Ranking the 5 Worst Stadiums in Sports

May 17, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics fans cheer for Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour (50) (not pictured) during the ninth inning at O.Co Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Going to a professional sports event can be a memory that lasts a lifetime. The sights, sounds, and smells endure the passage of time, and that nostalgia can take you straight back to childhood. Taking your children to the ballpark or stadium is almost a rite of passage, handed down generation to generation, and holding to strict customs.

Unfortunately, at some point, nostalgia and custom must give way to common sense. Ballparks get old, fields and courts become dilapidated, and eventually it can even start to take away from the experience for the younger generation.

While I am as upset at the tearing down of Candlestick Park as anyone, at some point you have to realize that the time has come for a new stadium. There are old stadiums in use all over America, and as much as some of them are beloved icons, here are the five that I think are ready for retirement.

5. Fenway Park, Boston. Before you call me a heretic and stop reading, let me explain. I am not saying that Fenway Park needs to be torn down, far from it; Fenway Park should be immortalized as a museum for Red Sox history. However, I am saying that the Red Sox need a new place to play baseball. Opened in 1912, Fenway has been the home to the Boston Red Sox ever since. With quirky features like “The Triangle”, and “Pesky’s Pole”, and of course the iconic “Green Monster”; Fenway has been frustrating hitters and fielders alike for over 100 years.

4. Soldier Field, Chicago. As an Army veteran, I can appreciate a professional sports stadium dedicated to the memory of people who gave their lives for their country. However, Soldier Field has become a dilapidated, outdated stadium that is literally falling apart. Opened in 1924, Soldier Field is the oldest outdoor football stadium in use, and home to the oldest team in the NFL, the Bears. After 89 years, it’s time for this Soldier to retire.

3. Wrigley Field, Chicago. It may seem like I am picking on Chicago, but the truth is the Cubs have been playing in this iconic park for 97 years and it’s time for a change. Again, this place should be transformed into a museum, and the Cubs given a new place to play baseball. Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in use, after Fenway, and the last to rely on its hand turned scoreboard. The field wasn’t even lit for night play until 1988, the last in the league to install lighting.

2. Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento. Formerly known as Power Balance Pavilion, though as a Sacramento native I will always remember it as Arco Arena, Sleep Train Arena was opened in 1988 and is the home of the Sacramento Kings. This arena is the youngest on this list, but is one of the worst on the list. Boasting one of the smallest seating capacities in professional sports, at 17,317, Sleep Train Arena has never been a nice place to watch a game. Thrown together to give the Kings a permanent home, as they had been playing in the temporary Arco Arena I for three years, Sleep Train Arena is cramped and already falling apart.

1. O.co Coliseum/Oracle Arena, Oakland. Oakland-Alameda Coliseum has had a lot of names over the years, and O.co Coliseum may be the most ridiculous. Since my grandmother was an A’s fan, I spent a lot of afternoons in my childhood in Oakland Coliseum. That was in the 80’s and 90’s and it was falling apart then. Opened in 1966, the Coliseum is home to the Oakland A’s, Oakland Raiders, and the nearby arena is the current home of the Golden State Warriors. It’s time that the Raiders and Athletics each had their own stadiums and the outdated O.co was torn down. Oracle Arena isn’t quite as bad the coliseum itself, but the Warriors have already opted out, and will be moving to San Francisco sometime in the future.

I completely understand the nostalgic feeling associated with sports venues, especially icons like Wrigley and Fenway. I know the feeling of losing a place that has decades of memories, thrilling victories, and agonizing defeats. When Candlestick Park falls, you can bet that more than a few tears will fall with it, but even the Yankees realized that after 85 years, the Bronx Bombers needed a new home and pulled down the iconic original Yankee Stadium.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Chicago Bears Chicago Cubs Oakland Athletics Oakland Raiders Sacramento Kings Stadiums

  • Bears Fan

    You show a picture of Soldier Field from what looks like the 80′s. You realize that Soldier Field was remodeled in 2003, right? Remember the 2 years in Champaign? The new Soldier Field may be ugly as sin on the outside but its actually a decent place for a fan on the inside.

