When it comes to watching live basketball, the venue is almost as important as the game itself.
Basketball arenas are more than just buildings.
They are grand stages that set the scene for epic battles between titans of the sport, filled with an electric atmosphere, amplified by roaring fans and pulsating energy.
Yet, some NBA arenas stand out from the rest.
And today, we’re exploring the very best of NBA arenas, as rated by the fans themselves.
We’ve crunched numbers from various online review sources including Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, and have compiled a comprehensive list ranking NBA arenas by their average fan ratings.
These reviews provide us with a fantastic gauge of fans’ experiences from across the country and beyond.
- Celebrating the Top Scorers: PayCom Center and FedEx Forum
- Honorable Mentions: United Center, Madison Square Garden, and Amway Center
- Exploring the Rest of the Pack
- Surprises and Discrepancies
- Exploring The Lower-Ranked Arenas
- The Beauty of Diversity in Fan Experiences
- The Heartbeat of the NBA
To make it easy for you to follow along with our analysis, here’s a detailed breakdown of the fan ratings for each NBA arena:
|Team||Arena||Average Rating||Google Rating||Facebook Rating||TripAdvisor Rating||Yelp Rating|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||PayCom Center||4.6||4.6||4.9||5||4|
|Memphis Grizzlies||FedEx Forum||4.6||4.7||N/A||4.5||4.5|
|Chicago Bulls||United Center||4.5||4.7||4.8||4.5||4|
|New York Knicks||Madison Square Garden||4.5||4.7||4.8||4.5||4|
|Orlando Magic||Amway Center||4.5||4.6||4.8||4.5||4|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse||4.4||4.6||4.6||4.5||4|
|Dallas Mavericks||American Airlines Center||4.4||4.6||4.6||4.5||4|
|Miami Heat||Kaseya Center||4.4||4.7||4.4||4.5||4|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Smoothie King Center||4.4||4.6||4.5||4.5||4|
|Los Angeles Lakers & Los Angeles Clippers||Crypto.com Arena||4.4||4.7||N/A||4.5||4|
|Indiana Pacers||Gainbridge Fieldhouse||4.4||4.6||N/A||4.5||4|
|San Antonio Spurs||AT&T Center||4.3||4.5||N/A||4.5||4|
|Toronto Raptors||Scotiabank Arena||4.3||4.5||N/A||4.5||4|
|Atlanta Hawks||State Farm Arena||4.3||4.5||4.3||4.5||4|
|Boston Celtics||TD Garden||4.3||4.6||4.5||4.5||3.5|
|Denver Nuggets||Ball Arena||4.3||4.6||4.5||4.5||3.5|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Fiserv Forum||4.3||4.7||4.4||4||4|
|Charlotte Hornets||Spectrum Center||4.2||4.6||N/A||4||4|
|Brooklyn Nets||Barclays Center||4.1||4.5||3.9||4.5||3.5|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Wells Fargo Center||4.1||4.6||4.2||4||3.5|
|Golden State Warriors||Chase Center||4.1||4.7||N/A||4||3.5|
|Phoenix Suns||Footprint Center||4.1||4.6||4.1||4||3.5|
|Utah Jazz||Vivint Arena||4.1||4.6||4.1||4||3.5|
|Washington Wizards||Capital One Arena||4.1||4.5||4.2||4||3.5|
|Detroit Pistons||Little Caesars Arena||4.0||4.6||N/A||4||3.5|
|Houston Rockets||Toyota Center||4.0||4.6||3.5||4.5||3.5|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Target Center||4.0||4.5||3.9||4||3.5|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Moda Center||3.9||4.5||3.7||4||3.5|
|Sacramento Kings||Golden 1 Center||3.8||4.5||N/A||4||3|
Celebrating the Top Scorers: PayCom Center and FedEx Forum
Taking center stage is PayCom Center, the home of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and FedEx Forum, the arena for the Memphis Grizzlies. Both of these arenas are tied for the top spot with an outstanding average rating of 4.6.
PayCom Center: The Crown Jewel of Oklahoma City
The PayCom Center, home to the Oklahoma City Thunder, sets a gold standard for fan experience, achieving an impressive average rating of 4.6.
Located in the heart of Oklahoma City, this vibrant venue captures the spirit of the city and the electrifying atmosphere of Thunder games.
Known for its sleek modern design, comfortable seating, and unrivaled sightlines, it offers a viewing experience that’s hard to beat. But it’s not just about what’s on the court.
The venue is also praised for its abundance of local food vendors, providing a taste of Oklahoma City’s vibrant culinary scene.
With its high ratings across multiple platforms, the PayCom Center stands as a testament to Oklahoma City’s love for basketball, ensuring an unforgettable experience for every fan who steps through its doors.
Matching the top-notch rating of PayCom Center is the FedEx Forum, a remarkable home for the Memphis Grizzlies, boasting an equally impressive average rating of 4.6.
Steeped in the heart of Blues City, Memphis, Tennessee, the FedEx Forum serves as a beacon for basketball enthusiasts and a symbol of pride for the city.
