The concept of building a domed stadium for a football and baseball team was not an idea met with much enthusiasm at first, but the stadium plan was eventually passed. The longevity of the Astrodome was questioned and the owners of each team, as many did in the 1990’s, threatened to move if they did not get their own stadium, and wanted them publicly funded.
The want to bring baseball stadiums to certain cities was part of the catalyst that started the multi-purpose stadium movement. Sports writer Jack Murphy wanted to attract a baseball team to San Diego and started a campaign to do so. In November of 1965 the stadium began to take shape and was named San Diego Stadium. The Chargers played their first game there in 1967 and had no baseball counterpart until the MLB granted San Diego a franchise, the Padres, in 1969.
The grounds saw many teams play, from the Players’ League and National League New York Giants to the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Between 1925 and 1955, the New York Football Giants called the grounds home and the New York Titans turned New York Jets resided there between 1960 and 1963. From the Polo Grounds, the Giants and Jets both moved into baseball stadiums, with the Giants going to Yankee Stadium and the Jets heading to Shea Stadium.
It was once the norm of NFL teams and MLB teams to share a stadium. But multi-purpose stadiums are now becoming a thing of the past. Cleveland Municipal Stadium opened in 1931 in Cleveland and was one of the first multi-purpose stadiums. It was home to the Cleveland Indians and the Browns, Rams and Indians of the NFL. When the stadium first opened, it had no baseball team associated with it, but the Indians soon called it home.
Here’s a look at some of the places teams in both leagues have called home over the years: The Raiders are not the only ones moving out of the stadium. The A’s announced they plan to construct a new stadium as well, located at Howard Terminal on the waterfront, six miles away. The RingCentral Coliseum will be torn down and turned into a low rise sports amphitheater, affordable housing, a sports youth complex and a shopping center.
Joe Robbie Stadium/Hard Rock Stadium
The stadium was renamed Qualcomm Stadium in 1997, after Qualcomm Corporation bought the naming rights for million giving more weight to the corporation-league relationship. The Chargers made the move from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2017. They now play at the Dignity Health Sports Park while their stadium is being built.
Due to low attendance numbers from the Indians, the team proposed and eventually was granted a new stadium, Jacobs Field, which opened in 1994. The Browns, after moving to Baltimore following their last game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1996, were resurrected in 1999 and now play at FirstEnergy Stadium. Jacobs Field has since been renamed to Progressive Field, but the Indians and Browns did share it for a few years.
The Giants now share MetLife Stadium with the Jets in New Jersey.
As the Oakland Raiders are set to move from the RingCentral Coliseum, home of the Oakland A’s, to Las Vegas in 2020, fans are seeing the end of this relationship between NFL and MLB teams.
Polo Grounds was the name given to the three stadiums located in the Upper Manhattan portion of New York City, and were mainly home to baseball and football games from 1880 to 1963.
The original Yankee Stadium went through some famous changes over the years, but the iconic baseball stadium was not just about baseball. The stadium housed NFL teams called the Yankees, the Americans and the Yanks before taking in the New York Giants from 1956 to 1973 after their move from the Polo Grounds and Yale Bowl.
Three Rivers Stadium
The Chicago Bears have played at Soldier Field since 1971.
Shea Stadium at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park in Queens was home to the New York Jets and New York Mets for a while. The Jets played there from 1964 to 1983 while the Mets called Shea home for 45 seasons, from 1964 to 2008.
Cincinnati Riverfront Stadium
Riverfront Stadium was home to the Cincinnati Reds from 1970 to 2002 and the Cincinnati Bengals played their home games there from 1970 to 1999.
The Mariners headed to Safeco Field, now T-Mobile Park, during the 1999 season and the Seahawks, now at CenturyLink Field, moved to Husky Stadium after the ’99 season. The Kingdome was demolished in 2000. The stadium was home to the Florida Marlins from 1993 to 2011 and is still home to the Dolphins who played their first season there in 1987. The Florida Marlins left for Marlins Park in 2012 after they were renamed the Miami Marlins.
