For the fifth consecutive year, Lucas Oil Stadium has earned the title of Best NFL Stadium by Stadium Journey magazine.
Citing, "a near perfect game day experience," Stadium Journey Co-Founder and President Paul Swaney gave the home of the Colts 4.7 out of five stars, with high marks for everything from neighborhood and atmosphere to fans, staff, and value.
Larry Hall, Colts Vice President of Ticket Operations and Guest Services, says it's an honor, especially considering the competition.
"When you look at all of the great stadiums that exist and certainly great traditions, one of the biggest things in the NFL is that there's this great tradition amongst NFL teams and their fans."
Opened in 2008, Lucas Oil Stadium has topped Stadium Journey's review of NFL venues since 2011, the first year they published the list.
"The physical structure, brick, Indiana limestone, exposed steel, it's a muscular building. It feels like a football stadium," says Hall.
But, the ranking is more about what's inside.
Some of my favorite images of Lucas Oil Stadium!
"This is not an award that Lucas Oil Stadium gained, it's an award that the Colts game day experience is number one. And that certainly is Lucas Oil Stadium, but it's also the staff, it's the fans, it's the way our players treat each other and opponents, it's the whole thing," he says.
It's a culture. It starts at the top, with the Irsay family, and works its way through the entire organization. Add a good dose of Hoosier hospitality, and you've got a game day environment that is passionate, spirited, and friendly. No matter what team you're cheering for.
"It's certainly a product of who we are as a people," Hall says. "I know that Midwestern folks have that in general. I think in Indiana, maybe even more so. I've always said we have the best fans in the NFL when it comes to sportsmanship and enthusiasm, those two things combined."
Hall says game day is all about teamwork. Great partners, a solid game plan, and good communication are the keys to success on the field and in the stands. And just like the coaches, they're continually adjusting.
"Something that we added is what I kind of call the science and art of the game day experience. And it's really just sort of a behind the scenes program that we dubbed 'Huddle Up.'"
Huddle Up is about pulling together different people from different groups with different roles in the same area of the stadium. Kind of like a zone defense, it gives you some additional coverage.
Because Hall says it's the little things that add up to a winning game day. And it starts at home.
"We look at the game day experience as something that starts as soon as you leave your home. You've probably heard the term 'from driveway to driveway.' From the time you leave, til the time you get there."
And it's the time in between they want to make as memorable as possible.
"We talk about going that extra yard for someone. That makes a huge difference. And if everybody does that, then you as a fan feel it. And that's really what we try to do."
And that's what the Colts have done better than anyone, say the writers at Stadium Journey magazine, for the last five years running.
For the complete review of Lucas Oil Stadium and to see how other sports venues ranked, visit: http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/lucas-oil-stadium-s91