JMA Wireless Dome – AKA the Carrier Dome

This stadium will always be known by me as the Dome.  We have attended hundreds of events here over the years.  Recently the naming rights were purchased by JMA Wireless and it is known as the JMA Wireless Dome.

The Carrier Dome is located on the campus of Syracuse University and is a domed stadium that can seat almost 50,000 people. This is the largest structure of this kind located within any college campus in the US. It also the largest domed stadium in all of northeastern US. The Carrier Dome opened on the Syracuse Campus on 20th September 1980 and has hosted a variety of events ever since. The Carrier Dome is also home to the Syracuse University football team, as well as the university’s lacrosse and basketball teams. The Dome has also hosted several regional and state level scholastic competitions in the fields of soccer, field -hockey and football. It is also known to host several pre-season NBA games.  Olympic ice-skating shows have happened at the Carrier Dome. The Dome has also been used for entertainment events i.e. concerts by renowned musical artists such as Elton John, U2, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen and many more.

History of the Carrier Dome

Near the end of the 1970s Syracuse University faced pressure to to upgrade its football facilities so that it remains a1-A division football university. Its existing stadium at the time was Archbold Stadium hat was built in 1907 and its quality had fallen with age. The number of seating was also reduced from accommodating 40,000 people to 26,000 people due to the enforcement of fire codes. Therefore the university decided to on the present Archibold’s site. This new stadium would have a domed, inflatable, fiberglass roof  and would be built in a manner suitable for the region’s cold weather.

When this new stadium opened in 1980, it was nicknamed ‘the loud house’ due to how loud it was inside the stadium. This was because the inflatable rood created a echo magnifying the original sound within the stadium. Soon this inflatable roof was then  fixed by a fixed roof.

Since the stadium was build within Syracuse University’s in season games, university teams had to play their home games in three other locations. These included the Giant Stadium, home of the New York Giants, Rich Stadium that was home of Buffalo Bills Schoellkopf Field, that is home to the Cornell Big Reds.

About Carrier Dome

Being the largest domed stadium within a college campus, the Carrier Dome is an extremely unique stadium. It is also home to the Syracuse Orangemen. Build specifically for hosting sports events, this stadium has also hosted multiple other events over the past 4 decades as well. This stadium was named after the Carrier Corporation. The corporation paid a hefty 2.75 million dollars for naming rights.

Syracuse University’s Orangemen played their first game inside the Carrier Dome on 20t September 1980. The Dome had a capacity of accommodating 49,057 people. This stadium also has a three tier grandstand that enclosed the entire playing field. The dome itself weighs a whooping 220 tons and is constructed of fiberglass coated with Teflon. Also when it snows the Carrier Dome has to be heated to 145 degrees so it does not collapse.

In 2018, it was announced that Syracuse University will be renovating the Carrier Dome. Renovation was completed in 2020 and snow was no longer an issue as the inflatable rood was changed to a fixed roof. Renovating the dome was a multi-million dollar project. It also included air conditioning the interior and upgrading restrooms and concourses. A large HD video board was also placed above the play field center.

Financing the Carrier Dome

Constructed between April 1979 and September 1980, the entire construction cost amounted to $26.85 million. The state of New York provided Syracuse University a $15 million dollar grant to create the Dome.

Accidents in the Carrier Dome

In June 1999 a terrible accident took place inside the Carrier Dome. This was when worker Bryn Bowman fell through the roof to the bleachers almost sixty feet below and died. Bryn belonged to the crew provided by Birdair Incorporated that was working to replace the stadiums roof. The following month electrician Dave Paduana also fell from a fifty foot drop while installing wiring for a new speaker system. However Dave survived the fall but received injuries to his arm, back, ribs and leg.

Other Events at Carrier Dome

In 1981 the WBC boxing championship was held at the Carrier Dome. This championship was between Sugar Ray Leonard and Larry Bonds. In 1981 an NFL exhibition game was also hosted at the Dome. This game was between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints. The stadium also hosted the Monster Jam from 2011 to 2019 and then in 2022. The New York State High School football championship is also at the Carrier Dome every November. In 2019 the New York Mets also had their pre season practice at the Carrier Dome. This stadium has also been used for academic research projects and has also served as a very large classroom.

Naming Rights

This stadium was initially named after the Carrier Corporation hence the name ‘ Carrier Dome.’ The corporation had a manufacturing campus nearby hence wanted to win naming rights. However after the Dome was renovated in 2022 Syracuse University signed another ten year naming rights deal with JMA Wireless. JMA Wireless is a local cell phone service provider. This ended the forty-two year long deal with Carrier Corporation. Now the Dome is referred to as the JMA Wireless Dome or more commonly called the JMA Dome. 

Concluding Thoughts

The Carrie or JMA Dome is one of the largest stadiums within a college campus and a must see if you are visiting the region. One can easily reach the Carrier Dome or the JMA Dome by all CENTRO busses. Shuttle transport to the Dome is also available, if one is coming from remote areas. During game times there are also dedicated pick up points for those hailing a ride. From years 1994 to 2008, the city’s rail line OnTrack also served reached the Dome. Especially on game days a bus service called ‘Orange Express’ is also offered.

The McClain Family

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