The SaberCats of MLR have opened their own stadium. Its not the only example of US municipals improving residences for foreign sports
Rain again. Brian Colona’s sunglasses were an rosy impres under a sky far less shining than his high-vis yellow vest.
His Houston-area home submerge when Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017. And now a tempestuou week, far less dramatic but still pesky, was menacing a site positioned for a special place in American rugby history. Soil turned to mush, coating freshly laid concrete parking lot and walkways with gooey brown globules.
Days of torrent had baffled works putting the finishing touches to the Houston SaberCats’ new dwelling, a project which had restrained Colona, the association chairperson, awake the night before we met.
Colona had retired from the oil and gas industry when the SaberCats’ dean proprietor, Mike Loya, called with a errand furnish at the end of 2017.” I had never watched a hour of rugby ,” Colona said earlier this month over the rumble of portable generators and a concrete mixer.” I rapidly got the excitement .”
After the soft open of the then imperfect Aveva Stadium on 13 April, a game against the Glendale Raptors on 11 May was rectified as the grand opening. Alas, near the end of a Major League Rugby( MLR) season in which they have lost to almost all, the SaberCats declared demolish to the weather and deferred the fixture.
Now, with shades-appropriate weather in the forecast, the team host the Austin Elite at 5pm CT on Saturday, ahead of the rearranged official curtain-raiser against Glendale on 29 May.
Ten miles south of downtown, Aveva is, like much of Houston, next to a major freeway, swampy-looking plains and comfortable home manors. Are there alligators in the bayou behind the scoreboard? You wouldn’t power it out.
The stadium has a capacity of 4,000, with 3,200 posteriors, and the total project cost is $15.2 m. In Texas, where high schools spend up to $70 m on football venues that seat more than 10,000, Aveva is little more than a hillock in a mountainous terrain. But it has outsize relevance in rugby union’s dictation to crack the world’s more lucrative market.
MLR has expanded from seven crews in 2018 to nine this year and it been able to reach 12 in 2020. Shortly before the second largest season ends, the SaberCats are opening the second rugby-specific stadium in the US. The first, Infinity Park in Colorado, belongs to Glendale.
Several more include the following, the league hopes, as it tries to imitate Major League Soccer( MLS ), which was a shaky crusade until the Columbus Crew opened the first soccer-specific stadium 20 years ago, inspiring a interpretation delirium that laid secure feet in more rooms than one.