KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If your ears haven't been ringing the last five years, you might have been able to hear the intense debate that has two fan bases literally screaming and claiming victory along the way.
To help settle it once and for all, 41 Action News went straight to someone who can definitively answer the debate: Which stadium is the loudest in the world: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City? Or CenturyLink Field in Seattle?source and asked which stadium can correctly claim to the loudest stadium in the world?
According to Kelly Kerns, Arrowhead takes the prize.
Kerns works for Populous, a Kansas City-based architectural firm.
He was project manager when CenturyLink Field opened in Seattle in 2002 and was also project manager when Arrowhead was renovated in 2010.
“They’ve gone back and forth between setting the Guinness World Record for loudest stadium in the world,” Kerns said.
In 2013, Seattle Seahawks fans, aka "Seahawks 12th Man," broke the record with a thunderous roar of 137.6 decibels.
The following season, Chiefs Kingdom snatched the title for World’s Loudest Stadium with an ear shattering 142.2 decibels.
“A lot of stadiums want to create that, but there are certain things that work against you," Kerns said.
So, what makes Century Link Field and Arrowhead among the loudest in the world?
One factor is just how the stadiums are designed.
Kerns says Arrowhead is built more like a collegiate stadium.
“That allows noise to be generated all the way around, plus it’s a larger stadium (Arrowhead has capacity for roughly 77,500 fans) compared to Century Link Field," Kerns said. "It’s about 9,000 more seats, which is about 13 percent more voices that are possible to make it loud.”
There aren’t as many suites at Arrowhead as there are modern day stadiums, and the suite seats are mainly outdoors, which means more fans are contributing to the noise.
Both stadiums are more enclosed, with the lower levels almost shaped like a bowl, so a lot of the sound is trapped. Kerns says a lot of the newer venues have more premium spaces and smaller capacity, pushing fans away from the field and the action.
“You lose some of that intimacy and ability to capture the sound," he said.
The layout is important and helps contribute to all those false starts, delay of games and other ways to disrupt the visiting team.
But Kerns says the number one factor in making a loud stadium?
“There's so little that separates winning from losing in the NFL," Kerns said. "You make the impact on two or three plays like that, where it’s a delay of game or offsides, or just hesitancy cause they’re not able to communicate and it makes a difference.”
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