How do sports domes work?
Sports domes are a fantastic way to keep athletes and spectators protected from the weather while enjoying the game. Suppose your field is in an area with a lot of precipitation or extreme temperatures. In that case, a sports dome may be the perfect solution for you.
There are a few different types of sports dome construction that you can choose from. The most common type is the air-supported structure. This type of dome is inflated with air and supported by a steel cable network. Air-supported structures are usually the cheapest option, but they are not as durable as other types of sports structures.
The construction of a sports dome can be complex, but compared to building permanent sports structures, it is a relatively easy process. Let’s dive into how sports domes work before starting your construction so you can better understand the process.
Try our sports dome cost calculator to get a customized cost estimate for your project.
What are sports domes?
Sports domes, also known as bubble roofs or air-supported structures, are large, inflated roof-like covers used to enclose playing fields for various sports.
The most common type of sports dome is the inflatable variety. This type of dome uses fabric to cover the playing and spectating area. A system of blowers is installed to keep the structure inflated.
The components of a sports dome:
1 – High strength dome fabric
These highly durable materials create the inside of the sports arena and the elements outdoors. The fabrics are heat-sealed and waterproof, making them ideal for sports domes.
2 – Frame or harnesses
Using metal or steel harnesses, a framework is created to support the dome’s materials. The frame is a vital component of any dome construction. It is responsible for supporting the fabric and ensuring that the dome remains structurally sound.
3 – Air blower
Air blowers are the equipment that keeps the dome inflated. Electric or diesel motors usually power the sports dome blowers.
4 – Anchoring system
A sound anchoring system is essential to secure a sports dome. Proper anchoring will keep the dome from moving in high winds and help prevent accidents.
5 – Sealing system
A proper sealing system is vital to keep the elements out and maintain constant internal pressure in the sports dome. You want to keep your athletes and spectators safe, secure, and comfortable. Sealing the dome properly will help you maintain temperatures in the summer and winter months.
Why choose a sports dome?
1 – Weather protection
One of the most significant advantages of using a sports dome is weather protection. No matter what time of year it is, athletes and spectators can stay dry and comfortable inside the dome.
This is a massive advantage for areas with extreme climates.
2 – Cost-effective
Sports domes are a cost-effective way to protect your field from the weather. Compared to other types of roofing, sports domes are a more affordable option. They require fewer materials, less maintenance, and generally have a longer lifespan than traditional roofs.
3 – Versatility
Sports domes can be used to drive revenue for your sports facility. Many outdoor fields and playing arenas are forced to close during inclement weather. With a dome, your field can remain open year-round, allowing you to generate more money for your facility or organization.
4 – Easy installation
Sports domes are relatively easy to install, thanks to their inflatable design. This makes them a popular choice for schools and recreational facilities. When you work with a professional, your new sports dome can be operational much more quickly than building a traditional structure.
Important considerations in the planning phase
The site of your sports dome is critical to its success. Your specific location will dictate a host of decisions:
- Permits necessary
- Approval from local authorities
- Documents, paperwork, and administrative red tape
Type of sports
Understanding the types of sports your dome will house is essential. Not all sports are compatible with an inflatable dome. Some require more vertical space than a dome will allow.
Baseball, for example, has a very different set of needs than basketball or tennis. Make sure the type of sports you want to play in your dome are compatible before construction.
Level of competition
What level of competition will your sports dome entertain? Recreational, collegiate, and semi-professional all have different standards and requirements. Consulting with an expert will help you choose the right dome for your field.
Budgeting & Financing
A sports dome can be a significant investment for any facility. It’s essential to plan your budget and financing options carefully. There are plenty of opportunities for both private and public funding. Having a clear plan for your dome’s construction before beginning is essential.
Site preparation for a sports dome
Your team must carefully prepare the site where your dome will be constructed. A professional sports dome company will survey the area to ensure it is level and free of obstructions. Trees, power lines, and other infrastructure can all pose a problem for dome installation.
Your dome must be anchored to the ground to keep it from being blown away in high winds. A proper foundation is essential to the safety and stability of your dome. The type of foundation will vary depending on the site conditions.
While most surfaces are compatible with a sports dome, you’ll want to choose the suitable materials for the sports you intend on playing. Asphalt and concrete are the most popular options, but they are not the only choices. Your surface should be able to withstand the demands of heavy use.
Installation of the sports dome
Generally, smaller domes will only require one to three days for installation. An expert can construct more modest domes in a short time.
For larger domes, you’ll need to plan for several weeks of downtime.
Sports dome installation is labor-intensive. Most professional installers will utilize a team of at least 20 to 30 workers to complete the job quickly and safely.
The sports dome construction process can be complex. Still, with careful planning and execution, your new facility can be up and running in no time.
Removal & storage of the bubble
Because the domes are inflatable, they can be removed and stored during warmer months. This is a great feature for facilities that only want to use their dome during certain seasons.
However, you need to plan for removal and storage when budgeting for your dome. It can be a costly process, but it’s important to have all your bases covered. Having a safe space to store your dome when not in use is essential to maintaining its structural integrity.
Replacement of the sports dome membrane
We know, planning for replacement is the last thing you want to think about before starting. But having a sound plan for budgeting for an inevitable replacement is best practice.
If well-maintained, most sports dome membranes will last 15-20 years. But, sooner or later, a replacement will be necessary. Make sure you have the funds saved up to cover this cost when it comes.
What ameneties are needed for your dome?
In addition to your new dome, you may need to make some additional investments in your facility. Such as:
1 – Proper lighting – like LEDs – will help illuminate your playing surface
2 – Scoreboards – depending on your level of competition you need to consider scoreboards. No matter the level, you need to have a way of keeping score.
3 – Sound system – a good sound system will help keep the energy up in your dome. It’s important to be able to hear the announcer and players over the noise of the crowd.
4 – Seating – depending on your sport, you may need to provide seating for spectators. This can range from simple benches to grandstands.
5 – Storage – ensure you have adequate space to store your dome when it’s not in use. This can be anything from a purpose-built garage to an existing area in a nearby facility. Making it easy to access and protecting it from the elements is essential.
6 – Changing rooms – athletes need a place to change, take a break and store their gear. Make sure you have the necessary facilities for your athletes. The maintenance and security of these facilities are also important considerations.
These are just some of the considerations you’ll need to make when building your sports dome. By planning ahead, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.
Sports dome installation companies
Working with a professional company that specializes in sports domes will help you get the most out of your new facility. They can help you choose the right amenities to create the perfect environment for your sport.
Sports dome construction can be a complex process, but with careful planning and execution, your new facility can be up and running in no time.
Before you pick up the phone and start calling potential partners, read our important considerations when choosing a sports dome construction company.
Get a cost estimate for your sports dome project
By now you should have a solid understanding of what sports air domes are and how they work. If you are planning to install a sports bubble at. your sports facility, you should get a cost estimate for the budgeting and planning phase of your project.
Our sports dome cost calculator is the easiest way to get a customized cost estimate to get the ball rolling. Give it a try!