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Rowdy Rankings: Major Sports Venues

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It normally doesn’t end this soon. But April has come to an end, and with it, the time of year when most of DFW’s major sports stadiums are all in operation.

So it might as well be time to debut the next ranking list on Rowdy Time, grading the quality of all four of North Texas’ major leagu professional sorts facilities.

FC Dallas Stadium
Yes, it’s Major League Soccer, so it counts. And the Park formerly known as Pizza Hut might be the best in town for what it’s for. One of the earliest “soccer specific stadiums” to be built to help MLS establish its own identity, FCD Stadium seats just over 20,000 for about the best capacity you could hope for considering its sport. It may not have the history of Old Trafford, but reports are the club has been working hard to get the rest of the crowd going along with the Inferno and other fan clubs. The several other soccer fields surrounding it and the Walk of Fame give it the perfect atmosphere. Its intimacy is a far cry from the Cotton Bowl while giving extra charm light years from the debacle of Dragon Stadium. Its location is the only downside, forcing soccer fans to drive all the way up to Frisco.
Grade: B

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Another park where location sadly takes points off. It may be centralized being in Arlington, but forever rising gas prices and its city’s refusal to add transit are perhaps making a growing number of people wishing the team had moved to downtown Dallas. The failure of any other businesses to develop around the park hasn’t helped. Still, it remains one of the more unique parks in baseball even years later, with the right field home run porch, the Texas traditions like the seventh inning stretch “Cotton Eye Joe” and the team constantly looking to add details to improve the experience, And NO, the place does NOT need a roof on it.
Grade: B

American Airlines Center
I’m going to say it: I still miss Reunion Arena. It was built with the fans in mind, and the noise it could generate added to its experience. Built from Baby Ross Perot’s mind, the AAC was built with the corporate suite owner in mind, and it shows. The place eats up crowd noise, and some seats are so high up you feel like you’re looking down from an AA flight. Former Stars players may not look back fondly on Reunion’s poor ice quality, but it gave them a home advantage like no other that carried them to the Stanley Cup. At least it’s the only building actually IN Dallas, with the city building its transit system around it to give people options other than outlandish parking prices.
Grade: C

Cowboys Stadium
Call me biased as much as you want. But the truth is, this place is a sterile cavern with no atmosphere whatsoever. It’s the ultimate example of how bigger is not always better. Ninety-nine percent of die-hard Cowboy fans are priced out of ever stepping into the place, and the few that do make it to a game are discouraged from getting loud by the ushers (Not kidding there). As a result, it has maybe the worst home field advantage in the NFL, drawing in so many traveling visitor fans that games can feel like a neutral site or worse. The debate on whether the city of Dallas dropped the ball on getting the stadium there or if Jerry Jones played them for fools may go on forever. Whatever the case, “America’s Team” is left with the worst stadium in DFW, whether the Jerry butt-kissing media want to admit it or not.
Grade: D

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