Following Bob McNair’s purchase of the 32nd NFL franchise, came plans for a state-of-the-art stadium.
On March 9, 2000, groundbreaking ceremonies for the new home of the Houston Texans took place with McNair, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and city and county leaders. Reliant Energy purchased naming rights to the new stadium and surrounding complex in the most-expensive deal to date at the time, estimated at $300 million. Reliant Stadium was renamed NRG Stadium in March 2014 when NRG purchased Reliant Energy.
Following over two years of construction, Houston’s brand-new stadium opened its doors in time for the Texans inaugural season in 2002, boasting three main tiers with seating for 71,500 fans. NRG Stadium boasted the first-ever retractable roof for a professional football stadium or dome. In the years to follow, a number of NFL teams would follow suit, building stadiums that transition from outdoor to indoor games with a similar design.
NRG Stadium underwent renovations prior to Super Bowl 51 and again last summer when office areas were expanded and team areas were updated with state-of-the-art NFL facilities. The home of the Texans and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has hosted Super Bowls XXXVIII (2004) and 51 (2017), college football’s Texas Bowl and Texas Kickoff as well as a number of international soccer matches, including the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the Copa América Centenario semifinal (2016).