Photo of the playing field at Fenway Park during a Boston Red Sox game.

Image Credit: Stadium Journey

There used to be a time when sports fans stumbled into stadiums and arenas blindly. We knew very little about the Fenway Park's and the Madison Square Garden's of the world. Maybe we had seen Google images of them or knew only what we could see on TV. But we all had heard the countless stories told by our friends who had visited those places and our interests were stimulated. Those days of the unknown, my friends, are over. Founded in 2009, Ann Arbor native Paul Swaney has launched 'Stadium Journey' into the most comprehensive stadium review site on the web. Additionally, the website is complimented by a monthly magazine he also publishes including it's March installment of "Iconic Venues of College Basketball".

The bread and butter of Stadium Journey is that it uses a formula to compute a venue's 'FANFARE SCORE' and 'CROWD SCORE' for fans. How are these scores computed? Stadium Journey has compiled a list of both regional and international correspondents who visit venues in their area and report back to the world according to the following six factors.


Food and Beverage

We all know how expensive concessions are at stadiums and arenas around the country; it borders highway robbery. If there is a way you can save money, Stadium Journey will let you know about it or at least give you a heads up on what you can expect to pay. Also, what are the favorites? I've heard of the 'Dodger Dog' and the 'Fenway Frank' but are they really worth the money? Is the import beer selection below average or extensive at the arena? 


If you've traveled to a number of different venues in a variety of leagues, you'll know that the atmosphere varies from place to place. You could be walking into a venue as dead and calm as Gila River Arena in Arizona or as lively as Yankee Stadium when the Red Sox are in town.


From what I've read, many stadiums and arenas are erected into undeveloped areas of the city because they know other businesses will follow suit. Should you worry about leaving your car parked in a distant lot in a sketchy neighborhood? Or should you expect a thriving district like Wrigleyville in Chicago with bars and restaurants on every street corner?


This is a concern for a lot of fans, especially in the Northeast where fans tend to be a little more hostile than other fan bases. Will I get beat up for wearing my Yankee jersey into Fenway Park? Do the Duke students at Cameron Indoor Stadium really have that much of an impact? Do fans arrive to the game late like at Dodger Stadium? Or do they try to beat the traffic and leave 10 minutes before the conclusion of the game? Fans are different, you get the picture. Some cheer louder than others.


Accessibility is very important. Parking is a headache in almost every city and it's expensive. Not every city has a light rail system and some venues are even in the suburbs and not in the downtown business district (Canadian Tire Centre, Marlins Park, Miller Park). Stadium Journey will let you know the easiest way to get to where you're going.

Return on Investment

OK, so you paid $300 for two tickets to a game and was it worth it? Some tickets are a bargain and some tickets are a complete ripoff. The fan cost index should always be taken into account when venturing into any of these stadiums and arenas (total cost of taking a family of four to a game).


That Michael Jordan statue outside of the United Center is pretty darn cool. And so is the Ty Cobb statue inside of Comerica Park. Or how about the festivities at the Buffalo Bills practice facility before the games at Ralph Wilson Stadium? Some organizations do just a little more to add icing to the cake for the fan experience.


All factors are then rated on a scale of 1 to 5 by the correspondent. Those numbers are then averaged in to both the 'FANFARE SCORE' AND 'CROWD SCORE'.

Did I mention Stadium Journey covers much more than just the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB? You'll likely find your favorite venue documented if you are a fan of Nascar, college sports, minor league baseball and European soccer. You would never book a stay at a Motel 6 without reading it's reviews online first. Your next trip to the stadium should be no different.


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