Ranking Sports Stadiums by Fan Experience
Do you enjoy some stadiums more than others? We reveal the reasons why, by ranking 16 stadiums based on the elements (we feel) are the most important to fans when it comes to match day.
From the stadiums that are just a short walk from the city centre, to the venues with the most eco-friendly initiatives in place, you might be surprised at the stadiums topping the table...
Each of the 16 sports stadiums were selected for inclusion in the study based on the following criteria:
- Placing first in domestic league 2018/19
- Winning a significant title in their respective sports in 2018/19
1. Stadiums Ranked: Best to Worst
Our number one stadium overall? Out of a possible score of 90, the Etihad, Manchester City’s ground, comes first.
This overall ranking takes into account everything in our criteria - so that’s distance from the nearest city, with transport links and time to get there, plus accessibility, price of a pint and a season ticket, use of smart tech, and any eco-friendly initiatives the stadium has in place.
The top 5 come from all over the globe - Camp Nou in Barcelona comes 2nd, Allianz Arena 3rd followed by the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and finally, S.L. Benfica’s new Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica.
The lowest scoring stadiums are all State-side - with the Enterprise Centre, Gillette Stadium and Scotiabank Arena rounding out the bottom 3.
2. Champions League Stadiums Ranked
Putting aside the US winners and focusing on the stadiums of the current Champions League tournament, how do these stadiums stack up when it comes to fan experience?
3. The Stadiums Ranked by Fan Experience
Fan experience combined the scores of several criteria sets - seating capacity, accessibility, smart technology use, season ticket price and price of a pint - to find which stadiums provide the best day out.
So what takes the lead? Using those criteria, we’ve found that the Gillette Stadium, home to the NFL’s New England Patriots, comes out on top! So if you want the best possible fan experience, get yourself to Massachusetts!
4. The Stadiums Ranked by Accessibility
These days we’d expect all major stadiums to be accessible to everyone, but unfortunately, our research shows some are still lagging behind. For football, Türk Telekom Stadium, the Metalist Stadium and the Lumines Arena all come last on the list. Closer to home, the Etihad Stadium tops the list with 10, and Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica comes in 2nd with 9.
Our accessibility criteria scored stadiums with a point-based system. Stadiums were given a point for: wheelchair accessible spaces, assistive listening or visual devices, ramps, accessible restrooms, visual aids, accessible parking spaces, accessibility stewards, service animal provision, accessible transport provisions and easy access to accessibility statements online.
5. The Stadiums Ranked by Technology
Perhaps having the benefit of being fairly new, the Etihad tops our list when it comes to smart technology. The stadium boasts free WiFi, with more than 700 high-density access points, luxury leather smart seats with in-seat tablets, and recently installed more than 1400 IPTV High Definition screens for fans.
Le Parc Princes comes next with its array of tech - Wifi, mobile app and ticketing, rooftop lighting system and undersoil grass heating, and Camp Nou, recently voted best-connected stadium in the world, comes third.
Other tech highlights from the data include the impressive Mercedes Benz Stadium roof, the Colosseo LED ribbon of the Gazprom Arena.
Our technology criteria awarded 1 point for the following smart-tech: having free WiFi, a retractable roof, smart seats, jumbotron screens, a mobile phone app, real-time parking updates, pre-orderable food, phone signal strength, mobile charging stations, and the ability to order refreshments direct to the seat.
6. The Stadiums Ranked by Eco-Credentials
The UK is leading the way when it comes to stadiums with fantastic sustainability initiatives - the Etihad comes out on top!
One of the problems stadiums are facing is their use of water - and the Etihad solves this with an 8 million litre rainwater harvesting reservoir, to keep the pitch green without wasting water. It’s innovative solutions like this which see the Etihad take the lead.
To score the eco-friendliness of each stadium, we ranked stadiums on a sliding scale - those with a full suite of sustainability initiatives documented on their website scored a maximum 10 points, whereas the stadiums with just a few token eco-gestures scored lower.
7. Fans That Go the Distance
When we say that loyal fans will ‘go the distance’ to support their teams, we don’t typically mean travelling to the stadium.
The stadiums featured in our study are (on average), around 5 miles away from the centre of the nearest city, taking around 1hour 15mins to walk.
We’ve looked at walking, driving and public transport to give us an average travel time, scoring each stadium from best to worst, based on the length of time it takes to get there.
So, which of these stadiums are the most convenient for fans to get to?
8. Price of a Pint vs Season Ticket
Have you ever wondered how many pints you could buy for the price of your 2019 season ticket?
Even though you can’t have your pint and drink it in view of the pitch, that doesn’t stop fans indulging in a half-time scoop (or two).
We’ve found the average price of a pint of lager in each stadium and worked out just how many could be bought for the price of a season ticket, with some interesting results...
Data correct as of 20th August 2019, combining information from a range of reputable sources such as club websites and Wikipedia.
Each stadium in the study was scored on the following nine fan experience criteria:
- Seating capacity
- Distance from the nearest city in miles
- Length of time it would take to walk
- Average transport time from the nearest city (driving, public transport)
- Accessibility information
- Smart technology
- Eco-friendly initiatives
- Average price of a pint in the stadium
- 2019 season ticket price (cheapest)
Ten points were available for each of the above criteria, meaning 90 would have been the top score for any stadium featured in the study.
The clubs chosen are all champions in their own right. For football, the selected teams and associated stadiums are all champions of their respective domestic top division, automatically qualifying for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
The 5 'Best of the rest' selections are a mixture of Super Bowl Winners, NBA Playoff winners, MLS winners and Stanley cup winners.