Over the last decade, the popularity of the NBA has been steadily climbing, turning into one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. At the same time, the quality of broadcasting and 4k or even 8k TVs in the homes of fans have created an incredibly competitive environment between actually attending a game or watching it from the best seat in the fan’s house. 

As such, NBA arenas have been offering a better in-game experience than ever before in an effort to keep bringing fans out to the games. But which arenas are standing above the rest? What are the biggest factors that impact an arena’s star rating? 

Podium, the leading Interaction Management platform, analyzed hundreds of thousands of reviews, comments, and interaction points to rank which home court stands above the rest in the league, and the competition is fierce. Much like the first through sixth playoff seeds in the West, several ranking positions were decided by a narrow margin—as few as 116 fan reviews. Here is how the league stacked up:

29. Minnesota Timberwolves, Target Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.4 stars

Number of Reviews: 4,938

Year Built: 1990

Capacity 18,978

Despite a $140M renovation in 2017, the Target Center is still lagging behind the league average in their review rankings. Many recent reviews show how big of an improvement the arena has seen, with comments such as, “Definitely an upgrade from the old arena.” “Definitely love the new arena.” “Huge screens, better lighting doesn’t make you feel like you’re being suffocated lol.” Other highlights included ease of access and parking. 

The most common complaint that seems to hold back the momentum comes down to lines and cost of concessions. “Fun games to watch there. The food is ridiculously overpriced though,” and “The only downside of this arena is how congested it gets upon entry. They could have made more entry points for Target Center,” were common complaints among reviews falling short of 5 stars.

28. Portland Trail Blazers, Moda Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.4 Stars

Number of reviews: 7,401

Year Built: 1995 

Capacity: 19,441

The Moda Center, originally built in 1995 as the Rose Garden, had a $16M facelift in 2014 and has seen an uptick in reviews as a result, but remains on the lower end of the league. Fans are upbeat about the facilities, saying, “There are lots of lights, patios, gathering places, food options and plenty of access points.” Quality of seats was also a common refrain, as were high marks for the staff, with reviews stating, “Great recycling and helpful ushers,” and, “The staff helped us relocate spots when I had a medical issue pop up and I forgot to get ADA seats.” The low marks were due to a lack of good concession choices with comments like, “I suggest eating before or after if you have to come here for an event,” being common among two- to four-star reviews.

27. Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.4 Stars

Number of Reviews: 15,837

Year Built: 2012 

Capacity: 17,732

Being one of the newest arenas in the NBA, the Barclays Center has the odd distinction of being one of the most reviewed arenas in the league while sharing the lowest star rating. It has been one of the highest-profile venues, hosting the 2015 All-Star Game as well as being the site for multiple NBA Drafts. While reviewers rave about location and the updated feel of the arena, multiple reviews pointed out how steep the upper-bowl was, remarking, “Whomever designed it didn’t think about how steep the steps were going to be. Very terrifying” and “Someone I was with has an extreme fear of heights, guest services relocated us.” Common detractions also commented on costs, saying, “Downside a beer and a water was $32, astronomically expensive.”

26. Atlanta Hawks, State Farm Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.5 Stars 

Number of Reviews: 4,164

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 18,118

The Atlanta Hawks’ arena is another arena that had a massive $192.5M renovation that was completed for the 2018-19 season, but is still haunted by the poor experience of its past. Since the 2010-11 season, the Hawks have averaged 25th in the league for attendance (out of 30 teams) and the 2018-19 season was no different, averaging 27th. That being said, reviews on the facilities have dramatically improved, with remarks such as, “Bathrooms are much better now and more food options was a great addition!” and “The arena is hype and the food is reasonably priced. I plan on going to more games in the future.” Reviews are definitely trending in the right direction, so it will be interesting to see if it can make a dent on Atlanta’s historically underwhelming attendance.

25. Charlotte Hornets, Spectrum Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.5 Stars

Number of Reviews: 4,164

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 18,118

Located in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, the Spectrum Center opened up in 2005 and then updated a little more than a decade later in 2016 in preparation for the 2017 All-Star Game. Fans frequently praised the convenient location of the arena, saying, “Overall a good venue with very good parking availability across the street” and “Fast and easy to get to from the highway with parking located close by in several different lots for various prices. The Epicenter is just a short walk from the entrance with plenty of places to eat.” 

The most common comments from detractors seemed to center on the density and size of the seats, with remarks like, “I’m a very petite woman and the seats were too small for even me!” and “Great except that my son who is 6’4″ was super uncomfortable in the seats.”