Renowned for its outstanding fan-friendly amenities, the arena offers wide concourses, diverse food options capturing the local flavor, and plentiful entertainment choices for fans of all ages.
Additionally, the venue is praised for its spirited and vibrant atmosphere that captures the essence of Memphis’ strong community spirit.
With a seating layout that puts fans close to the action and a commitment to excellent hospitality, the FedEx Forum ensures a basketball experience that is as rich and soulful as the city it resides in.
Honorable Mentions: United Center, Madison Square Garden, and Amway Center
Right on their heels with an average rating of 4.5 are three arenas: United Center, Madison Square Garden, and the Amway Center.
The United Center, a.k.a the ‘Madhouse on Madison,’ is the fortress of the Chicago Bulls and is known for its massive size and deafening crowd noise.
Madison Square Garden, often referred to as ‘The Mecca’ of basketball, is home to the New York Knicks and stands out due to its storied history and iconic location in the heart of Manhattan.
Finally, the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, located in sunny Orlando, Florida, garners appreciation for its modern amenities, family-friendly environment, and excellent hospitality.
Exploring the Rest of the Pack
The rest of our top ten includes the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, the American Airlines Center, Kaseya Center, Smoothie King Center, and Crypto.com Arena, all boasting an average fan rating of 4.4.
These arenas span from Cleveland, Ohio, to Los Angeles, California, showing that no matter where you go in the country, top-notch basketball experiences can be found.
Nevertheless, no list is without a few surprises.
A Spectrum of Fan Experiences
It’s interesting to note that the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center, a $1.4 billion state-of-the-art facility located in San Francisco, California, lands mid-pack with an average rating of 4.1.
Despite its cutting-edge technology and luxurious amenities, fan reviews indicate that there’s more to a great arena than just being shiny and new.
On the flip side, the Detroit Pistons’ Little Caesars Arena and the Houston Rockets’ Toyota Center, despite their rich histories, unfortunately sit closer to the bottom of the list with an average rating of 4.0.
This goes to show that even arenas with storied legacies have room for improvement in the eyes of fans.
Surprises and Discrepancies
It’s clear that fan experience extends far beyond just the basketball game itself.
As indicated by our data, factors like arena location, ambiance, amenities, sightlines, and even history play significant roles in shaping these experiences.
After all, these venues aren’t just arenas.
They are the homes of local communities and die-hard fans, and play host to unforgettable memories that last far beyond the final buzzer.
While this data offers a comprehensive look at NBA arenas, it also serves as an open invitation for you to experience these electrifying venues in person.
Because at the end of the day, nothing can beat the thrill of being there in the crowd, surrounded by fellow fans, cheering for every three-pointer and buzzer-beater.
Let’s continue our exploration down the list.
Exploring The Lower-Ranked Arenas
Close to the bottom we find Minnesota Timberwolves’ Target Center and Portland Trail Blazers’ Moda Center both scoring an average rating of 4.0 and 3.9 respectively.
Even though these arenas may not have topped the list, they still contribute to the unique culture and experience of an NBA game. Nestled in the Twin Cities, the Target Center’s spirited atmosphere reflects the heart and soul of Minnesota, while the Moda Center, located in Portland, Oregon, fondly known as ‘Rip City’, echoes the unyielding support of its dedicated fan base.
And last but certainly not least, with an average score of 3.8, is Sacramento Kings’ Golden 1 Center.
This eco-friendly arena is situated in Sacramento, California, and is recognized as one of the greenest arenas in the world.
Despite its lower score, it’s important to remember that reviews don’t tell the whole story. Each arena offers a distinct and irreplaceable experience, shaped by unique architecture, city culture, and the energy of local fans.
The Beauty of Diversity in Fan Experiences
What these rankings also reveal is how diverse and varied fan experiences can be.
Each arena, whether it’s the PayCom Center’s modern design or the rich history of Madison Square Garden, offers something unique. It’s a reminder that part of the beauty of the NBA is not just the sport itself, but also the locales that host it.
Basketball, after all, is a symphony of sounds: the swish of the net, the squeak of the sneakers, and the roar of the crowd.
These sounds echo differently in every arena, in every city. Each one tells its own story, from the sizzling heat of Miami’s Kaseya Center to the cool, easy vibe of Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
Each offers its own rhythm, its own pace, and its own unique way of enjoying the game we all love.
The Heartbeat of the NBA
In the end, these ratings are more than just numbers. They encapsulate countless hours of heart-stopping plays, of roaring crowds, of families and friends united under one roof in celebration of one of the greatest sports in the world.
So, the next time you plan on catching a live NBA game, remember that you’re not just buying a ticket to a match. You’re securing a front-row seat to an immersive, communal experience that transcends the basketball court. It’s about being a part of something bigger than yourself – a fraternity of fans, a community, a family.
This is the essence of basketball, the heartbeat of the NBA. And that, no matter what arena you’re in, is something truly magical.
Data collected on July 3, 2023.
James is a big time NBA Golden State follower, who makes sure to catch games when he's in the area. He likes to follow International Soccer, with an interest in small town soccer club, Blackburn Rovers located in the North on the UK.