New NBA Arena Rankings Released

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Stadium Journey is a web site that is dedicated to making “every trip to the ballpark, stadium, or arena the very best it can be.” This is a noble goal, with results that can be incredibly useful to fans interested in attending NBA games in various arenas.

Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs, Game 2Stadium Journey recently released their 2012-13 NBA Arena rankings, listing the arenas in terms of the overall fan experience while attending a game. Their criteria includes “food and beverage in the arena, overall atmosphere, the neighborhood, the fans, access (which includes parking, traffic, restrooms, and concourses), return on investment, and an “extras” category for any unique or bonus points.”

You can check out the full rankings at the link, but their top five goes like this:

  1. AT&T Center in San Antonio
  2. Staples Center (for a Lakers game)
  3. Amway Center in Orlando
  4. Barclays Center in Brooklyn
  5. Toyota Center in Houston

I have attended games in 25 of the 29 current NBA arenas, but as a media member I don’t get to have the fan experience. (Although if Stadium Journey would like details about the various arena freight elevators, utility closets and media facilities, I’d be glad to chime in.)

But for those of you who’ve been to games in various arenas, please chime in? Where’s your favorite place to experience an NBA game?


  1. Wow that’s really surprising that you haven’t been to each stadium. I know you’d treat it as work by now but I think just for curiosity’s sake I would have visited each venue, even just to explore the town. I hope to make a 30 Home Games mission in the following years.
    Being Australian I guess the novelty is heightened for me consider the availability and proximity isn’t there. Interesting list, I hope to one day compile my own from personal experience 😉

    • langwhitaker says:

      I’d like to make it to all 29 (the Lakers and Clips share the Staples Center) but just haven’t been able to. I’m missing Sacramento, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Golden State. But I’ve also been to other arenas multiple times.

    • JaMeSz says:

      I’m also Australian and i couldnt agree more with you, going and watching as many NBA games as possible in various ctiies around America is my number one piority on my bucket list

  2. LS says:

    I haven’t finished reading every word of the rankings, but it seems like the writer is basing a lot of the rankings on how the teams are playing versus the actual stadium set up and what is offered during the game experience. I personally do not pay for cheerleaders or mascots – i go to approximately 10 games per year in Houston at the Toyota Center and i pay for NBA action on the court. I have long since tired of the stadium’s issues regarding lackluster food (in Texas, nonetheless), uncomfortable seating (one seat being drastically smaller than other, right next to each other, on the lower level), ‘security’ who don’t know how to use metal detector wands (making patrons late for tipoff) and lackadasical fans (the Rowdies are annoying IMO and don’t help get the crowd going – we do it ourselves when we feel like it).

    My point is – i’ll pay for NBA action no matter what and all i would like is a comfortable seat, a decent meal, and a bottle of water that costs less than $5.

  3. Arky says:

    A bit unsure about howmuch these stadium rankers actually watch the basketball.

    Apparently the American Airlines Arena crowed give huge ovations when “Dwayne Wade hits a key 3-pointer”.

    I mean, I’m sure they do but that doesn’t exactly happen very much. How many 3s has Wade made this year, a dozen? That probably should have been an and-one or a block or something.

    • Arky says:

      Also it’s Dwyane Wade! (Only just realized they made the misspelling when I saw the quote there in my own post)

  4. 305 says:

    I attend at least 10 regular season and more than half the playoff games in Miami, and I have visited close to 10 arenas including MSG, Staples, TD Garden, Amway (old one), Barclays, Oracle the first ones that come to mind.
    First of all, these rankings are inconsistent. In my opinion, the fans and the atmosphere is the most important aspect, not how old the stadium is. I attended the Knicks game in Oracle this March where they blew out the shorthanded New York team during their horrific road trip. The stadium may be old, and far to San Francisco, but the atmosphere was so great – it was not important. It is no different than the atmosphere you see in Chesapeake Arena in TV, which is usually considered the best in recent years. The arena may be old, but it is very well preserved and quite modern – I definitely did not know it was that old while I was there. So if Oracle is #25 in this list, then AAA should be higher because it’s only 10 years old, exceptionally modern with a great location and it has everything any other arena has, in better condition. But I’m not saying AAA should be higher because the atmosphere is not great, this is a football and baseball city. Heat itself is only 25 years old.
    Fans that have attended multiple arenas can actually somewhat predict how the others are if they see them consistently on TV. I’ve never been to OKC, but think it should probably be Top 5.
    Basically I don’t like the rankings. They are inconsistent in terms of its rubric and Arky is right – D.Wade never hits threes. He gets a standing ovation for whatever he does because this is Wade County.

  5. westbrook/durant says:

    oklahoma city should be top3 minimum

  6. ok then says:

    This list is garbage. They have the Time Warner Cable arena, home of the Bobcats, at 15. I’d be surprised if they cracked 1000 people at regular home games, there’s no way that arena isn’t last in the league.

  7. Elesa says:

    I absolutely lovvve the Barclays Center. The halftime performances are trash, tho… We got a violin player playing the insturmental to Rihanna’s “Diamonds”. That was terrible…