The biggest NBA arenas with the largest seating capacity include the United Center in Chicago, Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., and Madison Square Garden in New York.
1. United Center
- Location: Chicago, Illinois
- City: Near West Side of Chicago
- Owner/Team: Chicago Bulls
- Capacity: 20,917
- Year Opened: 1994
Occupying the number one slot on our list of the 12 biggest NBA Arenas is the United Centre. The popular indoor arena is not just the largest by square footage it also tops the list with its massive sitting capacity of 20,917; also, in the National Hockey League, it ranks the second largest. Its seating capacity for concerts is pegged at 23,500. Located on the Near West Side of Chicago, the United Centre is home to the National Basketball Association, Chicago Bulls, and also used by the Chicago Blackhawks of the (NHL) National Hockey League.
The Arena was launched in 1994 to replace the old Chicago Stadium that was located on the other side of the road. WWF SummerSlam was the first event that was hosted in the arena.
The corporate sponsor of the arena is United Airlines, and that was where the name was taken from. United Airlines has been present in Chicago since 2007, with a hub at O’Hare International Airport.
2. Wells Fargo Center
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- City: Philadelphia
- Owner/Team: Philadelphia 76ers
- Capacity: 20,478
- Year Opened: 1996
Philadelphia is home to the multi-purpose indoor arena called Wells Fargo Center. It is associated with three top sports teams including the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL (National Hockey League), the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA (National Basketball Association), and the Philadelphia Wings of the NLL (National Lacrosse League)
The arena is located at the southwest angle of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, where you can find Lincoln Financial Field, Xfinity Live!, Citizens Bank Park, and more. Originally called Spectrum II, the sports arena was launched in 1996 as a replacement for the Spectrum, and the construction cost was said to be $210 million. Though the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia funded the local infrastructure, Wells Fargo Center was largely privately financed.
Only the games of its different teams are hosted at the stadium. However, several athletic games and events, such as the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, were hosted there. It also hosts political conventions and concerts – its seating capacity for concerts is 21,000 with at least 21,500 standing.
3. Capital One Arena
- Location: Washington, D.C.
- City: Washington Metro
- Owner/Team: Washington Wizards
- Capacity: 20,356
- Year Opened: 1997
With a sitting capacity of 20,356, Capital One Arena deserves a spot on our list of the 12 biggest NBA arenas. Located in America’s capital, Washington, D.C., the indoor arena is tucked in the Chinatown part of the bigger Penn Quarter neighborhood. The Washington Wizards of the NBA, the Washington Capitals of the NHL, and the Georgetown University men’s basketball team all use the stadium for their games.
Important to note that the WNBA (the Women’s National Basketball Association) also used the arena from 1998 to 2018 before they moved to southeast Washington, where they have had the Entertainment and Sports Arena since 2019.
The stadium is owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Important to note that since it opened its doors on the 2nd of December 1997, ownership of the arena has changed hands several times. At inception, it was known as MCI Center, and when Verizon Communications acquired MCI in 2006, the moniker changed to Verizon Center. It is now called Capital One Arena after Monumental Sports & Entertainment acquired it in 2017.
Some of the sporting events that have been hosted at the arena include basketball, ice hockey, arena football, Gymnastics, figure skating, and combat sports like Fighting and wrestling.
4. Little Caesars Arena
- Location: Detroit, Michigan
- City: Midtown Detroit.
- Owner/Team: Detroit Pistons
- Capacity: 20,332
- Year Opened: 2017
At 20,332, Little Caesars Arena ranks 4th on our list of the 12 biggest NBA arenas by sitting capacity; important to note that its sitting capacity for ice hockey is a bit higher at 19,515. The multi-purpose arena is mostly used by the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association and is also home to the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL (National Hockey League). The total construction cost was said to be $862.9 million, and it was launched on the 5th of September 2017.
