Tenants: Houston Astros (MLB), Houston Oilers (NFL)
Capacity: 42,217 (original), 54,816 (final)
Surface: Grass (1965), Astroturf
Cost: $35 Million, $60 Million (expansions)
Opened: April 24, 1965
Closed: October 9, 1999
Demolished: Still Standing
Dimensions: 340-L, 406-C, 330-R (original), 330-L, 400-C, 330-R (final)
Architect: Roy Hofheinz
History Of Astrodome Stadium
The Astrodome was named the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ when it was in its prime, as it was the first dome-shaped stadium used in baseball. Judge Roy Hofheinz was already planning on building the dome stadium before Houston was awarded the MLB expansion franchise.
He used his model of the dome stadium to lure National League owners into awarding Houston their own team. Of course, it worked and in 1960 the Houston Colt .45s was formed and began playing in 1962.
During the 1990s, the Astros began wanting a new stadium built and the funding was approved. After three more seasons, the Astros played their final game at the Astrodome on October 9, 1999.
The Astrodome has since been stripped but still remains standing as a $105 million renovation is in the works for the stadium. The newly renovated Astrodome will now be used for festivals, commercial uses, conferences, and more.
Who / What Is It Named After
The Houston Colts .45s began playing at the Colt Stadium in 1962, which was a stadium just across the way from the Astrodome, which was still under construction at the time. Three seasons were played at the Colt Stadium before the Colt .45s were able to move into the newly built stadium, originally known as the Harris County Dome Stadium.
This first name lacked the originality that many other baseball stadiums show with their names, as it was named after the dome-esque appearance of the stadium. However, once the Colt .45s were renamed the Astros, the stadium also got a new name after the home team – the Astrodome.
When Did It Open
This stadium originally opened on April 24, 1965 – almost five years after Houston was initially awarded the franchise – the Houston Colts .45s. Voters approved an initial $18 million for the Astrodome construction to be built!
What Team Played There
The Houston Astros were the main team to play here for over three decades after the stadium was initially built. This was the only baseball team that made a home at the Astrodome, although two football teams also played home here.
Both the Houston Oilers for the NFL, and the University of Houston were two football teams known to play at the Astrodome.
You can find the Astrodome stadium in Houston, Texas. Around the stadium is the NRG Stadium, which used to be known as the Colt Stadium when the Astros were still named the Colt .45s. The NRG Park is just a short walk away from the Astrodome as well.
Capacity (Seated & Standing)
The initial capacity was 42,217 cushioned seats circled around the back of the home plate and towards the left and right field foul pole. Over the following two decades, there were very few changes made to the Astrodome.
However, in the latter half of 1989, the Houston Oilers required a higher capacity and added over 12,000 new seats, making the final capacity 54,816. This was done by extending the grandstands to the outfield so that they curled the playing field.
What Are The Stadium Dimensions
The original dimensions of the Astrodome Stadium are as follows:
- Left: 340 feet
- Center: 406 feet
- Right: 330 feet
After the stadium was expanded upon; however, the dimensions altered slightly due to the additional seating being introduced. The changes are minute, though, so it wouldn’t be obviously changed to the average fan. Below are the final dimensions for the Astrodome:
- Left: 330 feet
- Center: 400 feet
- Right: 330 feet
Seats For Sale
You can no longer purchase seated tickets for the Astrodome as it is no longer in use for baseball games. It has not been open since 1999 and therefore you cannot purchase season tickets anymore.
However, one interesting thing about Astrodome seats is that you can purchase them online that have been removed from the stadium. During its 34 active years, the Astrodome became one of the most beloved stadiums in regards to baseball.
Due to this, it stands to reason that many people would want to purchase their own set of seats previously housed at the Astrodome. These can be found on secondhand websites such as eBay and other auction sites.
You’ll have to be quick, though – there are only so many seats being sold at one time and many people seem to want to get their hands on some. So, if you want your own Astrodome seats to last forever, you’ll need to keep your eyes out for current auctions and be prepared to go head-to-head against other fans.
Due to the Astrodome’s unique shape, there weren’t many bad seats in the stadium. However, as with any baseball stadium, we think that the seats behind the home plate were the best. The closer you can get to home plate the better in our eyes, as you’ll be closest to the action and can see exactly what’s happening throughout the entire game.
The stadium features six levels of seats all circled around the playing field. As you can imagine, the seats on the sixth level will be considerably further away from the playing field than the first level, and therefore can be considered worse.
Some people believe that sitting on the first level of the stadium is the best as you’re on the floor and therefore can get the most accurate perspective of what the players are seeing during the action.
However, others think that sitting at a slightly higher level gives you a better view because you can see more of the game at an elevated angle.
The Astrodome was actually one of the first stadiums to feature luxury suites with 53 cushioned seats within each one. These could also be considered the best seats in the house as they were enclosed by the majority of other fans.
Overall, the Astrodome had a plethora of best seating options with few seats that lacked a decent view.
One of the most notable features of the Astrodome was the dome shape of it and the circular seating pattern that saw every fan to be a similar distance away from the playing field. Unlike other stadiums that had the bleachers and bad seats incredibly far away from the home plate, the Astrodome saw these seats to still have impressive views of the action.
Behind the pavilion seats in centerfield was a 474-foot long scoreboard that cost an amazing $2 million. There were also five restaurants dotted around the stadium so that you could choose the best option for you without having to leave the stadium to eat.
The dome-shaped roof was 18 stories above the playing field and held ‘Lucite’ skylights that were originally installed to keep the natural grass alive on the playing field. However, the bright sunlight blinded the outfielders during afternoon games and presented them with an unfair disadvantage.
30% of these panels were painted to reduce the sun exposure to the players, but this then caused the natural grass field to die. Astroturf was created to be an artificial grass replacement for the Astrodome, named after the team and the stadium, and is now commonly used throughout modern stadiums still today.
You can find quite a lot of Astrodome memorabilia online on secondhand sites such as eBay and other collector sites. The majority of this is posters and 3D stadium replicas of the Astrodome.
Unfortunately, there is little else in the way of Astrodome memorabilia to be purchased new, as there is no longer a store concerning the Astrodome. This is true for verified pieces of memorabilia.
The saving grace of this is the fan-made memorabilia that is sold online. This included pins and badges, mugs, home furnishings, and much more.
EBay is the best place to look for vintage tickets from the Astrodome Stadium, as many people are selling their ticket stubs from games from the 1990s. These are going for high prices at $300 and above, but for sports memorabilia collectors this might be a decent price.
If you were to visit the Astrodome while it was still active, you might see the Orbit mascot. Orbit is the Astros team mascot. You’ll easily be able to spot Orbit thanks to his lime-green skin and alien features.
Orbit would have been wearing an Astros jersey and an orange hat with an orange antenna protruding from it. At the end of these antennas, there were baseballs.
There are plenty of notable events that were seen at the Astrodome Stadium, such as the All-Star Games in 1968 and 1986.
Willie Mays saw his 500th home run at the Astrodome on September 13, 1965. This stadium was also the home of superstars Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio during the 1990s.
Nolan Ryan experienced his fifth no-hitter on September 26, 1981. A June 15, 1976 game was also postponed due to the Houston floods.