Sports fans have a habbit of assigning nicknames to everything. Players, coaches, even stadiums and arenas. Here are, in my opinion, the top 10 sporting venue nicknames in the U.S. along with a bit of info about each stadium (and whatever else I dug up that happened to be interesting).
A few that didn’t quite make the list: “The Dean Dome” (Dean Smith Center, Chappel Hill, NC), “The Trop” (Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL), “The Igloo” (Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA), “The Q” (Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH).
10. “The Vet” – Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, PA - Some of the nicknames on this list have someone mysterious origins, but its not hard to imagine how someone came up with “The Vet”. Once home to the Phillies and the Eagles, the stadium, destroyed in 2004, was notorious for the poorly installed artificial surface, so much so that the turf earned its own nickname: “Field of Seams.” Even after the turf was redone, Baltimore Ravens’ coach Brian Billick refused to let his team take the field for a preseason game after seeing the condition, resulting in the cancellation of the game.
9. “Death Valley” – Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA – Home of the Louisiana State University Tigers, “Death Valley” is widely regarded as the loudest stadium in college football, with recorded decibel noise levels of 119 and 130. The nickname was originally “deaf valley” because of the voluminous cheering of the 92,000 fans, but over time, I was misunderstood and became “Death Valley”. Clemson fans call their stadium “Death Valley” too, but I’d give the nod to LSU because of the program’s overall reputation and recent success.
8. “The Shark Tank” – HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA – HP Pavilion is the home of the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League, along with many other concerts and such. You may have never heard of “The Shark Tank”, but I think we can all agree that it sounds a lot better than an arena named after a line of computers.
7. “Happy Valley” – State College, PA – This nickname refers to the whole Penn State Campus and surrounding area more so than just the football stadium, but I think Its worth noting because you’ll rarely hear a sports commentator talk about State College; its always “Happy Valley”.
6. “The Swamp” – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL - “The Swamp” has been the home of the University of Florida Gators football team since 1930. It’s considered one of the toughest places in the country to play due to the crowd of 88,000+ and the often uncomfortably hot and humid weather. Originally, I had this one closer to number 8 or 9, but when I was doing my research, I realized I had no idea what the actualy name of the stadium was called. That’s a heck of a nickname.
5. “The Brickyard” – Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, IN - One of the only venues to have an event sporting its nickname: the Brickyard 400. “The Brickyard” was paved with bricks almost a century ago. Obviously, most of the brick has been removed, with the exception of a 3 foot wide strip at the starting line, known as the “brick yard”. Apparently they can cram 400,000 people in there for an IndyCar race. Good luck finding a porta-potty.
4. “The House that Ruth Built” – Yankee Stadium, New York City, NY – I hate the Yankees as much as anyone, but even I can’t deny the historical importance of Old Yankees Stadium in the Bronx and its nickname is a classic. Also known as “The Cathedral of Baseball”, “The Big Ballpark in the Bronx”(that one’s a mouthful) and now “Old Yankee Stadium”, the ballpark that’s hosted 37 World Series’ is being dismantled as we speak. But, if its any consolation, New Yankees Stadium has cupholders.
3. “The Garden” – Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY - The name “Madison Square Garden” has been attached to several venues since 1879, including Madison Square Garden Bowl, a 72,000 seat outdoor arena. Home to the NHL’s Rangers, WNBA’s Liberty, and NBA’s Knicks, along with other events all year long, MSG is often referred to as “The World’s Most Famous Arena”. I don’t disagree.
2. “The Big House” – Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI – The place is huge, and the nickname is fitting. 106,000+ seats on one level. No upper decks like modern stadiums and I don’t know how you could see what’s going on from one of those back rows. The plan is to have a hockey game there next year; better bring a telescope.
1. “The Friendly Confines” – Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL - Home to the Cubs, Chicago’s Wrigley Field is one of the most beloved sports venues in America. The commonly used phrase, “friendly confines of Wrigley Field”, was popularized by longtime-Cub and Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. Its hard to imagine a situation where they’d tear down Wrigley, so baseball fans will always have “The Friendly Confines”.