CNN — In eight days, 65,000 football fans (some of whom hoping to catch a glimpse of Taylor Swift) will descend upon Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to attend the most-viewed American sporting event of the year.
Between the hot dogs, the beers and probably during Usher’s greatest hits, the Super Bowl spectators will likely visit one of Allegiant’s 297 restrooms. And the restrooms are ready.
In the summer of 2020, days before the new $2 billion stadium opened its doors to the public, building technicians flushed its nearly 1,430 toilets and urinals.
Simultaneously. It worked.
Figuring out how to keep restrooms functioning and lines short is tricky at a sporting event where people typically excuse themselves to use the restroom at the exact same point – right around halftime. So, increasingly, there’s science to designing restrooms for thousands of people and laws and codes that cover it. Gender politics also comes into play.
The high cost of long lines
Long lines for the restroom are what architects call a “friction point,” and, potentially, a costly one.
The average price for a Super Bowl ticket is currently hovering around $9,800. That means a 15-minute wait for the restroom could cost attendees $612. Delays also take away from the fan experience and cut into time that could be spent at the concession stands or gift shops and bars, limiting potential revenue for the stadium.
So what’s the new science of stadium restrooms?
To start, states have building codes that require the installation of a certain number of restrooms per person. In Nevada, a stadium like Allegiant is required to provide about one lavatory for every 120 men and one for every 60 women.
That’s bare minimum, and most modern arenas go well beyond that, said Jonathan Emmett, a principal and design director at Gensler specializing in sports and entertainment venues.
“(Designers and architects) really had to step up our game in terms of the number of fixtures that are provided … ”