Little first-class touches abound. Some of the concession stands hand out samples, like you're shopping at Central Market rather than deciding whether to spend $8 on a barbecue sandwich or on taco nachos. Smiles are the order of the day as The Compass seems determined to become the friendliest arena in Texas.
Watt — the Houston Texans emerging star — is sitting in the front row, soaking it all up. De La Hoya — the boxing great turned Dynamo minority owner — is in the house as well. You could do a lot worse for celebrity rows.
Fourteen of the 19 teams in Major League Soccer have their own soccer-specific stadium now, but the Dynamo's is the only one that's part of a city. On day one, a good dozen fans mention to me how they're surprised by how close the place is to Minute Maid Park. Another part of Houston is opening up for many — an area they'd never have even thought of walking toward before.
New season ticket holders Stephanie Fulton and Liz Brackeen plan to ride their bikes to most games. Soccer in America tends to draw these types of eco commuters more than other sports. To be a soccer fanatic in a land that worships the other football, you almost have to look at things a little differently.
It turns out this stadium may make people look at Houston a little differently too.
"To me, the most important thing is where this stadium is," Luck says, his blindingly bright orange jacket showing just how much he still bleeds for this franchise. "It means everything that it's right by Minute Maid, that you can see the skyscrapers of downtown from here, with the energy companies and the law firms nearby."
Suddenly, it's the place to be — a soccer stadium in the East End. That's where the celebs from other sports want to roam. Talk about a farfetched dream come true.
"Coolest day ever," 10-year-old Houston native Angelina Martinez says, echoing the thoughts of many of the Dynamo pros.
Soccer's more than trending.