Opening in 2002, Reliant Stadium became
the first retractable roof stadium in the NFL. Football in the City of Houston had been a staple since 1960
when the Houston Oilers were founded. For over 25 years the Oilers
played at the Houston Astrodome, the first multipurpose dome
stadium in the country. By the mid 1980s the Oilers, owned by Bud Adams, became
dissatisfied with the Astrodome because it was one of the smallest
stadiums in the NFL. When Adams threatened to move the Oilers
to Jacksonville in 1987, Houston officials renovated the Astrodome,
adding 10,000 seats and additional luxury suites. However, it was
not long before Adams became unsatisfied with the refurbished
Astrodome. By the 1990s he began to lobby for a new
dome stadium to be built in downtown Houston. In 1993 Adams was
willing to contribute $85 million to a stadium but Houston
officials and residents were not willing to fund a new stadium.
Frustrated by the lack of support for a new stadium, Adams moved
the Oilers to Nashville, TN after the 1996 season where they
became the Tennessee Titans.
Bob McNair in 1997, the Houston NFL Holdings Group was formed in
order to bring a NFL
franchise back to Houston. The group commissioned HOK Sport to
develop a retractable roof stadium. In 1998, after expanding to 31
teams, the NFL announced that it would further expand to 32 teams in 1999.
Two cities competed for the 32nd team: Los Angeles and
Houston. It appeared that Houston would never land another NFL
team in March 1999, when the league announced that it had selected
Angeles as the home of its 32nd franchise. However, this was
contingent on the city and investors working together to develop a
stadium deal. They were unsuccessful and in October 1999 the NFL
rescinded the Los Angeles expansion franchise, awarding it to
Named the Houston
Texans, the new team partnered with the Livestock Show and Rodeo
to build a stadium. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new
stadium, built near the Astrodome, began in early 2000.
In October 2000, Reliant Energy purchased the naming rights, thus
the facility was named Reliant Stadium. The Houston Texans played
their first regular season game at Reliant Stadium on September 8,
2002 against the Dallas Cowboys. Reliant Stadium has a seating capacity of
around 69,000, consisting of three main tiers that enclose the
field. A retractable roof was chosen for the stadium, mainly because of
the late summer heat and the stadium hosts rodeos, that
attract two million people annually.
that opens or closes in seven minutes, consists of two sections that meet over
the 50 yard line when it is closed.
When the roof is open, each section is above the seats in the endzone. Reliant Stadium has many amenities including over 8,200
club seats, 187 luxury suites, club lounges and bars, and a Texans
team store. The newest addition to the stadium are two 50 feet
high by 277 feet wide HD video/scoreboards, each above the
endzone, installed before the 2013 season. Reliant Stadium is host to many events annually and
was the site of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and will host Super
Bowl LI in 2017.