Fans buy up pieces of iconic Houston Astrodome at auction
Thousands spend hours waiting in line to get piece of Houston icon
Thousands of people spent hours waiting in line Saturday to get a little piece of the Houston Astrodome. The crowds were larger than organizers anticipated and officials ended up closing the doors earlier than planned.
"It is crazy, I felt crazy getting up at 3:30 and telling my husband I am leaving at 3:30 in the morning, but now I don't feel so crazy," said Amber Kratschmer, who was one of the first in line. "I think it was a good idea."
It was the chance of a lifetime for Astrodome fans, an opportunity to take a piece of the stadium home with them. Some girls woke up at 3 a.m. Saturday to be the first ones in line.
"Christmas for my brother, my other brother, my dad, my husband's man cave, for those die hard sports fans who have been in Houston forever, love the Oilers, to just have a piece of that would be nice," said Kratschmer.
It felt like the line of people went on forever inside Reliant Center as thousands of people rushed just to wait for hours for a piece of the Houston icon filled with childhood memories.
"I came here with my dad and brother all of the time, so that enough is why I want a part of it," said Amy Nelson.
"We are from Houston so the Astrodome is important to us, so we want to get some seats if we can get them," said Steve Patton.
Most people seemed to be after stadium seats, a pair costing $200. Turf was also sold. An auction was also held a for the higher-end items, like turnstiles, dugout and football benches, and signed memorabilia.
Organizers said they anticipated attendance to be around 1,500 to 2,000 people, but up to 8,000 showed up. People who waited in line and were turned away were given tickets and told more stadium seats may be available for purchase online later this month. Reliant officials didn't yet have details on how those tickets would be traded in for seats.
Kirk Simon of Houston said he arrived at Reliant Center at 7:15 a.m. and was continually told there would plenty of seats available. At 2 p.m., he was given a ticket but said officials couldn't guarantee he'd be able to purchase seats at a later date.
"We were disappointed in the whole process so I don't have a whole lot of faith in the process is going to be like to order them online," said Simon. "So we spent a whole lot of time for nothing today."
Reliant officials said an estimated 2,400 pairs of seats were sold. The most expensive auction item was a turnstile that sold for $4,100. All of the proceeds go to the Astrodome renovation project.