HOUSTON – The NFL season kicks off Thursday night as the Texans take on the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Speaking of stadiums, Houston’s NRG Stadium is nearing its 20th year as home of the Texans, which isn’t too old by NFL standards, but it does beg the question: what does the future hold for NRG?
NRG in its prime
“I think NRG Stadium is in its prime, honestly,” says Ryan Walsh, the Executive Director of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation. Walsh’s organization was created to maintain and develop the county-owned NRG Park.
“We’ve always been envisioned as a multi-use, multi-destination sports and entertainment and community complex,” Walsh says. “And I feel like we’ve done very well at that over the years.”
The massive complex, which includes the stadium, NRG Center, NRG Arena, and the Astrodome, hosts more than 500 events each year, from sports to concerts and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. And that’s something newer venues desperately want.
“In a lot of cases, owners and municipalities aren’t able to devote that scale of land to the project,” says Bryan Trubey, an architect with world-renown stadium builder HKS, Inc. “So it’s not just about the stadium," he says. "It’s about how do we project a really unique site-wide brand that’s really recognizable globally.”