The best NBA's best arenas according to fans

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty ImagesThe Portland Trail Blazers’ Moda Centre.

NBA games are all about big stars, flashy handles, and gravity-defying dunks. But when it comes to the fan experience, a great venue can make all the difference, which is why Podium – a startup that helps local businesses manage customer reviews – has used data from Google reviews to identify the best NBA arenas as of the beginning of last season.

Podium consolidated review data for all 29 NBA arenas through its platform to produce the following rankings:


29. Target Centre – Minnesota Timberwolves

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.4

Total number of reviews: 4,938

One thing to know: The Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx’s home underwent a $US140 million makeover last year, with the biggest changes coming in the concourses and hospitality areas. Even though chief strategy officer Ted Johnson said that the renovation improved “just about every surface of the building,” the arena is still one of the lowest-rated in basketball.


28. Moda Centre — Portland Trail Blazers

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.4

Total number of reviews: 7,401

One thing to know: Fans may not even find time to sit and watch a game after navigating the arena’s 70+ food vendors, but if they do, they may take issue with the Moda Centre’s cramped seating and strained views from the upper levels.


27. Barclays Centre — Brooklyn Nets

Al Bello/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.4

Total number of reviews: 15,837

One thing to know: A sleek and modern arena, the Barclays Centre opened in September 2012 with eight sold-out shows from then co-owner Jay-Z. Reviewers love the location and the fact that Brooklyn’s mecca only features local New York City food vendors, but its expensive concessions and steep upper bowl detract from its allure.


26. State Farm Arena — Atlanta Hawks

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.5

Total number of reviews: 4,164

One thing to know: State Farm Arena – formerly known as Philips Arena – just recently underwent a $US192.5 million facelift. The upgraded venue now features a centre court scoreboard that stretches from one free throw line to the other, but a subpar Atlanta Hawks squad and lingering woes from the pre-renovation arena have kept the ratings down.


25. Spectrum Centre — Charlotte Hornets

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.5

Total number of reviews: 4,164

One thing to know: Located in downtown Charlotte, the Spectrum Centre is home to Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets. Although the arena missed out on hosting the 2017 NBA All-Star Game due to the NBA’s opposition to North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, it has hosted some notable NCAA Tournament games, including the 16th-seeded UMBC Retrievers’ historic upset of the No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers in 2018.


24. Talking Stick Resort — Phoenix Suns

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.5

Total number of reviews: 6,196

One thing to know: The Phoenix Suns may not be much fun to watch right now, but Talking Stick Resort Arena often plays host to many WWE events, including Smackdown, Raw, Elimination Chamber, and The Royal Rumble. It’s also home to the Phoenix Mercury, a perennial WNBA contender led by the legendary Diana Taurasi.


23. Golden 1 Centre — Sacramento Kings

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.5

Total number of reviews: 6,728

One thing to know: Opened in the fall of 2016, Golden 1 Centre sits in the heart of downtown Sacramento. Kings fans love the modern look for their up-and-coming team but often mention in reviews that legroom in the arena is pretty tight, and concessions are expensive.


22. Wells Fargo Centre — Philadelphia 76ers

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.5

Total number of reviews: 9,215

One thing to know: Just like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Wells Fargo Centre has been undergoing a rebuild for some years. It already has a new kinetic 4k scoreboard, but when completed, the arena will also boast new sound and lighting systems, improved seating, upgraded concourses, open-air lounge areas, and expanding views of the city’s skyline. #trusttheprocess


21. Capital One Arena — Washington Wizards

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.5

Total number of reviews: 11,216

One thing to know: Video board and concessions upgrades have boosted Capital One Arena’s standing, but the 22-year-old arena is one of the more dated in the league. Fans also take issue with the sky-high concessions prices.


20. Scotiabank Arena — Toronto Raptors

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.5

Total number of reviews: 20,186

One thing to know: Formerly Air Canada Centre, Scotiabank Arena is a popular spot for noted Raptor fan and Toronto native Drake. Fans say the arena is very clean but dislike concession prices.


19. Chase Centre — Golden State Warriors

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 861

One thing to know: Based on reviews from recent concerts and the Warriors’ first preseason game of the season, Chase Centre’s rating may not be an accurate reflection of its calibre. The brand new, $US1.4 billion arena is located in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighbourhood and boasts an 82-foot by 52-foot scoreboard, which is only a few square feet smaller than the entire court.


18. Smoothie King Centre — New Orleans Pelicans

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 3,274

One thing to know: Located in the heart of New Orleans’ Central Business District, the Smoothie King Centre is connected to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – home of the New Orleans Saints – by two pedestrian walkways. The arena is the tiniest in the NBA and widely considered dated by fans.


17. FedEx Forum — Memphis Grizzlies

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 3,849

One thing to know: It’s interesting that FedEx Forum ranks so high on this list given the rumours that the Grizzlies could leave Memphis in the future. Since the arena is one of the smallest in the league, fans say that they have a near-perfect view of the floor no matter where they sit but that there isn’t much legroom.


16. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse — Cleveland Cavaliers

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 4,505

One thing to know: Much of the excitement at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home arena – which was recently renamed Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse from Quicken Loans Arena – centered on LeBron James. After he left for Los Angeles, the arena – unlike the franchise – underwent a dramatic renovation that will be unveiled this season.