24. Phoenix Suns, Talking Stick Resort Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.5 Stars

Number of Reviews: 6,196

Year Built: 1992

Capacity: 18,055

Originally built in the early 90’s, Talking Stick Arena underwent a $68M renovation in 2003 and has plans for another major renovation currently approved by the Phoenix City Council and is in the planning stages. For the time being, the arena is in the bottom quartile from reviewers, most three- to four-star reviews citing age-related issues, such as “Arena was fine. A little old, but fine.” Concession prices were also mentioned. The positives were around how easy it was to get to the arena via the light rail stop outside and its location in the heart of downtown Phoenix.

23. Sacramento Kings, Golden 1 Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.5 Stars

Number of Reviews: 6,728

Year Built: 2016

Capacity: 17,608

The Sacramento Kings replaced Sleep Train Arena with a brand new arena to start the 2016-17 season as a part of an intense struggle to keep the franchise in the Sacramento area. Unlike other new arenas in Milwaukee and Detroit, the Golden 1 Center hasn’t been able to break into the top echelon of arenas according to consumer feedback. A majority of the reasons tend to be centered in both the design of the upper part of the arena with comments like, “Upper level seating is very steep and narrow, would not recommend upper level seating. Lower level seating is excellent,” and the cost of concessions, such as, “I was shocked at the cost of a double vodka drink. $32, ridiculous!” High praise was given to the aesthetics of the new building. 

22. Philadelphia 76ers, Wells Fargo Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.5 Stars

Number of Reviews: 9,215

Year Built: 1996

Capacity: 20,478

The Wells Fargo Center is a part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, with Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park and Xfinity Live! as neighbors. As the home of the 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers, it has held the 2001 NBA Finals and the 1997 and 2010 Stanley Cup Finals. It was also the site of the 2000 Republican National Convention as well as the 2016 Democratic National Convention. 

The arena boasts a new kinetic 4k scoreboard as well as enhanced dining options as a part of its $250M “Transformation 2020” renovations. In the meantime, costs for concessions and parking are top of mind. “Plenty of parking but $30 to park.” “Cost me $35 bucks for some cheese fries and a beer.” 

21. Washington Wizards, Capital One Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.5 Stars, 

Number of Reviews: 11,216

Year Built: 1997

Capacity: 20,356

Located in the heart of the busy Chinatown neighborhood in Washington, D.C., Capital One Arena has been an entertainment anchor for the District for the past two decades. Updates to the video boards have boosted reviews as of late as well as the number of food and entertainment options surrounding the arena. 

Once inside, that appeal continues with reviews exclaiming, “I love that they now have a few food stands that rotate out. It’s great to see a better variety of food choices.” That level of choice will cost you, however, as many three- to four-star reviews are quick to point out, “If you come hungry or thirsty you will easily spend more than $20 on a simple burger, fries, and soda. Beers are $13 and up and ‘exotic’ food and beverage are $16 and up!”

20. Toronto Raptors, Scotiabank Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.5 Stars

Number of Reviews: 20,186

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 19,800

On the heels of the Raptors winning the 2018-19 NBA Championship, Scotiabank Arena is also in competition for the title of NBA arena with the most reviews. Its 20,186 reviews as of this writing is a close runner up to Madison Square Garden (21,141). Fans rave about the cleanliness of the arena as well as the helpfulness of the staff. 

Much like their other 4.5 star counterparts, the biggest drawback came in the form of cost of concessions. “While I expected it to be more money I didn’t expect $5.75 for one bottle of water or $8.00 for a bag of popcorn,” wrote one reviewer. Another noted the lack of cup holders on seats, saying, “The seats were comfortable, it would’ve been nice if they had cup holders as the person behind me spilled her beer on me.”

19. Golden State Warriors, Chase Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 861

Year Built: 2019

Capacity: 18,604

It may be better to rank the Chase Center as “incomplete”  as the first reviews of the Chase Center, the Golden State Warriors’ brand-new arena, have just started to roll in after their first several concerts and the Warriors’ first preseason game on October 5th. The $1.4B venue is the newest in the league and has already brought in $2B in the form of ticket sales and sponsorships. 

Of the limited supply of reviews, new arena wrinkles and managing expectations seemed to be what kept it from the upper half of the league. “Expected it to be more spectacular inside, but it was still good. Hallways feel more like an office building than an arena.” Parking in the Mission Bay neighborhood was a recurring theme. 

That being said, the majority of fans highlighted the ample amounts of cutting-edge tech, such as the immense video board and sound system. The scoreboard itself is 82 ft x 52 ft. Just for perspective, the court measures 94 ft x 50 ft. Over time, this arena should see a huge bump once the new arena jitters get worked out and more reviews are submitted.

