Each year, there are changes made to the list of the world's costliest stadiums. Every year, cities replace 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.
- The list of expensive stadiums changes over the years, as new ones are built and old ones are revamped at a high cost.
- The most expensive stadiums are all located in the United States after London's Wembley fell out of the top five.
- SoFi Stadium is by far the most expensive, costing more than twice as much as any other arena.
- Yankee Stadium is the most expensive baseball stadium, though it is ranked fifth overall.
5. Yankee Stadium
New York City, NY
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 mimic the original 1923 ballpark 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.
Yankee Stadium only cost $1.5 billion, but that was back in 2009. Adjusted for inflation, the price is closer to $1.82 billion.
4. 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.
3. MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, NJ
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.
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."
2. Allegiant Stadium
Las Vegas, NV
Cost: $1.9 billion
Completed in 2020, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders clocks in at a whopping $1.9 billion. The 65,000-seat facility is also the home stadium of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. With nearly two million square feet, it's no surprise that the stadium cost a pretty penny. The facility includes a translucent roof for outdoor daylight and walls that can be opened up for a view of the Las Vegas Strip.
But the walls and windows aren't the only reason Allegiant costs nearly two billion dollars. One of the most expensive features is on the ground: the stadium was built with two separate playing fields. The first, made of artificial turf, is used for college games by the UNVL. The second field is made of real grass, planted in a giant tray of soil that can be rolled out on hundreds of electronic wheels. The four-foot-deep, twenty-million-pound field allows the Raiders to play on real grass and dirt–even in the middle of the desert.
1. SoFi Stadium
Estimated cost: $5.5 billion
The biggest price tag goes to SoFi Stadium, the new home for both the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers. Completed in September of 2020, the enormous facility is scheduled to host the Super Bowl in 2022, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in 2028.
Because it was privately financed, there are no public figures on the cost of SoFi Stadium. Based on construction costs, it is estimated to have cost around $5.5 billion.
SoFi Stadium was originally priced at just under $2 billion, but after numerous construction delays and cost overruns Rams owner Stan Kroenke would ultimately pay more than double that amount for the 70,000 seat arena. After borrowing an additional $500 million from the NFL to get the project over the finish line, the SoFi Stadium finally opened in 2020–just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 burned by inflating construction and repair costs, and sometimes they never find a way to produce an adequate return on their investments.