15. AT&T Centre — San Antonio Spurs

Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 5,466

One thing to know: As home to the perennial playoff contender San Antonio Spurs, AT&T Centre doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to attract fans. Still, the arena boasts a state-of-the-art visual and audio system and relatively cheap concessions. The “Spurs Steals” deal includes six food and beverage options that cost less than $US5.


14. Chesapeake Energy Arena — Oklahoma City Thunder

J Pat Carter/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 5,651

One thing to know: Although Oklahoma City was a questionable landing spot for the rebranded Seattle Supersonics franchise, locals are absolutely crazy about the Thunder. Fans argue that the atmosphere at Chesapeake Energy Arena during home games is unparalleled and that its concessions are top-notch.


13. Vivint Smart Home Arena — Utah Jazz

Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 6,067

One thing to know: The Vivint Smart Home Arena got a $US125 million facelift a few years back, and like the Utah Jazz’s young core, the early results are positive. The arena now features comfier seats, open social spaces, and a brand new atrium with a box office and team store.


12. Toyota Centre — Houston Rockets

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 6,972

One thing to know: The Toyota Centre has the largest lower level of all NBA arenas due to its sunken floor. The Houston Rockets’ court sits 32 feet below street level. Many people suspect that the arena will get a revamp soon, but no plans have been confirmed as of writing.


11. American Airlines Centre — Dallas Mavericks

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 9,904

One thing to know: American Airlines Centre is home to Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks. In 2017, Billboard identified American Airlines Centre as the 6th busiest arena in the country and the 8th busiest in the world. Fans like almost everything the arena has to offer, but parking is an area that needs improvement, according to reviews.


10. Pepsi Centre — Denver Nuggets

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 9,774

One thing to know: Fans love how easy it is to get to the Pepsi Centre by car or by public transit. Fans love coming out for Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games as there isn’t a bad seat in the house and the arena boasts a number of high-end concessions from award-winning chefs.


9. Amway Centre — Orlando Magic

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 10,439

One thing to know: Even though the Orlando Magic have not been among the top teams in the NBA in quite some time, fans love the Amway Centre. The state-of-the-art arena – which is located in the heart of downtown – features tons of restaurants and luxury suites, an area where children can play, and one of the largest HD scoreboards in the league. No wonder it was last year’s top-rated NBA arena.


8. TD Garden — Boston Celtics

Adam Glanzman/Getty

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 11,301

One thing to know: Steeped in tradition as the home of the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins, TD Garden has had 33 official names over its 28-year history. The Beantown venue was built in 1995 to replace the iconic Boston Garden.


7. Little Caesars Arena — Detroit Pistons

Dave Reginek/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 14,320

One thing to know: The second-largest venue in the league, Little Caesars Arena opened in midtown Detroit in 2017 and is home to both the Pistons and the Red Wings. The building’s unique design connects the arena itself with restaurants, stores, and the box office via glass “streets” built into the roof. Fans love to grab a drink at the outdoor beer garden off of the Budweiser Lounge.


6. United Centre — Chicago Bulls

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.6

Total number of reviews: 15,259

One thing to know: The Chicago Bulls have a ton of history wrapped up in the United Centre’s 24-year tenure. It has played host to three NBA Finals, all of which were won by Michael Jordan-led Bulls teams. You can find a statue of Jordan outside of the arena’s main entrance and a brand new 8,660 square-foot video board hanging above the court.


5. Fiserv Forum — Milwaukee Bucks

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Overall star rating: 4.7

Total number of reviews: 3,788

One thing to know: The brand new Fiserv Forum has only hosted NBA for one season, but those who have visited the Milwaukee Bucks’ new home are enamoured of the arena’s open-air public areas, multiple social clubs, and creative vendors.


4. Bankers Life Fieldhouse — Indiana Pacers

Joe Robbins/Getty

Overall star rating: 4.7

Total number of reviews: 7,139

One thing to know: Modern amenities meet old-school feel at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers and Fever. The arena is located in downtown Indianapolis near plenty of bars, restaurants, and hotels. Reviewers say that there isn’t a bad seat in the house, and an upcoming $US360 million renovation will only improve its standing among fans.


3. American Airlines Arena — Miami Heat

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.7

Total number of reviews: 11,591

One thing to know: Not to be confused with the Dallas Mavericks’ American Airlines Centre, American Airlines Arena hosts Miami Heat home games in the Sunshine State. In addition to an underwater-inspired scoreboard and red and orange seating, the venue also features a night club where fans can party after Heat victories.


2. Staples Centre — Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers

Harry How/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.7

Total number of reviews: 19,392

Located in downtown Los Angeles, the Staples Centre is home to four different teams: the Lakers, the Clippers, the Kings, and the Sparks. In addition to games, the arena hosts the X Games and the Grammys each year.


1. Madison Square Garden — New York Knicks

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Overall star rating: 4.7

Total number of reviews: 21,141

One thing to know: Madison Square Garden is one of the most famous arenas in all of sports, so it may be worth suffering through a New York Knicks game just to enjoy the atmosphere of the building. You’ll find megafan Spike Lee courtside at any home game.


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KOBE BRYANT: How the Black Mamba makes and spends his millions

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