.  However, the best stadium tours go well beyond just seeing behind the scenes at a venue.  Many of the best tours employed all of the senses: asking tour patrons to touch, say, the locker of a famous athlete, or listen to the (simulated) crowd noise piped-in for the tour, or smell the sometime malodorous locker rooms, or the preparation of food before a match. Some tours even suggest that patrons experience something of stadium cuisine before or after the visit.  Seeing behind the scenes is great, but sensing behind the scenes is even better
  3. Imagination: Stadium tours offer a bit of a juxtaposition. On the one hand, patrons are touring an infamous sporting venue. On the other hand, they are touring the stadium it when it is “sleeping” and therefore not as it would be on a match day.  As such, the best guides and tours are adept at firing the patrons’ imaginations during the tour.  One guide, I remember, when touring the locker room asked patrons to imagine it was five minutes to kick-off.  He went through, minute-by-minute, what each one of the players would be thinking, feeling, or doing.  He even pointed to different patrons, asking them to imagine that they were a famous player and would say, “You! You are listening to your music in your headphones, head-down, focusing on what will be a very tough match.”  Finally, at the end of the five minutes, the guide rapped twice on the door and said, “It’s game time!”  I’ll admit, I had shivers up my spine.
  4. The soft sell: Stadium tours are an opportunity for teams and venues to sell merchandise, rental space, team or venue experiences, and catering.  The best stadium tours might mention these, perhaps in passing, but don’t do the hard sell.  It’s much more effective and enjoyable.
  5. Access: The best stadium tours provide the illusion of access – even though the “backstage” is always a kind-of front stage that is dressed-up for visitation.  That said, I have been on stadium tours that did not go to the locker room area, or near the pitch, or anywhere that wouldn’t otherwise be available to anyone with a ticket to a game.  The stadium tour must provide access that is not otherwise available, and certainly wouldn’t be available on a game day to anyone else but players and team officials.
  6. Souvenir: Many stadium tours provide patrons a kind-of lanyard during the tour – likely to identify patrons for safety and security purposes, but also to bring home as a souvenir of their visit.  Interestingly, many of that lanyards and other souvenirs also have contact information for further tour bookings, tickets, and hospitality services.  A nice way to have a memento while also providing a soft sales pitch.

Heritage and the Empty Stadium

There was an interesting blog post written by Dave Cournoyer at his site daveberta.ca recently about the future of Rexall Place in Edmonton, Canada.  For the initiated, Rexall Place (as it is currently named) was opened in the mid 1970s and, though it has hosted numerous concerts, performances, and sporting events in its 40 year history, it is most famous for being the long-time home of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL).  In particular, the arena housed the Oilers during their “Glory Years” in the 1980s and early 1990s when, led by hockey superstars Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, and others, the team won five Stanley Cup championships in seven seasons.  The arena, arguably, has significant heritage value, in large part because of the Edmonton Oilers, though perhaps to a lesser extent because of aspects such as its architectural value, it role in other sporting events such as the annual Canadian Finals Rodeo, and its historical connection to the Northlands fair grounds.

From a individual view, Rexall Place has significant personal heritage value to me.  For decades, it was the place I went to see hockey games with my family.  In fact, I actually witnessed two of the Oilers Stanley Cup championships – in 1984 and 1988 – from our family’s season tickets in Section K, Row 14.  A number of years ago, while completing my doctorate at the University of Alberta, I got to play hockey on the “hallowed ice” of Rexall Place – which was exciting and thrilling and wonderful, even to a grown man.  Rexall Place was also where I went to concerts with friends, saw wrestling cards as a teenager, and had my father take me to an occasional monster truck show.  Simply put, the arena was part of the landscape of my growing up and living in Edmonton, and I suspect it has become an integral part of many Edmontonians’ personal heritage narratives over the past forty years.

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In 2016, the Edmonton Oilers will be leaving Rexall Place and moving to a brand new downtown arena. Cournoyer’s blog post explores some thoughts and issues associated with what happens to Rexall Place after the Oilers move.  As Cournoyer points out, there hasn’t been much thought about this issue, and argues that local residents have not been consulted as to the arena’s future or how the arena might be used after the Oilers leave.

I would add that, part of the consultation about the future of Rexall Place ought to address and assess it’s heritage value, in particular whether the arena’s heritage ought to be recognized and how this heritage recognition would take place.

