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With Darr being a proud sponsor of the Dallas Cowboys’ and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, we thought it would be appropriate to explore exactly what forklifts have to do with sporting events. It’s not like you see a forklift out and about on the field during the games, right?

But while forklifts might not be visible parts of a sporting event, they are without a doubt an essential element of these events. From participating in the construction of the venue to ensuring that concession stands have everything they need to satiate fans, new and used forklifts really are invaluable.

What follows is a look at some of the obvious and not so obvious examples of forklifts at work in sporting events. You might be surprised at how much they actually do.


Forklifts are involved in building the stadium.

Perhaps the most obvious role forklifts play in sporting events is in the building of the sports arena itself. From the moment the ground is broken to the point at which the structure is completed, forklifts are critical additions to the construction site.

Since these lift trucks are designed to safely carry heavy loads that cannot easily be handled by other means, they are typically used to bring materials from the flatbed trucks to the construction site. In addition, forklifts may be used to move materials around the site in order to ensure that everything gets where it needs to go for the efficient creation of the stadium.

Forklifts can also play a role in the building of the field or floor for the stadium. For example, lift trucks may be used to transport sheets of turf or loads of flooring onto the playing area. You may even see them carrying other materials used inside the stadium, such as wall panels.

Of course, the type of forklift used for each job may be different. Often, a larger or heavier-duty machine (such as a 36,000-pound Cat® lift truck) will be used to transport construction equipment, while a smaller and lighter forklift (perhaps a Jungheinrich®  electric forklift) will be used inside the stadium for the relatively less demanding job of transporting flooring or other materials.


Forklifts are involved in maintaining the stadium.

Once the sporting venue is completed, the role of forklifts shifts but does not disappear. In fact, forklifts may be used throughout the life of the stadium in various maintenance roles that cannot easily be completed otherwise.

For example, used or new forklifts can occasionally be used with a man basket attachment to carry and lift individuals to otherwise inaccessible areas for cleaning or inspection. Thanks to their versatility, therefore, forklifts can make a variety of maintenance tasks around the sports arena easier.

During larger renovations (such as roof replacement), forklifts may also be used to carry materials to the site of the renovation. These lift trucks can even be used to carry trash and dumpsters away from the site in order to simplify the upkeep of these important buildings.

Darr currently has some forklifts operating at Minute Maid Park in Houston. These lift trucks contribute to the upkeep of the stadium and completion of sports-related tasks such as unloading fertilizer for the stadium turf; transporting large baskets of baseballs; and loading semi-trucks with equipment for transport to Spring Training.


Forklifts are involved in providing turnover services for sporting events.

Some sports arenas are used for more than one sport. For example, Dallas’ own American Airlines Center can be converted from a basketball court into a hockey rink in less than 2 hours. Similarly, NRG Stadium in Houston is used for the Houston Texans’ sporting events and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and has been used for Monster Jam and Superbowl LI. Converting between such different events requires the help of lift trucks.

For example, in 2017, immediately following the Super Bowl events, NRG Stadium had to be converted for the start of Rodeo Houston. Everything from flooring to seats and lighting had to be changed. What was used to carry equipment and materials to ensure an efficient transformation? Forklifts from Darr.

Similarly, converting a hockey arena into a football stadium requires the positioning of turf on the field, a job best undertaken by forklifts that can carry pallets of turf to their proper location. In the case of converting the hockey rink into a basketball court, forklifts are required to carry decking out to the ice rink in order to cover the ice with the right flooring for a basketball game.

Other jobs a forklift might have in these kinds of turnover situations might be to carry pieces to build a basketball court, add on or remove sections of the stadium to make the field or court the proper size, remove or add seating and barriers, and reposition or relocate goal posts. Whenever heavy lifting is required, a lift truck, whether a used forklift, a new forklift, an electric forklift or another type of lift truck, is almost certain to be required.


Forklifts are involved in unloading beverages and supplies for concession stands.

Finally, forklifts are sometimes involved in making concessions available to sports fans during the sporting event. For example, lift trucks are often used to unload the boxes of food, drinks, or supplies from the loading dock and transporting them to the warehouse where they are stored until they are needed. Forklifts may also be used to unload materials from the warehouse and bring them to the concession stand. You didn’t know that your beer and hot dog are due in part to the services of a forklift, did you?

Forklifts may not be the first thing you think about when you think of a sporting event, but they do have an important role to play. Heavily involved in the construction of the venue, they provide lift and transport services that make it possible to carry large amounts of material to the construction site. Once the arena is finished, lift trucks can be used in maintaining the building and helping employees get to hard to reach places.

When a turnover is required, forklifts can help with the heavy lifting and transporting needed to transform a stadium from one sport to another. And when it comes to concessions, loading and unloading supplies can be accomplished by the faithful lift truck. So the next time you cheer on your favorite sports team (go Cowboys!), know that part of the reason you can do that is because of the use of the faithful workhorse, the forklift. 

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