18. New Orleans Pelicans, Smoothie King Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 3,274

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 16,867

With the smallest arena in the Association, the New Orleans Smoothie King Center was originally built in 1999 for the New Orleans Brass hockey team of the ECHL. Once the Hornets came in 2002, it became the NBA arena for NOLA. 

Unlike the Chase Center, reviews appear to be trending in the wrong direction as the arena ages. For example, “Smoothie King was just an ordinary arena for me, some good & some bad. Here are a few ways it was amateur hour: Slow service at concessions, very poor lighting in aisles—many people tripped, didn’t switch escalators to ‘down’ after the event.” Also, “Arena is dated on the inside with very limited video boards in the corners. Seats, stairs, and railings seem old. Stadium has no uniqueness to it.” With the $450M renovation of the Superdome next door coming in 2020, it could upstage future reviews of Smoothie King by comparison.

17. Memphis Grizzlies, FedEx Forum

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 3,849

Year Built: 2004

Capacity: 17,794

In the 2010s, the FedEx Forum earned itself the moniker of “The Grindhouse,” giving opponents an idea of the experience that was in store. For attendees? Slightly better, it turns out. In 2017, the arena had a $1.8M digital upgrade, giving them a brand new HD video board four times the size of their previous one. This was preceded by a sound system upgrade five years earlier. 

Already the fifth smallest arena in the NBA, there were several reviews commenting on how many seats were put into the arena, commenting, “Seats are cramped and hardly any leg room,” and “The arena is clean and seems secure enough, but if you’re a bigger person, be advised, you’re going to be cramped in the seats.” One of the highlights was the arena’s Rock and Soul museum, highlighting the Memphis area’s history in music. “Loved the Rock and Soul Museum. You gotta stop here and see the history of rock. Lots of music and interesting displays. Make sure you do the headphones!”

16. Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 4,505

Year Built: 1994

Capacity: 19,432

Recently renamed Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse from Quicken Loans Arena, the home of the Cavs boasts the self-described “largest LED roof sign on the planet.” In addition, the building just went through a $185M renovation that gave it a dramatic facelift coming for this season, so this may be another arena to place on our “most likely to rise” category for next season. 

That being said, the majority of their reviews come from the Q, rather than the new Rocket Mortgage moniker. Recent additions are positive however, with reviews saying, ”The new arena redesign looks very nice and certainly pushes the facility into a very competitive market for large events. Very modern and sustainable look!” and, “The changes are incredible.  You can feel the excitement around the newly renovated arena. World-class venue.”

15. San Antonio Spurs, AT&T Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 5,466

Year Built: 2002

Capacity: 18,418

Built in 2002 to replace the Alamodome, the AT&T Center is home to the Spurs and the site of four out of the five NBA titles the Spurs hold. In fact, since the AT&T Center was built, the Spurs have averaged over 60 wins each season. This place has seen a lot of winning. Largely unchanged structurally, the arena saw a $101.5M digital renovation in 2015 that included video boards, sound system, improved wi-fi, and other screens. 

The biggest complaints came from the long walk from parking, with several reviewers leaving comments like, “Lots of parking, although I wish they had more shuttles because it took myself and my brother both disabled Veterans 15 mins and 2 rests to get to the entrance.” While most arena’s biggest liability is in the cost of concessions, the AT&T Center announced the “Spurs Steals” deal which includes six food and beverage options that cost just $2.50 to $5.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder, Chesapeake Energy Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 5,651

Year Built: 2002

Capacity: 18,203

Originally built as a concert venue and home to a minor league hockey team, Chesapeake Energy Arena looked very different prior to receiving an NBA tenant. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the Hornets temporarily moved to OKC and the arena received $200,000 to upgrade lighting and sound to accommodate the team. Two years later, as a deal to move the Seattle Supersonics to OKC was finalized, the arena received a $103.4M renovation to bring it up to modern NBA standards. The reception remains high on the venue with high marks given from concessions to seating. The only drawback focuses on parking. “Great Staff. Great facilities, good food, parking was hard to find or expensive… besides parking it’s a grade A place in the middle of OKC.”

13. Utah Jazz, Vivint Smart Home Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 6,067

Year Built: 1991

Capacity: 18,306

Vivint Smart Home Arena was built in the early 90’s and went without a renovation for a long time until a digital upgrade in 2013 that included an HD video board and LED ribbon. Two years later they saw a massive $125M renovation that included major structural upgrades to seating, a new atrium area and new locker rooms, restaurants, public areas, and more. The arena also hosted several events during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, including figure skating and short track speed skating. 

