Which NBA arenas have the best atmosphere to experience an NBA game? The website HoopsHype set out to find the answer to that question in their media poll. The survey results are not going to please the Washington Wizards fans and the organization.
HoopsHype polled 35 members of the NBA media who have attended games in every arena. According to the website, the criteria included “crowd’s atmosphere, energy…quality of the arena, culinary offerings, and lighting.” While the Boston, Los Angeles, and New York arenas stood out as the best viewing experiences in the league, the Washington Wizards’ home, Capital One Arena was voted the second-worst arena in the NBA.
Capital One Arena only received “2.86 percent of the share of the vote” with the highest vote being 11th in the poll. The only stadium that ranked below Capital One Arena was the Houston Rockets’ home Toyota Center.
This poll result is embarrassing for the Washington Wizards as an organization. Capital One Arena is the third largest arena in the league, and Washington, DC metropolitan area is a massive market. The atmosphere, culinary options, and entertainment offerings have to be better for a better fan experience.
It’s hard to know whether it’s the cause or the effect, but the Wizards have consistently ranked the bottom of the league in terms of attendance. In the past two seasons, the Wizards ranked 30th in terms of attendance as a percentage of fan capacity. This season, they rank 29th, only ahead of the Charlotte Hornets.
Could better entertainment draw more fans, which in turn could drive up the atmosphere and overall experience? Possibly.
But the main reason for this is likely the sustained mediocrity of the Washington Wizards franchise. Not only have they not had a 50-win season in 44 years, but they also haven’t had much to be hopeful about. The organization lacked direction for a long time, not being good enough to contend, but also not bad enough to draft the next superstar.
Two things that fill arenas are winning and hope. The Wizards haven’t had either in a while. The new regime is trying to change that. It will be a long, arduous process, but the fans need to be patient. If the front office succeeds in building a culture, it will not only make the team better but also make the in-arena experience more enjoyable for everyone. That’s what the city of Washington, DC needs.