Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ford Field: Neutral Stadium Evaluation

Ford Field: Neutral Stadium Evaluation

January 17th, 2010 | by detfan1979 |

I received an email the other day from Paul Swaney, who runs a blog calledthe Stadium Journey. There, he has correspondents who have utilized a set criteria (which I’ll go over below) to evaluate the sports venues for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and even some Div I-A schools. They recently added an evaluation of Ford Field . So where does it stand among the other 30 stadiums?

I will honestly say this piece took me a lot longer to write than I originally anticipated as I found myself reading on venue after venue, and picturing each location. Be forewarned — you can easily lose a couple of hours reading about the crazies at the black hole, or the amazing food variety at the Cowboys’ new digs. I digress.

The following are the 7 Criteria. Each is graded on a scale of 1-5 for a perfect score being 35:

  1. Food & Beverage: This includes variety, quality, price, and the ability to get all of the above in a reasonable amount of time/trouble.
  2. Atmosphere: This includes the general vibe of the venue including everything from stadium amenities, lighting, architecture, and how exciting/enjoyable the fans make the venue, excitement levels in game, tailgating, etc.
  3. Neighborhood: The area around the stadium.
  4. Fans: Nice, rude, crazy, apathetic, polite, energetic, lethargic, quiet, noisy…
  5. Access: How easy is it to get to?
  6. Return on Investment: Based on what you paid, how is what you get as an overall fan experience?
  7. ETC: This is a bonus category ranging from 1 – 5 for overall feel, as well as items not addressed in the main categories.

The NFL Teams (in alphabetical order) scored out as follows:

  1. Arizona Cardinals – 27
  2. Atlanta Falcons – 19
  3. Baltimore Ravens – 27
  4. Buffalo Bills – 25
  5. Carolina Panthers – 29
  6. Chicago Bears – 28
  7. Cincinnati Bengals – 31
  8. Cleveland Browns – 25
  9. Dallas Cowboys – 31.5
  10. Denver Broncos – 28
  11. Detroit Lions – 27
  12. Green Bay Packers – 30
  13. Houston Texans – 30.5
  14. Indianapolis Colts – 32
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars – 24
  16. Kansas City Chiefs – 25
  17. Miami Dolphins – 25
  18. Minnesota Vikings – 28
  19. New England Patriots – 28
  20. New Orleans Saints – 23
  21. New York Jets/Giants – 30
  22. Oakland Raiders – 25
  23. Philadelphia Eagles – 28
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers – 29
  25. San Diego Chargers – 27
  26. San Francisco 49ers – 28.5
  27. Seattle Seahawks – 26
  28. St. Louis Rams – 16
  29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 31
  30. Tennessee Titans – 28
  31. Washington Redskins – 22

The Lions came in at 27 points, with the average stadium clocking in at 26.89. Keep in mind that unlike most stadiums, fan apathy and the product on the field sapped about 4 – 5 points from the overall experience of Ford Field (as per the neutral reviewer). That means that all it will take is a little bit of winning to put Ford Field from an average venue, to one of the tops in the League. Some winning = some excitement, and even the reviewer noted that once that Ford Field fans get going, the noise level rises up and echoes about to be one heck of an exciting factor and supportive “12th man”.

On the whole, I had to agree (if not wholeheartedly as an enthusiastic fan) with what the reviewer had to say from a neutral standpoint. If anything, I would say that cost wise the return on investment should have been a 4 considering you can park, buy tickets, and get a hotdog for what it costs to park at Jerry Jones’ new megasuperstadiumplex. But that’s just me.

Rating: 9.4/10 (7 votes cast)
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One Response to “Ford Field: Neutral Stadium Evaluation”

  1. By mrdithers on Jan 19, 2010

    My most recent experience at Ford Field for a Lions’ game was the one against Arizona. It was just over half full and relatively ho-hum. The third quarter, and the for that matter the remainder of the second half, was a taste of what can happen when the Lions are playing well. The fans were loud and very supportive. The franchise needs a winner and we will roar.

    We enjoyed walking around the stadium. It is an impressive venue…much like the one across the street.

    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

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