Empty stadiums and arenas, particularly those with a clear heritage value, pose some very interesting challenges.  I argued, in my recent paper “Sport, heritage, and Tourism” in the Journal of Heritage Tourism that, perhaps what makes sport heritage unique is its link to a sense of perpetual play and performance:

…sport heritage appears to be a very distinct form of heritage, perhaps because of its broad dissemination and consumption, though perhaps more because of its corporal nature.  We have to continue to play sport, or support those who play, in order to create future sport heritage. The fact that sport heritage often does not fossilize, that it must continue to be made and remade through play and performance, is perhaps what gives it a distinctive place in the heritage and heritage tourism landscape.”

What this may mean for empty stadiums, in fact, is that they are essentially dead landscapes; that perhaps the heritage isn’t in the building itself but the relationship between the building/landscape, the spectators, and the game/performance.  Without games being played – in essence, generating new heritage – the buildings themselves may have limited heritage value.

Recognizing the heritage value of empty stadiums and arenas has taken different forms, with different levels of success.  In situ preservation is probably the least feasible option. Leaving aside ancient sporting monuments, such as the Colosseum in Rome, preservation for preservation’s sake would appear unlikely for any stadium.  There are places like Rickwood Field – the oldest baseball stadium in the United States – in Birmingham, Alabama which does not have a core tenant and is probably the best example of preservation for preservation’s sake.  That said, the stadium hosts dozens of events each year, from college baseball games and tournaments to memorabilia shows, so it is hardly a “mothballed” stadium.

Adaptive reuse of heritage stadiums and arenas is a popular option.  Both the Montreal Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens have incorporated numerous heritage elements of the old arenas into new retail, real estate, and education spaces.  However, adaptive reuse is not always an option.  Tiger Stadium in Detroit was slated for a real estate redevelopment that would have incorporated the old stadium in the development, but plans fell through and the stadium was demolished.  Frequently, the old stadium sat adjacent to the new stadium, so some form of heritage markers were often used to denote where the previous stadium was after demolition. The “old” Yankee Stadium in New York is now a park next to new Yankee Stadium, and Fulton County Stadium is parking for the new Turner Field in Atlanta, with both examples denoting important markers from the old stadium in the new space (e.g.: location of home plate, etc.)  Sometimes, artefacts from the old building are incorporated into the new building.  The scoreboard from the old Omni Coliseum in Atlanta is situated in the foyer of the new Phillips Arena, for example.

Of course, many old arenas simply continue on without their core tenants, or perhaps find a different – and often lower tier – sports tenant.  The Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, once the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, continues as a concert venue, a site for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and is the home of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League (WHL), a junior developmental hockey league.  As such, how the venue’s heritage is preserved or recognized may change as well.

In the discussions on the future of Rexall Place, the heritage of the venue should be raised – and, depending on the future use of the building, how the heritage is recognized will be a key issue.  I also think that the heritage of the venue isn’t just the Oilers, but encompasses many different forms – including personal heritages.  I would imagine that the venue will end up in some sort of adaptive reuse project – I simply can’t imagine it being preserved in situ, nor can I see it continue without its core tenant given the population size of Edmonton.  That said, I hope the good citizens of my former hometown consider a broad range of cases in how to use the venue going forward while still recognizing and acknowledging its heritage value.

Infamous Sites and the Sport Heritage Visitor

Do we actually know why people visit sport heritage sites?

This seems like a bit of an obvious question, and perhaps one that has been answered (or, at least, assumed) by marketers, managers, and academics alike.  But, I got to thinking about it the other day that, perhaps, as researchers we’ve rather guessed at the reasons why someone might go to a stadium, or hall of fame, or heritage sporting event (though, perhaps the reasons for each are different).  As a colleague mentioned to me this weekend, perhaps sport heritage research needs to come up with a visitor typology (add that topic to an ever-growing list of potential dissertation topics for a future graduate student).  However, one thing I – and others who research this topic – have noticed is that not everyone who visits a sport heritage site is a die-hard, super-keen fan.

