Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The standardized versions of ice hockey and basketball emerged during the last quarter of the 19thcentury. In short order both ice hockey and basketball evolved from amateur, recreational activities to professional sport and entertainment businesses. This study analyzes, contextualizes, and discusses the layout of the urban multipurpose facilities that emerged to house both professional hockey and professional basketball, with particular attention paid to the facilities of the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association. The study uses the lens of modernization and the ideal-type heuristic device to extend Bale’s and Seifried’s facility evolution models. In addition to providing an account of the evolution of urban multipurpose facilities, this project also proposes future recommendations for managers of those facilities to consider.

This investigation concludes six stages of urban multipurpose facility evolution occurred over time. Stage One and Stage Two primarily appear prior to the 20thcentury and notably rely on naturally cold temperatures to create skating surfaces. Stage Three emerges as semi-permanent constructions that embraced artificial ice-making technology and increased spectator amenities. Stage Four represents an increased professionalization of both sport and society as facilities were built from steel and concrete to a size and scale not previously possible. Furthermore, Stage Four facilities were designed to be attractive locations for legitimate entertainment. Stage Five demonstrates an increasing desire of sport managers to satisfy the expectations of a service-oriented society by providing ample space for parking, unobstructed views, improved in-facility services such as concession stands, limited upper deck luxury suites, and television broadcasts in suburban facilities. Finally, Stage Six demonstrates the managerial recognition of the importance of commodifying space, particularly through lower bowl luxury suites, as well as including improved amenities for in-facility and remote customers.

This project suggests urban multipurpose facilities were purposefully designed to attract the public’s leisure and recreational dollars by embracing new technologies and practices in response to changing social and economic realities. Therefore, urban multipurpose facilities served, and continue to serve, as centers of entrepreneurial sport activity. Resultantly, sport facilities will likely continue to evolve in response to changing leisure and recreational expectations within society.

Committee Chair

Seifried, Chad