It sports a distinctive, clear plastic roofed concourse that links it to shops and offices surrounding it. This architectural masterpiece is the brainchild of a renowned American architecture, design, urban planning, and engineering firm known as HOK. It is designed in the form of an eight-story structure that looks like a bowl. The floor of the stadium is located 12 m (40 feet) below street level, and suspended above the stands is a “gondola” seating level, which adds to its uniqueness.
5. Madison Square Garden
- Location: New York City, New York
- City: New York City
- Owner/Team: New York Knicks
- Capacity: 19,812
- Year Opened: 1968
When the talk is about the biggest NBA Arenas with the largest sitting capacity, then Madison Square Garden deserves a mention. It is located in New York City, New York, precisely in Midtown Manhattan, between 7th and 8th Avenues. It occupies a large expanse of land from 31st to 33rd Street above Pennsylvania Station. The sports arena is popularly known with the acronym MSG and functions as a multi-purpose indoor arena.
Important to note that MSG is not the first to bear the name “Madison Square Garden” in the United States. In fact, it is fourth in line. The first arena with that name was located at Madison Square on East 26th Street and started operation in 1879; the second one, which started functioning in 1890, was cited at Madison Avenue, and the third came into existence in 1925 at 8th Avenue and 50th Street.
MSG is home to two A-list sports teams in America, including the New York Knicks of the NBA and the New York Rangers of the NHL. Between 1997 and 2017, the New York Liberty of the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) used the stadium for their games.
The types of activities hosted at MSG include professional basketball, professional ice hockey, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling. It features non-sporting activities like concerts, circuses, Ice shows, and several other forms of entertainment.
The arena started functioning on the 11th of February 1968 and is listed as the New York metropolis’ oldest major sporting facility
6. Scotiabank Arena
- Location: Toronto, Ontario
- City: Toronto
- Owner/Team: Toronto Raptors
- Capacity: 19,800
- Year Opened: 1999
A popular multi-purpose indoor stadium, Scotiabank Arena is located in the South Core region of Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, precisely on Bay Street. It was formerly known by the moniker Air Canada Centre (ACC).
It is home to two sports teams, including the Toronto Raptors of the NBA and Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. Additionally, it is used by the Raptors 905 of the NBA G League and the minor league Toronto Marlies of the AHL (American Hockey League) for playing occasional games.
In the recent past, the arena was home to the Toronto Rock of the NLL (National Lacrosse League) and the Toronto Phantoms of the AFL (Arena Football League). In addition to sporting activities, the arena hosts other events like political conventions, concerts, video game competitions, and much more.
Scotiabank Arena measures 665,000 sq ft or 61,780.5 square meters in size and is the property of MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd). MLSE is also the owner of the Leafs and the Raptors, including their individual development teams.
7. Kaseya Center
- Location: Miami, Florida
- City: Miami
- Owner/Team: Miami Heat
- Capacity: 19,600
- Year Opened: 1999
Our list of the biggest NBA arenas will not be deemed completed without including the Kaseya Center. Before it became known as Kaseya Center, the popular arena had other monikers like American Airlines Arena, Miami-Dade Arena, and FTX Arena. It is currently named after the firm, Kaseya.
The multi-purpose arena is one of the landmark structures that can be found in Miami, Florida and its precise location is along Biscayne Bay.
The stadium was launched on the 6th of February 1998 as a replacement for Miami Arena. It is home to the National Basketball Association team, the Miami Heat.
The companies Arquitectonica and 360 Architecture took charge of its architectural design, which is quite impressive. It houses 2,105 club seats, 76 private boxes, and 80 luxury suites. Other important structures in the arena include Florida’s largest theater known as The Waterfront Theater, which seats between 3,000 and 5,800 patrons.
The arena is a stone’s throw from the Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre Metrorail station. Apart from sporting activities, the theater has come in handy for functions like family events, concerts, musical theatre, and several other entertainment gigs.
8. Ball Arena
- Location: Denver, Colorado
- City: Denver
- Owner/Team: Denver Nuggets
- Capacity: 19,520
- Year Opened: 1999
Formerly called Pepsi Center, Ball Arena is counted among the biggest NBA arenas with large sitting capacities. The multi-purpose indoor arena can be found in Denver, Colorado, precisely at one of the main streets in downtown Denver known as Speer Boulevard. A light rail station is located on the Arena’s western side.