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Sean Gammon at the University of Central Lancashire raised the observation in his excellent chapter “‘Sporting’ new attractions? The commodification of the sleeping stadium” that people on, say, a stadium tour aren’t always major supporters – if fans at all:

…stadia tours will often comprise of highly identified fans, who display a degree of veneration towards many of the tour highlights, as well as the less-attached visitors whose interests are far more casual, and ephemeral at best. (p. 125)

In terms of visitors to stadia, and certainly this has been my observation as well, that many people go to them – and perhaps go on a tour, but on many occasions go just to be near the venue.  Or, as Gammon again contends:

…the stadium has grown in importance, from an often aesthetically indifferent utilitarian structure into an iconic symbol of a place, team, sport and/or event. (p.116)

This idea that some sport heritage sites are infamous – that they are famous for being famous – is perhaps an obvious one, though I think it is frequently overlooked in understanding sport heritage.  If we are to understand heritage sport tourism as, in part, a kind of heritage tourism, then it stands to reason that some visitors will go to sport heritage sites simply because they are interesting, or representative of a particular culture, or because they are famous and it is something that “you do” when on vacation.  Indeed, visitors to Rome need not be entrenched in the classical history in order to want to visit Pantheon, just as visitors to Paris need not have a background – or any knowledge, really – in the history of the French monarchy to want to visit Versailles.  Perhaps sport sites will attract more knowledgable visitors, as sport is such a global phenomenon and a knowledge of sport is perhaps easier to acquire than a knowledge of the writings of Marcus Aurelius, but is it that far-fetched to have visitors want to go to Old Trafford without being fans of Manchester United, or Yankee Stadium without being New York Yankees fans, or the museum at Camp Nou without being hardcore Barcelona supporters?  I suppose the other aspect is that, if we have some knowledge that not every sport heritage visitor is necessarily a massive sporting fan, might there be a case for adjusting how a site is interpreted? Could we appeal both to the hardcore fan, who might be looking to venerate and nostalgize, as well as the casual or non-fan who might see the site as representative of a place, or a city, or a culture? Might this transition also provide for broader narratives, where sport is explored both in terms of achievement as well as a social process?  This is also not to place visitors in a binary relationship – sports fans may also desire critical narratives, and non-sports fans could be attracted to the spectacle, drama, and pageantry of the sporting past.  Still, in my experience, there is much work to be done in exploring this aspect of sport heritage, as we probably don’t yet know why people visit these sites and what they are looking to experience.

PS – I was going to write a post yesterday about an anniversary of sorts. When writing a cheque for my son’s daycare fees, I noticed that the date was October 20.  On that date in 1991, my hockey career (such as it was) abruptly ended, which sent me into a tailspin for a few years.  Perhaps one day I’ll write about this event and what it meant in my life in more detail, but for now I was thrilled to see this story yesterday about the mask of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens supporting mental health awareness.  Good on ya, Ben!

Sport Heritage on the Radio

Last Friday, I talked sport heritage on The Jason Strudwick Show on TSN 1260 Radio in Edmonton, Canada. Jason is a former National Hockey League player, having played over 600 games for several teams – including the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks – before retiring in 2012.

Jason and I talked a bit about The Sport Heritage Review website and how I came to be involved in sport heritage.  We discussed the transference of sport heritage from one venue to another, a topic discussed in several research papers including Belanger’s study about the Molson Centre in MontrealGammon and Fear’s study of the tours of Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and my study (along with Gammon and Huang) of borrowed heritage at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. On more of a nostalgia front, Jason and I briefly reminisced about our shared hockey past, as we were teammates in minor hockey about 25 years ago.  It was a fun chat, and I hope Jason and I get to gabbing again sometime soon.

In any event, the interview is about 15 minutes long and in two parts. The links for each part of the interview are below.  Happy listening!

Part #1(Interview begins at approximately the 43 minute mark)

Part #2 (Interview continues for approximately 10 minutes at the beginning of the hour)

 

The Placeless Stadium

Last week, I attended the Leisure Studies Association conference at the University of the West of Scotland (it was a fantastic conference with a great group academics – next year’s conference is at Bournemouth University) and one of the comments I heard during a few presentations was that sports venues and stadiums are “placeless.”  That is to say that stadiums have become so standardized, particularly in terms of the quality of playing surfaces, of amenities, and so on, that they have become indistinguishable from one another.  This placelessness stems from the global transferability of sports and sporting codes, as well as the transnationalism of brands that undermine and, perhaps, replace the local at the stadium.  Ultimately, the placeless stadium looks to replicate both playing conditions and the spectator experience – you know what you’re going to get before you get there.

I would disagree…sort of.

I would agree that, for the most part, there is replicability in terms of the playing surfaces, in so far as there probably isn’t a massive gulf between really great playing surfaces and really poor playing surfaces.  There’s probably also standardization of amenities, such as for food and beverage offerings.  Even from a heritage perspective, replicating historic aesthetics have become commonplace (the retro baseball stadium phenomenon in the US, for example, has been termed “Camdenization” following the number of stadiums that began to emulate Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore).

However, there still seems to be a fair amount that defines place at a stadium.  Most stadiums have their own distinct history, traditions and aesthetics.  There may be commonalities, for sure, but how a stadium looks, what its famous moments are, who played there, and so forth seems to define each as different.  Even the most standardized stadium has its unforgettable games, moments, and players that help to create a sense of place.  Certainly, fan traditions create place, even in the most placeless stadiums.  I remember watching a game during the final season at Yankee Stadium.  Though it was the “House that Ruth Built,” various renovations had made it look, more or less, like a 1970s suburban concrete ballpark.  But, it was the stadium’s history, and the performance of the fans, that made it a beloved stadium and gave it a distinctive feel.  Aesthetically, it may have been placeless (there wasn’t even a quirky outfield, common with both historical ballparks and their retro equivalents) and, sure, it was Coca-Cola and Miller Lite and hotdogs at the concessions, but you could hardly call Yankee Stadium placeless.

Similarly, I began to think about the standardization of playing surfaces and that this too has diminished a sense of place.  Perhaps in certain sports, there is little differentiation between one stadium and another.  By and large, soccer is like this – and, when there is a differentiation, it is usually negative in that the pitch is dangerous or unplayable.  However, many sports have distinctive aspects to their fields of play that help to define them.  This was most recently seen at Trent Bridge for the England v. India test cricket match last week.  The wickets at Trent Bridge were known for favouring particular forms of bowling but, as it turned out, standardization of the wicket had made the surface “lifeless.”  In this, the groundskeeper admitted fault and would, in future, return the playing surface to a more “local” and distinctive condition. Heck, when I was playing hockey, each rink was different despite the standardized ice surface – particularly in terms of how the boards would “play.” As a goalie, I needed to know this – and, even use these to my advantage.

Ultimately, I understand the placeless argument to a point.  Certainly, there is a growing standardization in terms of playing conditions and spectator experience.  However, many stadiums are different and have distinct senses of place, in part through their heritage and history, but through other things – like how a playing surface “plays” – as well.

 

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Site Review: St. James’ Park Tour – Newcastle, UK

Throughout the tenure of this blog, I hope to discuss some of the sport heritage sites I have been able to visit over the years.  While I have termed these “reviews,” I am perhaps less preoccupied with a more Trip-Advisor-esque “should you visit here?” kind of commentary.  Rather, I am interested in what is presented, how it is presented, and what kinds of heritages are highlighted (and ignored).  Of course, praise/critique may find its way in to this commentary, but I hope to highlight more about what sport heritage these sites present and how they present them.

The tour of Newcastle United’s home ground, St. James’ Park, is the focus of this site review. If you are not familiar with the ground, its history, and the recent controversy over its name change (at the time of the tour in 2012 it was called Sports Direct Arena – though the corporate name has since been abandoned and the original St. James’ name has been re-instated), there’s a good backgrounder available here.  Needless to say, it is one of the largest stadiums in Premiership football and, through various incarnations, has been used by Newcastle United Football Club (NUFC) for well over a century.

If you have ever been on a stadium tour, most tend to follow a very similar pattern.  They are meant to reveal something of the “backstage” of a familiar venue, providing the both the dedicated fan and curious observer a chance to see places not normally accessible to the general public.  Therefore, most stadium tours (which almost invariably begin and end at the team shop) will visit the luxury suites, the media centre, some of the other private rooms and hospitality areas, the view from the “best seats in the house,” and so on.  Many tours will allow access to the change/dressing rooms, particularly in the off-season, and some will allow access next to (though, in my experience, never on) the playing surface.  Some tours will have a subtle sales pitch (mentioning that particular places in the stadium are available for private rentals, for example), and most venues will offer tours year-round and often on a daily basis, depending on demand.  Stadium tours have garnered some academic interest (including from yours truly), though a great place to start is with Gammon & Fear’s research about tours of Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The tour of St. James’ Park was, really, no different than other stadium tours in terms of pattern – though, I did find it probably the best stadium tour I have ever experienced. Perhaps this is because I had a bit of nostalgia about the place.  I lived not far from it while doing my Masters degree, attended a few games while living in Newcastle, and subsequently became a fan – albeit a casual one if compared with many of my fellow tour patrons.  The guide was also a local, long-time fan from Jarrow, as well as an employee of the club, so he could tell many “unofficial” stories about players, teams, and his own life-long spectating experiences.  In many ways, because the guide didn’t appear to follow a team-mandated script, his commentary felt intimate and authentic.  For example, he kept referring to the venue as “St. James’ Park” – and even said that “they” (seemingly, the team owners and management) wanted him to use corporate “Sports Direct” name, though he refused.  There has been some research (albeit in a very different context) that suggested that first-hand commentaries about a location – in other words, the personal narrative of the guide’s experiences there – may be more important for visitors than seeing the toured venue itself. I suppose this combination of my own background and a guide that was really and truly a team supporter (even going so far as to criticize the team’s recent performance at points during the tour) made the tour something very special.  It didn’t feel like the regular, old Wednesday afternoon tour, if that makes sense.