    • Chris Furry

      Thank you for your comment, I do realize that Soldier Field was revamped and that they made it look much nicer. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is 89 years old. Bears players and fans deserve a new stadium that is a state-of-the-art homage to the oldest franchise in the NFL.

      • City

        Wow, this is a pretty big fail. The stadium is 100% NEW as of 2003! The only thing that’s still there are the columns and facing on the outside of the stadium. But inside, it is a new, upgraded, updated and beautiful stadium. You should have known that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.stevenson1 Chuck Stevenson

        What a ridiculous justification of a mistake. The stadium IS “a state-of-the-art homage ” to the Bears. The designers retained the iconic columns to preserve the history of the fabled franchise while providing the fans with a brand new intimate (small) modern stadium. For the sake of your “credibility” just admit you MISSED BIG on this one. Weaksauce.

      • http://www.facebook.com/stevebarg Steven Barg

        Seriously, you blew it with Soldier Field. It wouldnt be a big deal if you just called yourself out on it instead of leaving it to us. Sorting wikipedia results for oldest ballparks doesnt always get you the results youd expect. Soldier Field is state of the art and 100% revamped since the 2003 remodel. Those are facts, so you will have to deal with them eventually.

        Wrigley needs a renovation to its infrastructure and its player accomodations to keep the franchise competitive, but it is always rated as one of the best places to see a baseball game. Have you ever been inside Wrigley Field for a game? Its pure baseball man. No gimmicks, no fireworks, no distractions. Is that something you want to get rid of?

  • Pappy Boyington

    The new Soldier Field is great. It may not be the largest, but it’s very comfortable and has pretty good sightlines. Serious error here. It was not just “revamped” but 85% replaced. Do your homework. Wrigley field I can see your point from a modernity perspective however when you are in your seat, it’s a beautiful spot.

  • Charles Spencer King

    Duude you should have said for the visiting team, because it is sure not the fans, in fact every poll I’ve ever seen from the fans ranks Wrigley and Fenway in the top five they want to visit

  • Sean Ferguson

    How did this article even get posted. Tear down Wrigley Field?? Are you kidding me??! This “writer” has never been to the stadiums that he thinks should be torn down. What a joke. Go watch a game in Fenway or Wrigley and tell me they should tear it down. That being said, my Raiders do need a new stadium desperately….

  • http://www.facebook.com/dean.thomas.5496 Dean Thomas

    O.co is ten times better than Candlestick at this point. That is the worst stadium I’ve ever been in!! The seats don’t match, the restrooms are like a prison (see San Quentin down the road), and when we went to the Raider/Niner game a couple years ago in the rain, there were literally lakes in the parking lot. And, if you didn’t purchase your parking pass on line (which the website didn’t mention) your stuck tailgating in the dirt, or mud as it turned out. I think the Roman Colleseum is more state of the art…

  • Santee Jack

    One of the worst stadiums is Qualcomm in San Diego. Opened 8/20/67, Qualcomm stadium was supposed to be a mufti-function facility, but was really built for baseball. As far as football is concerned, the best seats are 50 yards from the sidelines. There are seats closer, but you cannot see over the teams. The field can’t be lowered, as it would flood with the San Diego river adjoining the south end of the property. Per the NFL, there isn’t enough total seating to enjoy hosting a superbowl.

    I grew up in Chicago and used to go to games there, even when the stadium held 100,000. Even threw snowballs at the Bears/Packers on 12/16/73. With Soldier Field completely renovated, it is far removed from being one of the worst stadiums.

    It is too bad the author is allowed to embarrass himself by not checking facts and including correct pictures.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.wardlow Mike Wardlow

    Are you an idiot? Soldier Field was just renovated, and I’m not a big fan of the space ship look, it’s beautiful on the inside. Wrigley Field, yes tear it down and rebuild, or move the team to Rosemont, that place is a pit, and I’m a huge Cubs fan, but it’s NOT a good field, time to give the fans a state of the art playing field, and most want that.

  • Chuck Palvic

    I don’t know of one person I guess besides you that Candlestick Park is being torn down. That is by far the worst professional stadium in the country. Poor opinions on you part!