Who has the smallest NFL stadium? The Complete Details

By Casey 9 Min Read
9 Min Read

When it comes to NFL stadiums, size and capacity can vary greatly. Among these, Soldier Field in Chicago stands out as the smallest NFL stadium. This article provides detailed insights into Soldier Field and other small NFL stadiums, along with key features and historical context.

Soldier Field: The Smallest NFL Stadium


Soldier Field is home to the Chicago Bears and has the smallest capacity among NFL stadiums, officially listed at 61,500 seats. Originally opened in 1924, this stadium has undergone several renovations, the most significant in 2003, reducing its seating capacity from nearly 67,000 to its current size.

Historical Significance

Soldier Field is not only the smallest but also one of the oldest NFL stadiums. It has hosted numerous significant events, including the 1927 Army-Navy Game, the 1994 FIFA World Cup, and the 2016 Copa América Centenario​. Its long history makes it a landmark in American sports culture.


  • Multi-purpose Use: Besides hosting football games, Soldier Field serves as a venue for concerts, soccer matches, and other large events. The stadium’s design allows it to accommodate different types of events effectively.
  • Design and Renovations: The 2003 renovation modernized the facility, adding modern amenities while preserving its historic facade. The renovation aimed to blend the old with the new, providing an updated experience for fans while retaining the stadium’s historical essence​.

Other Small NFL Stadiums

State Farm Stadium

Home to the Arizona Cardinals, State Farm Stadium has a seating capacity of 63,400. Opened in 2006, it features a retractable roof and field, making it a versatile venue for various events. The stadium can expand to accommodate more fans for special events like the Super Bowl​.

Allegiant Stadium

The Las Vegas Raiders play at Allegiant Stadium, which seats 65,000. This state-of-the-art facility opened in 2020 and cost nearly $2 billion to build. Known for its luxurious amenities, including high-end dining options and premium seating areas, Allegiant Stadium has quickly become a top destination for both sports and entertainment.

Ford Field

Ford Field in Detroit, home to the Lions, also has a capacity of 65,000. Since opening in 2002, it has been praised for its unique design, which incorporates a former warehouse into the stadium’s structure. This design element adds a distinct charm and character to the stadium​​.

Hard Rock Stadium

Located in Miami, Hard Rock Stadium can accommodate 65,326 fans. This stadium underwent significant renovations in 2016, adding a canopy to provide shade and protection from the elements. The renovations also included updated seating and premium spaces, enhancing the overall fan experience​.


Key Comparisons

Stadium Team Capacity Opened Notable Features
Soldier Field Chicago Bears 61,500 1924 Historic venue, multipurpose use
State Farm Stadium Arizona Cardinals 63,400 2006 Retractable roof and field
Allegiant Stadium Las Vegas Raiders 65,000 2020 Luxurious amenities, high construction cost
Ford Field Detroit Lions 65,000 2002 Unique design incorporating a warehouse
Hard Rock Stadium Miami Dolphins 65,326 1987 Canopy for weather protection

Impact of Stadium Size on Fan Experience and Team Performance

Fan Experience

The size of a stadium can significantly impact the fan experience. Smaller stadiums like Soldier Field offer a more intimate setting, which can enhance the overall atmosphere during games. Fans are closer to the action, which can lead to a more engaging and immersive experience.

Benefits of Smaller Stadiums

  • Enhanced Atmosphere: Smaller stadiums can generate a louder and more passionate crowd, as fans are seated closer together and closer to the field.
  • Accessibility: With fewer seats, smaller stadiums can make it easier for fans to navigate the venue and access amenities such as restrooms and concessions​​.
  • Historic Charm: Venues like Soldier Field offer a unique blend of modern amenities and historical architecture, providing a nostalgic experience for long-time fans​.

Team Performance

While the size of a stadium doesn’t directly influence team performance, the atmosphere created by a smaller, more engaged crowd can provide a significant home-field advantage. Teams often feed off the energy of their fans, and a packed, loud stadium can be intimidating for visiting teams.

Examples of Home-Field Advantage

  • Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field: Known for its “12th Man,” Lumen Field, although not the smallest, uses its design to amplify crowd noise, giving the Seahawks a notable home-field advantage​​.
  • Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field: Despite its larger size, Lambeau Field’s close-knit community atmosphere makes it a difficult place for opponents.

Future Developments in NFL Stadium Designs

As the NFL continues to evolve, so do its stadiums. Future designs are likely to focus on enhancing fan experience, incorporating advanced technology, and increasing versatility for hosting various events.

Multi-purpose Use

Modern stadiums are being designed to host more than just football games. For example, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, which hosts both the Rams and the Chargers, is also a premier venue for concerts and other major events. Its design allows for quick transformations to suit different types of events​​.

Technological Advancements

Newer stadiums are incorporating cutting-edge technology to improve the fan experience. This includes high-definition video boards, enhanced sound systems, and even augmented reality features. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, for example, boasts state-of-the-art amenities and a high-tech fan experience​​.


There is a growing emphasis on sustainability in stadium design. Features such as solar panels, water recycling systems, and energy-efficient lighting are becoming standard. Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco is a leader in this regard, being one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums in the NFL​.

Final Words

The size of an NFL stadium can significantly impact both the fan experience and team performance. Smaller stadiums like Soldier Field offer a unique, intimate setting that can enhance the atmosphere and provide a home-field advantage. As the NFL looks to the future, stadium designs will continue to evolve, focusing on multi-purpose use, advanced technology, and sustainability. These developments will ensure that NFL stadiums remain among the most impressive and fan-friendly venues in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which NFL stadium is the smallest?

Soldier Field in Chicago, home to the Chicago Bears, is the smallest NFL stadium with an official capacity of 61,500 seats​​.

Who has the nicest stadium in the NFL?

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, shared by the Rams and Chargers, is often regarded as the nicest NFL stadium due to its modern design, advanced technology, and luxurious amenities​.

What is the oldest NFL stadium?

Soldier Field in Chicago, opened in 1924, is the oldest stadium currently used by an NFL team​.

What is the most expensive NFL stadium?

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is the most expensive NFL stadium, costing approximately $5.5 billion to build.

What is the quietest NFL stadium?

State Farm Stadium in Arizona is often cited as one of the quieter NFL stadiums, partly due to its design and the smaller, less vocal fan base.

What is the cheapest NFL stadium?

The construction cost of Lambeau Field in Green Bay was relatively low compared to modern stadiums, making it one of the least expensive NFL stadiums. However, renovation and maintenance costs have added over the years.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *