The Arena: Inside the Tailgating, Ticket Scalping, Mascot-Racing, Dubiously Funded, and Possibly Haunted Monuments of American Sport

Rafi Kohan. Liveright, $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-63149-127-6
Kohan, a contributing editor at the New York Observer, delivers an addictive, detailed look at the lives of sports arenas—how these increasingly elaborate structures are funded, how they’re maintained, and the kinds of tailgating and sideshow events that take place in and around them. Kohan is a lively, funny writer who eschews theory for experience, venturing to the stadiums themselves and tagging along with the people who give these places life. At the Green Bay Packers’ venerable Lambeau Field, he takes the Lambeau Oath and swears to “drink Wisconsin beers until the cooler is empty”; he nervously assists a chair-stacking acrobat during a halftime performance at a Rutgers University basketball game; and he helps construct the Prudential Center’s ice just before a New Jersey Devils game. Throughout, Kohan exhibits a genuine desire to learn more about even the most overlooked of arena workers, such as Raymond Smith, who used the Louisiana Superdome for sanctuary during Hurricane Katrina and now sells beer there. Kohan’s curiosity and empathy are infectious as he demonstrates how human this corporate aspect of sports can be. He has created an immersive, informative work that will delight and enlighten a wide range of readers. (Aug.)

Correction: a previous version of this review listed an incorrect publication month.

Reviewed on: 05/08/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-63149-128-3
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-63149-513-7
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