Dome Collectibles Could Help Offset Demolition Cost

As Harris County, and eventually local voters, decide what to do with the empty Astrodome, dusty relics of the glory days of the Astros and Oilers are sitting untouched. Selling some of those collectibles to Houston sports fans could help offset the cost of either tearing down the dome or turning it into something else.

Back in 1965 when the Dome officially opened, everything was shiny and new.

"A domed stadium that holds nearly 50,000 for a baseball game and more for conventions and meetings."

Fast-forward 47 years and the Dome looks a lot different. Rolls of old Astroturf and around 50,000 seats are covered in dust. Fixtures in the dugouts and locker rooms have long been forgotten.  But what about all that old stuff? How much would it be worth to collectors and Astros and Oilers fans?

Bobby Mintz is with Houston-based Tri-Star Productions, a well-known sports memorabilia company.

"A lot of people have game rooms, now they're called man caves around the country where people have their own little shrine for what they love and enjoy following, so a lot of people take those seats and put them right in their house and use them in their game rooms and things like that, so there are a lot of different applications."
 
Other old stadiums that have been demolished over the years have sold seats and other collectibles. Seats at the old Yankee Stadium have sold for well over $1000 apiece. Mintz says seats from the Dome wouldn't be nearly as attractive to fans here.

"No one ever won anything there. The Astros never won a championship there, the Oilers never won a championship there. It's a landmark and was certainly way ahead of its time, but it will not have the Yankee Stadium interest."

If 20,000 pairs of Dome seats could be sold for $400 a pair, the sale would generate $8 million. Any fee a memorabilia company would demand to prepare market the seats would make that number far smaller. Mintz says the popularity of the Astros right now would also affect sales.

"I think they will find that the Astros are pretty much at an all-time low, or at least in the last twenty years are at a very low ebb as far as popularity as well as interest in the team, which will affect the ability for them to sell that product."

Mintz says cutting up the old Astroturf into thousands of small pieces and selling them to collectors could also generate some money. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says he doesn't think selling Dome memorabilia would make much of a dent in the cost of demolition.

"But it is something that the public, I think, would be interested in. A lot of the things that were in the Astrodome, unfortunately, have already been removed years ago. We've had people contact us and say they want seats. I've even had people who wanted to know if their seats were still there."

So while Harris County officials wait to make a final decision on the Dome, a modest fortune in seats, turf and other old stuff also waits to find a home in game rooms, garages and man caves across Houston.

Astrodome

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...