RANKED: Superdome best among safest venues against COVID-19 outbreak, Smoothie King Center among riskiest


NEW ORLEANS – SEPTEMBER 25: An exterior view of the newly refurbished Superdome prior to the Monday Night Football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints on September 25, 2006 at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tonight’s game marks the first time since Hurricane Katrina struck last August, that the Superdome, which served as a temporary shelter to thousands of stranded victims in the wake of Katrina, has played host to an NFL game. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS — The ongoing global pandemic has brought fan attendance at live sporting events to a grinding halt for fear of “super spreader events” sending infection numbers through the roof.

However, with COVID-19 restrictions easing as millions of Americans are being vaccinated daily, the time has come for venues to ditch the cardboard cutouts and once again open their doors for in-person patronage.

From traditional sporting events like football, basketball, baseball and soccer, to concerts, the ongoing risk of yet another wave of coronavirus still presents itself. So, which venues offer the best protection against infection?

And which are the worst?

With references from the New York Times, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and of course, Wikipedia, BestNeighborhood.org has compiled statistical information ranking the safest and riskiest stadiums and arenas for a potential virus outbreak.

Cities and states will have varying ordinances, certain locations might be experiencing a surge of the virus, and one may also want to think about the venue itself: is it outside? Is the arena large and cavernous with a ton of square footage? How many people can it hold?

Best Neighborhood took a look at many of these stats to arrive at a risk assessment for some of the smaller, indoor venues in the US and Canada.

For instance, Mercedes-Benz Superdone in New Orleans is tied with Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., for first atop the safest stadium list.

The Smoothie King Center is lit up blue on April 09, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

However, the Smoothie King Center right next door to the Dome, is ranked among the very worse, according to Best Neighborhood:

“Smoothie King Center is host to the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. There are also several concerts scheduled for 2021 along with those that were cancelled in 2020. Its size of about 571,000 ft2 is a bit smaller than most of the other arenas mentioned here. It does have the lowest capacity (16,800) of any of the other arenas we’re highlighting so that should give you more square footage per person. Almost 3,000 fans are allowed into Smoothie King center for games as of now but we expect that number to increase as COVID numbers drop.”


  1. Levi’s Stadium (Best)
  2. Mercedes-Benz Superdome
  3. Paul Brown Stadium
  4. NRG Stadium
  5. Lambeau Field
  6. Gillette Stadium
  7. Mercedes-Benz Stadium
  8. Chase Center
  9. MetLife Stadium
  10. Moda Center


  1. Scotiabank Saddledome
  2. SAP Center
  3. Little Caesars Arena
  4. Amalie Arena
  5. Chesapeake Energy Arena
  6. Gila River Arena
  7. Xcel Energy Center
  8. Smoothie King Center
  9. Prudential Center
  10. American Airlines Arena

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