STADIUM DUDE’S NFL STADIUM RANK: #5
- Location: Kansas City, MO
- Opened: 1972
- Capacity: 76,416
- Football Weather Misery Index: 50.2 (16th best of 23 outdoor venues)
- Games attended: 1
- Last visited: 2019
As a Lions fan I always had a schadenfreude sense of glee when an over-achieving Chiefs team would lose a home playoff game. It was another constant, like the Lions losing double digit games. This team had a 20th Century Red Sox-esque curse about them where they’d get agonizingly close, then somehow blow it.
But deep down, I did feel a little bad for the fans. They were fellow Midwesterners who had a reputation for being loud and loyal. And good tailgaters. Maybe a visit would help me feel more empathy for this long suffering fan base.
It was an amazing experience. The Arrowhead tailgate parking lot rivals Green Bay and Houston (it seems as if everybody in this town fancies themselves a pit/grill master given the amount of charred meat being cooked and consumed). If you wanted to check out anything other than the space by your car, the Ford Fan Experience offered games, pre-game entertainment, the Bud Light Beer Garden, Chiefs cheerleaders and the mascots.
The stadium itself has aged remarkably well since its opening; sure, it’s been recently renovated, but the seating bowl has the same intimate feel it’s had since Day One. Inside, there’s a BBQ Row offering vittles from 4 different barbecue joints. And the Chiefs Hall of Honor is one of the better in-stadium exhibits honoring past greats.
The biggest downside that I saw were the high costs: game day parking was $60 (less if prepaid) and tickets were pricey from both the team and the secondary market.
As for the fans, yes, they are indeed loud. They rival Seattle’s for sheer volume, and in fact own the Guinness World Record when they hit 142.2 decibels (which is really impressive given it’s a completely open air stadium). Unlike fanatical supporters in other markets, these guys cheered hard but were relatively civilized otherwise despite often being quite lit.
The visit converted me. In the 2019/20 playoffs, I rooted for them quietly in all 3 of their playoff games, and was genuinely happy for this tremendous fan base when they won their first Super Bowl in 50 years.