What makes a truly great sports stadium? The design? Facilities? History? Stadiums hold a unique charm, attracting millions of fans from around the world to witness adrenaline-fueled performances of their favourite athletes in an exceptional setting.
In this article, we rank the world’s top 10 sports stadiums worth a visit. Considering the demand for better spectator experiences while also the magnitude of the events hosted, and not forgetting the role these iconic structures play in building sporting legacy, this is the ultimate bucket list of venues for every sports devotee.
10. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
First up on the list and the first-ever pro sports stadium in the US to be awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium sets the bar high for modern design and sustainability.
This incredible home to the Atlanta Falcons (NFL) and Atlanta United FC (MLS) features a retractable roof that opens and closes like a camera lens, plus its signature 360-degree HD “Halo Board” that surrounds the roof opening to provide an immersive viewing experience for fans. It doesn’t get more impressive inside and out than this 71,000-capacity marvel that unsurprisingly was selected to host Super Bowl LIII in 2019.
9. Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
The Allianz Arena in Munich is a marvel of modern architecture and engineering. As the home of FC Bayern Munich, the stadium’s exterior illuminates in different colours, representing the team playing inside – red for Bayern Munich, blue for TSV 1860 Munich, and white for international matches.
High-quality facilities, sightlines, and acoustics are no accident either in this wonderful construction. Add to that the football on show from one of the world’s most successful-ever clubs, and noise levels from its notoriously vibrant followers, and you get a match experience that ticks all boxes.
8. Madison Square Garden, New York, USA
Known as the “Mecca of Basketball,” and “The World’s Most Famous Arena”, Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York is a must-visit. The home of the NBA’s New York Knicks has seen numerous legendary games and performances since its opening in 1968.
Besides basketball, MSG also hosts concerts, boxing matches, and other entertainment events. This along with its central location in Manhattan have made it an iconic sporting venue and cultural landmark.
7. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne, Australia
Built-in 1853 in the heart of Melbourne and with a capacity of over 100,000 spectators, the historic MCG is an unrivalled venue for cricket but in fact, there isn’t much it hasn’t witnessed in the world of major sporting events over the past couple of centuries! Its constant modernisation has helped to maintain high-end facilities for players and spectators alike and keep it right in amongst our must-visit list of stadiums.
The MCG has hosted the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and numerous rugby and Australian Football League (AFL) finals. But it’s undoubtedly the legendary cricket matches it will always be most famous for, including those iconic Ashes contests between Australia and England.
6. Wembley Stadium, London, England
Wembley Stadium is synonymous with English football history. Originally opened in 1923, it has been the site of numerous historic football matches, including the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final between England and West Germany. The iconic twin towers and more recent arch structure have become an enduring symbol of British sporting heritage.
Since its reconstruction, the new Wembley Stadium became a symbol of modern stadium design. Its steep seating tiers and enclosed roof helps create an electric atmosphere during events and with a seating capacity of 90,000, it is the second-largest stadium in Europe.
5. Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
The oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use. Home to the Boston Red Sox since 1912, Fenway Park has witnessed countless memorable moments and is known for its unique dimensions and features, such as the “Green Monster” – a towering left-field wall that has seen countless home runs and historic games.
Successful modernisations and preservations over the years have helped Fenway maintain its charm and unique atmosphere. The intimate, up-close and personal seating is well-renowned, and it has even held onto its hand-operated scoreboard – a feature very rarely seen at baseball grounds in the present day.
4. SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, California, USA
The SoFi Stadium is a masterpiece of modern stadium engineering and design, situated in Inglewood, Los Angeles. As the home ground for both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers (NFL), it stands as the largest NFL stadium in the United States. In fact, the design of the stadium allows for the capacity to be adjusted between 70,000 and 100,000 depending on the event.
The stadium’s roof, made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), not only protects fans from the elements but also allows natural sunlight to illuminate the field. Below the roof is a state-of-the-art 4K video board, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Deservedly, this stunning venue hosted Super Bowl LVI in 2022.
3. Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico
Estadio Azteca is a colossus of a stadium located in Mexico City, with a seating capacity of over 87,000 and a spine-tingling atmosphere during Club América and Mexico national team matches.
As the first stadium to host two FIFA World Cup Finals (1970 and 1986), it holds a special place in football history and was the scene of the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal by Diego Maradona for Argentina against England.
Besides football, Estadio Azteca has also witnessed historic concerts and cultural events, making it a multi-dimensional attraction that Mexicans will forever regard as an essential landmark in Mexico City.
2. Bird’s Nest (National Stadium), Beijing, China
Built for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 90,000-plus capacity Bird’s Nest is a wonder of modern architecture. The nickname references the intricate steel lattice structure.
While initially designed for the Olympics, it has continued to host various sporting events and concerts including, perhaps most impressively, the Winter Olympics 2022 where it was repurposed for ice sports events.
The stadium’s unique design and dazzling LED lighting system have made it a huge nighttime tourist attraction as well as a symbol of China’s emergence as a global sporting powerhouse.
1. AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, USA
The AT&T Stadium is famous for its colossal retractable roof and groundbreaking video display board, known as the “JerryTron”. Home to the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), this stadium offers an unparalleled game-day experience, scoring highly for energy efficiency among other modern standards. Visitors can also enjoy its unique collection of contemporary art throughout the facility.
There is no event this stadium can’t host. Super Bowl XLV took place here in 2011. And this adaptable 80,000-100,000 arena was even the venue for WrestleMania in 2016! The AT&T Stadium has also set records for the largest crowd at an indoor basketball game and for a boxing event in the United States. Sounds like the perfect venue to take top spot in our Top 10 stadiums to visit, wouldn’t you agree?