The majority of three- to four-star reviews come from concertgoers commenting on the poor acoustics—for example, “The food options have been improved, but as far as acoustics go… This is a sports arena,” and, “Acoustics could be better, but also wasn’t built for music.” The reviews have certainly been trending up in the past year, however, with the new seating being praised relentlessly. “The remodel two years ago made the arena five stars. Amazing, all new padded seating!”

12. Houston Rockets, Toyota Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 6,972

Year Built: 2003

Capacity: 18,055

The Toyota Center in Houston replaced The Summit/Compaq Center as the home of the Houston Rockets in 2003. While there has yet to be any major structural upgrades to the original building, the arena installed a four-panel video board in 2012 that measures 58 feet by 25 feet. At the time, it was the largest in the league, but has now been outsized by video boards in Milwaukee and Cleveland and dwarfed by the new Chase Center. 

It does appear that the shelf life of the arena is being felt in the reviews when compared to the more modern arenas. “It’s an arena, just not a very impressive one. It gets the job done, there’s just nothing special about it. In Texas it is easily surpassed by the AT&T Center and the American Airlines Center.” There have been a handful of news stories in the past couple weeks indicating a renovation is imminent, but as of writing no details were given.

11. Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 9,904

Year Built: 2001

Capacity: 19,200

The American Airlines Center, also known as The House that Dirk Built, is about to be on a new street. The stretch of Olive Street between North Field Street and Victory Avenue has been renamed to Nowitzski Way, thanks to a 15-0 vote on the Dallas City Council in late September 2019. Even with the accolades, it’s hard to overstate how much one player contributed to everything from the franchise to the arena, having played there every season since the arena was built. Reviews are generally high, but parking is the only glaring deficiency. “Parking will always be the downfall of the AAC. Other than that, the arena itself is great. It’s eye-catching and in the heart of Victory Park.”

10. Denver Nuggets, Pepsi Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 9,774

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 19,520

One of the few arenas built in the 90’s that hasn’t undergone a major renovation, the Pepsi Center is home to the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche. While there hasn’t been a major structural upgrade, the arena replaced its video boards in 2014 and recently announced high-end concessions from award-winning chefs. The Pepsi Center is also praised for its design, with comments like, “Sure, the Avs and Nuggets aren’t always on point, but having sat in all corners of the venue (tough to imagine since it’s round, I know), there’s not really a bad seat in the house!”

9. Orlando Magic, Amway Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 10,439

Year Built: 2010

Capacity: 18,846

Built in 2010, the Amway Center replaced Amway Arena as the home of the Orlando Magic. Located in downtown Orlando, it was part of Master Plan 3, an entertainment and cultural hub for the city. The arena hosted the 2012 All-Star game as well as the 2014 and 2017 NCAA tournaments. Fans praise the “modern, upscale” facilities that are “ideal for any activity. From NBA games, to concerts, and even high school graduations, the location is worth visiting.” The majority of detractors complained of overpriced concessions. “What I didn’t like about the stadium was that you pay a lot of money for drinks, soda, souvenir cups, and then none of the soda machines worked.”

8. Boston Celtics, TD Garden

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 11,301

Year Built: 1995

Capacity: 18,624

Built in 1995 to replace the legendary Boston Garden, the TD Garden is home to the Boston Celtics and Bruins. Replacing a court that’s home to 16 NBA championships is a difficult task; however, the reception of the TD Garden has been positive since day one. “Fantastic venue! My wife and I attended our first Celtic’s game and the atmosphere was electrifying. There is not a bad seat in the building and everything was very well maintained.”

7. Detroit Pistons, Little Caesars Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 14,320

Year Built: 2017

Capacity: 20,491

The Detroit Pistons’ new home is the second largest arena in the league based on capacity. Replacing the Palace at Auburn Hills and Joe Louis Arena, Little Caesars Arena is located in Midtown Detroit. The reviews on the new building have been very high, even being named “Sports Facility of the Year” at the 2018 Sports Business Awards. The vast majority of reviews proclaimed, “Really nice place complete with state-of-the-art amenities for a modern sports arena,” and several highlighting the “nice artwork to represent Red Wings and Pistons, past legends and current stars.”

