Having your team win whenever you attend a sporting event is always the most important thing in every fan’s eyes. But the experience you have at the stadium — the food choices, the view, the general atmosphere — influences how much fun you have at the game. I have been lucky enough to travel to eight different stadiums in my life. As an avid sports fan I can only hope that that number grows but here are my rankings of the best and worst sporting venues I’ve been to.
#8 Continental Airlines Arena- the Prudential Center
I was visited the home of the New Jersey Devils of the NHL in 2006 and then in 2009. The area of East Rutherford is a rural area but the stadium itself is average. Nothing special to it, just an okay stadium but does not stand out in any way from my experiences. Hence why it is ranked last.
#7 Gillette Stadium
As most know, the home of the New England Patriots is located in Foxboro, Massachusetts. It holds a total of 68,756 fans. It is home to the most loyal fans in all of sports, and Patriots games get so exciting and fun that the experience at Gillette is amazing. The problem though is getting there and leaving. The traffic on the one road to get in and out is awful, taking over three hours all three times I’ve been to Gillette Stadium.
#6 Camden Yards
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, I traveled to this wonderful home of the Baltimore Orioles in 2011. The area in which Camden Yards in located is beautiful. The inner harbor of Maryland is a great place to walk around before and after games. The seating is nice, as it seems there are not many bad views in the whole park. It’s also located right next to the Baltimore Ravens stadium, so although I did not go in the Ravens stadium, it was a cool experience to see that as well.
#5 Yankee Stadium
In 2009 I was at game one of the World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. The stadium was massive, energy was electric and my experience was a great one. The seating was very comfortable, food stands cover almost every inch of the stadium and the centerfield scoreboard was enormous. Located in the Bronx, parking was tough but the atmosphere was like nothing I had ever seen at a sporting event: the fans around me were going crazy and so into the game that it made the game even better than it was.
#4 TD Garden
For basketball, the arena holds 18,624 and for hockey it holds 17,565. The Boston Celtics and Bruins have played in the same stadium since 1939. The Garden is very easy to get to as it is a final stop on the T, and it’s easy to get into and leave. The TD Garden is a very small arena and there is a reason behind that. My experience is that when watching either basketball or hockey games at the garden, you feel as if you are on top of the action. It’s a great environment for sporting events and one of the best in the NHL and NBA.
#3 Raymond James Stadium
Located in Tampa, Florida, it is the greatest football stadium I’ve ever been to. It holds 75,000 people and is absolutely amazing. In the south endzone section, there is a 103-foot pirate ship that blasts a loud cannon noise for every Tampa Bay Buccaneer score and first down. The seating is great along with the size of the stadium and how open everything around it is. Lots of parking makes easy access to coming and leaving. The diehard Buccaneers fans make it even more special and the Florida weather definitely helps because warm weather at a football game was not something I was used to. Raymond James Stadium is one of if not the best Stadium in all of the NFL.
#2 Fenway Park
For 103 years the Boston Red Sox have called Fenway Park home and it is the oldest park in Major League Baseball. Its capacity is 37,673 and, to many, it is the greatest ballpark in all of baseball. Its traditional feel makes Fenway a great place to watch a game. There are things about Fenway I do not like although I love the location, fans, and the environment. But the seating is bad. Some seats are directly in front of poles that support the upper deck seats. Seats are wooded and at times can be very uncomfortable. Despite that downside, I truly do love the park and am very lucky to attend it as much as I do during the baseball season.
#1 Tropicana Field
Though some people argue that this is the worst stadium in all of baseball, it is my favorite sporting stadium of any I’ve been to. The Trop, as it’s nicknamed, is home to the Tampa Bay Rays and is an indoor baseball stadium. Many old time baseball people curse the thought of indoor baseball because it’s not traditionally where baseball is played. Tropicana Field is located in St. Petersburg, Florida, and holds 31,042 people. The big thing is Rays’ fans usually don’t show much support at games. They haven’t sold out a game since game 3 of the World Series in 2008 (longest non sellout streak in baseball) and seats are always available at games. That’s why games are so great; you can sit anywhere you want and I mean anywhere. Complaints about the Trop center on the catwalk, which connects to the roof and when lights need to be replaced, maintenance goes up there to fix them. Fly balls hit from batters can hit the catwalk and impact play. I truly believe people dislike and hate the Trop because it’s different, and that’s exactly why I like it.