12 January 2006

Don't skimp on the seats

At the Reds' home, Great American Ball Park, some 20,000 seat pans (bottoms) will have to be replaced due to failing brackets. Since the ballpark opened in 2003, Hussey has had to replace seat hardware multiple times. Hamilton County (owner of the stadium) and Hussey have agreed to have any further issues resolved through nonbinding mediation.

This might not have been a problem at all if Hamilton County hadn't gone cheap on the seats in the first place. While $4.1 million was budgeted for the seating contract, Hussey submitted the lowest bid, $3.4 million. With the cheaper bid comes cheaper hardware. This is also not the first time Hussey has had issues. Hussey recently settled with the Tampa Stadium Authority over the fading color in the seats in Raymond James Stadium. The intense Florida sun had turned the seats pink in ionly 3 years, and a Hussey subcontractor failed to put proper UV protection in the seats. Hussey has its products installed at dozens of other stadiums nationwide without incident so it shouldn't be a reflection of Hussey seats as a whole. But the Cincinnati problem amounts to a black eye, something Hussey can't afford as the stadium-building boom slows down and opportunities become scarce.


Georob said...

Now, Great American Ballpark has that "Gap" in the upper deck seating. I've read the official reasons for why it was done(view, putting more seats closer to the field, etc) but it makes me wonder if cutting costs had any role in that design concept. Just as I wonder if cost cutting played a role in The Coliseum being built with such a large foul area.

I would hope that A's, and not the City Of Oakland(or wherever) will be overseeing the stadium design. Otherwise we may be doomed to repeat past mistakes in the name of "fiscal responsiblilty".

Marine Layer said...

The gap is partly by design. The marketing pitch is that downtown Cincy can be seen from through the gap. The reality is that there's a discontinuity in the seating decks that makes the gap necessary. All of the club seats and an extra press/suite level are on the first base side, while more regular seats are on the third base side.

I doubt that cost-cutting facilitated the Coliseum design. Other stadiums in the 60's like Dodger Stadium and the 'Stick had large amounts of foul territory as well. The problem with the Coliseum is that it was never truly ideal for either football or baseball, and ballpark standards for comfort, sight lines, and amenities have changed greatly in the last 20 years.