FC Dallas exploring possibility of adding shaded portions to stadium, expanding seating

FRISCO, Texas -- FC Dallas Stadium is currently enjoying quite possibly its best year in its history, but that doesn't mean there won't be major improvements made to the venue in the coming years.

Perhaps most notably, fans could soon get a welcome respite from the hot Texas sun.

Dan Hunt, vice president of Hunt Sports Group, says the club is actively exploring partial roofing options for FC Dallas Stadium, in addition to other potential improvements to the seven-year-old facility. FCD has contracted noted sports facility architects HKS (they are currently working on Liverpool’s new stadium and designed AT&T Stadium for the Dallas Cowboys) to draw up plans to add more suites, expanded club seating, and a roof structure.

“The message I hear from the fans is that shade is king,” Hunt told MLSsoccer.com recently. “You’re outside and these summers are very hot, so we’re looking at different shade drawings that will satisfy those needs. There’s nothing perfect because we can’t dome the stadium, but there’s actually a lot of studies that we’ve done...that will have 80% of the stadium shaded by 7:30 and 100% shaded by 8:05. I think that’s a huge win for all of our fans.”

Hunt says that no final design decisions have been made, but that the structure would likely be similar to those at Red Bull Arena or Sporting Park. Even without shading, FC Dallas is enjoying one of their best seasons ever at the turnstiles.

The request for additional seating options, at both the club and premium levels, is a direct response to the increased demand being seen throughout the stadium. Through thirteen home dates in 2013, FC Dallas is averaging 15,940 fans per match, which puts them on pace to easily break the stadium record of 15,299 set in 2006, the year it opened. It also brings the team’s all-time attendance mark of 16,011, set in MLS’ inaugural 1996 season, within reach - particularly with Dallas in the thick of the playoff chase in the Western Conference and with native Texan Clint Dempsey coming to town with the Seattle Sounders for the last home game of the season.

Hunt, who says he watches around 1,000 soccer matches a year, is also keenly aware of the important role the supporters groups play in creating the atmosphere at a soccer match.  The north end of FC Dallas Stadium has become the home to the most vocal supporters of the club over the last few seasons, and there is room to grow there as well.

“We still have room for expansion...they would not be permanent seats, they’d be more bleachers, but there is still room for us to add. I definitely would consider that because the Budweiser Beer Garden is spectacular and a great atmosphere,” Hunt explained.