There’s something about sports stadiums that brings out the passion in fans. Marlins Park may be cited as possibly the worst stadium in MLB but even it has fans among the Miami base. It’s easy for home fans to claim their arena or stadium is the best around and other places are dumps in comparison. That makes it tricky at times to judge as too many passions can influence things. However, it’s clear that some stadiums and arenas are far better than others from the design to the comfort level and other touches to make them stand out.
Some places are beefed up majorly by both fans and reporters as huge deals but can be a letdown actually being there. In many cases, it’s the team, not the stadium, that gives the place its aura of being great when it’s really not. Location helps too with some places looking great from the outside but actually watching an event there isn’t too pleasant. Meanwhile, some teams with bad records can boast some of the most beautiful arenas around which also have great touches to win over fans. It’s tricky but cutting through the passions shows there are a lot of sports stadiums that fit into both categories. Here are ten of the most overrated stadiums/arenas in America and 10 that don’t get the attention they deserve to show how much they bring to a game.
20 Overrated: Broncos Stadium
This is where the location gets some of the hype. The old Mile High Stadium was well regarded by fans for a classic NFL feel and the home to the Broncos for years. However, the new version isn’t as beloved. There’s still that annoying “INCOMPLETE” chant and booing the no-shows. There’s also how it gets bitterly cold thanks to Denver’s altitude and thus a lot of the stamping is just people trying to keep warm.
The design blocks what should be a good view of the landscape and the amenities aren’t as good as other places.
Thus, while playing the Mile High City gets buzz, the actual stadium lacks the charm that made the old place so notable.
19 Underrated: Marlins Park
A lot of people have criticized Marlins Park over how it looks tacky in certain areas (the artwork in left field, for example). However, the park delivers on providing fans a unique experience, and there are certain features to the ballpark that provide that South Beach vibe you're looking for in Miami. Perhaps the most appealing part to Marlins Park lies in the bleachers, with the Clevelander lounge area, that also features a big pool.
It's too bad the Marlins have been such a bad team recently, otherwise their ballpark may get a little more attention.
18 Overrated: Notre Dame Stadium
Let’s be brutally honest: If it was at any other school, this stadium wouldn’t get as much hype. It currently can hold 77,000, fans, lower than it did a few years ago and less than a lot of places. It took until 1997 for them to have permanent lights and several sections are still classic steel benches rather than seats.
It’s the Notre Dame campus that enhances it, the allures of the library mural, the Grotto and that passionate fanbase. But its limitations have been shown in such things as long distances between rest rooms and venues and lack of cover for bad weather. Yes, a visit to Note Dame is a big deal for any college football fan but the actual stadium isn’t the best among college places.
17 Underrated: Safeco Field
The home of the Mariners offers some beautiful views of the Seattle skyline and the coast to make it one of the better places to take in a game. However, even on its own, the park boasts some great design work as well as those glorious sunsets over Puget Sound.
Safeco recently renovated their opening area to allow better access and guarantee the safety of their fans.
The park boasts some fantastic places to eat that include far better food than the regular ballpark fare for a variety of diets. It’s a great place for families and showcases the great power Safeco has in terms of being among the best ballparks in the majors.
16 Overrated: Superdome
Once, massive domed stadiums were a huge thing with fans and made a team special. Sadly, the Superdome is proof that doesn’t last forever. The home for the Saints has long been criticized for bad facilities and many insist it’s never been the same since Hurricane Katrina. There was also the infamous power failure in the middle of Super Bowl XLVII that showed how aging the stadium really was.
Many sections look and feel like they did decades ago and there’s complaints over the distance between eating venues. Thus, while it was great when it opened, the Superdome is better known as a New Orleans symbol than an actual great stadium.
15 Underrated: Petco Park
Here’s a great case of a team that may be poor on the field but boast one of the best parks in all of baseball. The Padres lucked out when they convinced San Diego to design them a new stadium and got a truly great spot. The views are magnificent, giving fans looks at the ocean and the San Diego skyline and sunsets there are the stuff cameras were made for. It has some great areas for the kids and excellent amenities with a huge scoreboard and a Padres Hall of Fame.
