NFL stadiums - why so small?

NFL stadiums’ capacity range from 62k to 82k. The NFL is hugely popular and most, if not all, stadiums sell out. Why don’t they have 100k+ sized stadiums? Urban locations? Focus on retractable roofs and creature comforts?

I think it’s about the expectations of premium seating. It’s much more about selling corporate tickets too.

Everyone expects to have a great seat and the cost (including seat licenses) reflects that. It’s not the same in college.

It also seems college stadiums are trending more in that direction too.

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it is all about the experience for corporate sponsors via premium seating and luxury boxes. That is the real money maker for NFL stadiums, not the single seat ticket.

Most new stadiums don’t have bench seating either. If you put real chairs at say Michigan Stadium, it’d probably hold only 70,000.


It’s probably relevant that per NFL rules and TV contracts, games that fail to sell out can’t be televised locally. They’ve eased up on that in recent years, but it’s still nominally the rule, and most stadiums were built when it was still strictly enforced.

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I would imagine TV money got to be too great to surpass not showing it on TV vs. selling a few more tickets.

No one is going to a game just because it’s not on TV. The tickets are just too expensive.

Better view from a recliner at home, especially in a really nice home theater!

Isn’t that the case with college as well? Is tailgating a big deal at pro stadiums?

Another issue that nobody has mentioned yet is cost.

The largest college stadiums are built in podunk. Cost are lower.

The only exception might be the LA Colosseum. However LA was a podunk town when that stadium was first conceived.

Maybe, but expansion has come to stadiums that have infrastructure all around. I do think the black out rule is a consideration for the NFL and not for college football. If UH games had to be sold out before they were broadcast we might never see the Coogs on TV. The NFL has now focused on corporate dollars and giving them a different, more upscale experience. I think we will see a downward trend in stadium capacity. Look at the new baseball stadiums they are getting smaller in capacity as well.