The NFL is the home to some of the most historic sports stadiums in the world with the likes of Chicago’s Soldier Field opening over 80 years ago. Lambeau Field has been the longest used stadium for any team in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers calling it home since 1954.
Whilst those live fondly in the hearts of millions of fans, it is the more modern stadiums that are making memories for generations new. Built back in 2009, the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, revolutionized stadium design. At the cutting edge of technology, its now-famous scoreboard, which stretches between the 20-yard lines, demonstrates how the Cowboys embraced modernity. Since its completion, they have implemented super-fast broadband for fans, an app that facilitates their journey to the stadium and much more.
One of the newest stadiums is home of the Los Angeles Rams, SoFi Stadium. Complete with a champagne bar, wine bar, whisky bar or tequila bar and hundreds of luxury suites, the Rams’ Inglewood residence makes for one of the finest gameday experiences.
Halfway round the globe, Europe homes some of the finest soccer stadiums in the world. Barcelona’s Nou Camp is a fine example of architectural brilliance as they continue to reinvent and improve. Aside from holding near 100,000 fans, Barca also boast an incredible range of amenities inside the ground for fans along with the staff. Live betting is a huge part of the culture in the stadium also.
Perhaps most interesting is their catholic chapel. Residing just off from the tunnel that leads to the pitch, it was blessed by then Pope John Paul II in 1982 and welcomes players and staff for a place to pray before and after games. There are also several television studios, a VIPs lounge, a club museum and a veteran players area. Most recently, the club have planned to increase their immense capacity and even to implement a basketball court.
These planned refurbishments may come as a surprise to fans due to the clubs well documented financial troubles of late. Although arguably the biggest, most historic club in the world, Barca are deeply in debt and have even been threatened with liquidation if they fail to pay off the billions that they owe.
Elsewhere in Europe, Tottenham Hotspur’s recently built and aptly named Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has wowed both the home and visiting fans with their facilities. The third biggest club ground in the UK with a capacity of 65,000, Spurs have revolutionised the game day experience for their disabled fans. It is complete with a sensory suite ‘for supporters on the autistic spectrum or with sensory impairment conditions to watch a match, complete with a tactile wall, a bubble tube and several other pieces of sensory equipment.’
They also boast some 60 food and drink outlets around the ground, attractions such as a skywalk above the stadium and a controlled descent giving punters beautiful 360-degree views of London’s skyline. Perhaps most impressive though is the pitch itself. As well as hosting premier league action, the stadium has become home to the NFL’s international series. On their official site, Spurs explain how ‘It features dedicated locker rooms for players, officials and cheerleaders as well as its own broadcast, media and medical facilities. An artificial field underneath our revolutionary retractable grass pitch means the NFL also has its own playing surface’.
As the most successful club in European history, it is only right that Real Madrid have a glamorous stadium to match. Named after the club’s iconic former president and holding over 80,000 spectators, the Santiago Bernabeu partnered with Microsoft to offer an audio guide for fans who are touring the stadium. What is so unique about this stadium however is how personal it is contrary to its stature. Unlike many other stadiums of a similar size, the ground level seats are just metres away from the action on the pitch and the tiered level seating makes for great viewing wherever you are seated.
Finally, we return to the USA with a look at the Atlanta Falcon’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This multi-purpose sports venue has a retractable roof in the design of 8 triangular translucent panels, that when opened creates a stunning optical illusion. There is also a 360-degree board above the field known as the ‘halo-board’, a 62,000-square-foot video board displaying action on the pitch and more.
They even partnered with IBM to develop the finest experience possible for fans of different ilk’s. Creating a number of apps for the Falcons, Atlanta United FC and a generic app for the stadium itself, the app operates as a pathway between the stadium’s integrated technology and the fans before, during and after the visit. These apps not only provide access to services such as ticketing, transportation and parking but also adapt to the different needs of each individual fan. There is no denying that we are officially in the digital age of architecture and these stadiums are leading the way for the rest of the world.