There’s also how affordable it is with the actual park past center field offering amazing views for just $10. A key reason the Padres remain so popular in San Diego is how they have a park fans can love at any price.
14 Overrated: Metlife Stadium
For a place that cost so much money and that is home to two professional sports franchises, the Giants' and Jets' Metlife Stadium just lacks that wow factor that should come with a market like New York.
A detriment to the stadium, as well as the old Giants Stadium, was always the location, as the Meadowlands is far from a desirable place to travel to for a game.
It's not that there's anything particularly wrong with the stadium; it's just that for a stadium housing two NFL teams, and with the amount of money that was put into it, you'd expect more.
13 Underrated: Bridgestone Arena
The home of the Nashville Predators was allowed to show off during the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals and let fans around the world see a very top notch arena. The seats are comfortable and provide a great view of the action anywhere in the area, aided by the huge video screens. It’s notable as the venue for just about every musical act that hits Nashville for a concert and thus boasts a first-rate sound system. Yet the hockey games show its passionate fanbase and fans love its first rate amenities and accessibility. Some doubted in Nashville as an NHL home but Bridgestone proves it can work out great.
12 Overrated: Lambeau Field
As one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL, Lambeau is showing it. Sure, the “old-school” design may win over fans but it also makes it hard to renovate and bring it up to speed with newer places.
There’s also the fact that in the fall and winter, Green Bay isn’t exactly the most hospitable of places and temperatures in the stadium have been known to hit below zero.
Their Atrium feels more like a mini-mall from shops to a Packers Hall of Fame and shows how the team can seem modern but still too tied to past traditions. The seats just feel too cramped and some poor views but it’s really the harsh weather that makes saying you’re going to Lambeau more attractive than actually being there.
11 Underrated: Comerica Park
Detroit is a city famous for some bad infrastructure and several sketchy neighborhoods. That’s what makes it so amazing that it boasts a truly terrific ballpark. Granted, the Tigers have been nothing to write home about for the last decade yet they play in a fantastic place. It’s notable for attractions like a carousel, the “liquid fireworks” wall and the Ferris Wheel designed like huge baseballs. Throw in the great statues of Tigers legends from Ty Cobb to Hank Greenberg and its plethora of eating establishments and it’s truly a great place to take the kids. Seriously overlooked among the best ballparks in MLB, Comerica proves that even if the Tigers lose, a family can have a good time at the park.
10 Overrated: Beaver Stadium
It’s all too easy to take shots at Penn State thanks to that very ugly mess a few years back. Yet the Nittany Lions still have fans and a backing in their hometown. They rave about the greatness of Beaver Stadium and it was even voted the best college stadium in a 2016 poll. However, the endzone design sucks a lot of the cheers away and the architecture is nothing really special.
The big draw was the statue of Joe Paterno which is now gone and the entire place just hangs under a huge cloud thanks to the scandal a few years back. Sadly, like the school itself, Beaver Stadium is no longer as impressive as it once was and has to rank as an overrated place.
9 UNDERRATED: Bankers Life Field House
The home of the Pacers is oddly overlooked in lists of the best NBA arenas. That’s a shame as it’s really a great place to take in a game. The seats are quite good, large enough for most folks and comfortable while offering great views of the action. There are over a hundred concession stands along with a bar and grill, meaning fans don’t need to go far to get something to eat or drink which is a major convenience. The place is home to concert events but the warm design and great amenities make it a standout to fire up Pacers games and make this a great place to “Bank” on for a good time.
8 Overrated: Arthur Ashe Stadium
The late Arthur Ashe was one of tennis’ groundbreakers, the only African-American to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. He was an advocate for civil rights and championed AIDS research before his death of the disease in 1993.
In short, the man was an icon of tennis. So it’s a shame that the stadium named after him is such a dump.
The lack of a roof for years meant countless games called due to weather and massive complaints over bad seats, the lack of air conditioning and poor amenities. It’s made a huge deal with the U.S. Open played there and some players claim it’s not terrible to be in but most agree this place in no way lives up to Ashe’s legacy.
