CenturyLink Field is home to the NFL team, Seattle Seahawks, and soccer team, Seattle Sounders, since 2002. Out in Seattle, Washington, CenturyLink is one of the loudest venues in the United States today. The fans in Seattle are known as the 12th Man due to their noise level distracting their opponents. Even TV announcers call out the loudness of the venue on TV during big plays. So the natural question is, why is CenturyLink Field so loud? Here is the breakdown of why the place is so loud, and what it means for home-field advantage.
What is the Loudest CenturyLink Field Got To?
Back in 2013 against the San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks fans noise level broke a world record. The noise level world record hit 136.6 decibels, which became a world record for sports. A few years later, the Kansas Chiefs’ fans broke that record with a record of 142.2 decibels. The 142.2 decibels took place at Arrowhead Stadium against the New England Patriots. For most football games, you will find noise levels near the 136.6 record when the Seahawks are playing well.
What Makes CenturyLink Field So Loud?
The two primary reasons why CenturyLink Field is loud is due to its architectural design and fanbase. The venue’s design and structure make sound bounce off the overhand and go back to the field. Paul Allen, the former owner of the Seahawks, asked the architects to design CenturyLink Field to capture noise to create a home-field advantage. Paul Allen wanted to recreate the feeling he had as a kid attending college football games at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium with the noise factor.
70% of the seating bowl is covered by the stadium’s overhead, which is to accommodate the wish of Paul Allen to trap crowd noise. The overhang over the seats allows sound to bounce off the roof and go back to the field. The overhang protects most fans from the chance of rain during the game, so it is a welcomed addition playing in Seattle. Along with the overhang over the ground, the playing surface has hard materials that don’t absorb sound, making the stadium feel louder. Finally, the north end zone bleachers are aluminum, so fans stomping on them amplify the noise for sporting events. With the seats being so close to each other at this football venue, you have many contributing structural factors in making it one of the loudest sites in the United States.
In addition to the stadium’s design, the sports fans in the Pacific Northwest are passionate about football, and are known as the 12th man. Seahawks fans come out in a full effort to make as much noise as possible to distract the other team during game day. The fans in Seattle go nuts when there is a touchdown for their side too, and the home team feeds off that energy, which makes them play better. The MLS team, Seattle Sounders, also has a passionate set of fans who show up to home games for their side too.
What Does the 12th Man Mean for the Seahawks?
The 12th Man, or 12th player, represents the fans helping the eleven team members on the field compete. With the level of noises the Seahawks fans make, they act as that additional man on the ground. Whether they are cheering on the Seattle’s offense, or making lots of noise to confuse the opponent’s offense, they contribute to the home-field advantage.
What is the Seating Capacity of the Seahawks Stadium?
The seating capacity of CenturyLink Field is 68,740 for NFL games. For concerts and other events, CenturyLink Field can expand to over 72,000 fans. Soccer matches have a typical capacity of 37,722, but that number can grow depending on the opponent. Most soccer games have tarps over seats to create a more cozy environment for their fans. This football stadium is a bit smaller than most venues, which average over 70k seating capacity.
National Coverage and Attention
When a network like ESPN covers a Seahawks football game, you may see a decibel reader on the TV illustrating the crowd noise. The national attention that the Pacific Northwest venue makes is what gives Seahawks team an advantage. The crowd noise also makes visiting the site attractive for casual fans who want to witness how loud the stadium can get during a football game.
Does a Loud Stadium Create a Home Field Advantage for a Football Game?
When the Seahawks football team plays home games, they have a home-field advantage due to their crowd’s noise. The Seahawks fan’s noise level can cause an opponent to make errors on the field because they can’t hear each other. Some examples where the opponent makes mistakes due to the noise include committing false starts and offsides penalties. Once the crowd starts making noise, many teams have to relay calls with hand gestures because it becomes impossible to hear each other.
The Parking Situation
Fans looking to visit the football venue will find plenty of parking options around the site. With the place in downtown Seattle next to T-Mobile Park, you should be familiar with where to park. Here are the CenturyLink Field Parking and T-Mobile Park parking tips to consider when visiting the area.
Popular NFL Matches for the Seahawks
With the Seattle Seahawks playing in the NFC division, you can expect division games and playoffs to be loud. Games against the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals are generally the noisiest games during the season. In addition to NFC games, games against the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers tend to be extremely loud as well.
What is the Loudest Stadium in the United States?
According to the Guinness World Record, Kansas City Chiefs fans at Arrowhead stadium hit 142.2 decibels during a game. That world record for noise took place on September 29, 2014, against the New England Patriots. The 142.2 decibels still holds the noise record today in 2020, which is louder than jet engines. The seating capacity of Arrowhead Stadium is about ten thousand more than the Seahawks’ Stadium. The difference in capacity illustrates how loud Seahawks fans can get with fewer fans, which is impressive.
Before 2011, CenturyLink Field’s name was Seahawks Stadium and Qwest Field. While the NFL Stadium has had a few names, the design and Seahawks fans crowd noise remains the same. Even though Arrowhead Stadium holds the loudest stadium record, CenturyLink Field continues to be one of the loudest venues today.