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The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport
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The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket-Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  133 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The American sports stadium, for all its raucous glory, is an overlooked centerpiece—a veritable temple—of our national culture. A hallowed ground for communal worship, this is where history is made on grass, artificial turf, hardwood, and even ice; where nostalgia flows as freely as ten-dollar beers; where everything thrills, from exploding fireworks to grinning cheerlead ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Liveright
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Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sports arenas are temples to our national and regional obsessions. We go to them to worship and commune with our people, and to lose ourselves in the sense of ritual and something larger than ourselves. If tourists come to see the ruins of our civilization a thousand years hence, many of our neighborhood churches might be gone, but they won't miss the 100,000-capacity super-building with 3000 LCD screens in Arlington, Texas.

Considering the scale of these buildings and our relationship to them, i
Liz De Coster
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
If you follow modern American sports as a general concept, this book is for you, and I'd recommend it. Kohan's writing is very accessible, including phrases like "dumpster fire" and other trendy terms, and he relies on a combination of personal experiences and books as sources. These foci do occasionally position the book as a post-college road trip travelogue, rather than a work of extended journalism.
The chapters that initially showed the most promise were about New Orleans' Superdome post-Kat
Jason Diamond
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really interesting look at everything and everybody that makes the live sports experience. By diving into sports stadiums across the country, Kohan shows us an interesting side of American culture we might otherwise dismiss.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Super interesting, even for a non-sports lover.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Eleven essays about various social, cultural, and logistical aspects of American sports stadiums. There are a few personal quibbles: there's a very heavy emphasis on football and baseball (despite the title, basketball gets very little ink and hockey is only briefly mentioned in regards to ice maintenance in a chapter on multi-use arenas); pictures would have been useful, especially as the author refers to his picture-taking several times (but I read an ARC - maybe the final version will be diff ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
I went in expecting a paint-by-numbers approach to touring virtually every stadium in the United States. The end product is much better, and much different.

The book is much more about the subtitle (the tailgating, ticket scalping, etc, etc) than the title (the physical "arena"), and that's for the best. The interesting stories are much more in the people that make these buildings work than the building of them.
I really loved getting all the inside dirt about places we spend hours of our lives enjoying sports and music. A must read for sports fans.
Jed Wasilewsky
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can honestly say I'll never attend a sporting event and look at the stadium, people, or game itself, the same way. Unbelievable read, from beginning to end.
Todd Stockslager
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Review title: Take me in to the ballpark

Professional sporting events require a playing field but more importantly a place for spectators to pay to watch. Those paying to watch traditionally paid for those playing on the field (court, ice), but with the dramatic rise in television revenue, the dynamics of the equation shifted. Now TV pays and dictates the place and sometimes pace of play, with TV timeouts and instant replay reviews enabled by the elaborate TV technology present in every arena.

Kelly Sedinger
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads, sports
This is a terrific book! I'm always fascinated by the behind-the-scenes infrastructure of many of the events and activities that shape our culture, and this look into the stadiums, ballparks, and arenas where our prime sporting events happen is superb. Kohan examines issues like how stadium construction is funded, the logistics of keeping tens of thousands of fans fed, how law enforcement and security deal with unruly behavior, and even the sad issues of what happens to these enormous buildings ...more
Chris Jaffe
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
This is a very good book that looks at modern sports stadiums. It takes on various facets of them - the funding that creates them, what happens to them when the teams have moved out, groundskeeping, food services, the non-sports entertainment that goes on during sporting events, security, etc. In each chapter, he goes to 2-3 stadiums that best exemplify what theme that chapter is on. He gets good access to his things. He gets to spend a day with the Royals mascot (even when he's only in partial ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not what I would consider a stadium nerd, but I have spent many many afternoons drinking in a parking lot as part of the sports fan ritual and totally enjoyed getting a nerdy look at the history and personalities behind some of the country's most storied stadiums. This was a fun break from the soul-crushing social science and VERY SERIOUS FICTION I have been reading recently.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college
I really enjoyed this book. My favorite parts involved the sections about the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys. I loved the different sections, and as a sports fan, I learned a lot about the behind the scenes of the games.
Nicole Soutar
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
this was summer reading for the high school - all about the behind the scene workings of sports - you do not have to like sports to enjoy - interesting
Bruce Warren
A fun and interesting look at the American cathedrals.
Robert S
Dec 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, sports
Interesting read but I would have liked to see a bit more emphasis on basketball and hockey.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Interesting look at the life (and death) of stadiums, including everything from scary Raiders fans to Alabama turf farms to concessions, scalpers, and dubious public funding.
Marc Kirby
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book isn't about sports teams or athletes, it's about the culture of sports stadiums. It is an easy read and fairly interesting for sports fans looking for something a little different.
Jim Swike
Sep 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am in interested in Sports Management, so I read this book. It reads like a unorganized term paper, I did not like it all. Maybe you will feel differently. Enjoy!
Eric Leventhal
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is a deep dive into all of the occupations, lifestyles, iconography, religiosity and tangential economies of sports in America, in all its maddening, sickening, hypocritical, life-affirming glory. Kohan has a lot of experience as an editor and it shows. There's really no part of the book that drags, even though there's so much detail and nuance that it actually feels like you're there, on the fringes of the traces of hero worship and on the shoulders of the superstar. Or literally in t ...more
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“tailgating is a local tradition that both predates Lambeau Field and dovetails seamlessly with another beloved Green Bay pastime: drinking. Even Prohibition couldn’t slow the town’s taps. “There were speakeasies all over,” says the historian. “I was told once that one of the reasons the mob never moved in here was because it was so wide open. They couldn’t get a foothold. It was just generally accepted that Green Bay wasn’t going to obey the Eighteenth Amendment.” 2 likes
“Smoke a bowl and you can do this for hours,” one of the guys says. “Just kidding. No drugs in the major leagues.” As we cut the clay, there are no bowls to smoke—though according to one sod farm worker, weed goes well with anything turf-related: “You can’t be a grass man and not be a grass man,” he says—but there is an easy intimacy among the crew, a kind of in-this-together camaraderie, and for a few minutes I feel like one of them, too.” 2 likes
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