6. Chicago Bulls, United Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Number of Reviews: 15,259

Year Built: 1994

Capacity: 20,917

The United Center served as the epicenter of the NBA universe as Michael Jordan changed the game. As the largest arena in the Association, the United Center was the home of the Bulls during their second threepeat, hosting the 1996, 1997, and 1998 NBA Finals. New for 2019 is a state-of-the-art 4K kinetic video board, which measures 8,660 square feet in total screen size—one of the largest ever. This is an upgrade from the 2,300 square foot scoreboard that was installed 14 years ago. 

Reviews from Bulls fans centered around what is difficult for any arena to replicate—the history. “What is so great is seeing the Bulls championship flags,” and “Finally got to experience the United Center and the Bulls legacy!” 

5. Milwaukee Bucks, Fiserv Forum

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.7 Stars

Number of Reviews: 3788

Year Built: 2018

Capacity: 17,500

At one year old, the Fiserv Forum is the $524M home of the Milwaukee Bucks. The 724,000 square foot arena includes social clubs, open-air public areas and creative food and beverage options. The main entrance leads into a 128-foot-tall atrium designed with 8,000 tons of steel. Reviews of the arena are just as shiny as the arena itself: “ Saw a game against the Celtics and this Forum almost stole the show. What a venue. Take it all in. Outside, the outdoor porch at the top of the forum on the Northeast top corner, and inside, it’s all just first class.”

4. Indiana Pacers, Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.7 Stars

Number of Reviews: 7,139

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 17,923

For almost two decades, Bankers Life Fieldhouse has set the standard for in-game experience. In 2005 and 2006, the arena was ranked as the number one venue in the NBA according to Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily Reader Survey. The same glowing reviews came from fans and professionals alike. “Honestly I’ve never attended a game and had a bad seat. They built this place smart,” and “One of the best venues in the country to this day. Never disappointed when I have visited the Fieldhouse.” 

In April 2019, a $360M renovation was greenlit by the Marion County Capital Improvement Board to build a new outdoor entry plaza, new indoor gathering areas and other interior improvements. Looks like its place in the top five will be reinforced for years to come.

3. Miami Heat, American Airlines Arena

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.7 Stars

Number of Reviews: 11,591

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 19,600

An underwater-inspired scoreboard and red and orange seating make American Airlines Arena one of the most visually distinctive in the league. It doesn’t hurt that all-stars like Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh have led the Miami Heat to three championships since 2006. 

More recently, fans love how well the arena has held up, saying, “The venue is surprisingly clean for the amount of traffic that it gets. The staff is very helpful; no matter where they are working.” Since its opening, the arena has been known as American Airlines Arena. However, American Airlines chose not to renew naming rights, leaving the door open to a new sponsor.

2. Los Angeles Clippers/Lakers, Staples Center

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.7 Stars

Number of Reviews: 19,392

Year Built: 1999

Capacity: 19,069 (Clippers), or 18,997 (Lakers)

At the crossroads of pop culture and NBA lies the Staples Center. Built as a larger entertainment district known as LA Live, the Staples Center has hosted seven NBA Finals, three WNBA Finals, three NBA All-Star games, two Stanley Cup Finals, eighteen Grammy Awards, and numerous other national championships. It will also be a focal point of the 2028 Summer Olympics as the men’s and women’s basketball venue. 

Simply put, in the past 20 years there are few arenas that are more culturally relevant than Staples. Locals and visitors alike share the view of it being a world-class facility. “One of the best places to visit in Los Angeles. Amazing experience. This is near to Microsoft Theatre and LA Live. If you are visiting Los Angeles make sure this is in your list of places planning to visit.” The Clippers’ new home is currently under construction in Inglewood, to be completed in 2024, leaving the Lakers and LA Kings as primary tenants of the Staples Center.

1. New York Knicks, Madison Square Garden

Aggregate Review Rating: 4.7 Stars

Number of Reviews: 21,141

Year Built: 1968

Capacity: 19,812

It’s the Mecca of basketball. The Association’s oldest standing arena has by far the most storied past. It has an aura earned from decades of college basketball that went to the roots of the sport itself, home to the great Knicks teams of the 70’s, the historic runs of St. Johns in the 80’s and the Patrick Ewing teams of the 90’s. 

Despite not having won a championship in the past 40 years, fans still adore what they describe as their “temple.” A major $1B renovation transformed the arena into a modern cutting-edge arena without losing the heritage and feel of what made it The Garden. “Great iconic venue with tremendous history of great sporting and entertainment events. From Muhammad Ali v Joe Frazier, Frank Sinatra, The Pope, Michael Jordan to mention a few…best in the biz. It’s not even close!” Boasting both the highest number of reviews submitted and the highest star rating as well, we agree.