7 Underrated: Camden Yards
The Orioles may not have been doing as much in terms of great ball playing in the last few years. But they do call home one of the most unfairly overlooked parks in the majors. Even opposing fans have to praise Camden’s design and how it incorporates an old train station into a downtown area. It’s influenced many cities to take on the same “retro-classic” designs yet few do it as well as Camden. Made for baseball only, the amenities are terrific and the design allows a great view of the city alongside the games. Its site boasts “the park that changed baseball” and it fits as Camden set a new standard for great MLB parks that deserves more recognition from fans.
6 Overrated: Fenway Park
Yes, it’s historic and often ranks on the “bucket lists” of parks for MLB fans. However, that same old-school tendency works against Fenway a lot. There’s still the annoyance of the “Green Monster,” that wall that turns what should be a pop fly in any other park into an unlikely home run which is a bit much. The seats can be uncomfortable and the quarters a bit too tight. There’s also how the Boston fans can be pretty rough on fans from visiting teams. There’s also how about half the place is spaced out for meeting venues of different types. Sure, you can appreciate its historic value but as a modern ballpark, Fenway doesn’t quite measure up.
5 Underrated: Everbank Field
Originally the Gator Bowl, this stadium needed major upgrades with Jacksonville got the Jaguars. It’s gone through a few names and refurbishments but currently doing well, with the Jags actually becoming a good team in 2017. It’s impressive it looks so great considering the damage Jacksonville took from Hurricane Irma and yet Everbank was back in business in no time.
It’s notable for a sports bar in the south end zone, a 5,000 seat amphitheater and the now-famous pools for the sky boxes.
It’s a uniquely Florida experience that deserves more attention with the Jaguars finally being a good team in a stadium worth more visits.
4 Overrated: Yankee Stadium
Let’s face it, Yankees fans can be a lot more arrogant than others in the majors. That comes from boasting so many championships but it also showcases their stadium which they treat as a temple to the team. Every section showcases Yankee greats and while home fans may love it, it comes off overbearing to visitors. That’s not to mention the ridiculously high prices which even home fans dislike.
Also, the place just doesn’t seem to capture fan noise that well so great games can sound muted too often, especially on TV. Sure, it can look impressive, but considering the billions of dollars that went into it, this Yankees mecca doesn’t come off impressive.
3 Underrated: Guaranteed Rate Field
The name is, frankly, terrible. However, the home to the Chicago White Sox is a much better stadium than its title suggests. It boasts a great feel with a modern edge yet some “old-timey” touches that win folks over. The kids love it with a play area for them, especially when the fun mascot Southpaw comes around and it boasts some of the best box seats in the majors.
There’s also the touch of a Bar & Grill that’s open even to those who don’t have a ticket to the game. Wrigley may get the hype but the Sox show there’s another great stadium in Chicago.
2 Overrated: Michigan Stadium
“The Big House” is well known to college fans as the home of the Michigan Wolverines football team. It’s notable for its huge size and well respected as ESPN loves to have their “College Gamy Day” there. The place is huge with 100,000 people able to be packed in and has a very passionate base.
The problem is, the facilities aren’t appropriate for the stadium's size and the renovations in 2010 didn’t exactly win over fans.
There’s a serious lack of wheelchair-accessible areas and the lights are more of a distraction at night games. It just is a serious pain to get around and if the game is bad, it just makes it worse so the Big House feels more like a prison at times.
1 Underrated: T-Mobile Arena
One of the biggest surprises of the NHL has been the Vegas Golden Knights. Usually, it takes years for an expansion team to have a winning season, let alone make the playoffs. Instead, in their very first year, the Knights went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. That allowed Vegas to show off its fantastic arena which, even in a city known for glitzy places, stands out.
The design is great with the massive video screen on the outside, while the arena has terrific seating allowing plenty of action. Built for concerts as well, the place boasts great sound and with the Knights hoping for a repeat in success, it can rise to take its place among the best arenas in the NHL.