In March 2022, the Buffalo Bills announced a deal with the state of New York that would give the franchise roughly $850 million in public funding to complete a new $1.4 billion stadium. This is the most public money ever given to a football facility.
Using public funds for stadiums owned by billionaires has become an increasingly fraught issue in major metro areas with sports franchises, with opponents of the practice arguing that financial benefits for the surrounding community are negligible. Team owners, however, sometimes use the threat of moving their teams to win financial concessions from local or state governments. (These are the sports teams worth the most money.)
However, not every franchise is demanding money for a new stadium. In fact, several teams have played in the same venue for decades – and in a few cases for over a century.
To determine the oldest stadiums in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the current NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL venues that have been open for the longest time, using data from the Sports Reference family of sites.
Though these older stadiums have been renovated over the years, they retain a classic feel that harkens back to eras past when legendary athletes like Babe Ruth, Bart Starr, and Ernie Banks were in their primes. These older stadiums are increasingly rare, as there are just eight active venues built before 1970.
Some of these stadiums have gone through several name changes over the years, and one has even changed the team it hosts. Even though the Seattle Kraken are the newest team in America’s big four pro sports leagues, its home stadium – Climate Pledge Arena – is one of the oldest. Previously known as the Seattle Center Coliseum (among other names) the venue first opened in 1962 and used to host the Seattle SuperSonics of the NBA, before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City. (Teams move around frequently, of course. These are the cities that have lost the most teams.)
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