Each year, there are changes made to the list of the world's costliest stadiums. More and more, cities are replacing dated stadiums with modern facilities that have greater possibilities for making money. More seats, more luxury boxes, more parking, higher ticket prices, and high-priced concession fare are all factors that make new stadiums attractive to cities and sports franchise owners.
However, it isn't just the construction of new buildings that changes the rankings of the top five. Elaborate renovations propel the overall construction costs of these buildings up the rankings as well. In the meantime, here are the five most expensive stadiums in the world.
5. Wembley Stadium
Cost: $ 1.25 billion
Built in 2007, the home to England's national soccer team is actually the second incarnation of Wembley stadium. New Wembley was built on the same site as the storied original building, but it carries a significant amount of upgrades and features that old Wembley's designers didn't have the means to accomplish in 1923. First, not one of the 90,000 seats has an obstructed view, which in itself is a marvel of engineering, but in case you don't appreciate things you can't see, the engineers built a 133-meter tall arch that hovers over the north stands.
- The list of expensive stadiums changes over the years, as new ones are built and old ones are revamped at high cost.
- Among the top five—Wembley Stadium—is home to England's national soccer team.
- Everything is bigger in Texas, including sports arenas, as AT&T Stadium has set numerous records, including the largest domed stadium and largest HD video screens (two 60-yard-wide screens).
- While Yankee Stadium is the most expensive baseball stadium, MetLife Stadium—home to NFL's New York Jets and New York Giants—is the most expensive in the world.
Other impressive features at Wembley Stadium include a retractable roof, a hybrid grass field that combines synthetic and real grass for a durable surface, and 688 places to get a drink, which might explain how they can dole out 40,000 pints of beer during halftime at a soccer game.
4. AT&T Stadium
Cost: $1.3 billion
Everything's bigger in Texas, including prison electricity bills and, apparently, stadiums. Jerry Jones, owner of the historic NFL franchise the Dallas Cowboys, chipped in $241 million with taxpayer dollars to have this record-setting stadium completed in 2009. The stadium already boasts numerous records: largest domed stadium, largest HD video screens (two 60-yard-wide screens), largest attendance for a football game with 105,121 spectators at a 2009 NFL game, and largest overall attendance with a crowd of 108,713 for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game.
3. Yankee Stadium
New York City, N.Y.
Cost: $1.5 Billion
Along with his crusty temperament, pseudo-guest appearances on Seinfeld, and passion for hiring and firing Billy Martin, former New York Yankee's owner George Steinbrenner will also be well-remembered for his $1.1-billion contribution to the Yankees' new ballpark. Many baseball fans were hesitant to see the original Yankee Stadium demolished, but impressive efforts were taken to keep the history of the old building present in the new park. From the layout of the field to the design of the entrance, the overall shape and design mimics the original 1923 ballpark's blueprint. Even old-school touches were fostered into the new design, such as manually operated scoreboards in the left and right fields. And of course, Monument Park, the shrine from old Yankee Stadium that honored baseball legends such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, was relocated to the new park as well.
2. Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Cost: $1.5 billion
Not to be confused with Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., the Mercedes-Benz Stadium replaced the Georgia Superdome as the home of the Atlanta Falcons in 2017. It was the site of the Super Bowl in 2019, marking the first time that Atlanta hosted the event since 2000. The stadium's signature feature is its retractable roof, which operates on a sophisticated rail system and is intended to give the visual impression of a set of bird wings when open. Meanwhile, the stadium's "100 Yard Club" is an expanded concession and viewing area that extends the length of the football field. In March 2019, Mercedes-Benz Stadium became the first to go totally cashless and only accept credit and debit cards for concession transactions.
1. MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey
Cost: $1.6 billion
New Jersey currently lays claim to the world's most expensive stadium, but when you learn the details of the financing, it's little wonder they were able to build such an impressive stadium. Two of the NFL's most prominent teams, the New York Jets and the New York Giants, shared the construction costs equally and they continue their stadium-sharing plan that they had when they played in the old Giant Stadium. Completed in 2010, and currently known as MetLife Stadium, the new building is the largest NFL stadium without a dome.
The projected cost of Allegiant Stadium, which is the new home of the Las Vegas (formerly Oakland) Raiders.
Some clever technology was incorporated into the design of Metlife Stadium, such as lighting the exterior in either Jets' green or Giants' blue (depending on the home team), installing over 2,200 HD displays throughout the building and the ability to track concession sales as they occur. The last capability allows the stadium's management to quickly address shortages, long lineups, and other customer service issues. Of course, even alien technology won't fill the stands if your team stinks, which was duly noted by Giants' owner, John Mara,
"I've been in this business long enough to know that nothing enhances the fan experience more than putting a winning team on the field."
The Bottom Line
Our world's grandiose stadiums are much more than simply infrastructure for giving the local team a place to play and rock stars a stage to perform on. These buildings have the ability to become printing presses for money—generating revenue from ticket sales, merchandise, concessions, advertising/naming rights, and parking fees while serving as a symbol of sports and culture for each building's respective city.
The construction of some buildings has shown to be a wise use of tax dollars, and some stadiums have revitalized cities and provided them with steady cash cows. Other cities have been burnt by inflating construction and repair costs, and they never find a way to make the stadiums produce an adequate return on their investments.