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Pitch Perfect: The Best Soccer...


Pitch Perfect: The Best Soccer Fields and Facilities in the MLS

Pitch Perfect: The Best Soccer Fields and Facilities in the MLS
The Silicon Review
17 April, 2024

The allure of Major League Soccer (MLS) is more captivating than ever. The league has witnessed a significant uptick in viewership and attendance that speaks volumes about its growing popularity. In the first season of its new global broadcast deal with Apple TV, MLS matches have attracted more than one million viewers for their most anticipated games.

The increasing viewership and stadium attendance reflect the league's efforts to enhance the matchday experience and engage with a wider audience. With an average weekly attendance of around 22,094 across all teams, totaling up to nearly 10.9 million over the course of the season, MLS stadiums are becoming pulsating hubs of excitement and community.

The trend of growing enthusiasm for soccer in the US is a compelling indicator of MLS's successful strategies in building a passionate fan base and delivering a high-quality soccer experience.

Transformative Stadiums in MLS

Austin FC's Q2 Stadium

Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, is a hub for soccer enthusiasm and a beacon of sustainability and community engagement. Since its inauguration in 2021, the stadium has been committed to sustainable practices, earning a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its eco-friendly construction and design. The certification underscores the stadium's efforts in using Whole Building Life Cycle Analysis to optimize its environmental footprint, which is the first for an MLS stadium.

One key feature contributing to its sustainability is the presence of 140 solar panels on its southern roof, alongside electric vehicle charging stations, which underscore the stadium's commitment to green energy. In a unique move to reduce single-use plastic consumption, fans are encouraged to bring empty 30-ounce or smaller reusable drink vessels to be filled at various water stations within the stadium, promoting hydration without waste.

Banc of California Stadium

Banc of California Stadium, now known as BMO Stadium, opened in 2018 and has become a landmark in Los Angeles. Its design and construction have significantly contributed to modern soccer architecture, promoting an intimate and electrifying match-day atmosphere.

The stadium has a seating capacity of 22,000 and boasts one of the steepest seating designs in MLS. Its design ensures that every seat is close to the action, with the nearest seats just 12 feet from the field and the farthest only 135 feet away.

The North End of the stadium, home to the "3252" supporters group, features a safe standing section built at an incline of 34 degrees, designed to foster a vibrant and engaging fan experience reminiscent of European football stadiums.

Allianz Field: Minnesota United FC's Sustainable Fortress

Allianz Field, Minnesota United FC's eco-conscious abode, shows the future of sports architecture, seamlessly combining sustainability with fan experience. Unveiled in 2019 at a cost of $200 million, it offers seating for nearly 19,400 spectators. Thanks to its unique translucent fiberglass exterior, the stadium is visually captivating, especially at night.

The innovative design adds to the aesthetic appeal. It plays a crucial role in the stadium's sustainability efforts by enhancing natural light and airflow while emphasizing the use of locally sourced materials.

In addition to its modern amenities, Allianz Field ensures that fans stay connected with comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage throughout the venue, allowing them to seamlessly share their live experiences. The connectivity also opens up opportunities for fans to engage in live betting activities, with the best betting sites accessible online for those interested in increasing their matchday experience. The feature caters to the growing trend of interactive fan engagement in sports venues, making Allianz Field a forward-thinking destination for soccer fans.

GEODIS Park: A Nashville SC Fortress

GEODIS Park heralded as the largest soccer-specific stadium in the United States and Canada, offers an unparalleled experience with its 30,000-seat capacity. The stadium's design pays homage to Nashville's industrial heritage, featuring exposed structural steel and brick-clad ground-level structures.

The facility prioritizes fan experience with amenities such as a 65-foot-wide shared concourse and a safe-standing supporter’s section, drawing inspiration from European stadium designs​.

Seattle Sounders FC's Lumen Field

Lumen Field, home to the Seattle Sounders FC, demonstrates a remarkable blend of utility and spirit. The stadium, designed to accommodate both soccer and football, dynamically adjusts its seating capacity for MLS matches, focusing on creating an intimate atmosphere that amplifies fan energy.

Unique architectural elements, like its U-shape design, offer breathtaking views of downtown Seattle. The stadium has set attendance records, evidencing its ability to host large-scale events while maintaining an electrifying match-day vibe​.

Children’s Mercy Park: Architectural Marvel for Sporting Kansas City

Opening its gates in 2011, Children's Mercy Park set a new standard for mid-sized American sports venues. Home to Sporting Kansas City, the stadium's innovative design incorporates elements of stop-motion photography, ensuring optimal sightlines from every seat.

 The signature roof canopy, constructed from translucent polycarbonate, allows sunlight to filter through and contributes to noise amplification, creating a formidable home-field advantage.

Final Thoughts

The ongoing enhancements to MLS stadiums showcase the league's strong commitment to soccer, fan enjoyment, and building community-friendly spaces. These stadiums, each with its unique design and features, play a big role in defining what MLS stands for. They tell stories of creativity, fan involvement, and efforts to be more environmentally friendly. With MLS growing, the way its stadiums evolve is crucial to the league's goals. They aim to improve the fan experience and take care of the environment, ensuring soccer continues to be loved in the U.S. for many years ahead.