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(John, our guide, beginning his tour of St. James’ Park.)

One of the other aspect that made this tour memorable was the sheer level of access the tour provided.  Indeed, the tour did follow a familiar pattern in terms of visited locations, but we did get to linger in both the home and visitor changing rooms, the pitch-side visit went around to the other side of the field (along the touch line, of course), and the guide even allowed visitors to sit in the players’ chairs along the sidelines. Again, I’m not sure if this was standard for the tours – or if it was just our guide – but rarely have I experienced a more physically accessible tour.

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(In the tunnel, St. James’ Park)

In many ways, the tour felt like it was of a treasured heritage structure – and important symbol in the community – and not just a big, modern football stadium.  Many of the artefacts on the walls in the venue re-enforced the legacy of the stadium (such as old jerseys and photos of players and of the stadium), and that the present physical incarnation was, in some ways, repository for that history and those memories.  Of course, our guide was very good at weaving his own heritage into that of the stadium, though I would hardly call him a weepy nostalgist.  He re-enforced that many of the decisions – even the name change – are simply part managing a contemporary club, one that needs to compete for labour in a global marketplace.  Similarly, when speaking about the changes to the city proper, it was one mixed with pride and sadness.  Certainly, Newcastle appears to be a city on the rise – and has become much more cosmopolitan, even in the dozen years since I had lived there.  But, those changes have come at a price, and changes such as the demolition of the near-by Newcastle Breweries (and the fact that Newcastle Brown is now brewed outside of Newcastle itself) can be challenging for long-time residents. In some ways, the tour re-enforced that the stadium – as a symbol of the team – would be ever present, even as the city around it changed.

Latest Research – Acquired Pasts and the Commodification of Borrowed Heritage: The Case of the Bank of America Stadium Tour

I am very pleased to announce the publication of my latest journal article, “Acquired Pasts and the Commodification of Borrowed Heritage: The Case of the Bank of America Stadium Tour.”  The article was co-authored with Dr. Sean Gammon of the University of Central Lancashire and Dr. Wei-Jue Huang of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and is published in the Journal of Sport & Tourism.

From the abstract:

Contemporary understandings of heritage and heritage tourism have viewed heritageas more than just tangible objects and places but also the social values and practices associated with things and places of heritage. As such, sports heritage venues often emphasize the history of the sport or the team to sustain the legacy of the place and create a meaningful experience for the visitors. However, stadiums that are relatively new lack the recognizableheritage that could be incorporated into their stadium tour narratives. To understand different forms of heritage construction, this study examines tours of the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). Being a stadium with little history, its tour narratives are not rooted in the heritage of the venue itself but rather in the more intangible traditions, language, and rituals of NFL fandom. In particular, the stadium tour espouses the identity, experience and performance of being an NFL fan, providing patrons an opportunity to not only reflect on their past spectator experiences, but also to create new personal/collective heritage through continued consumption. In addition, the tour borrows heritage from other NFL-based heritage markers in order to reinforce the authenticity of the location and experience, seemingly until such time that the facility and team can establish a recognizable and commodifiable homegrown’ heritage.

A limited number of article e-prints are available via the link here.

Public Art and Sport Heritage

I recently had the chance to tour Marlins Park in Miami – a baseball stadium that has been credited with the ending the retro park phenomenon in the United States. Although I will save my thoughts about the stadium and its relationship to heritage for another time (I believe it to be as “heritage” as the retro parks, but I digress), one of the interesting elements of the Park is how art is a central feature – both inside and outside the stadium.

Public art and sport heritage do have a relationship, although typically it is manifest in statue form (interestingly, there has been some recent research published about sport statues by this group here). However, Marlins Park took the relationship between sport heritage and art to a different level by actually creating a public art piece from the signage of the Miami Orange Bowl, a football stadium that was demolished to make room for Marlins Park. While it is not unusual for new stadiums to include displays or artefacts from past facilities, to do it in such a unique way (and, for me, a way that was both playful and nostalgic) suggest that sport heritage displays can be artistic and inventive without necessarily being prosaic.

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