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How the Premier League’s biggest stadiums compare to NFL venues

Feb 13, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT

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On Thursday it was announced that Manchester City have been granted planning permission to expand the clubs Etihad Stadium to hold over 62,000 fans, which will make it the second largest stadium in the Premier League.

City’s cross-town rivals Manchester United, of course, hold the mantle of having the biggest home stadium in the PL with Old Trafford seating 75,811.

That venue regularly sells out, as does City’s current setup at the Etihad with over 47,000 fans, as does Arsenal’s 60,000 capacity Emirates Stadium and Newcastle United’s magnificent amphitheater holding 52,000 at St. James’ Park.

All in all, the demand for more seats at PL stadia has perhaps never been greater. With West Ham United set to move to the 60,00 capacity Olympic Stadium in 2016, Tottenham are in the process of completely redeveloping White Hart Lane and expanding it to 56,250, while Liverpool’s Anfield expansion is expected to get the go-ahead to see the Reds’ historic home push over the 60,000 mark.

More and more seats are needed, as PL attendances go through the roof with most of the league’s 20 clubs operating at 90 percent capacity or greater. This season the average attendance in the PL has been over 36,000.

But how does this compare to America’s most-watched sport, the National Football League? Well, below we’ve compiled a list of the five largest soccer stadiums and five largest NFL stadiums, so you can get some comparison on how the venues in America are much larger.

(MORE: Liverpool plan Anfield expansion, but will it be enough?)

For obvious reasons, stadiums in the U.S. are bigger because of the larger population and also the amount of land on which to build stadiums, which also plays a huge role. After some calculations, based on the 2013 regular season in the NFL, the average attendance across the 32 teams was a whopping 68,338. That’s almost double the amount the average for fans who attend PL games. But putting the populations of England and Wales and the USA side by side, England and Wales has 54 million inhabitants while the USA has a current population of 313 million.

Make of that what you will.

Take a look at the list below, and see if you think some NFL teams could do with scaling down the size of their stadiums. And perhaps some PL clubs should expand their homes further.

Largest Premier League stadiums

1) Manchester United – Old Trafford: 75,811

2) Manchester City – Etihad Stadium : 62,170* (once work is finished)

3) Arsenal – Emirates Stadium: 60,361

4) Newcastle – St. James’ Park: 52,405

5) Sunderland – Stadium of Light: 48,707

Largest NFL stadiums (including standing room)

1) Dallas Cowboys – AT&T Stadium: 105,121

2) Washington Redskins – FedEx Field: 85,000

3) New York Giants/Jets – MetLife Stadium: 82,566

4) Green Bay Packers – Lambeau Field: 80,750

5) Miami Dolphins – SunLife Stadium: 80,120

  1. dfstell - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    It’s also a weird comparison because a metropolitan area like Manchester has multiple teams. Not only do they have United and City, but Bolton and Wigan are both about 25k and Oldham, Bury and Rochdale all seat about 10k. And I think some of the teams playing in the Conference all have 10k-ish stadium too like Stockport. And then you have to consider that Leeds is a separate community, but Leeds is only a few miles down the road. In American terms, Manchester and Leeds would be a single metro community (kinda like how the Meadowlands are in the NJ).

  2. jrocknstuff - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    It should also be noted that NFL teams only play 8 regular season home games a season while EPL clubs host 19 (not including FA Cup, Capital One Cup, UEFA CL, etc). The less chances to attend a game per season, the greater the attendance will be. Obviously with baseball and their 81 home games per season, most clubs only operate around 60% capacity.

  3. mrnoah78 - Feb 13, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Where’s the comparison on Public Dollars “wasted” on stadium construction in the UK vs USA? Pretty sure the combined total for the 20 premier league teams is 0 GBP, versus something like several trillion dollars in the USA?

  4. footballer4ever - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    To be honest, the continuous nfl related topic/terminology/comparison etc is quite annoying to say the least. Is it an inferiority complex or simply an over admiration to eggball that prompts writers to drown us with nfl-related jumbo munbo?

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