Launched in 1999, Ball Arena serves multiple sports teams like the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, the Colorado Mammoth of the NLL (National Lacrosse League), and the Colorado Avalanche of the NHL (National Hockey League).
Ball Arena was built as a replacement for McNichols Sports Arena, which formerly served as the home of the Nuggets and Avalanche. Colorado witnessed the arena’s groundbreaking on the 20th of November 1997, and when the 19,000 m2 (4.6-acre) arena was completed in 1999, Celine Dion hosted a concert on it.
Some important structures in the arena include the Nuggets’ basketball practice facility and the Breckenridge Brewery Mountain House. There is also a big restaurant that can be accessed both within the center and outside of it.
The highlight of Ball Arena is a suspended sculpture representing various basketball and hockey players in action poses.
9. Moda Center
- Location: Portland, Oregon
- City: Portland
- Owner/Team: Portland Trail Blazers
- Capacity: 19,441
- Year Opened: 1995
Formerly called the Rose Garden, Moda Center is Portland, Oregon’s major indoor sports arena. Its primary tenants are the Portland Trail Blazers NBA franchise in addition to the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (a major junior hockey franchise). Another franchise that has played games at the arena is the Portland State University men’s basketball team.
The property is owned by the company Vulcan Inc and has been used for activities like ice hockey, basketball, conventions, ice shows, dramatic productions, concerts, and more.
Amenities like top-of-the-range acoustics adorn the arena which distinguishes it from the rest.
10. Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
- Location: Cleveland, Ohio
- City: Cleveland
- Owner/Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
- Capacity: 19,432
- Year Opened: 1994
The fact that Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse has a seating capacity of 19,432 makes it one of the biggest NBA arenas worldwide. It serves the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA and the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL (American Hockey League). The Claveland-based multi-purpose arena is also used by Cleveland State Vikings (both men’s and women’s basketball) as a secondary arena.
It opened its doors for business in October 1994 as a replacement for the Richfield Coliseum as the region’s primary entertainment facility. The arena also did a good job of displacing the Wolstein Center located at Cleveland State University.
When it was launched in 1994, the arena was called Gund Arena after the former owner of Cavalier, Gordon Gund, acquired the naming rights. However, Dan Gilbert bought the naming rights in March 2005 after he bought a major part of the Cavaliers and changed its name to Quicken Loans Arena. He took the moniker from his mortgage lending firm, Quicken Loans.
The stadium got its latest rebranding in April 2019 and has been known as Rocket Mortgage ever since.
11. The American Airlines Center (AAC)
- Location: Dallas, Texas
- City: Dallas
- Owner/Team: Dallas Mavericks
- Capacity: 19,200
- Year Opened: 2001
After it was launched in 2001, The American Airlines Center, known by the acronym AAC, started ranking among the biggest basketball arenas thanks to its sitting capacity of 19,200. Sited in the Victory Park district of downtown Dallas, Texas, the indoor arena hosts games for sports teams like the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA and the Dallas Stars of the NHL (National Hockey League).
The construction cost of the center is said to be around $420 million. Apart from sporting activities, it also comes in handy for hosting other activities like concerts and more.
12. TD Garden
- Location: Boston, Massachusetts
- City: Boston
- Owner/Team: Boston Celtics
- Capacity: 19,156
- Year Opened: 1996
TD Garden started operations in 1996 with a sitting capacity of 19,156. The sports arena’s sponsor is TB Banks, and that is where it got its name. The Boston, Massachusetts-based multi-purpose arena was built to replace Boston Garden and has been known by different monikers, including FleetCenter and TD Banknorth Garden.
TD Garden sits above the MBTA’s North Station, and in all of New England, it is rated as the most visited entertainment and sports arena. Each year, it welcomes as many as 3.5 million visitors. The stadium is mostly used by the Boston Celtics of the NBA and the Boston Bruins of the NHL.