RingCentral Coliseum The Reds now play at the Great American Ballpark and the Bengals play at Paul Brown Stadium. The moves were again a case of both teams wanting their own place to call home.
Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Unlike many other multi-purpose stadiums of the time, Shea used grass rather than artificial turf. It also had moving seats that accommodated NFL games. The Mets now play at Citi Field, right next to where Shea Stadium stood.
The Mariners called Seattle’s Kingdome home from 1977 to 1999. The Seattle Seahawks played there from 1976 to 1999 and the Seattle SuperSonics, who are now the Oklahoma City Thunder, even played there from 1978 to 1985.
The NRG Astrodome, often referred to as the “Houston Astrodome” or simply “The Astrodome,” was the world’s first multi-purpose domed sports stadium and is located in Houston, Texas. It is often called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” for its innovations and size.
Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium was initially built to lure in an MLB team and was successful when the Milwaukee Braves left Wisconsin and needed a new home. The Atlanta Braves played in the stadium in Atlanta, Georgia from 1966 to 1996 and the Atlanta Falcons played there from 1961 to 1991. The Falcons now play at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium which is the farthest thing from “cookie cutter.”
Seating capacities were different for NFL games versus MLB games and at Veterans Stadium there were 65,358 seats for football and 56,371 for baseball. The stadium was demolished in March 21, 2004. The Eagles now play at Lincoln Financial Field and the Phillies are at Citizens Bank Park. They are both right next to where “The Vet” used to stand. As the National Football League has grown in to a financial behemoth, most teams do not find it necessary to share a home. The MLB has also broken off from this format. The split between MLB teams and NFL teams happened for a variety of reasons including money, seating capacity, attendance and the push to have everything built be bigger and better than the last thing.
The Phillies and Eagles called Veterans Stadium home from 1971 to 2003. The stadium also hosted MLB All-Star games in 1976 and 1996. Located in Philadelphia, it was built as a way to keep the Phillies in town and give the Eagles, who were playing at University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field at the time, a new home. Joe Robbie Stadium opened in 1987 in Miami and went through many names, including “Pro Player Park,” “Pro Player Stadium,” “Dolphins Stadium,” “Dolphin Stadium,” “Land Shark Stadium,” and “Sun Life Stadium” before the team sold the naming rights to the Hard Rock Cafe Inc. in 2016.
MLB’s Houston Astros played there from 1965 until 1999 and the Houston Oilers called it home from 1968 to 1996, when they moved to Tennessee. The dome also was home to the Houston Rockets from 1971 to 1975 and hosted concerts, events and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The stadium has not been demolished and is currently in the middle of an “extreme makeover.” It is set to reopen partially as a massive parking garage.
This stadium was one of the many multi-purpose stadiums built in the 1960’s and 1970’s when cities were looking to save money by building one home for two teams. Riverfront Stadium did manage to solve the problem of needing different leveled seating for fans attending football games and baseball games, and created lower level seats that were wheeled out to make it more suitable for an NFL game.
Located in Oakland, the RingCentral Coliseum, formerly the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, is the last of the MLB-NFL shared stadiums. The stadium is home to the Oakland Raiders and Oakland Athletics, at least for this season, until the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020. The Raiders first played here from 1966-1981 and came back in 1995. The A’s have been here since 1968. The first specifically built multi-purpose stadiums all looked more-or-less the same. With more money coming in and attendance rates increasing, NFL teams were able to get creative and build stadiums that were an attraction in and of themselves.
Cleveland Municipal Stadium
Heinz Field, the current home of the Steelers, and PNC Park, where the Pirates now play, were built on both sides of Three Rivers Stadium, giving both teams what they wanted and allowing them to stay in town. The stadium they shared was demolished in February of 2001. Three Rivers Stadium was located in Pittsburgh and housed the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Steelers from 1970 to 2000. In the 1990’s the teams wanted to have their own stadiums so they could generate separate and additional revenue. Having your own place means generating more revenue from sponsorships and hosting other events and concerts as well.